A weird Indian man who wanted to look at our photos sat near us, even though his bed wasn't in our compartment. However he was quite helpful when he notified us we were just outside Varanasi station where we stopped for a while. Impatient Indians just got off there and walked the rest of the way. Hotel Ajanta's 'Representative' met us on the platform for our transfer to the hotel.
It could have just been the weather, but first impressions of Varanasi aren't that great- It's like a less impressive Delhi, and the hotel room isn't what we've been used to!
I'm not exactly sure what we were supposed to be going to do when our tour guide picked us up at 3, but we definitely weren't expecting to be riding on his motorcycle to do it! We had assumed going on a bike meant going on a bike ride, and then when he said he would be riding it, a cycle rickshaw. He said if we wanted to hire a tuk-tuk it would be Rs 150, so for some reason the price of our lives became less than 2 pounds as all 3 of us got on without helmets. It was scary at first, but eventually I got used to it. Although Indian driving is a lot more dangerous than English, they still go a lot slower.
He took us to a courier place to send off our Christmas Presents, and there was a lot of fuss about filling in the forms and correct parcel sizes-we had to say that the value of the goods were less than they were and not put down certain food types. It was a lot more pricey than we had thought it would be (Sorry Mum for contact lens requests!) which will be good for putting us off buying souvenirs!
We said we didn't want to go to any temples (we've seen quite a few over the past couple of days), but since the evening Ghats ceremony started at 5.30, he took us to one anyway, to fill in the time. Not sure if this is the right career for him as his profound wisdom was 'This... is a temple. It symbolizes God' whilst standing awkwardly in the shrine room. We had to hold in giggles. He seemed to take more photos than us!
He took it in quite good humor when Alice said she wanted to go to the toilet just as we got to the evening ceremony, but was still very persistent that we should get a boat to see it. We didn't want to pay Rs 500, so he said we could have a shared one for 300, although we were still by ourselves and got it for the cheaper price. It was very cold, and the ceremony wasn't very interesting- just people praying to different directions. We travelled a bit further down to where they were burning some bodies, and then I was glad we got off as my toes were numb!
We wanted to get dropped off at a lonely planet recommended restaurant, but he said it was quite far so he recommended another place near our hotel (and showed us how to get back which was good for getting to grips with directions). It was an all veggie place so Alice was happy! The waiter squinted at the menu when we pointed to Paneer Tikka and Paneer Butter Masala- he needed glasses badly!