India

Roasted nuts

Hi guys,

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.

4 thoughts on “Roasted nuts

  1. Do it!. Take the train. You’re there now and have no one to answer to but yourself so take the sleeper and mark it off as just another unforgettable, unbelievable experience of the many you’ve had so far.

  2. Yes, do it. I like the train very much. You don’t smoke, I think, but I do, and especially like to sit in the door opening (suppose they’re open just like in Indonesia) when the night falls and see the small villages flashing by and here the sounds of the coming night. Technicaly it’s not ON the bike. Maybe you should read your mission statement again. Didn’t you say you were going to England WITH the bike? Wish you a pleasant journey with the train!
    And if, if…. you’ll arive some day near Rotterdam, maybe I can send the local tv-station to you. That’s a promise.

  3. Good work fella.
    Its not cheating, its actually a much more relaxing way of traveling in this country. Riding is tough but it will prepare you for the craziness of Iran.Which reminds me. If you fly into Iran you get a weeks visa on arrival!!! So technically you could put your bike on a plane to Tehran from Delhi get your visa when you fly in then extend it at the Immigration office there, I think an extra 15days is possible. 3weeks isnt a lot of time but itll get you through! N