So its been some time since writing, mostly because I’ve had such a great time doing nothing. I spent a week in Varanasi, which is the holy city where they burn corpses along the river Ganges, its the final path your body takes until you reach nirvana, then i suppose you end up as a cow or something, Im not sure about the details, but its only the rich Indian people who can afford the wood. The result of that is a high suicide rate along the river, with people trying to ensure a cheap ticket to Nirvana. Women are not allowed around the burning fire, if they are not accompanied by their man. “If they lost their husband, they will go down just do throw themselves into the fire”, someone told me. Getting a new husband is simply not an option…
One of my strongest moment by the river was walking alongside of it during evening time, and feeling a bit frozen (winter came with me, so it was really cold during this time). I saw a big fire and people around it, i went down a few steps to join them by the fire. As i stood by it, just about to hold my hands out to gain some heat, i noticed two male legs sticking out of the right side, toenails in place, skin a bit boiling, and the rest of the body going into the fire under all the wood. Lets say I’ve never felt so inappropriate by a fire…
The streets of Varanasi are cowded. Yes, cowded. Theres cows everywhere, and dogs. And an occasional monkey.
One monkey attacked me on the rooftop of a house, i had to pull a chair. The cows walk down the alleys even when there’s no room for them and one of them kept popping in when i had morning coffee, you get used to it. The locals just smack them with sticks when they go to far. The dogs spend the night trying to settle who is going to get the last bark, they just never stop. One time i think there where 20-30 dogs barking for an hour.
So far Varanasi was my favourite place, everything was half price from where I’ve went before, and food was superb!! I learned more about Indian scams, and how the process of “Comissions” work. Basically a guy walks with you, and you enter a shop with him, they automatically raise the price of all items and give him money from bringing you. You basically pay the man without knowing…
Knowing this i had to spend half of my time walking down a street to make Indian guys stay the fuck away, which is not what i prefer to do, but it was much needed.
My train from Varanasi left the 17th of December, and i was looking forward for a 36 hour trainride in general class (The cheepest one).
I shared a tuk tuk to the trainstation with a spanish guy to save money. Along the road our driver would pull out money of his pocket, and hold them outside the vehicle. Somewhere in the middle of a road came a man, collecting the cash, and going to the next car. This was obviously not a police, or a man working for the government, so we asked the driver why this was good for.
“Oh no problem! This Mafia. No police here, only Mafia sir, we pay no problem.”
I found it astounding that it was so close, and somewhat so accepted that some areas are ruled by mafia, some by police. He also told us that one driver got killed the week before from not paying. I agreed that it could be worth the 10 rupees, for not risking getting killed.
I came into the train station, not expecting my train to actually be there, so i was amazed when it was. Turned out i was sleeping next to a Russian guy i already knew from the breakfast place i usually go, and a Spanish guy who brought his motorbike on the train. The rest of the people where Indian people, mostly men, getting from or to work.
Its very special to fall asleep in a train, wake up the next morning, knowing that you will spend the entire day in that spot, and then fall asleep again the upcoming night, wake up in the same spot, and then finally get off at your destination. Talking with your fellow passengers is necessary to maintain sanity during this period. I loved it, its during all the traintravels that ive gotten to meet normal, casual, working class Indian people. Finally some Indian people not talking to me because the have profit in mind, but because they are actually interested in me! They are such wonderful people, and they share everything they have from food to stories. Some of them know no english and they will basically just sit and stare at you the entire time, which you get used to. When there where too many people around engaging in us “white people” the Spanish guy would go mental and stand up and scream in Hindu (he knew some of it) and they would all scatter back to their beds, peeking back at us trough the curtains. I found it hilarious.
The 19th of december morningtime, the train slowly entered the trainstation in Goa, ON TIME! I have no clue how they managed this, but they did, we where on the fucking minute! I wanted to applaud but did now know where to direct it. The heat struck me, and it was for sure hot hot! It had been so cold in the north, i had to sleep with all clothes on and double blankets, now it was back to sleeping with just underwear again, and having to take swims to keep the cool. In Goa i have friends, and a house to stay, they sent me a driver and i was picked up straight to the house. Wonderful times coming up….