Arrived in Varanasi on Saturday...it's a pretty crazy place! Came through Delhi on the way here; loved it there amidst madness, rats and general carnage. Just a three hour stop off on to break up our 3 night journey on a train! Varanasi is awesome; it really does have to be seen to be believed. Went on a dawn boat ride this morning and watched the sun come up over the Ganges. This is also a great time to see all the pilgrims coming down the ghats to bathe religiously in the river. There was lots of chanting and nakedness and I thought it looked cold. They have a festival here every night whereby they salute the river with burning candles and singing for a whole hour. It's absolutely incredible. There is also a naked Indian man, painted white and with dreadlocks that touch the floor, who stands on a platform covered in flowers and candles and wraps his penis around a long stick and then stretches it! This also happens every night. Quite distressing really, particularly for Matt I think. Saw the burning of bodies on the cremation ghats yesterday which was extroadinary. The proximity of death in this city is quite strange to come to terms with. It is always present in some form. Nearly got mown down by several funeral processions chanting their way through the back alleys with the body on a bamboo stretcher. These marches are only slightly less fierce than the bulls which also charge about in the alleyways here! You take your life in your hands in Varanasi. The cows are holy and therefore allowed to do as they please, which makes for some interesting traffic jams. There are also lots of monkeys here...the biggest, most evil monkeys ever!!! They are soooo cheeky and spend most of their timne savagely attacking guests. Anything that gets left outside here is stolen by the little w***s...from food, to books, to dirty washing! Sometimes they just completely deface peoples belongings and then throw them back at them. I swear they are possessed. Very, very funny, though!
Onto Agra next to see the famous Taj Mahal...might take a few photos I suppose.
Love you all lots and lots, be in touch, Chloe and Matt xxx