Day Sixteen – Back to Colombo

Monday 15 February 2016

We leave Jaffna today for Colombo. The train departs Jaffna at 1:42pm and arrive in Colombo at 8:00pm.  I have organised our driver for the last few days, Ria, to take us to the Jaffna Railway Station.  At the other end in Colombo, I will need to confirm with Jagath while on the train about our transport from Colombo Railway Station to our accomodation.  I know Jagath will come good.

Our morning was relaxed.  We were mostly packed except for a few items.  We had a leisurely breakfast and headed back to our rooms.  Just before 12 noon,  Sangaran got a call from his sister informing him that my mother had passed away in Singapore.  This was a sad end to the trip however I felt that my mother’s death was not unexpected.  I heard my mother was not in good health of late and I just resigned to the fact that it was her time.  I shared the news with the rest in the group.  I could not do much at this stage as we needed to check out of the hotel and get to the station.  Logan had generously volunteered to look after the final financial matters as I needed to make a few phone calls.

Ria met us at the hotel at noon.  We packed the van and headed to the station, well ahead of time.  Better to be early than late.  Many things went through my mind while waiting for the train but I was also figuring a way to change my flight to get to Singapore for the funeral. I had a flight booked with Charles to fly out of Colombo at 1:10am on the 17th Feb.  The flight would arrive in Singapore at 7:40am.  I however felt that the funeral might take place on the 16th.

The train was slightly late.  We boarded the train and stacked our suitcases as before without much trouble.

On the platform at Jaffna Railway Station look North

Train arriving

Looking south towards the head of the train

After a 10 minute wait we were on our way.  The smoothness of the ride was going to be in reverse now.  It will be smooth out of Jaffna and then rocky towards Colombo.  When we were about an hour or so on the train, I tried calling Singapore Airlines to change my flight.  Communication on the mobile phone was tricky while on the train.  After several attempts and speaking to a few people, I was told the earlier flight was full.   A bit later I was able to get Jagath who had confirmed that transport had been arranged to pick us up from the railway station.  Jagath was on tour with another group and therefore could not meet us in Colombo himself.

In Colombo we were booked for 2 nights at Tiesh by Lakmini.  It is an apartment block above a jewellery shop and the owners of the shop were also owners of the apartments above.  It is a new building.  We were booked into a 3  bedroom apartment.  The apartment is modern with modern facilities.  It was big difference to what we were staying at in Jaffna.  Logan and Vasantha were back staying at the Sea View Hotel.  A few in the group went out to get some food.  After dinner we all headed for bed.