23 November, 2010


We arrived in Varanasi at 8:30 in the morning---one hour late. Luckily I had the hotel people pick us up, because I couldn't imagine fighting off the touts and taxi men who wanted to take us to any hotel except the one we had reserved.

It was more than a half hour by car and then we were to take a bicycle rickshaw through the gullies. Luckily Jette tried to get up on one of those things first and had problems, so I didn't have to show my weakness in dragging this enormous body up on the cart. Or not able to drag it.

We walked for what seemed twenty minutes, twisting and turning through the narrow allies. Everywhere there were cows, dogs, and cow pies. Garbage was strewn from one end to the other.

 I had my reservations about the hotel as I saw the surroundings, and I was half right. The entrance was horrible, dirty and the paint was chipped. But a bit farther inside the scene changed and I sighed a sigh of relief. Not the Umaid Mahal in Jaipur, but acceptable. It is called the Shiva Ganges Paying Guest House. You have to remember that I felt responsible for any problems that would occur. 

We collapsed in a chair when we got in and this guy with a black moustache starting telling us how wonderful we were and how we are part of his family. Seriously? I was suspicious right away, but tried not to show it. I asked him his name and he said, "I belong here, I am nephew," and he pointed at the old man sitting cross legged on the chair at the reception desk. "He is uncle and I am nephew to uncle."  So his name became Nephew to Uncle.  

The room was located two stories walk up. Thank goodness for Kjeld, because he always carried our luggage when necessary. The room was quite large with balconies and two rooms. We all sleep there. It is blue with very sweet blue curtains and embroidered sheets. Very Genteel English. 

However, no television and no telephone. If  we want something, we shout down the stairs. "Hey there, buddy, send some tea up here."  And breakfast?  "Hey there buddy, eggs, toast, lots of coffee and tea."Interesting for Rs 5,500.

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