The road to Sravasti

Sravasti Travel Blog

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Kushinagar in the mist.

At half past one I woke up. My intestines were making a noise that mostly resembled an old coffee machine that was in bad need of maintenance. I thought it might be better to visit the toilet, where a seemingly endless stream of brownish fluid left my body. I didn't feel sick but it was more than obvious that my stomach once again disagreed with India. The same process would repeat itself a couple of times, quickly decreasing the stock of toilet paper we had saved up. Since this would be a long day of travelling I decided it would be best to take some medicine.

 

The day started with breakfast at 5:45 AM. Our amazement over the price of the beers was overshadowed by what we had to pay for two bottles of mineral water: 170 rupees! The normal price for a bottle was 15, with hotels rarely charging more than double.

Muthakuar Temple, Kushinagar, India.
I uttered my complete disgust by telling the waiter that I considered this theft.

 

At six o' clock we had planned to start our journey to Lumbini, just across the border in Nepal. When I walked out the hotel though I couldn't see a thing. A thick blanket of mist was covering Kushinagar, a mist that must have been one of the worst I've ever seen. I couldn't even see where Bart had gone or where UK's car was. We agreed with UK that it was too dangerous to travel in this weather. We went back to our room to do some reading and see if the mist would clear up in an hour or two. It didn't.

 

With little else to do, we decided to walk around Kushinagar and see a couple of temples, none of which were very impressive.

On the road to Sravasti, India.
Weather had gotten slightly better at ten so we decided to slowly get on our way. The weather conditions did screw up our plans though. It would be impossible to go to Lumbini and continue to Sravasti on one day. We attempted to change our itinerary and stay in Lumbini one night and Sravasti one night later than planned, skipping our night in Lucknow. Unfortunately this proved to be impossible since the hotel in Sravasti did not have rooms tomorrow, and driving straight to Lucknow from Lumbini would be a bad idea as well considering the enormous distance. So, sad but true, we had to cancel our detour to the Buddha's place of birth and continued our way to Sravasti. A travel goal remaining for the future ...

 

It would take us almost ten hours to get to Sravasti, spending all the time in the back of the car, reading and enjoying the views along the way. One of the reasons why it took us so long to cross the approximately 250 km is the varying condition of the roads. Nowhere were they as bad as in Bihar, but still certain stretches were bad enough to have your kidneys end up somewhere between your ears.

On the road to Sravasti, India.
As a matter of fact, UK's small TaTa was not the best car for these conditions. A 4WD would have been much better suited. Also, India has very little road signs, so again UK needed to ask for directions every now and then. Bart had a sneaking suspicion that at one time he missed a turn, resulting in a long detour.

 

We had a simple and cheap lunch at a fuel station's restaurant and continued towards the north. By now we had gotten used to UK's oddities, including his constant shameless scratching of his genitals.

On the road to Sravasti, India.
The tube of 'Itch Guard' cream we'd seen on the dashboard made us fear the worst. We didn't dare to ask ...

 

As slowly as it gets light in the evening, as quickly it gets dark at night. Over the course of half an hour it had turned dark at five. While we passed countless ox-carts pulling highly stacked wagons of sugar cane home near Balrampur the fog also returned. For the last 16 km to Sravasti we moved at slow pace while Bart and I checked on both sides if UK wasn't driving off the road. At half past seven we finally reached the Nikko hotel, ready to celebrate New Year's Eve.

 

When we entered the lobby the noise of a large group of partying Asians (Japanese or Taiwanese) could be heard from a hall on the first floor.

Waiting for 0:00 AM ...
Although we probably wouldn't feel fully at home among them we planned to have a look later in the evening. While they made a big racket upstairs we checked our e-mails, sent some New Year's wishes and uploaded the blog on the manager's PC. We then joined the buffet dinner for which we strangely enough never had to pay. Possibly it had been paid by one of the other groups, in which case: many thanks. There was no beer in the hotel and we weren't allowed to buy it outside and drink it here. But fortunately we had enough Drambuie left to spike our coffee. After relaxing a while in the restaurant we went upstairs after 10 o'clock. Strange enough there was no activity whatsoever anymore. Seemingly the Japs/Taiwanese had celebrated New Year's Eve according to their own time. We decided to retire to our room, drink some more Drambuie and talk about 'the old days', as one does at such a reflective moment. At midnight we hugged, wished each other all the best for 2009 and glad that we finally could go to sleep we jumped in our beds. New Year in Sravasti, probably the most unlikely place you could think of ...

edsander says:
You're welcome. ;-)
Posted on: Jan 09, 2009
Biedjee says:
thanks for the vivid description of how foods exits your body. I'm not hungry anymore.
Posted on: Jan 09, 2009
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Kushinagar in the mist.
Kushinagar in the mist.
Muthakuar Temple, Kushinagar, Indi…
Muthakuar Temple, Kushinagar, Ind…
On the road to Sravasti, India.
On the road to Sravasti, India.
On the road to Sravasti, India.
On the road to Sravasti, India.
On the road to Sravasti, India.
On the road to Sravasti, India.
Waiting for 0:00 AM ...
Waiting for 0:00 AM ...
Sravasti
photo by: edsander