Published: September 11th 2011June 18th 2011
We ordered breakfast to come at 8.30 but it only came at 8.45 so we only had 15 mins for breakfast before our rickshaw tour at 9. The nephew told us he couldn't join us for the day because he has urgent family matter to attend to, so the rickshaw driver was our unofficial guide. I gave them my laundry before we started our rickshaw tour. We visited Banaras University but we didn’t go into the buildings, Banaras was said to be the Oxford of Asia. Then we went to Siwa temple in the university, Monkey temple, a temple that has the map of india made of marble (I forgot the temple name), so-called UNESCO site for silk (bought a silk scarf for Rs 500), McDonalds for lunch, and back to the hotel to rest. When we requested the driver to bring us to McDonalds, he almost refused by saying that the tour should only last 4 hours and we’ve spent too much time at the silk store that we barely have enough time left. We argued that we weren’t told there was a time limit for the tour, and the nephew had agreed to bring us to lunch, so he brought us to McD anyway. After this incident, I lost respect for people in tourism industry in Varanasi.
After rest, we went for a walk up to Assi Ghat before going down towards Manikarnika Ghat. Many people offered us boat rides, ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 300 per hour, but we rejected all. The nephew had offered us boat ride for Rs 100, but it’s at sunset time and we figured we wouldn’t see much at sunset, so we decided not to do sunset boat ride. At Manasarowar Ghat, we bought drinks from a stall and someone offered us boat ride for Rs 100 for an hour. We agreed. The boss of the boat rower got angry with him and asked him to request for Rs 150 but he’s ignored by the boat rower. So finally we had the boat ride during the day! We saw pretty much most of the popular ghats. We alighted at the main ghat. Then we walked to Dolphin Rooftop restaurant for dinner. We ordered Chinese dishes and it turned out to be not nice. We paid Rs 250 each for a Chinese chicken dish and a shared naan, without drink!
After dinner, we went to the main ghat to see the ceremony that was said to be held every day at 7pm. We only saw some procession accompanied by prayers. Since the light was getting dark, we quickly walked back to hotel. After coming up at Shivala Ghat, we asked many people and finally reached hotel safely.
At hotel, I asked for my laundry and they said the laundry would be ready only at 10am the next morning. I was SO furious. First, the hotel policy says that guests need to check out at 10am, but if the laundry is ready at 10am, they still need to deliver to the hotel, so how does the hotel owner expect the guests to pack and check out on time? Second, our flight back to Delhi was scheduled to be at 11.40, so we needed to leave hotel at 8 to be safe, and there was no way we could leave hotel at 10 if our flight was at 11.40. I didn’t hesitate to show my angry face to him. Then the nephew told me he would bring back my laundry soon. Then we told him we need to order for our breakfast for the next day and he said he’d come to our room to take the order. We showered while waiting for him to come.
After both of us had showered, which was 1 hour after the conversation, he never showed up! So we decided to write our order on a paper and I went down to pass him the order paper and to ask for my laundry. He told me that the laundry people would bring my laundry to the hotel the next morning at 8, which is the time we plan to check out. I bet they’d be late. Then I went back to room to rest. The rickshaw driver and the hotel people really ruined my days in Varanasi. I would never recommend their hotel to other people, I’ve thrown away the many name cards they gave us.