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Published: January 13th 2008
What better way to chillout and relax than slowly drifting on a boat down a river with nothing else to do other than eat, sleep, read a book or two and watch the world drift by and that is exactly what we did on our second day in India with a 1 day gentle sail down the Ganges and camping on her shores to watch sunset and sunrise.
Sailing down the Ganges is very tranquil and sedate compared to loud chaos of the town itself and I gladly exchanged the hooting of horns and the constant chatter of the streets for the gentle splashing of oars and the swish of winds blowing the sails of our little boat.
But let me go back to the beginning and our journey to our start point which was done in style in some great old style cars, which rumbled (as old cars only do) there way through the streets of Varanasi and out onto the sandy roads leading the the banks of the Ganges where our boats waited for us.
Then it was all aboard - my boat had myself, Lilly, Maggie and Yolande. Chandra beat a safe retreat from an
all girl boat well aware that put us four together make for lively conversations and no place for a solitary man! Quite correct too as with little else to do other than conversation and the exchanging of life experiences it was a good way to pass the time. I can but hope our crew understood as little English as they made out! :-)
Now even misunderstanding happen between us English speakers when Maggie wished for Nice Guys for tonight or so we thought she said!!!! We looked and then realised as an amateur astronomer that she actually had asked for Night Skies!!!! Actually think I preferred the first version myself!!!!!
A fourth boat provided an endless round of food and drinks and there was never any doubt about starving only an increasing chance of the boat sinking with us ballooning to a massive size from eating too much food whilst living the sedate and luxurious life style.
Gentle splashes from River dolphins would sometime break the stillness of the flowing river but always too quickly to grab a photo.
After a leisurely afternoon drifting we pulled up on a sandy beach and set up camp or
more correctly the crew did whilst we enjoyed yet another cuppa of chai and watched the sun slowly setting behind the reeds and trees on the banks of the Ganges.
As darkness fell dinner was served and yet another amazing delicious sample of India cuisines produced from a non existant kitchen - how do they do it? I know I could not produce anything like the quality or amount of food they did from my big kitchen at home let alone a small gas stove on the side of the Ganges.
With full stomachs and happy faces we sat around watching the night stars slowly appear but strangely tired after a day doing nothing, many retired early to their tents. Doing nothing is very tiring don't you know?!
As dawn broke on the Ganges we woke to the crew making more chai to be ready and waiting for us when we finished our morning yoga session with Chandra and what a perfectly energising place to do yoga, out in the open air in the early morning light and with the gentle sounds of the river.
After breakfast the camp was quickly packed away and it was
all aboard again for the next few hours drifting back to Varanasi.
Now the question everyone asks of astronauts is about the toilet situations, so for those curious how toilet breaks were taken whilst on board, well it was by pulling over to the banks of the Ganges which was unfortunately pretty devoid of any type of shrub or bushes to hide our modesty. A shallow gully went someway to hiding something but when even these could not be found then it was down to holding a blanket as a shield for each other. Strange that we had talked about so many things on our little boat but trying peeing with a audience and you suddenly get stage fright! Ok that is the toilet stories over and done with.
And back to sailing the Ganges as we neared Varanasi the quiet tranquility became increasingly punctuated by the tooting of horns - welcome back!
Sailing down the Ganges was just the most beautiful relaxing experience but now i am ready to see a bit more of India.
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