Ella to Mirissa
07.01.2012 - 07.01.2012
To me the local buses in Sri Lanka are very reminiscent of the ‘’chicken buses in Central America’ ( I have yet to travel to India, so I can’t draw any parallels there). Unlike Central America however, it seems that most tourists steer clear of these rattly, noisy, packed metal contraptions and opt for hired taxis.
As I changed buses in Wellawaya, to avoid standing on one leg for an hour, which I was warned may be the case if I took a direct bus passing through Ella, I was befriended by a charming elderly local man. As we chatted, he asked me “Why do no tourists catch our buses?” I had been pondering the same thing, because I think local buses are awesome.
Ok sure, so you may be packed in, sweating profusely and fearing for your life as the bus swerves around cars, blasting its horn, but the interior of a local bus gives you an insight into the colour of local life. Throughout the journey men hop on and off, selling fried shrimp cakes, lottery tickets, and fruit or asking for a donation for war victims.
My 4 hour journey south (more like 6.5, with some unexpected stops at the local fruit market etc), was a lively, entertaining one. Locals of all ages smiled shyly at me, and the baby behind me poked my skin and pulled at my hair, giggling mischievously at me when I turned around to see what was happening.
“Where are you going?”, “Where are you from”, “married’?, “children”?
“Mirissa”, “Australia”, “Yes CRICKET!”, “Of course, my husband is merely away on business with our 6 children”. Smile. Nod. Smile.
I think much is missed from the interior of an air conditioned taxi.