Tuesday, May 4, 2010

God Damnit

I just wrote a post and then the computer crashed. Anyways, take two. I left Goa yesterday at about 4 PM, catching the bus into town. It was all locals on the bus, and the 30 odd km journey took over an hour. I was in no rush though, and didn't mind the added time as the bus stopped at seemingly random intervals and made plenty of detours. I got into the Margao train station about an hour before my train arrived, and had no problem finding my berth. Using my backpack as a pillow, I slept for most of the 10 hour journey. My wakeup call in Mumbai was a street kid tapping my foot. After giving him a few ruppees and bananas (which he shared with his mates). To wake up, I grabbed a chai from a street vendor, then hailed a cab and made my way to the Mumbai airport. I arrived 5 hours early for my flight, not to mention the hour an a half it was delayed. No worries though, I simply read and researched my future destinations. Arriving in Varanasi around 5:30 PM, little did I know that my adventure for the day was only just beginning. See, my guesthouse (Shanti guesthouse), is very well known and is very well tailored to backpackers needs (cheap rooms, internet, restaurant, etc). As a result, several other guesthouses of inferior quality have popped up using this name. My cabbie (didn't speak a word of English) decided to take me to one of these pseudo-Shanti inns. So my predicament was being 1.5 km away from the real deal, in a very busy town with narrow streets, where 95 percent of the signs are in Hindi. It was a bit unnerving at first, but nobody hassled me, and after asking a few very helpful vendors I finally stumbled into the real Shanti. It was such a relief to pay for my room and go up to the rooftop restaurant- it's always a breath of (figurative) fresh air when you find these little chill out spots in the beehives that are Indian cities. The restaurant overlooks the Ganga river, and I can spot countless temples from its view. The hotel itself is right behing a cremation ghat- I'm at the dead center of the Hindu universe it seems. Goa was a great time and all, and I had many friends there, but after seeing that view and knowing whats out there, I know that moving on was the right choice. I can't wait to go exploring tomorrow- and I'm getting a camera. That's about all for now, I'll probably post again tomorrow with lots of cultural insights and what have you.



  1. Nick, incredible.... you are in the oldest city in the world, 3000 years old. It is also considered the cultural capital of India. Everyone, here is a good link on the city if you want to learn more and get a glimpse of some pictures of what Nick is seeing there now. http://www.varanasicity.com/ The pictures look like they are right out of National Geographic. What a good choice to visit there Nick.

    Glad you made your way some how to that guest house, you must have been tired by the time you found it. Looking forward, as always, to hearing more about your adventure there. Love Mom

  2. I loved Shanti guest house!!!
    The rooftop patio is amazing! make sure you close your windows or monkeys will come in and steal stuff.
    I hope you love varanasi, i just wandered up and down the ghats night after night, try to see the ganges at dawn and at sunset. and being a male, you can get way closer to the burning ghats than i could.
    It is an amazing place.