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Published: August 9th 2017
Geo: 26.9847, 78.1019
Naoki and myself woke at about 5:15am and went to the rooftop to view the sunrise for about an hour, it was a nice sunrise and we could see all of the boats on the river. I went back to sleep afterward and somehow managed to wake up at 9am to some loud music blaring throughout the whole guesthouse, but i was unsure of where it was coming from. Naoki was out of the room, so i got dressed and sussed out the situation. I went on to the roof top where i saw a whole bunch of people on the bottom level and the top level covered in colours and having a water fight while listening to loud Indian music. I had some good clothing on to start with and didn't want anything on them, so i looked from the dormitory windows. A couple of other people didn't want to partake either.
I took my camera and grabbed a few shots before heading to find Naoki. He was just finishing breakfast and as we chatted a Indian guy smeared colour on both our faces.
From then i knew there was no avoiding it, and i became excited to partake.
I grabbed breakfast and headed to my room and changed into the worst clothes i could find. Luckily i had waterproof pants. I went up stairs and partook in the festival events, dancing away to the music while being bombarded with waterbombs and coloured water.
I took my camera up for some photos but had to hide it. At one point i looked down to the lower level and saw a Indian guy hand a camera to another Indian guy. I immediately recognized the camera case as mine and rushed down the stairs to grab it from him. I then put it in my room. I was so glad to have looked down and saw them as i would have lost all of my photos from Darjeeling to present. I was angry but thankful. The Indians drink during the day and get a bit aggressive, they start play fighting and ripping shirts off others backs.
I went back up and enjoyed the remainder of the festival. You could see people on rooftops into the distance doing the same thing. I thought to myself that there wouldn't be one foreigner that would get away without getting some colour on them. I also thought
about the people that didn't know about the Holi festival who had arrived in a city to chaos. The New Zeland guy i met the previous day was due to fly home so i wondered if he had escaped.
By midday, things had started to ease. We took a shower where i had to scrub intensly to remove all traces of colour from my body. By 1pm the music stopped and the festival was over. We relaxed and waited for Haro to join us. it was about 4pm when we hit the streets. It was pretty safe, not many traces of colour throughotut the laneways which was odd. Dogs and cows had colour all over them though.
We went to get a bite to eat. Most of the foreigners we saw were also covered in colour and seemed to have enjoyed the festival. We walked down to the ghats which seemed very quiet. We walked to the cremation ghats and through the small streets to find a small lassi shop called the blue lassi which is pretty well known for it's "chocolate" lassi which includes marijuana. One other Japanese guy joined us and got a plain lassi, but watching the guy make
it didn't fill me with the confidence that it would be safe to try. We also stopped at the government marijuana shop which freely sells marijuana on the street.
We then headed back for the Puja ceremony again, but it was the same as last night so we walked south to another smaller cremation ghat and back. We met with Haru for some dinner and then off to bed. I was pretty tired. It had been a long and eventful day.
The next day was baisically for relaxing as Haru and myself had a train to catch to Agra at 6pm.
Haru had tried a local drink the previous night and he has a low tolerance to alcohol, so he spent the day in bed sleeping. I took my time getting up, I decided to get a haircut. It was a pretty crap hircut but he trimmed the edges which was ok and it only cost 30rs, 75 cents.
I guess you get what you pay for.
So i came back and relaxed, until a group of us had lunch. We were joined by 3 other Japansese, we had agreed to meet yesterday with them when i asked a Japanese girl, Shodukhu, I'm guessing that's
how you spell it seeing as it sounded like that game Sodoku.
Anyway i had asked her if she was able to exchange some of my left over Nepali rupee for Indian rupee in which she gladly accepted. She had lived in Australia for a year and was interested in talking with me, so we decided to get lunch.
We all went to a Japanese resaurant in which the menu was only in Japanese, so i got the others to choose a dish for me. It was a really good dish called Oyako-Don. I ordered a chocolate milkshake which took an hour to get served and only 1 minute to be consumed.
A disturbing fact was that Shodukhu and her friend had gone for a swim in the Ganges in the morning. I thought that they were crazy.
After lunch, Naoki and myself went for a walk along the streets where i tried to do a bit of shopping, then we went for a walk along the ghats one last time.
Then it was time for Haru and myself to catch the train, we said our goodbyes and headed to the station.
I was happy to see that the overnight train was leaving from Varanasi.
It was scheduled to arrive in Agra at 6am so i was happy to see it wasn't going to be too late on arrival but knew it would be late anyway. Haru was still in bad shape and slept as soon as we got on board.
It was another annoying on and off sleep, stopping at a major station in the middle of the night where people got on and made a bit of noise.
We arrived into Agra 2 hour late. I said goodbye to Haru who was continuing onto Jaipur.
I put my bags into storage and took a rickshaw to the Taj Mahal. Foreigners have to pay 750Rs for entry as apposed to 25Rs for national tourists. But you get shoe covers and a bottle of water. Its's worth the 750Rs because the Taj Mahal is pretty spectacular. I had to get people to take a photo of me in front but it seemed difficult as they were crooked and had my face covering the Taj Mahal. So i took it upon myself and did some self portrait shots. I must have taken 100 to try and get some good ones. I got some nice ones but it sun was
shining directly in the face so it was hard to stop squinting.
I spent abut 3 hours walking around and chilling out to view. I paid 5rs for a seperate museum which was really crap, it just had two rooms with a few paintings. Not worth viewing.
I exited through the south exit, There are three entrances/exits (South, East and West). The south entrance has all the shops selling the tacky souveners. I walked around and got some lunch. I then proceeded to walk to Agra fort seeing as it was opposite the train station and my bags were there in storage. It's only a few Km to the fort from the Taj, the fort was interesting as well. It had some nice views of the Taj in the distance and had some nice marble areas which seemed out of place in the red building. I walked to the train station where i got my bags and caught an incoming train a couple of stops to Agra Cantt where i was catching a train at 7pm to Delhi. All i could do was wait out till the train which was for four hours.
I finally boarded my last train trip in India which
was a uncomfortable one, squished in between two big guys. But i made it. By 11pm I was in Paharganj and off to sleep.
I spent the next two days relaxing, spending hours on the internet, as i am doing now, catching up with blogs, doing a bit of shopping and watching movies on the TV in my room waiting for my flight home.
Well what can i say but what an amazing first trip it has been. So many experiences and sights I have seen throughout and I am glad to be doing these blogs as the memories will last forever.
I have met so many great people along the way and now reminising about the places, people and activities fills me with great pride. India and Nepal has been an unforgettable experience and am greatful to have started here. Of course its a challenging place and there were many ups and downs but i wouldn't change it for the world.
I have learn't so much about the Indian and Nepal culture and have also learnt a bit about myself along the way. So here on my final day i bid farewell to an amazing trip.
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