The journey down was by train, all classes, no a/c. Of course the train was full so we perched on a suitcase in the aisle, having to move every time a hawker came past selling oranges, complete with home made paper sachets made of old pages of school exercise bks to collect the peel in, prawn sellers, comics, musicians, you name it. There were a lot of them...
Anyway half way through the 3 ½hr journey a gentlemanly English guy gave A and me his seat opposite his girlfriend,which helped no end. A was in her element begging food from anyone the minute they started peeling an orange, opening some biscuits, or popcorn etc. It was quite a festive atmosphere and she was extremely well fed as food seemed to be how sri lankans kept themselves entertained on long journeys.
The tsunami devastation was apparent all the way along the coast, many broken down buildings, a completely decimated train left as a memorial, and lots of building work/half built houses, villages even.. There were many people we met on holiday too, waiters, guesthouse owners, tuktuk drivers etc, who all wanted to share their stories of their loss and what had happened to them. One waiter was in tears. The guard in the decimated train actually survived somehow by swimming up out of the train. He is still a guard on that route. It is really quite weird sitting staring out to sea having a survivor point to an island of rocks about a km out, as the landmark where the sea disappeared to for about 20 mins before the tsunami came in.
It was a lovely break, made even better by bumping into some British colleagues who worked in Galle, who we have become friends with. Unfortunately A got ill on day 3 of our holiday with another fever and a chesty cough, and was very wheezy again, so we came home a day early, to a washing machine flood, and a burst pipe in our bathroom.