India!

I made it. And I don’t know why I suffer like I do. It’s only my own fault. I planned to split the trip in to two days. 8 hours of Nepali bus was enough. My knees were killing me as there wasn’t enough leg space to fit, much less stretch. Then the 8 hours turned in to 11. We broke down, we went slow,… I should have had dinner and gotten a hotel! I’d had a snack for breakfast, a small snack for lunch and that’s it. It was my first long bus trip that didn’t stop for a meal.

But then, I continued. “I’ll see if the hotels are better across the border.” I got on a bus that was going to take 1-2 hours to the next city because the border town wasn’t better. It turned in to 4 hours. Which had me arrive 10 minutes before the night train to Varanasi left! But I wanted to get a hotel! I’ll just get a sleeper. With 5 minutes left, I bought a ticket, not a sleeper. Only general admission was left. I should have been in a hotel with a full belly hours before. Instead I got on a train. A full train. India style full. I pushed my way on to a bench with four other men. I fit half my ass. It was 11pm. I didn’t know how long the train took. Then, a few hours later it got truly India style full. People were arguing for space. Standing room only in the aisles. But I still had half a check on a bench! Whoopee. Slept, barely, for a little under three hours and the train gloriously arrived at 5am. Ravished, having eaten only two fried things, some puffed rice, some cookies and fruit, I checked in to my hotel and ate breakfast. I’m on the Ganges. I keep running in to wildly famous, huge rivers. Can’t wait to return to my tradition of drinking a beer looking at the sunset.

Varanasi is neat. The tourist infrastructure isn’t overwhelming. I likely feel that way because I’m here during the off season. I’m enjoying it.

Some first impressions about India:

– I see about thirty men for every woman.

– I have no personal space. Someone turned the page of my book while I was reading it! A guy slept on my shoulder.

– People sleep everywhere. Lots of people on rooftops to escape the heat. And lots of people sleeping in the train station and in the streets.

– My lunch was delicious.

– The touts are everywhere. One followed me for thirty minutes as I walked around.

– I’m being lied to constantly.

– It’s cheap.

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