Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel Haifa & Zo Rooms Varanasi
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Thursday, September 20, 2012

  Scorchio, Scorchio, Scorchio!  Man it's hot and humid.  We decided to take an auto rickshaw out to Saranath, which is about 11k's out of the city.  Today's a religious holiday and the traffic is horrendous.  We also had to run the gauntlet through a political protest, apparently they were demonstrating about the cost of diesel. Saranath is the site where Buddha conducted his 1st sermon, a very special place for Buddhist.  It also boasts a deer park and temple ruins.   It was nice to be amongst some trees and see some grass, but once again the disappointing thing is that the park and everything in it was quite shabby, and in dire need of some landscaping - another project for Doris to undertake.  We spotted some people waist deep in a pond of lilies, obviously looking for something.  We stopped to talk to them and ask them what they were looking for, it turned out to be something resembling a water chestnut that grows on the lily, very popular amongst the Indians. 

This is Geesha, a gorgeous little boy of about 8yrs old. He insisted on showing us the back way to one of the Temples,  it was a bit of an obstacle course, we had to slither through a partially locked gate, and then he got us to follow him up the back streets past some private dwellings.There were children playing hop scotch in the lane and it made a nice change to see well kept houses free of rubbish, washing on the line and people going about their daily chores.  Just normal every day suburbia with the exception of a cow in the front garden.  We told him he could probably drum up a bit of business in future if he introduced himself as Mr G local tour guide - he was well pleased with that idea.  We all chipped in and gave Mr G some money, he was such a delightful little boy. One other quite amusing thing that happened when we first entered the park, was an old lady we encountered with a begging bowl.  She stuck the bowl right in my face, I shook my head and walked a few paces, but then out of the corner of my eye I noticed something shiny in the shallow ditch by the side of the path.  I bent down, and lo and behold there was about 5 coins there! I signalled to the old lady and pointed to the coins - she looked at me quite blank - so I bent down, picked them up, and put them in her bowl.  Strangely, she didn't seem too overjoyed and I thought well that's gratitude for you - and then it hit me, I'd given her back her own stash!

 Urinating in Public:  I feel yet again I need to address this weird habit.  More & more we have noticed men just walking up to a wall and having a waz.  They will also squat down anywhere they like, get their willy out, and have a pee.  It's very blatant, and they don't seem to make much effort to conceal it.  I can't say I've seen woman doing the same, except when we have been passing by in a bus in the rural areas.  Yes I realise there is next to no public toilets, and yes I have previously acknowledged that these poor buggers need to urinate, but I just wish they were a little more discreet.

  We met on the Ghats down at the river at 6pm for an evening boat ride.   DJ had brought a heap of candles for us to light and float on the river.  When you release your candles you are meant to make a wish, it was so pretty watching all the little lights bobbing along on the tide.  We then stayed on the boat and watched the priest conduct the evening prayers, lots of chanting and candle waving but quite impressive.  An experience to remember.    
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