Call off the search, mine and Dot’s hearts are still alive and kicking. Mine not so much becasue it’s so hot and sweaty, her’s a little better though as she’s just had a belly full of fresh oil.
We’re still in Varanassi, a place we’ve been for three days now. We were going to move on this morning but last night I had an email from a national newspaper responding to one of the postcards I sent. They want to run a full feature and needed me to answer their questions by today. I was over the moon of course, a full feature, in a newspaper. Dot, famous, she’s over the moon.
I’ve just answered their questions and sent them off, but I hope it’s not too late. I met someone from Latvia who offered to give me a guided tour and couldn’t possible refuse.
We went down to the river and watched real people burn on bonfires. Five of ’em, roaring all at one time in various pits along the banks of the Ganges. The most incredible sight to see a foot sticking out from the embers roasting like a marshmallow. Sometimes they say you can see heads and everything. Thankfully not today, because even with just a foot I felt ghoulish enough.
It’s crazy when you think about it. People, like me, coming to a city made famous by its attraction of a river where they scatter the ashes of the dead. We stand there, watching strangers burn.
Or we set our alarm clocks early and take a boat trips along the river to watch people bathe, prey and play in the same watery place. But ho’s more disgusting, them or us? As I sat pointing my Canon at a man scrub frolick around in his underpants I was the one left feeling dirty.
But that’s India. A total spectacle. Offensive to every sense. But deep down I already feel myself beginning to love it. The cities not so much, as every man is after something from you and will not tell you truth in fear of losing face. Or more likely a sale. So you get pulled this way and that, down alleys and into shops until your mood turns to murder and wish for all the world that the man with the silk shop was on that fire burning.
It makes you guarded and protective in the city, that’s why I’m keen to hit the road. In the little villages and normal towns you don’t get any of that. Instead they buy you tea and love you for just being there.
But I’ve had an idea and I’d like your advice. I’ve always wanted to travel by train in this place, and as this stretch to Delhi is so long and tedious I thought about buying me and Dot a ticket and taking a sleeper all the way. Technically I ask, is that cheating?
PS. I’ve got pics and vidoes to upload but the connection’s so slow I might have to wait til Delhi.