After a VERY long sleeper train ride without much sleep, we made it Varanasi this morning at about 7am. We took our first auto rickshaw ride from the train station to our hotel. Luckily all of our rooms were ready and we had a couple of hours to shower and nap before we started our tour of the city. Let me tell you, we were more than ready to get our room. Jaime didn't get hardly any sleep on the train ride, and I fell asleep ok, but woke up about 2am to use the restroom and couldn't fall back asleep. The restrooms on the train were ok Just super smelly, so again it was nice to arrive at our hotel. We didn't have time to actually nap, just freshen up.
We then met our group for an early morning tour of the city
Our tour guide is full of such amazing information and has explained the Hindu religion and customs so well, I wish I could explain it better and do it justice. But it is quite amazing to see the dedication and respect Hindus have for both the living and the dead. Now, this has been the hottest day so far. Since we are by the water now, we have noticed quite the concentration of bugs. Fun story: last night after our boat ride, we got back to our hotel room and I had a major itch on my head. So i scratched my hair, and a rather large grasshopper jumped out of it. I had already taken my contacts out and didn't have my glasses on yet, so I though some dirt or perhaps a leaf flew out of my hair so I bent down to pick it up. That was when the grasshopper hopped, and I screamed which of course freaked Jaime out, he had no idea what was happening. But, he took care of it for me
Anyways...after our walk along the river we went to a little shop in this tiny back alley and met with one of Kuldeep's (our tour guide) friends who taught us the details of shopping for fabrics in the market. We learned out to tell the difference between real silk, pashmina, and cashmere. They even gave us free samosas and Chai Tea. It was super fun and of course an opportunity to buy items. Which we did because this shop owner was not pushy, just super nice and accommodating. I think the free samosas and tea put everybody in a buying mood. Every single person bought some souvenirs from here. We then went to a restaurant as a group for a "snack" which turned out to be quite a large meal. Jaime and I were both super hungry, but thank goodness we shared this plate. We got a taste of a ton of different Indian dishes. (See picutre) And it was about $5 US for the meal and our two sodas. We are getting pretty spoiled with the cheap prices here. I am dreading paying American prices for the Indian food at home. Ha ha.
We then caught a cycle rickshaw back to the hotel and got ready for the sunset boat ride on the Ganges
Varanasi - A Holy City
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India