The last few days have been full of traveling via buses, trains and tuk tuks. We left Pokhara on a ‘tourist and local’ bus, essentially it was a local one.
We requested the seat behind the driver so Matt’s legs would fit in. But we ended up at the back which was best anyways. It was an eventful trip. We saw fights (verbal and minor bi*ch slapping) between our bus and another as they were trying to steal our customers. We had a verbal fight between a lady customer and the money collector as there were too many people on the bus.
On the good side we saw local people who were beautiful. Ladies dresses elegantly in their saris. Friendly people smiling at us and trying to communicate was definitely the highlight. There were two couples each with a toddler each constantly smiling at me making me feel completely safe and adored. They even bought water and offered to us.
We then caught another local bus to Lumbini, the birth place of the first Buddha. The town itself is dusty and flat. The Buddha birth site under a bodhi tree is surrounded by prayer flags. The tree itself is dying as they covered it in concrete. Matt was getting frustrated at the rules, difficulty and lack of knowledge from locals to purchase a ticket to see the site. It was quite funny. It’s preparation training for India I told him.
More local buses to the border, stamp our passports in each country and we again on another bus in India. 5km before the border we were waiting for
another bus, and on the side of the road I spot a dead man. I had no idea what to do, but there in the heat, swarmed by flies this man died alone and still has no one with him.
We arrive at Gorakpur train station and eventually find the reserved ticket counter. Our ticket is for 11.15pm in first class for 660 rupees ($12 total).
After buying our tickets we had dinner at a local stall/shop. It was a delicious meal with curry veggies, Dahl baht and chapatti. It cost 260 rupees ($4.40) with 2 drinks. Sweet!
During the wait for the train I met a lovely man whom showed me on in his laptop how to buy train tickets online. And he gave tips on which route we could take while traveling. He gave his number if we need help in New Delhi 🙂
It’s time to catch the train. Confused, we stumble to the train. With the help of many we find our carriage and cabin. It’s not the first class I was expecting but it was clean and comfy enough. No sleep for either of us though. A trip to the toilet showed why there are so many diseases in this country. Your waste goes straight onto the tracks!!!
A tuk tuk ride to find a guest house was interesting. German, our tout, did a good job of giving us an intro to Varanasi. We are staying slightly out of town but its quiet so we are happy. Apparently there is a big festival the day after tomorrow. He has invited us to go with his family, but not sure if we will go with them. The temperature is about 40 degrees Celsius at the moment.
When we thought we had seen it all on the roads from a goat riding on the roof of a mini van, to loads 5 times bigger than the vehicle carrying them and bicycles carrying 3 -4 people. But on this beautiful morning we saw a naked man walking the streets! It’s normal here we are told as he is a Holy Man.
Welcome to India!
P.S Sorry there is only 2 average photos – technology here is not fast enough to add anymore.