Varanasi, India Postcard From Varanasi

Okay, it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve updated. I have four different posts in various states of readiness, but none of them are quite what I’d call done. Writing time has been scarce lately. We’re moving around a lot — I’ve been on a train for the last two days — and between eating, sleeping, checking in and out of hotels, and seeing what there is to see, I don’t have much chance to do anything else. There is plenty to write about, though, and I will get to it eventually.

I’m feeling particularly guilty because 42 people checked the site on Monday and there was nothing new. Sorry folks.

Here’s a short update:

My cousin Tom and I have just arrived in Varanasi, location of the famed Ganges river. The city is crowded, dirty, and smelly, like pretty much everywhere else we’ve been in India. That’s not a blanket dismissal. I like this place a lot more than Thailand. It’s just a fact of life.

Our train got in at 3am last night, which was very stressful, having read the long and detailed warnings about the dangers of this town for people with white skin. The guidebook said the most treacherous area was the train station, and the worst time to be there was the middle of the night. It said that several travelers a year disappear in this place, and I was determined not to be one of them. We waded over a sea of sleeping bodies, then plowed through a wall of aggressive touts trying to get us into their rickshaws. Once outside the train station, we walked briskly to the first hotel we could find that wasn’t gated shut. As we were the only game in town, the mob of touts followed us right up to the hotel entrance, constantly harassing us to let them take us to their hotels. It was a tense and unpleasant situation and there was a lot of shouting on my part.

Anyway, Tom and I are safe and well. We’re having a good time here in India, though I’m looking forward to hopping over to Myanmar for what I’m hoping will be a drastically improved smell.