What an adventure10 Jan 2009, by Uncategorized in
Will the amazing experiences ever end? Today was CRAZY to say the least. It actually started last night at the Kolkata train station. We boarded a train to Varanasi at 9pm. It was supposed to take 12 hours and it ended up taking almost 16! We were able to get a sleeper car but what that means is a little cubby hole with 6 bunk beds that you sleep on. You are also sharing the entire car with about 50 other people. It was the most insane, chaotic experience.
We thought we could sleep the whole way or part of the way but when you have the train stop every half hour and people start walking up and down the aisles selling all kinds of merchandise it’s kinda hard. Also imagine a train car of 50 people snoring, talking, coughing and making all kinds of other noises I dont want to mention (LOL). It was nuts! And dont even get me started on what was supposed to pass as a restroom…so foul and vile! It was one of the experiences where everything is so insane all you can do is laugh and go on. So glad it’s over.
When we got to the train station 2 of our volunteers were very ill and we then had to fight horrible traffic in auto rickshaws and then walk a mile before we got to our hotel. The walk was down narrow passage ways that seem to have been here for thousands of years. They were so filthy and disgusting that all you could do was look ahead and not think about what you were walking by or on. After about 10 minutes we came to this clearing and the Ganges River exposed herself to us. It was the most beautiful things I’ve seen. So serene and peaceful. I can see why Hindus consider this to be the most sacred place for them.
After showers and dinner some of us took a ride on a canoe down the banks of the Ganges, I was able to witness several cremations going on on the banks and it was a stunning sight. There were 5 bodies wrapped in this gold foil type stuff and they were placed on the pyre and set on fire. I was so amazed. I will never forget what I saw. It was incredible and very spiritual.
There are also monkeys everywhere you see and they come right up to you. One even came to our table while we were eating dinner and swiped our food! They are so freaking cute all you can do is laugh. They let out this adorable cry that makes your heart melt. Where else can these things happen to you? Anyway, I have to go because the hostel were in is closing down for the night. Tomorrow we are visiting a Buddhist temple and supposedly the Dalai Lama is in town and there, so that will be 100% unbelievable if we get to see him. So cant wait.
Susan is back in Kolkata with some of the other volunteers touring that area. We are here until Monday and then it’s another 12-16 hours train ride back to Kolkata. CRAZY!!!
What an adventure!