Made it to Varanasi in one piece...not without incident tho, but it wouldn't be India if it ran smoothly!!!! Haha
I saw the Dalai Lama again on Tuesday with the guys from the camp (I was alone for the first one :)). We managed to get really good seats and were wedge between Buddhist monks and nuns. The Nuns really looked after me making sure I was comfy on the floor and tryin to get me to drink salt butter tea. They were especially impressed with my Nepal lonely planet (took it to read cos you have to go an hour before). So after sayin goodbye to the guys I packed to leavve to delhi.
I had booked an overnight bus which only cost me 4.50 all the way to Delhi. So I arrived at the pick up point and waited...waited...the bus didn't turn up, so went to the office where I bought ticket they told me it was down a long dark road and was leaving in 5min. I had to leg it down with a guy from shop and tell him to stop thye bus... I did manage to get on ok..other people arrived a bit late having been told the same thing!!! We managed to get TWO flat tyres on the way which didn't help cos the bus was a sweat box! It took 15hrs in all to get there, a contrast to the 11hr one I had to get back from Delhi the other week!
After dropping us off on a road side I bargained a taxi don from 300 to 200 INR to get me to hotel. A fixer found me a taxi and I was off..I quickly realised he did not have a clue where he was going (asking direections). After I recognised a pl;ace by my hotel (from a prev visit) i asked him to drop me off. He wanted 300 so had to argue with him and his mate to take 200. Told him to get the rest off the fixer.
Delhi was ok..I hired a student guide to take me round for abit and show me some sights.
I was advised to leave early for the train so booked a taxi early...it took 5min! So got there with a couple of hrs to spare.
I was just about to check the departures when a man approached me to see muy ticket, he said I had to go to Government resrevation office to get confirmation! It was a e ticket I'd booked and all was approved (I thouhgt). Getting there some guy said I had to pay 35$ to get confirmation...had another argument telling him where to go cos I'd already paid! Sooooooooo wnet back to station and queued in reservation office who confirmed my ticket!
Heading to the platforms I got talking to a train guard who was saying how good India was under British rule, he was saying all the development we gave to Inida stopped after we left. He said he wanted India to be controlled gain... he has got a point in some regards. (I'm gonna do an India - expose blog all about the people/economy etc next so watch this space haha).
The platform was heaving and I was the only foreigner getting the train...kinda cool. I found my sleeper berth ok and shared with an old guy who didn't speak a lot of English (well NONE haha) We had Chai and dinner together and grunted and gestured at things, all the basics of any meal haha. The ride was good here and got to the Varansi in good time (12 hrs).
My hotel in Varanasi overlooks the Ganges, to get to it though, you have to walk through alleyways full of Cows, their s*** and peoples rubbish. Its in the old city and right next to the most famous ghat, where crematiosn go on everday. NB Saw my first dead person being carried through streets today to go and get cremated.
I met this really nice old guy who makes shirts, so went to to his house to look through..he was really helpful and chatty so felt safe enough to go with him. He lievs right by the Ganges in a little hosue. His son is at university studying accountancy, he was impressed I was teaching Engliosh in Inida. So I bought a shirt off him...a black one for Paul. So Paul when you get it, it will always have this story attached to it.
The Ganges is too high to go on boats so they won't be doing boat rides...disapointed but safety comes frist I spose (some boat will go out..but they are only after the money)..
So I have the rest of today to recover from two days travelling and then will walk right along the ghats and ganges tomorrow and soak up the atmo.
Will update soon