By Jeffrey Bickerton
What a 10 days it's been! First we were robbed blind in our own home, and now this... It all started 5 days after the robbery when we decided to cheer ourselves up a bit, by visiting Colombo for the weekend. I had never really been before, save passing through, so I thought it the right time to visit. In hindsight, I wish I'd stayed home and taken my chances with the villainous mob that had picked us clean five days before!
Anyway, the day began with our turning up at Galle station to catch the 10.55 express to Colombo Fort. I particularly wished to travel by train, it being an old boyhood pastime of mine, but my friend, by way of a warning said he'd heard somewhere, that it's dangerous travelling on trains, as there are pickpockets everywhere. "What nonsense" I said and assured him that sort of thing would never happen in Sri Lanka. Having secured our passage, we found seats by scientifically elbowing others out of the way and marking out our territory.... It was infernally hot. As if my thoughts had been carried to the train driver, he switched on the fans and we breathed life once more.
I spent the time gawping at my fellow passengers and drinking them in, as it were. They were a very C3 bunch, ranging from tourists with those impossibly large rucksacks - I mean to say, what possible joy can be had by carting those things everywhere in this heat? – to locals who appeared to have seen it all. Add to this, a gaggle of hawkers careering up and down the carriages, selling everything from water to foul smelling home-cooked delights, constantly under the watchful gaze of the alarmingly named, Railway Protection Force. "Why do I need protecting"?, I mused....ha! Little did I know what lay ahead...
Suddenly, the train lurched forward and everyone standing up, went for a burton, before recovering their poise and belongings. We were on our way.
Our train trundled along, passing life and offering a glimpse of the beauty that is undoubtedly Sri Lanka. I settled down to gawp at the passenger sitting opposite, marveling at his glowing red sunburn and impressive collection of mosquito bites. Passing places with wonderful names like something-duwa, something gama, something una, we eventually arrived at Mount Lavinia. Here my good friend, Priyantha got on board and we all sat, chatting away about this and that, before arriving at our destination, Colombo Fort.
I stood up and gathered my belongings. I was in the process of closing my shoulder bag, in which I carried my personal items,
money, passport etc, when my exit was blocked by a woman who just stood and simply refused to move. Her behavior struck me as odd. She seemed to be preoccupied with staring out of the window, as if looking for someone. Eventually, after three "excuse me's" and a sharp elbow into the ribs, she moved, blast her! She got off and I followed, whereby I was immediately pushed and barged around on the busy platform, but I did happen to notice that the woman immediately got back on the train and thought that very odd too! Pondering over this for a while, I then attended to the closing of my bag, when I noticed the wallet containing my passport was conspicuous by it's absence. Ye Gods! Surely not?. I frantically checked the entire contents of the bag, but the red wallet containing the passport had vanished without trace. I was livid.
Putting two and two together, I realized that the old harridan on the train must have deliberately delayed me, while waiting for her partners in crime to appear and organize the melee on the platform, in order for one of them to then practice his nefarious art of pickpocketing. Fate it seemed, or rather the old bag on the train, had marked me for her own!
Back in Galle, I had an appointment with the Police at Akmeemana Police Station, to report my missing passport and get an emergency document to cover me whilst waiting for a new passport. My friend, Nandana arrived with his policeman friend to take me to Akmeemana. I was greatly amused by this name, Akmeemana, because at first I thought it was some kind of stately home, you know, Acme Manor. Musing on whether there might possibly be a Lord Acme who resided there, we reached our destination and I found myself mingling for the first time ever, with what you might describe as, the criminal class.
Entering the "Manor", there was a prison cell with bars, just like you see in the old Wild West films, and I half expected the Sheriff to walk in at any moment to tell us the Apaches will attack at noon. A very miserable creature stood behind the bars and I mused as to what he had done to warrant this incarceration. Then, my friends policeman suddenly sprang to life and took matters in hand. By-passing the queue of suspects, who looked a bit miffed at our blatant pushing in, we were quickly led into the office of the big chief himself, who proceeded to vigorously document my plight on carbon papered sheets, stamp them, log them and eventually produce my temporary papers, which he then flourished triumphantly in front of me. Who said a PC plods? As smooth a work as I have ever witnessed, and as I always say, it's not what you know, but who you know.
On our way out, I looked across at the unfortunate youth behind bars. He looked fed up, but if I could speak his language I would have consoled him by saying its better to be safe behind bars in here, than out there if the Apaches attack!
Demographics expert says No labour shortage in Sri Lanka Importing foreign workers will lead to tension
- Managing the US-Thailand Alliance in the Trump Era
- Don’t play games with youth
- Call to provide DF vehicles for migrant workers
- SAITM Controversy:BASL will inform GMOA on stance Dr. Aluthge
- Implementation of Research Programme SL and India sign 2nd PoC
- Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary to visit SL
- NBRO warns of floods if rains continue
- Veteran TULF politician Soosaithasan’s funeral today
- TNA seeks fiscal powers in new Constitution N&E PCs should be integrated - Sumanthiran
- New laws to curb poaching Rs 100m fine and no bail – Amaraweera
- TPA wants local polls delayed Seeks more PS Offices in N’Eliya
- New Constitution draws flak Country heading for Federalism – MR
- Namal, 7 others out on bail
- Treasury Bonds Probe PTL and EPF officials cost CBSL billions – Banking Expert
- Hotels face tough time Drop in tourist arrivals predicted
- Military Stalemate: How North Korea could win a war with the US
- What Is the Tatmadaw’s Plan for the Rohingya?
- Inadequate pay stunts female labour force
- Strike cost Railway Dept Rs 12 M
- Lanka paying back Mahinda’s debts Gift from the past regime -Ranil
- CEB subsidiary in illegal name change VAC to lodge complaint with CIABOC
- Two held at BIA with Wallapatta, phones
- Taiwanese investigators leave SL
- 100,000 persons put on landslide alert Red notice for Ratnapura and Galle DMC
- SAITM issue a ‘public headache’ -Prelates Want President, PM to provide solution
- Pakistan confident Sri Lanka will come
- Pakistan struggling
- Top seeds through to 2nd round
- Dialog Champions League Navy SC face Negombo SC today
- Cane inks long-term deal with All Blacks
- NZ Rugby to assist SL Rugby
- Singer Cup’ U-19 Schools Cricket 22 wickets fall in one day
- Hatton wins second straight title in Italy
- Indonesian goalkeeper dies after mid-game collision
- ‘Singer Cup’ U-13 Division I Schools Cricket Hasaranga shines with bat and ball
- Dressing up for Test cricket
- Sri Lanka ‘A’ Team win Zia-Ul-Haq Trophy
- De Kock, Amla trump Mushfiqur century
- 'It's war' - Warner driven by hatred for Ashes
- Rooney rides to Everton's rescue
- All Island Schools Games 2017 Twins Aruna and Pasindu shine for top awards
- Dovizioso wins Japan thriller
- Federer beats great rival Nadal to win Shanghai Masters
- Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup Jaden and Aaron invited to Spain
- Surarez saves Barca’s unbeaten record
- Grasping the term ‘Memorandum of Understanding’
- Ashok Leyland turnover up 49% to 7.2 B in 1H 2017
- ‘Spot’ Holds
- Spotlight : Sri Lanka’s Hotel Sector
- SLIDA wins Green Energy Champion 2017
- Nations Trust Bank launches Flexi Deposit Scheme
- BOC to reward foreign remittances
- Atlas Axillia wins big at 2017 NCQP Awards
- Emirates launches $15 M campaign to promote Dubai Set to iconic soundtrack by Queen, campaign features airline’s global network and onboard product
- DLB ‘Kotipathi Shanida’ produces another millionaire
- Brandix launches 2017 Blood Drive Marks 10th year as major corporate donor
- SHARP electronic products now exclusively from SINGER
- LAUGFS Gas celebrates two years in Bangladesh
- Asia markets close higher on China inflation data
- Fitch gives CEB top credit rating
- Singapore FTA talks commence
- New Inland Revenue Act not so friendly PwC
- Further liberalization needed for economic hub status German Ambassador highlights apparel as success story
- Ceylon Chamber appoints new Chief Economist
- Rupee makes pyrrhic gains
- A frightening future for Sri Lankans
- Government lethargy in protecting our forces
- Where is Sri Lanka heading?
- Securing Sri Lanka’s maritime boundaries:Russian Gepard 5.1 Class Frigates
- Sri Lanka and International Conventions - Part 1 Debasement of our legislative process
- Ahikuntika community of Sri Lanka Diminishing cultural traits
- Beware of drones!
- Anti-SAITM protests a political gimmick?
- Death of Subramaniam Haran ‘Police had no option’ Ticino police chief
- President jolts security detail Confronts Jaffna protesters
- Would like more Pradeshiya Sabhas for N’Eliya-Radhakrishnan
- Skills mismatch a massive economic cost Education system must be reformed
- Federalism is the antithesis of separatism Wiggy
- Kiriella has no right to ask me not to speak-Handunnetti
- We want China to be transparent in its intent– US Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson
- UNHRC Resolution 30/1 Implications for Sri Lanka (Part II) (Based on a presentation to the OPA)
- Electoral Reforms are for People’s Benefit
- Managing perception with international community
- An Aspirant to the Throne of Hearts-Virajini Thennekoon
- The latest addition to the Galle Hospitality industry
- Best Hikes in Sri Lanka
- What went wrong at the Apple Inc. iPhone X demo?
- NASA's spacecraft makes death plunge into Saturn
- Salient points of horoscope Assessment
- KARMIC CONNECTIONS IN THE BIRTH CHARTS 2
- Dream of travelling abroad?
- Mystery behind Osama bin Laden explained
- Three poses to relieve trauma
- Socio-economic developments from critical perspective
- KAZUO ISHIGURO – THE NEW NOBEL LAUREATE
- The Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2018 –Internationally acclaimed authors to take part
- Portrayal of country and nature
- Resonant Field Imaging - a Marvel in Technology
- Shankar’s International Children’s Competition 2018
- Hindustani Violin recital
- Classical rendering of a masterly-crafted musical
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Making plus-sized clothing trendy
- Pyjamas go viral as well - Sharmila Srikumar
- Giving back to Society
- Double treat at Pinnawala
- Mental illness a health issue Replacing stigma with compassion
- Studying to be ahead