slowly dying

Varanasi Travel Blog

 › entry 66 of 75 › view all entries
One of my friends likes to say that my style of blogging is to rant incessantly about things I dislike and then close on an upbeat note.  Much like following those essay outlines from grade school (introduction, body, conclusion), we will be rolling with that today.

Varanasi is famous for being on the banks of the Ganges, at the center of Buddhist history and culture, and (as many hotels like to advertise on their websites) "an auspicious place to die."  Why hotels advertise this, I don't know, because one would think heading to the river banks would be sufficient enough place to lay your head.  Unless they need to see today's excuse for cartoons or watch some Seinfeld to convince them it really is time to leave this earth. 

Anyways, I had heard from James that the trains are packed with all the old people on the brink of death, so we thought this problem would be circumvented by taking the best train.  This is technically true; however, probably every fully healthy Indian person (so the other 900 million or so) were on. our. car.  Not just our train, but IN our car, packed to the brim and sitting in the aisles.  I am not kidding.  I didn't even think I'd be able to get on, and when I did, I thought I would join the ranks of the dying.  Especially since delays caused us to arrive an entire SIX hours later than expected.  Where is PJ's "early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable" lecture when I need it?

Once we got to Varanasi and checked in our hotel, there was a super nice staff and great food and hot showers and views and all that good stuff.  But we're not done ranting yet!  Because today, I may have seen bodies being cremated in public on the river banks, and dead bodies paraded through the streets, but none of those compared to when I slipped and FELL on the riverside!  Forget the giant cut and bruise swelling on my leg, I have TOUCHED water from the river!  And while my mom tries to look I the bright side and say that people travel across the world to bath in the holy waters, I have read the Lonely Planet's health guide to travelling in India and SE Asia.  I know that the Ganges river is considered septic because the oxygen levels are so low they cannot be registered.  I know there are 1.5 million units of bacteria per gallon/liter or whatever instead of the healthy 500.  And I definitely know the river is where all garbage, dirt, and waste I don't even want to think about goes to rest.

But, on the upside (here it comes) I brought four different kinds of band-aids with my in my first aid kit and just last week I was lamenting how I hadn't even used one.  And today I have used a band-aid and the anti-bacterial towels.  That suckers getting changed every two hours.  With rotations between regular, giant, mini, and Sanrio print (hey, I'm sad).  Oh, and to be fair, the Ganges is pretty and strolling down the riverbank at dusk is like all the best high streets of europe combined with all of America's best county fairs.  And Varanasi is one of the best cities so far.  But more on that later when I'm done being a big fat baby and tending to my wounds.
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photo by: rotorhead85