tylko czasem zamyslenie

2007-08-16 – 07:20

[Varanasi 2007-08-14]

What an amazing day. Wake up at 4:30 with a strong will to take a boat trip on Ganges river right after the sunrise. Of course since the very begining one guy approached me offering a boat and wouldn’t let it go saying that he is the only option and there is no other way to make this trip for a single person if not with him for a tremendous price. I have just ignored him and tried to join some other big, big group but the people who were aranging tours wouldn’t let me in (perhaps the whole groups were ripped off). So I was wandering around in the morning rain losing my hope and the guy was still not backing off.

I take a rikshah to the train station to buy a ticket for the day after. (More about rikshaws later on). After waiting in a line of tourist for 30 minutes and after 2 powercuts, 2 office floor cleaning breaks I manage to get a ticket. Not for the train I wanted, cause that one was sold out, but on the earlier one. On the other hand train never seem to be on time here anyway. I have tried the lower class sleeper last time and it was ok, but this time I am going for some luxury – 3-AC (3 levels of beds in a cabin, air conditioning).

Then I met another guy (funny American) and his buddy (blue raincoat Brit) and then a couple of Spanish people. So we were 5 looking for a cheap option. It is a raining season, so the Ganges is up, so currents are strong, so rowing is more difficult, so prices are higher, but we were all experienced India tourists ( ;-) ), so it was the matter of honour not to get ripped off. So finally we went down with the price to the acceptable level, came to the agreement with the guy that was bothering me for the last hour and at 6 we have finally set off. Watching how hard it was to row I felt sorry for the guys, but on the other hand they were trying to rip us off terribly at the begining, so no tips. A light monsoon rain was puring all the time, but this is something you get used to (even though I was wearing just a t-shirt and it was early morning I was fine). I made some nice pictures of people washing themselves up in the gaths by Ganges river. We see a real monkey group attack on some food store. The annoying guys seem to be ok, just too pushy and “clever”. So everything works out. Then together with the American and the Brit we have a breakfast at the rooftop restaurant next to a busy street and monkeys playing on the other buildings.

Then I drop off everything in the hotel and go to the Golden temple of… shiva penis. Right. Got a blessing. You cannot bring anything in the whole neighbourhood cause there were some bomb attacks so now they are paranoid about security (and doing a good job).

Then I get lost in the narrow streets and wonder around for some time till I find some main road, and some more time before I know where I am.

Willing to try something different to my hotel’s restaurant (good and cheap btw), I go to a place called German Bakery where they have all kind of good and fancy food India, Thai, European… whatever you can imagine. All kept in a laid back atmosphere. I meet Beatriz – a cute female Columbian freelance journalist. We talk much about traveling in India, sharing observations, experiences, about traveling in general, about plans, ambitions, about Poland, Columbia. We exchange email addresses (being watched with waiter-boys all the time – no privacy in this country), hug goodbyes and go our ways.

Then I go to the night ceremony of fire, music, smells, flowers, water by the river. I made many amazing pictures there. People are really great. I am doing my best not to disturb anybody, but they are so nice even moving away and giving a place so I can get a nice shot. And the ceremony is amazing. And I even stepped into Ganges to get some good shots. I hope I will not get sick of that cause water in the holly river is super polluted . I am so impressed.

After such a day I feel truelly happy. And I really feel like I change my attitude. Finally I get the right attitude. I am starting to trust people, I start joking with guys who offer to give a massage to my neck, I play with kids, I talk to friendly rikshaw guys. Then I head up to the hotel… But the best is still to come. I meet Raja Baba… But this is a different story for another note. And this is still an open story. To be continued… ;-)

Before I came to India I talked to Nacho (my Spanish buddy from Brussels). He had just came back from India. And he told me “Amazing country. But so challanging. You will see.” I think after 3 days I understood what he meant. It was while taking a cycle-rikshaw. This guy took me for a 2 minutes ride, being all exposed to the rain, on bumpy streets, hardly being able to make it at some moments. I felt so bad seeing it. This guy was doing that because of me. And I will pay him really shitty nothing in return. Thing that should not be. (My second reflection though was that it would be interesting to do that job for some time as a white guy in India :-) ). On the other need if you use a motor-rikshaw instead this guy is let with nothing. Nacho, I know you have such a good heart (deep beneath your hairy chest :P) and I know you must have felt the same.

Photos will come later on. Memories fly away more quickly than images.

PS. [Delhi 2007-08-16] I am back to Delhi to catch a flight to Leh on 17th 5:30am.
Nie mam kontaktu z Koala (wylaczony telefon). Jak sie nie znajdziemy, to wyglada na to, ze sam lece w Himalaje.

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