Day -09 - 26-Dec-2015 (I continue From Here )
At the bus station, as planned, Roc, Lidia and I meet at around 8 AM. To reach Hatton you could take a train that would be a scenic journey but a slow one for sure. Buses are fast so I always prefer them. Coincidently, Tadashi also happens to be there at the same time looking for a bus to Hatton. So this is a great moment of reunion by coincidence again. The bus drivers here hate the bags that the travellers carry. Sometimes they try to lie and avoid the backpackers from boarding the bus. In this case, we make sure our backpacks are out of the way. Thankfully my bag is not very huge.
At Hatton, we look for a bus to Dalhousie. There are two types of buses in Sri Lanka - The red ones are run by the Government and the white ones with strips, are private. The fares are same but the private buses can be slow at times as it depends on customers. But most importantly, the private bus conductors try to fool travellers by telling them that there are no direct buses to the destination and one could find connecting buses from where they are going. So a conductor tries to fool us by saying that there are no direct buses to Dalhousie for a long time. I had read that there are special buses arranged by the Government during the month of December, as it is special for the pilgrims who climb Adam’s Peak or Sri Pada.
A Naidu whose origins are from India tells me that there will be a bus coming shortly and asked me not to believe the conductors. He informs me that he has relatives in Bangalore. I thank him before he leaves. The bus arrives shortly after.
The road from Hatton to Dalhousie is very scenic. The route winds around the hills. I am finally at the place where I belong - the hills, the mountains.
And there it is the peak, standing tall as though reaching the sky. I am all thrilled at the sight of it.
At Dalhousie, there are no rooms. Pilgrims and tourists are slowly crowding the place, as it is a weekend. We finally find a hotel but it has no attached bathrooms and isn’t very good either. Lidia and Tadashi stay there while Roc and I go around to check if other hotels have any rooms but everyone is full. We then return and book the same place and try to adjust. We are not going to spend the night there anyways.
We have lunch at a nearby restaurant. The food is good but takes a long time to be served.
Meanwhile, Roc, Lidia, Tadashi and I get to know each other and discuss our lives, profession and travels. Tadashi is turning 50 the next day; Roc and Lidia are on their honeymoon and here I am on my first solo-backpacking. We try to catch some sleep but the place is so noisy and shabby that we can hardly sleep. We take a walk to the river where all the devotees take bath before climbing. The Tamil speaking owner of our hotel tells us that pilgrims arrange buses for the entire village and come together. They do not book rooms. They take bath in the river and then climb. Upon return, they take off immedietly. Seeing sunrise from the summit is not a priority for them. They, he says take a lot of breaks and sometimes even carry stove and vegetables to cook on their way.
After dark, we try to sleep but two Russian men are sitting outside our room and drinking. They are speaking so loudly that nobody in a kilometer distance can sleep. The have carried a big jar of alcohol from wherever and are enjoying their drink in this holy place. Despite their noise, I sleep for two hours and wake up by 11:00 PM. We have decided to leave by 11:30. I take a cold-water shower to follow the custom. Wife of one of the Russian comes and scolds them for making such a noise and then they try to speak softly. The owner tells me that they have been drinking non-stop and neither do they sleep nor do they let him or others sleep.
So anyways, its 11:30PM and we are all set to take off on this trek. I am all excited! We all are!
Route - Kandy -> Hatton -> Dalhousie/Nallathanniya