Man these roads are crap
Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
224Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
As we were settling off to sleep again there was a sudden jolt as we hit another pothole and....you guessed it....another flat (the same tyre!) Out came the torch and another 20 mins unscheduled stop followed
As the sun began to rise we could not contain our excitement at supposedly being close to our destination - Varanasi. Surely we were close as we had been driving for 12 hours. But no, our driver began talking animatedly to himself, waving his hands around, then pulled over for directions. Turning around he headed back the way we had come and drove for half an hour before again pulling over, asking for further directions and turning around again. We had no idea where we were or how far from the end of this bumpy ride. After much mumbling and we think swearing we finally found the turn off and made it to Varanasi. The roads in India are not very well maintained. You normally drive on them at around 40km/hr and it takes ages to get anywhere. The highway we were on at one stage had sections that were brand new, followed every kilometer or so, by mounds of dirt that we had to weave around. It was mayhem as trucks, cars and bikes pushed their way through
As the taxi driver was clearly misplaced we got him to drop us off at the nearest landmark - the Radisson hotel. We jumped into a rickshaw to the main Ghat and made our way (with the help of a local) through the winding streets to Puja guesthouse for some much needed shut eye. Puja was not in our LP guide book but looked pretty good for 250 Rupees a night. After some sleep and a shower (Rick slept through everything, while Megan was kept awake with the kids playing outside our room) we went down to one of the Ghats to see the nightly ceremony. People were everywhere watching the ceremony. Afterwards we decided to walk back via the small, windy lane ways that make old Varanasi town. Basically we got severely lost, doubling back on our selves many times. Out of frustration we stopped for dinner, then somehow stumbled across our guest house. Time for some much needed sleep.
Setting the alarm for 5:15AM we met up with another Australian couple from Brisbane, Heath and Lyn, for an early morning boat trip down the famous Ganges River as the sun rose. It was a truly magnificent site watching all the colorfully dressed people bathing themselves in the water. The river has a huge significance to their religion and they bathe in it, drink it and burn their dead on the muddy banks (yes all in the same river, side by side)
A quick trip to the train station to book an onward ticket with the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the Varanasi sun. We also wandered down to the cremation Ghat to fulfill a morbid curiosity. An interesting way to go. We accidently wandered into the family only section and were told off. Apologising we moved on, with mixed emotions.