Charlie's not feeling Delhi well!
Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
33Trip End Ongoing
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When the bus - which was spluttering and bunny-hopping throughout the first hour or so of the journey - finally broke down on a mountain road our pikey friend flagged down a local bus and, after a few rupees exchanged hands we were transferred to the 'replacement'.
The guy on this bus obviously took a dislike to me and Charlie and claimed that the bus was full: if we wanted a seat it would have to be on the roof. 'Great' we thought, 'another chance to take in the beautiful Nepali scenery and fresh air'. Unfortunately the bus we were transferred to was an 'express'. Unlike in England, where you take express to mean fewer stops and a more direct, and quicker ride, in Nepal express means the same amount of stops... the driver just drives twice as fast between them, and like a total lunatic! Suddenly the mountainous landscape was more perilious than picturesque as we gripped onto the luggage rails tighter with every blind corner we flew around. Charlie was being thrown around on top and getting more upset by the minute I felt a slight sprain in my wrist as we just shut our eyes and held on tight. Luckily, after an hour or so of torture I showed my male authority and we were allowed to sit inside and reached the border safely (albeit brusied!).
The trip from Sonnauli on the border down to Varanasi saw our second bus breakdown in two days. Thankfully this time the local bus we were transferred to was far more fun: comfy seats and a Bollywood film to enjoy! Fancy!
We were soon welcomed back to Varanasi when, on our first morning back a full and bloated dead body drifted past us as we walked down alongside the Ganges. No photos I'm afraid - Charlie was too busy trying not to throw up!!
That night saw Diwali, the Indian festival of light celebrated in Varanasi along the Ganges (with our pot-bellied special guest possibly in attendance!?) and everywhere around the town shops, houses and entire street were decorated with flower garlands, fairy lights, candles and religious idols. As soon as darkness fell, the streets were filled with people dancing and lighting fireworks (kids found it hilarious to throw fireworks at each other and passers-by, and at Charlie who couldn't help but scream everytime a loud one went off!)
We then made our way down to the river with some American travellers we'd met on the bus trip back and took a boat trip up to the main ghat to see the ceremonies all taking place. The whole area was lit up and the buzz was incredible as thousands of people lined up on the banks and on the waters of the Ganges (thankfully more alive than dead!).
We left Varanasi the following day (just about - a 'James Bond-style' jump onto the train was needed as it left the station: not easy when you're carrying big backpacks!) and headed down to Agra for the night.
Unfortunately Percy was denied access at the bag search and so had to sit it out in the locker room alongside a small Shrek doll!
The early start definitely paid off however: the Taj was awesome and the morning haze gave it a mystical aura as it almost appear to be unreal - the gardens and surrounding buildings were clear and bright while the Taj just seemed to 'hover' there like it was super-imposed. An amazing sight and it's definitely worth all the hype it receives. The early hour almost meant it wasn't too busy so we could prat around a bit more when taking photos, woo hoo!
Back in Delhi I had my first rat run over my foot at New Delhi train station and was then told that I was "Big and strong... just like the Undertaker" by a borderline-midget Nepali waiter!
Our last few days in Delhi, and indeed in India were spent mainly in the hotel room as Charlie got sick (we think from the symptoms maybe a mild dose of malaria picked up in Varanasi - as Malaria tablets seemed to do the trick - don't worry she's OK now!)
We left for the Airport and on the way we saw a Kriss Kross fan!
love to you all! xxx