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Travel Blog-Day 9

This is a blog about my 36-day trip through Nepal, India, and a little bit of China.  I’ll make one post daily until it’s all finished.

Day 9: Varanasi

Varanasi is one of the great cities of the world.  If you go to India, this place is a must to visit.

I learned a great deal about cows today.  I had a conversation with the proprietor of Eden Halt, the guesthouse where I’m staying in Varanasi.  His name is Sanjay, great guy.  We talked about Hinduism, cows, family, and Ayer Vedic medicine, basically a whole bunch of stuff.  I always wondered why, if the cow is so sacred in India, that they are in cities where they cannot possibly be happy.  I thought, here this animal is considered sacred.  Why not put them all on farms in the country and take care of them so they’re happy?  He told me, the reason is all the cows in India are owned by someone.  They’re not just roaming free.  The owners make a good deal of money from selling their milk.  Pilgrims come and give donations to feed the cows.  Sometimes, they’ll give a donation to feed the cow for a month, a few months or even a year.  Obviously, the cow owner gets many donations.  This is a profitable business!  Sanjay, the proprietor, told me that there’s also another scam going on.  He called it a scam.  Pilgrims come and they buy the cow from the cow owner.  They in turn donate to a Brahmin.  The Brahmin then sells it back to the same cow owner at a reduced price.  The cow owner, and the Brahmin make a good profit.  The pilgrim is scammed.  Religion, what a great thing!

I saw a guy today stumbling down Bengali Tole in Varanasi.  He was bouncing off the walls and falling down.  Falling here means falling into absolute garbage, cow shit and any other awful thing one can think of.  He had on a backpack, headphones, etc., a true stoned tourist.  His name was Rob, from Cambridge.  I stopped and asked if he needed help.  He said yes, he didn’t know where he was.  He told me he had nowhere to sleep.  He’d been smoking hash all day.  Well, the short of it is, I found him a room.  Gave him some biscuits.  The guest room proprietor fronted him some money, he had nothing, his father was going to Western Union him some money tomorrow.  It amazed me.  A place filled with people worried about their Karma, doing incessant pujas to Shiva, Krishna and every other blue god you can think of, and no one is helping him.  No tourists were helping him either.  This was potentially life threatening.  Drugs are illegal in India as in most countries, but the penalties are incredibly harsh.  There are foreigners in Indian prisons for possession of hashish.

I took Rob to Vishnu Rest House.  They took one look at him and said they were full.  I guy named Amit saw me and asked if he could help.  He helped us find a room and got the guest house proprietor to take Rob in and give him some money.

I had dinner at this hole-in-the-wall I eat at every time I’ve ever been in Varanasi.  The guy makes the best dosas I’ve ever eaten.  I stopped by around 4pm and he said he wasn’t making dosas until 5 and to come back.  I show up right at 5.  He smiles at me and says “not yet”.  I get a somosa covered in lentils and curry.  It was absolutely incredible.  The best somosa I’ve ever, ever, ever had.  He then makes me a masala dosa.  Fantastic!  I ask him how much, he says 18 rupees.  This is so little; I think he says 80 rupees.  80 rupees is only about $1.80.  He said no, just 18.  I paid 40 cents for one of the best meals I have ever had.

 

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Categories: Travel
  1. December 17, 2011 at 5:29 AM

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  2. December 7, 2011 at 1:35 PM

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  3. December 5, 2011 at 12:07 PM

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  5. December 1, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    You could certainly see your skills in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.

  6. November 30, 2011 at 3:51 AM

    i read some information about Varanasi. i agree with you that its a great city holding some best sites to see and visit. great post.

  7. November 29, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Thanks so much for this flawless article;this is the kind of thing that keeps me going through out my day.

  8. November 28, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    It is a very informative and useful blog!

  9. November 28, 2011 at 1:30 AM

    very long trip!It is a very informative and useful blog

  10. November 26, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    Some really great info , Gladiolus I observed this. “Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

  11. November 23, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Varanasi is a holy place that will not be missed out during travel to India. I am eager to read all your post to know your experience.

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