Making Friends On The Road In Sri Lanka
If you know me, I’m an outgoing introvert, meaning, I’m outgoing and an introvert both at the same time. I can have conversations with people, but it takes some time for me to actually keep that conversation going. And in one such outgoing introvert expedition, I cracked up a conversation with Kavitha and Nagham. Kavitha was sitting across the table at the hostel that I was staying in Nuwara Eliya. And the mere fact of her being from Bangalore got me excited and the conversation kept going.
We talked about our profession, how long both of us have been travelling around Sri Lanka and the conversation just kept flowing. And then comes Nagham, exhausted (which I figured from her body language). She was standing closer to Kavitha and when I looked up, Nagham was looking at me, actually starring. I didn’t know what to do and gave her a faint smile, well, I think I shouldn’t have smiled at her and in return, I received death stares. At that moment, all I wanted to do was to actually run away because if I had continued to look at her, she would have eaten me alive.
Once Nagham retired to her dorm, I got going with my work and went about having a drink or two under the starry sky of Nuwara Eliya on the last Friday of 2019, with a bonfire to keep me warm and techno music to keep me hazed in the cold winter night.
Fast forward to the next morning, I was to leave for Ella and Kavitha was also travelling to the same place and we decided to go together. And I vividly remember her mentioning the previous night that one of her friends would be joining us, who is also headed to the same place. If I have learnt something in the past years of solo travelling, there is nothing more exciting than travelling with someone that you have met on the road, who shares the same likes as yours. And to be honest, at that moment I thought a good company would actually warm my emotions on a cold winter morning.
When I came out of my dorm and headed directly to the dining hall to have my breakfast. I waved morning to Kavitha and looked at the other person sitting right next to her and it was Nagham. I waved morning to her as a gesture of being polite, had my breakfast, packed my luggage and left for the railway station. As we rode to the railway station, I decided to keep quiet and enjoy the serene beauty of Nuwara Eliya because it was early in the morning and I was actually afraid of initiating a conversation with Nagham after the previous night’s death stare.
We reached the train station, I went ahead to buy the ticket and when the train came, it was crowded and there was no way that we could get into the train among the hundred other people who were waiting to board an already crowded train. But we didn’t give up that easily. Funnily, we ended up requesting the ticket collector to actually let us stand with him, but all those efforts went vain. As the train left the station, we made peace with the situation and started looking out for other options.
Few taxi drivers tried their hands in luring us to take a taxi to Ella. Again, if you know me, I’m bad at negotiating and I let Kavitha do all the talking. And when it seemed okay, the taxi driver told us that there were few other travellers who were headed to the same place and if we were okay, he could take them on board and we could share the total cost of the ride among each other, equally. Well, the plan sounded perfect and we went ahead.
I chose to take the seat next to the driver and both my newly acquainted friends chose to sit behind followed by four other travellers and now we were all headed to Ella. As we started en-route Ella, I wanted to ask Nagham about the previous night, but like again, I was really afraid to take a leap. But I couldn’t contain it any further. I turned and asked her the question, and both, Kavitha and Nagham burst into a peal of laughter. I was confused because I sensed that they had some sort of an insider joke already going on about last night’s situation. Kavitha looked at Nagham and shook her head, giving a go-ahead. And then Nagham started with an apology and narrated the entire story.
And the story goes something like this.
Nagham mistook me to be the host of the hostel. Last night when she was standing next to Kavitha, exhausted, I didn’t notice the passport in her hand and she wanted the host to take her information and let her check-in. Considering she mistook me to be the host and me being immersed on my laptop, getting some work done, she was angry at me for not checking her in, in fact, angry at me for not doing the job that I was supposed to be doing.
Once she narrated what was going on in her head at that time, the three of us burst into laughter and for the next two and half hours, we shared stories from our lives and bonded over our innate passion for travel.
Have you had any such experiences during your travel? Have somebody given your death stares and later became friends with them? Let me know in the comments below or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow me through my travel adventures on Instagram @weirdlyrosh.
Happy and safe travels!