05.07.2010 - 05.08.2010 106 °F
The one-hour flight to Varanasi was surprisingly good. I sat next to an IT manager from New Jersey who was working in Bangalore. She gave me some good tips on how to survive in India. Very nice person.
Upon arriving at the Varanasi airport, I was greeted by the friendly hotel driver who drove through some very crowded streets to the Alka Hotel. I have a sweet room that overlooks the Ganges River with a private balcony.
I met Stanley and Shirley who also arrived today. They are from Taiwan and we hit it off pretty well. India is the first country in a round-the-world trip for them! They will be visiting Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Turkey, The UK, Chile and USA. I’m very happy to meet some like-minded adventurers. We will see the sights of Varanasi together... Safety in numbers.
Varanasi is the most disgusting, filthy town I have ever visited. There’s shit everywhere; people poop, cow poop, dog poop, goat poop, monkey poop. Men are openly pissing on walls. Raw sewage flows from pipes onto the waterfront walkways. The dead are being burned and their remains pushed into the river. This place is like a bad Salvador Dali picture with the horrible odors and noise to go with it... yet, there is something magical here...
Tomorrow we will do the sunrise boat ride on the Ganges River.