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Varanasi = very nasty?

Varanasi, India


So we jumped on a train to Varanasi, which is thought to be the holiest Hindu city. We woke up the next morning expecting to be just an hour away, but found that we were only about half way. The train had been delayed by 4 hours (though we had to try and ask other travelers this in very bad hindi, because they don't come around and tell you). 4 hours delay turned into 8, and we got off the train at 8pm, instead of 12, after about 19hrs travel. Despite, we were relieved to get off the train, which was pretty cold. The weather in these parts is abnormally cold at the moment. 5 people died yesterday from exposure including a 23yr old, though it only gets down to about 7 degrees at night, and 15ish during the day. I guess they just aren't prepared for that kind of cold.

We spent our time wandering the very narrow bazaar streets of the old city, dodging cows (who seem to know they have right of way, and take up the whole street) and cows' (ahem...) "blessings". Very cool back streets here, full of cheap jewelery and bead work. Glen and I are looking pretty hippy traveller at the moment, with bead necklaces. Glen bought a very warm woolen jersey with a hood like a wizard jacket. So cliche, but cool in its own way. It's been pretty useful for him to ward off the cold. Because the houses are built to keep out the heat in summer, they get pretty cold at night. We also bought a couple of duvet/comforters, which are SO cute! I'm determined to take mine home, despite its size.

The best find in Varanasi however, was a little restaurant which is popular with the locals. We tried their paneer chilli, and fell in love! Went back every night for dinner, it's just that good. Spicy too, but not overwhelming. Thanks family for bringing me up on spicy food. We've been eating local spicy and loving it, though we're gonna do something non spicy tonight. THough I love all the spice, my tummy does not. Three nights of paneer chilli has left me feeling a tiny bit iffy, and in the interests of avoiding the dreaded delhi belly (especially before a long train trip), we're gonna go for pizza tonight. Apparently everyone gets sick in Varanasi, and we hope not to have the same memories.

We've also started (nervously) trying street food from places which we know are busy. From our upstairs balcony seat we could see a local samosa walla working, and decided he was popular enough and clean enough to try. Oh god, the samosas here are soo tasty!

Anywho, I've gotta get going. We're about to grab pizza (which I've heard are amazing, thin and crispy base, of the woodfired variety) and run to catch our train. Heading to Kolkata tonight for 5 days, then flying down to Chennai. Hope you guys are following us on the blog's map.


xo

Mags

permalink written by  Capto on January 19, 2010 from Varanasi, India
from the travel blog: Two months in Limbo
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