MB’s It’s the Weekend post of a few days back featured a shot of an old train that MB took some years back in Sri Lanka; 2013 to be exact. MB was on an overnight train journey from capital city Colombo to a hilltop village called Haputale in search of Lipton’s Seat; the seat that owner and founder Sir Thomas Lipton had installed at the top of the highest peak on his Lipton’s Tea Plantation, where he would come of an evening to relax and reflect on life and tea-growing. MB managed to find the seat and sat in it and gazed for a long time out over the hills and tea plants that stretched as far as the eye could see one beautiful Sri Lankan August evening. The icing-on-the-cake was drinking top quality Orange Pekoe black Sri Lankan tea from the little tea hut that lies close to the seat, for the benefit of travelers who make the journey. MB wrote a post about that trip to Haputale entitled Time for Tea if followers care to read.
MB had paid some extra shekels for a sleeper carriage on the overnight trip to Haputale, the journey being some ten hours or more. However, the term ‘sleeper carriage’ seems to have a different meaning in Sri Lanka than elsewhere; a wafer-thin foam mattress of no more than 3 or 4cm not affording much sleeper softness from the bone-hard plywood underneath. So upon sight of some sunlight in the very early morning hours, a very tired MB alighted from his bed-coffin, not having had a wink of sleep since boarding the train many hours previously, and meandered out to the train corridor to view the surrounding countryside from the corridor window.
And what a multi-layered early-morning sight to behold:
Time for Tea – next to Lipton’s Seat some 30 to 40 minutes drive by Tuktuk from Haputale:
On 08 August 2013, very early morning, MB found himself disembarking an old train at the train station of a small town called Haputale in central Sri Lanka. He had taken a bone-shaking ten-hour journey from Colombo on the islands west coast, travelled inland about as far as one can travel in, in Sri Lanka, before one starts to travel out.
So there was MB, smack bang in the middle of high Sri Lankan hill country, with no advance booking for accommodation, no contacts and no clue how he would solve his immediate and pressing needs of food and sleep. MB wasn’t even sure if this small Sri Lankan town had accommodation or cafés or even a spare bed for a wandering Irishman. But fate would take its course and MB would just see what hand of cards fate would deal him.
MB has previously written about his Haputale adventure so he won’t repeat the story. But if anyone’s interested, click here for the low-down.
As things turn out, Haputale wasn’t half bad, as long as one wasn’t expecting 5-star standards. And if life throws you lemons, MB was thinking, make lemonade! He found ‘lemonade’ in abundance in the people and place in the coming days, and achieved his primary goal of sitting in the famous ‘Lipton’s Seat’ atop one of the highest points in the original Lipton’s Tea Plantation, where the legendary Sir Thomas Lipton had sat to relax of an evening to contemplate life and the universe, some hundred years previously.