Published: August 21st 2009August 21st 2009
Back to Kathmandu, wonders of a shower, and everything the city could offer. Booked a bus pretty quickly to varanasi which should take 24 hours. Bought a wicked oil painting of the north face of everest, probably my best buy so far and soaked up some city life in a clean-ish city before heading to india, and to varanasi.
Pretty uneventful and easy to sleep, changed bus at the border and just a long journey stopping for 20 minutes out of each hour to wait in a station for passengers that never arrived and finally got there after a blown tire. Varanasi doesnt have streets going right to the front where our hostel was going to be so had to get a rickshaw and get the driver to help us go there. By the time we got there - amazing hostel btw, Suraj Guest house found via the ever reliable footprint - i was feeling even worse and promptly emptied by body of its contents via any orifice available. 2 hours later i was absolutely fine thanks to some anti-emetics and loperamide and so glad to be in varanasi. Funniest thing was a monkey outside the room which had barred windows, proby gets his camera to take a picture and the monkey looks really aprehencious, then without warning, leans in, grabs his crisps and legs it over rooftops to where we can see him eating them with a look of delight. The winding streets of varanasi are a maze but full of interesting sights at every turn, particularly cows just moving down the 4foot wide alleys - being sacred animals they can do what they like really. Took a boat ride along the river in the evening past the Ghats where they burn the dead and empty the ash into the river - its a horrible brown colour with a smell of burning flesh never far away - and you could actually see the bodies on the funeral pyres. Brown bread bakery was a complete gringo cavern but great to refresh and get some meat to eat for once, though even there we couldnt escape the german student who was 'just in love with india' despite never having travelled anywhere else, yet seemed to spend all his time in gringo hang outs and didnt know much about anything indian at all. Booked a train out of there after 2 nights to mumbai
28 hours train stocked up with goodies, but one of the funnest things was to get off the train and the stop and go buy stuff as quickly as possible and get back on without it leaving, without really a problem as they stop for about 5 minutes, but still fun. But if a hassle finding the train especially as we had to take 2 seperate rickshaws and got seperated and spent 30 minutes trying to find each other in the station making it onto the train with 5 minutes to spare. Typical indian family sharing the short part of the carriage with us who typically burped, put their feet on our beds and even told us off for leaving rubbish (the first indians we've seen concerned about the hygiene of any area they were in that wasnt their shop or house). Most indians and nepalis also have the disgusting habit of not using toilet paper and instead JUST their left hand and water and they grow their index finger nail long to presumably aid cleaning that area. Disgusting.
Mumbai is great, clean, everything works, no traffic jams and all the mod cons, shame we're only spending a day here then jumping on a train to GOA tonight for some beach chill time if the clouds break for us. Currently just looking for a SUBWAY to fix our junk food cravings but looking forward to some great seafood now we're by the coast. Think thats all for now!