Varanasi was disturbing in a good way. It's a very full, busy, dirty, colourful Indian City and it felt a bit like coming home when we emerged from our train down from the mountains. We managed to get tricked into going to the wrong Hotel by a rickshaw driver which anooyed us as we thought we'd got the hang of it by now. There were 2 Hotels with the same name but as we got the same price it didn't matter much.The first thing we did in Varanassi was visit the burning Ghat. We watched the cremation of an old lady. She looked so peaceful and it was a really moving ceremony. However I think it's the first time either of us had seen a dead body and it made me feel quite vunerable. A guy next to us explained the whole process. There are over 200 cremations a day and the fires burn 24/7. They get so many tourists up there that he must have explained it thousands of times already. He had no awe left for the ceremonys and just described them more as a business. There are some people who are there because their best friends have died and others who are just after the money and rake through the coals for wedding rings and other gold. It makes for a strange slightly uncomfortable atmosphere.After we left the fire the guy wanted to take us to the Hospice for the dying poor. We said we didn't really want to as we were already quite shook up at the wonder of what we'd just seen. He went on to demand a donation for the poor dying people of at least Rs 500 which is a lot. When Sean offered him Rs 20 for his time he threw it back in his face and said that it was our choice if we didn't want to give money but we'd have very bad Karma. I can see a lot of people giving in because at that particular moment you feel very vulnerable and the touts know that and use it to their advantage. We also got offered lots of Opium and lots of other drugs and never even heard the names of before.
The next day we headed out for a Boat ride on the Ganges which was beautiful and serene. Varanassi is a place of contradictions. It is so holy and yet so greedy, so beautiful and yet so dirty. I'm not sure what I make of it.
Now I'm in Delhi on the computer I wrote my first blog entry on. I've managed to finish my Christmas shopping and I've got 2 hands completely HennadJ
I really don't want to leave India. It's given me so much. I think she's quite a tough country and you have to work for her respect. I feel like I'm finally getting to know her and now I'm leaving. I hope she doesn't forget me for next time. I am very much looking forward to Christmas with my family though and New year with my friends! Also a warm bath and clean clothes and safe foodJ
Well got to go now and pack!!! What an adventure it's been!
Love you all!