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    All These Colors Tour: India Part 22

    Friday, October 5, 2012
    Varanasi, India

    The Ganges river as seen from the Alka Hotel in Varanasi, India.

    After sleeping for five or six hours, I woke up sometime around 7:00 am to the tune of loud talking. A bit later, when I opened my curtain and looked down, the Indian ladies were gone. I descended out of my slumber perch around 8:00 am to make sure I wouldn’t sleep past the stop in Varanasi at 9:30 am. Five or six arrogant young Indian dudes then boarded and sat in the ladies’ former spot. Every few minutes, they would stare at me (big surprise), say something that was obviously about me, which was probably unkind, and bust out laughing. Lather, rinse, repeat. I just looked away out the window at the passing scenery, which included vast rice fields, crumbling small towns, kids wading in muddy ponds, beasts of burden hauling heavy loads, trash scattered everywhere, etc. Finally, the train pulled into Varanasi around the scheduled time, and as I strapped on my backpack, an employee from the Alka Hotel appeared and walked me out with a middle age Australian couple to a waiting autorickshaw.

    Then we got whisked away into an unbelievable frenzy of traffic unmatched anywhere in the whole world. Pedestrians, livestock, bicycles, rickshaws, autorickshaws, motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks and who knows what else all battled to occupy a fluid space, in the process forming a ridiculous river of mass mayhem that I’ve never seen the likes of in my entire life. Two or three times, I saw a crusty old man lift up his robe with his pecker in plain view and pee right in the direction of traffic. Discretion not included! Sometimes, as we weaved precariously around other people through sardine-packed intersections, I started cracking up because it was so all so insane and invigorating. Too bad my camera battery was dead! As we got near the Ganges river, the autorickshaws dumped us out so we could walk the rest of the way, because no vehicles are allowed down there. After walking for several blocks, we entered a maze of really quaint-looking narrow lanes that branched off in multiple directions.

    The Ganges river as seen from the Alka Hotel in Varanasi, India.

    A bunch of times, we had to step over piles of shit as we made our way up to the Alka Hotel. Luckily, I got a pick-up at the train station, or I would have never found this place. Finally, we arrived at 10:15 am, and I spent the next two-and-a-half hours sitting under a ceiling fan in front of the reception desk, waiting for a room to open up. Seems that this hotel overbooks, maybe because some people who make reservations decide to stay at another hotel at the last minute. After I got my room, I went straight to sleep for four hours, then woke up just in time for dinner and a relaxing balcony view of the wide Ganges river and the Varanasi skyline retreating into the evening sky. Instead of venturing out, I decided to stay around the hotel and get some rest.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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