Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Journey Continues


We managed to change our train from the 19th to the 14th - but the train departs at 01:20am from Siliguri to Varanasi! This meant that our trek would have to be cancelled and it was time to get things sorted out for our next journey, one that I was looking forward to, even though Darjeeling is beautiful it had become a bit of a "groundhog day" sort of place and the weather had become wet and cold.

So a few bottles of water and some carry out cakes from Glenary's and we were on our way to Siliguri.  A share jeep back down the mountain was the only way, Q. How many people can you fit in a 7 seat jeep? A. 11! Well we had decided to leave about 1pm which meant we would arrive in Siliguri at 4pm ish, with 9 hours to kill in a tranisit hell hole we decided to splash the cash and get a cheap hotel room for a few and proper minging, the worst of our accommodation so far.

11:30pm and we started to make a move to the train station (NJP) on our first auto-rickshaw, was good, but a little unstable.  We arrived at the station about 12 midnight with plenty of time to spare, we sat down on the floor and invited a spanish couple to join us at a game of cards, awiting our scheduled departure of 1:20am, then came the first anouncement that our train would now leave at 1:50am, then 2:10am, then 2:35am etc. I think we finally left at 3ish -  not too bad considering I'd met a guy in Darjeeling who had a personal best of 32 hours!!

Well once again we were on the move but this time we had opted for the more luxurious 2AC carrage. A bit more room but pretty much the same as 3AC but this train was dirty! loads of cockroaches crawling on the walls and I spotted a mouse several times. I also had my first experiance of a train toilet, it is liturally a hole onto the tracks. haha.

Well a two hour delay in departure meant we were expecting to arrive in Varanasi two hours late (9pm) well it was actually more like 01:30am? don't know if the driver decided to take a de-tour or something, but we had made it and that was the main to find somewhere to sleep? Oh and how to get near some hotels.  So we grabbed a rickshaw and told him to take us to the Shanti Guest House - recommended by some mancs we'd met in Darjeeling. 

My very first impression of Varanasi was it was dirty, very dirty, I had been warned on several occasions but I honestly thought it couldn't be any worse than Kolkata, could it? Well there's a lot more dogs and cows so people don't want them to go hungry so they just throw every waste item onto the streets and then some more shit and some body fumes, and the aroma created by this practice is something that Cammell Lairds toilets on a Sunday morning can't contend with. Welcome to Varanasi.

Well we checked into our suprisingly clean, cheap, sit down toilet on-suite room and had a long deserved sleep. The next morning we had breakfast on our rooftop restaurant and and met up with the spanish couple from the train station. We then went out to have a look about and watch some burning bodies. We spent most of the day walking along the Ghats that are pretty amazing - we visited both of the burning ghats where belive it or not they burn things, usually people on huge piles of wood - anything from 60 to a maximum of 150 bodies per day 24hrs 365 days a year - and then walked back through the labrynth of streets to our hotel.

We have decide a few more days in Varanasi is enough and have organised a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges, some Yoga, relaxation and Tracey wants a massage. We are also going to try and book a bus or train to Khajuraho our next stop.



We are still in Darjeeling, not only because its amazing but also because we made a bit of a cock up when booking our next train - should have been for the 15th but actually booked it for the 19th?? It's so busy in and out of NJP station that there's no other options so we have decided to stick it out and make the most of the peace and quiet, it's not a bad place to spend a few extra days and have decided to go on a treck in the surrounding mountains. I'm really looking forward to it but Tracey is a bit aprehensive as she feels a bit worried about the climb, she'll be fine.

Other things that have happened in the past few days are we've been on the mountain railway Joyride - was good. Been indulging on Tea and cakes and eating well in a place called Glenary's, the chicken rashmi kebab is the best thing I have ever eaten - well better than the one nick recomended in the Bihrai.

Oh and we went to the Mountain Zoo and the Himalayan Mountain Museum, was pritty good too, but there's another story to tell you about our walk to the zoo.


Monkey Attack - 8-11-10

As we were walking to the zoo down a path (like a proper road with loads of people there) we noticed loads of little monkeys in the surrounding trees and crossing from one side of the path to the other. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity I started takeing a picture of this cute little baby monkey, I managed to capture my first shot and was preparing to take another when all of a sudden a large parent monkey mounted my back and and thought he'd have a munch on me. Well needless to say I completely shit myself and legged it, I was lucky I had a thick jumper on otherwise I think it would have taken a fair sized piece out of my back. He managed to cause quite a blood blister and broke my skin but I wasn't worried as I'd previously had a Tetnus and a course of Rabies Vaccinations before leaving home.

Well I managed to get my colour back and continued on our way to the zoo - had a good day, red pandas are so cute and the wolves look mean. We made it back to our Digs later that night and I told the Manager about the attack - to which he told me a story about a women who had been biten by a dog a few month priviously - she did nothing and eventually turned mad and started acting like a dog - later she died. Now feeling a bit worried I immediatly phoned my doctor and found out that i would have to go to the hospital to get some more Rabies Jabs, 5 in all and some anti-biotics, oh and another Tetnus Jab. I can hve the first 3 in Darjeeling but the other 2 nurse Tracey will have to do, she's going to be tought how to jab me... Well my moral of this story is monkeys are evil rabies ridden creatures that should never be approached no matter how cute they look..woof woof.