6.50am Okay, I got to the station, bought my ticket, am in a train, and I have a seat. 2nd class. Hopefully the right ticket.  Hopefully the right train.  Let's see what happens.

I'm surrounded by a range of men, all men. Let me introduce them to you - I think we are here together for some time. First, opposite me we have Leg Shaker: 40s, tired, he has children I assume. He smiles, but nothing else.  To be fair he has headphones so maybe it's to the beat or the rhythm. Then we have Bag Clutcher. Bag Clutcher is younger, maybe 20, 21. More engaged and interested. In the far corner to me we have Regular Smart Commuter Man: also children I think, but determined and ambitious. He doesn't respond to anything anyone does - briefcase in hand, shoes unfeasibly shiny. And next to him we have Mr Matara. "Yes, thank you I know this goes to Matara but does it stop first at Galle?" - "Matara, Matara", he shouts back at me - helpfulness incarnate except he refuses all other English and can't confirm what I need to know. I produce my ticket from my pocket - I show him. Bag Clutcher leans forward and looks - Bag Clutcher, in perfect English, says "you are on the right train." "Ah Galle, Galle", shouts Mr Matara.

And finally in our compartment of this carriage we have Sleeper. He wasn't here when I got on and sat down, but he's there now. Flip flops on the floor, feet up, Head down on a black plastic bag and asleep - the seat for 3 occupied by him.

Other characters in this play include Newspaper Seller (Sinhala) - big pile of papers to carry and Newspaper Seller (English) - small pile of papers to carry. I suspect we may see more of Mr Newspaper Seller (English) when he realises I am here. And in a slightly unlikely role we have Balloon and Whistle Seller or BAW Seller as he should be known, who appears to be much older than all of us put together and has a skin tone of a freshly polished leather briefcase and a smile deeper than a Gladstone bag. And yes, he sells balloons and whistles.

So the train pulls out, trundling south, noisy, shaking, charming, everything I wanted. We leave the station, cross the river and through the obligatory darkness of the bridge tunnels that seem to exist over major railway exits the world over. We pass through the magnificently named Secretariat Railway Station - we don't stop and there is no one there - I dream that once a suited train official used to board at this station, but no more.

We pass the suburbs of south Colombo - tower blocks, residencies, a building site. I see the old words Ceylon Cold Stores Ltd. stamped into the concrete pediment.  It is being reused for a new building, an old church next to it, probably Dutch Reform in its day, now offices.

The haze of the morning rain still hangs over us - when I use my SLR camera the lens steams up, so it's my iPhone for pictures for now until the sun burns the mist away.

And without any warning we are seized and swept up into the immediate embrace of the Indian Ocean - I knew the railway track ran alongside the ocean so I'm not sure why I'm so surprised - but here it is. The fresh morning swell giving me a spray and a deep smile as the sun battles with the over-keen clouds. I know who's going to win that one today.

Oh hang on. We have been joined by the slightly implausible Manchester United Fan - bright red, unmistakable, and there it is emblazoned on his shirt. But he's very over weight, late fifties and no sportsman. He sits next to Regular Smart Commuter Man. I'm acknowledged but then it is head back, eyes shut and his own world.

We are stopping - Ah yes Dehiwala - where the zoo was - not a stop for me after yesterday. But Bag Clutcher has slipped out and got off. Leg Shaker wakes, or rather opens his eyes and moves into Bag Clutcher's seat - away from the open window which is dripping the morning rain from the roof of the train. Into his place we are immediately joined by The Watch. Young, manicured, pin-stripe shirt, black trousers, a small rucksack and an unfeasibly large wrist watch with what I can only describe as crustaceans of gold and silver. This one likes his bling and will succeed.

Balloon and Whistle Seller wanders through the carriage and not entirely surprisingly doesn't appear to have many takers today.

Newspaper Seller (Singlala) is back with a lighter pile of papers and he is followed closely by Newspaper Seller (English) who spears to have invested in the wrong linguistic market, at least today.

Outside the train is clearing the southern suburbs of Colombo with some speed and the houses constructed in the edge of the track have eased and sand has appeared on the oceans edge. And it's not long before the sea view is restored, the trackside houses are no more and boats appear. This pricks my attention as I see five topless lads diving in and out of the shallow spray struggling with a caught fishing net, but my train sweeps us away before I can register any more.

Aha, Leg Shaker has changed legs - so now I know it's the music - but based on this, I don't want to see his Dad-dancing.

BAAADAAAH. A train from the other direction sweeps close past our train - it's unfeasibly loud and makes me start. Leg Shaker smiles and leans forward - "I always move over when we approach Panadura station" he says "as it I don't like the noise of that other train." There was me thinking it was the rain and the spray. Oh the ignorance of the occasional traveller.

I see that Regular Smart Commuter Man has gone, to work I presume, and I discover that Manchester United Fan is number 11 as he leans over to adjust the wide open window.

And so we relax into the journey. Oh wait, no, please no. Yes, we are joined, in the carriage, but not in this compartment by Teenage Lad with Dog. Well when I say dog, I mean yappy. I try and ignore and look out of the window.

And then it occurs - a rare moment for most travellers - I recognise the landscape - for this is akin to Kaluthara and we are going to be calling there and then at Aluthguma - the journey I made before when last here. It's fascinating the immediate effect it has on me. My nerves lay down, I smile gently and relax into my seat with the comfort of someone who is on the journey they planned. Last times' baby steps of a short trip is this times' big sweep down the west coast main line from Colombo to Galle. It's going to be fun, with me, my friends and I.

Postscript: Teenage Lad with Dog was unable to get his dog to stop yapping, and at some point it got too much for Sleeper who arose, shouted a lot, Teenage Lad shouted back, Sleeper shouted fasted, Sleeper won. Teenage Lad with Dog is in another carriage and Sleeper is horizontal again.