10.01.2008 - 11.01.2008
Yesterday was a packed day. We started with a lesson from Bela on how to make Pooris, an Idian fried, puffy bread, and a delicious Aloo (potato dish). I took careful notes (much to Ron's delight), so that I can make them myself back home. The breakfast was a feast, as usual. Then we packed up our things for the trip to Varanasi. On the way, Ron purchased a replacement suitcase for his broken one.
Bela, Mansi, Suhani, Ron and I went to Khan market. Shopping galore! Ayurvedic beauty products, indian magazines, food, necklaces, gorgeous clothes (naturaul, vegetable dyed). I was so happy to be enjoying the day with all the Mahajan ladies. As usual, Ron was cracking jokes, and making every one laugh.
They dropped us at the train station - a dim, packed place with a roar of noise. Suprisingly, I was not nervous. I think we are growing very accustomed to the streets here. The train was the Shiv Ganga Express to Varanasi. We had tickets for a 1st class sleeper cabin. A small, basically clean clean cabin with fold out beds. Freshly bleached were brought to us in paper bags, and the train butler laid them out nicely. Ron gave him 100 rupees, for which he kept thanking us with the Namaste greeting.
We did not sleep too much, due to the discomfort of the beds and reaching the ancient city of Varanasi.
Varanasi is the oldest living city - over 6000 years old! Any wow, is it incredible. Sadhus with painted forheads, in orange robes slowly walking though the jammed streets - cows, rickshaws, stores, vehicles. Paan stalls, monkeys...it is impossible to describe.
Our guesthouse is right on top of the ganges river, with a steady stream of pilgrims taking ritual baths in its dirty, sacred waters. It is a clean and comfortable place. We have the best room in the house, with a sunrise and sunset view from the windows. It is perfect. We can even watch a monkey family play and take naps on the adjoining roofs.
Right now I am typing from a public computer and am being pushed to get off. Hopefully I will be able to write and reflect more while being here.