Engine on: 06:15
Engine off for the night: 17:00
KM travelled: 337
Issues/breakdowns: none today
Challenges: finding the hotel we had booked
Woke up bright and early just keen to get out of the hotel and out of the pollution of Kanpur. I'd had a very pitiful sleep due to the rock hard bed + noises by my head making me think there was some kind of bed bug/creatures and so I chose to sleep with my head at the tail end of the bed.
The day's driving actually went very smoothly with no breakdowns or other issues so not much of a story from day 5. The hardest part was when we arrived in Varanasi and tried to navigate to the hotel - it turned out that the pinpoint on the map per the site we booked it on was wrong so we spent around 1 hour trying to find the place. In the end we asked a local tuk tuk driver and then followed him there.
Once we had arrived and checked in, the boys went off to get the tuk tuks sorted. Matt's summary of this experience follows:
We approached one Rickshaw driver for his recommended mechanic. This resulted in another tuk tuk mate and a 'mechanic' appearing from nowhere, along with the usual 10 mates to watch provide advice.
Service and repairs were performed on the street under street lights (little bit suspicious, but we were promised a good price)
1 fistfight, 5 new parts across 2 tuks tuks, 2 services, 1 stolen stereo system (from one of the helpers) and 1 unwanted wash which left the tuk tuk soaking and attracted all of the mosquitos in Varanasi.
Payment for all the help was accepted in alcohol, while the 'mechanic' required cold hard cash.
In the evening we decided over dinner that we would have a break day on day 6 and stay in in Varanasi. Matty added another couple of kingfisher strong's to the tally while I was trying to rehydrate with water after the day on the road (and lack of "acceptable" bathrooms).
All in all, a good day of driving and some solid progress eastward.
After consulting the map and how much remaining distance and how many days to cover it, we decided we could spare a rest day in Varanasi to recoup after all the early starts and hours of driving. The morning and afternoon was largely spent sleeping in and then trying to relax. Late afternoon, we made our way via tuktuk (not ours but a local tuktuk) to the Ganges to go on a boat tour and see the burning ghats (crematorium) and blessing of the Ganges ceremony. The experience did not disappoint and we all found it pretty surreal. I hadn't researched much (I.e anything) about Varanasi before this boat trip and it as really interesting to be informed of the Hindi beliefs and why Varanasi is the "holy city". After the visit to the Ganges we pretty much had dinner and then it was time for bed as we planned to get up at 4.30am the next day