After an early start and a flight via Delhi we arrived in Varanasi and it is just as alive as I remembered it to be. Most of us were pretty tired (we left for the airport at 3:15am!) then to top it off the taxi driver dropped us a little further out than he really needed to so we had to walk probably close to 1km in the raging mid day heat, but thanks to Diep we made it without any wrong turns. So if you use your imagination you can imagine our introduction to this city.
We took a walk along the Ganges and I decided I had to at least put my feet in the actual river, so I did, the only slight problem was that the mud was quite soft and befor I knew it I was up to my ankles in mud, so had to then also put my hands in the Ganges to clean my feet, but so far I have survived the experience with no reprocussions 🙂
It is certainly a city that is overwhelming in so many ways that it’s quite hard to get your head around but it is certainly a place that is vibrant and full of life, if you don’t like people in your face then this certainly isn’t the place to visit. But we have so far enjoyed chatting with the local people. Our guest house has a lights out and external door locked at 10pm, but the first night was 9:40, c’est la vie!
On our return to the guest house we wandered through the galis, it’s a little quieter at night in the galis so it was a pleasant wander. On the way we stopped at a shop to buy some water and soft drink, the man behind the counter leaned forward and whispered, “I sell cold beer”. We looked at each other and smiled and thought, mmm that might be nice so we ordered a couple of bottles. We got told to wait, so we did, then he appeared in an alley way and ushered me in so of course i went, I have to admit that it was very exciting wandering into a dark alley to collect the beer and pay for it. Then it was back on track to the guest house, two of us stopped at the shop outside our guest house to get some cups, it is here where we met Raol who runs the shop next door (and now it seems a number of other operations in the city) he shared with us as one of his guys got us plastic cups and shared chai with us as we chatted. The chai was served in fresh terracotta cups, which we threw and smashed after we had finished – again all very exciting.
We sipped our beer on the balcony over looking the Ganges before heading to bed for a well earned sleep.