Varanasi

Trip Start Dec 09, 2007
1
45
52
Trip End Jul 07, 2008


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Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Can't say I wasn't warned. It was so hot in Varanasi that I did not sleep for 4 nights. I couldn't bring myself to pay the huge extra charges for AC. Especially since I had lost my debit/atm card before leaving Rishikesh which really sucked. I had to have my folks wire me some cash. The only way I managed some rest was by soaking my towel and placing it over me as I blasted the fan. Of course it was practically dry and hot again in about 1/2 hr.

Nevertheless Varanasi and the famous Ghats along the Ganga and cremation spots were a feast for the mind and eyes. I really loved it and made a great friend in Nandan a couchsurfing contact. I had hoped I could meet someone like him and although I would have preferred doing so at the beginning of my time in India I was grateful nonetheless. This is because he was a well spoken (spoke great English) intelligent purveyor of Indian history, myth, and culture. He helped me to develop an understanding of Indian life that far exceeded what I could draw from the the guide books of documentaries I'd seen.

He was also involved with non-profit and humanitarian work. One particular effort he started is booti.org which exists to provide information about blood-borne diseases. India has now exceeded Africa as having the majority of Aids cases in the world! Nandan was also connected to an Lok Samiti (go here to learn more) an organization fighting Coca Cola from decimating the water tables of small villages surrounding it's plant outside Varanasi. It was a growing and severe problem and Nandan took me to one of these villages called Mehdiganj and the headquarters for Lok Samiti (doubled as a community center) to meet the people and see village life, while his beautiful wife Bunti taught some dance classes to the local girls for entertainment. A really great experience.

Lok Samiti is sponsored by India Resource.
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