May 20:  Varanasi

I slept well on the train 12am-6am, then in spurts thereafter on account of cell phones and Indian people yelling.  My hip hurt, though.  I think I slept on my keys in my pocket.

I noticed that the lock on my big bag was missing.  Not sure if it fell off or was removed.  My bag was stowed in such a position that nothing valuable could have been purloined.

The train stopped at 10:50am outside the station, and we waited on the track for an hour, and eventually voted to jump off the train and walk "200 m" to the station according to Jamie, but as we were about to jump off, the train started moving again.  And it was a lot more than 200 m to the station.  On the platform I immediately noticed it was much cooler here.  Maybe in the 90s.

Arrived at Hotel Vaibhav at 12:30pm.  Nice place.  Internet finally after 4 days.  Brushing my teeth was never previously so satisfying.

Some of us went out to McDonalds in tuk-tuks.  When we got to the mall where McDonalds was, we found out that the adjacent Pizza Hut had a special that was good Friday only.  Personal Pan Pizza, garlic bread and a drink for Rs 99.  Damn.  Most of us upgraded to a mocktail for another Rs 10.  I got a Fiery Chicken pizza and a mock sangria.  A second mock sangria was Rs 79, so I kind of blew my profit margin.

Jane, Abdulla, Gabi, Jamie, Emma and Lucy at Pizza Hut.  íViva los Doyers!

Back at the hotel 2:30pm.

View from window.  At some point I saw Varun jumping on the back of a motorcycle.  What was that about?

In my room I experienced my first-ever mid-dump power failure.  It was brief.  Showered, dropped off my laundry, then was on the Internet 3:52pm-5:20pm.  Haley was eliminated.  Apparently I did get on Facebook the rum night, because I saw the Taj Fucking Mahal post, a personal message and some sent and accepted friend requests.  No real damage.  Got a nice response to one of those messages, and another one unsolicited.

At 5:30pm we went out to the ghats.

Gabi and Jane in blackface...I mean saris.



Cow walking up a ghat.  I'd never seen a cow walking up stairs before.

MONKEY!!!!!  I mean cow.

Both banks of the Ganges.

Boys playing cricket on a ghat.

Ghat mural.

The cool ghat.

A lot seemed to be happening here.

More happening.  We were on a boat at this point.  Not linking to I'm on a Boat here, because I didn't like it that much.

Drum and sitar performance on our boat.  Again, here's an animated version:


Part of this boat ride was the candle flower ceremony, in which each of us dropped a candle off the side of the boat and made a wish, and if the candle stayed lit and made it to shore, the wish would come true.  My first attempt fell into the river upside-down and was extinguished.  And then I didn't get a second wish.  For the record, Wish 1 involved something after this tour, and Wish 2 involved something on this tour.

Ghats, including the cool one.

Gabi contributing a few strokes.

The cool ghat one more time.

On the way back to he hotel we experienced our zenith of sensory overload.  Trying to keep up with the group amid tuk-tuks, motorcycles, honking, people trying to sell useless stuff, etc.  I just really want to avoid people tomorrow.  I saw a dog trying to tear off a chunk of cardboard to eat.  So sad.

Had a late dinner at the hotel.  I had chicken jalfrezi, which had a few chilis in it and was much hotter than before.  Bedtime 11:30pm on account of us getting up for another Ganges boat at sunrise.