|I am now staying in Bodh Gaya at some weirdly titled place like Crash and Nash Guest House. It's somethig like that. I may be here for a few more days, and then perhaps Nepal?
Varanasi loved it and hated it. There was a huge Hindu festival while I was there. I seem to always find myself in places whn they are most crowded and congested. It was just election time in Bihar state so it is also crowded here. Anyway, Varanasi was extremely crowded. There was literally a crush of people. After the festivities were over I literally thought I was going to be crushed in the onslaught of pushing and shoving. Also, there were a lot of beggars and shady people. I was warned by Dadoo not to take any food or vegetables from strangers because in the past they have been drugged and tourists have woken up to have all of their valuabls stolen. I stayed at a hotel which was ok but not great. There was a big sign out front "no druggs or narcotize allowed." Indian English is a subject for another time. 5 minutes after I checked in the hotel manager explained to me that he could get me any drug I wanted from hash to opium. It was that kind of place. To top it off some mysterious tax appeared added to mybill upon departure. I declined to pay it of course.I also experienced my first stalker. It's not unusual for people to follow you around for a few minutes and ask you questions or try to get you to buy something. This guy followed me around for an hour and a half. He kept asking me questions and I kept explaining to him that I did not want to talk to him. Finally he starts talking maybe we can have some sex and telling me he has good power. Whatever that means. Finally I chased him off by first yelling at him and then walking up to some police officers who were directing traffic.
Despite these incdents. Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is the holiest city of the Hindus ad full of interesting places and things. The river and ghats were lovely.
Now I am in Bodh Gaya. This morning I visited a school and corrected some papers and hung out with the children until lunch.