Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Family's Visit to Varanasi

So, the family had traveled to Varanasi on an AC train from Howrah. They had arrived and were swamped by autos that wanted to take them to their hotel. However, because J wasn't feeling good they had just taken whatever one they could get and got to the hotel. Once they were there J had stayed in the room and slept because he wasn't feeling well, while my mom and B had gone out. They went to the Ganges River and took a boat ride. Well...the boat wallah's knew they were foreigners and despite being told how much they should pay (around Rs 300 for both) they had ended up getting scammed. They had paid Rs 400 EACH for a 2 hour ride. Well, at least they were happy and enjoyed it. They had also been scammed into giving Rs 300 for the cremation wood. They were also told that they would have to pay for the guide, but they staunchly refused.

Well...they had finished their experience by shopping around and Mom found a tapestry that she wanted to buy for B's daughter, L (since that is what she wanted from India), but the store keeper wanted Rs 850 for it. My mom said, no the most I'll give is Rs 500, and the shop keeper counter offered her with Rs 750, but she stuck to her price and walked out. However, the guy called her back and said, ok, 500. That was probably still too much, but mom was extremely proud that she could bargain for herself.

The next day J was feeling much better so they all ventured out to the Ganges again, where to nobody's surprise the boat wallah was waiting for them again. However, J told the guy to get lost and that they didn't need him, which he promptly did. They again went out on the river and saw the cremations and once again the people asked them for money for the cremation wood. J being J, he had decided to give only Rs 100, well...the people keeping telling him "not enough, not enough, give more!" He flatly refused and went on their merry way.

They were supposed to have gone to Lucknow during this time away, but because the train they had booked back to Kolkata was regularly late they decided to forgo it. They instead decided to come back on the 24th instead of the 25th and they had luckily found some AC tickets on the return. However, they had realized that the train would take them over 24 hours to return and ended up booking plane tickets instead. Talk about driving me crazy!!!

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