Thursday, January 10, 2013

Colombo daze... or how I lost my wallet

Howdy folks. Back safely in freezing Japan. Seriously it was like -13 last night. YES MINUS! Crikey and all that you know!
So the story of the wallet awaits, but first on the way back from Sigiriya we stopped at Matale where we saw the very ornate Sri Muthumariamman Hindu Temple. It's not ancient like the ruins at Sigiriya, but the carvings are very impressive and detailed. Even being so tired after the day trip, we could still be impressed!
The next day we were so tired we cancelled our plans and decided to just walk around Kandy and the lake. However, most of the day it rained and rained and even rained some more!

Sri Muthumariamman Temple
So the next day it was time to move on. The plan - visit Galle on the coast. This required two trains, with a change in the capital, Colombo. We got up nice and early to get the 6.15am train, where we had a comfy seat in the observation car. Was it a beautiful journey? Possibly - I slept most of it so I can't be sure! But what I did see was very green and very wet. Well, it was the time of the year! 
Arriving at Colombo Fort station, I had a couple of things to take care of. Firstly, toilet! Done! Secondly - buy tickets to Galle. Done! Thirdly, get out enough cash for the rest of the trip - Done!
Well, that seemed very smooth. Down to platform five to wait for the 10.30am train to Galle!
Inside the observation car

The train was suitably late. Only about 10 minutes. The platform swelled with people. The train pulled up. Before all this I took a few photos by the way. Mad dash as always to get on the train, I wanted to secure a seat for my wife and myself. People on board took time getting off. Finally it was free-for all time. No matter who was first, push shove and go go go!
Put my bag down on one seat, another behind it was free - oh no, someone saving that one. Just one seat, my wife came in and sat down. I sighed - I might be standing for the four hours to Galle. Still, for some reason my pants seemed lighter. Oh EXPLETIVE! I don't have my wallet! 

Someone had nicked it as we pushed onto the train. 69 countries, and the first time I have been robbed. What happened? I usually put my wallet in the zip pocket. But this time I just plonked it back in the front pocket. To be fair - it was an easy target in that rush. 
People were very kind though. They stopped the train, and someone said later they saw someone running away from it very fast and scared. Who knows if they had my wallet. Police were on the scene, the train was stopped. One passenger was very angry - I didn't ask anyone to stop the train for me.
Soon we were shunted off to the police station to make a report, or as they called it 'a complaint'. Against whom? The thief? The station? The police for letting it happen? I found it a strange title, that's what the police used.One office to another I explained my story, wrote down the contents of my wallet, all the time feeling an utter idiot to be honest. I know what's what - I know that the moment everyone is pushing is prime time as far as pick pockets go.
such is life I guess.
every cloud has a silver lining. 
To find out about this silver lining...... you'll have to wait for my next post!

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