Asia | India – The talk of town
Sunday was an easy day, a bit of yoga again (this time with a little bit of exercise, which was quite hilarious!), riding around the Eastern temples on a bike together with Claus and packing up my stuff again.
Waiting at the bus station I met up again with Bal, who was taking the same bus and train as I was to Varanassi. Off course I had to fill my Camel Back again and this was really something for the kids around. A Camel Back basically is a system to be able to drink water without using your hands. You have a waterbag on your back, either in your bigger daypack or in a special small backpack. There is a plastic tube going from your back to the front with a valve at the end which enables you to easily drink.
All curious about what I was doing and what this blue tube was for, they quickly understood the system for ‘pani (water). I must admit it has come in a lot more handy then I would have thought!
This curiosity continued once on the road. Bal and I were sitting together and we definitely were the talk of town; al was born in India, but moved to the UK when he was 10 years old. He still speaks Punjabi (one of the many Indian languages) however, and together with his Indian looks and his touristy Mickey Mouse outfit, he was quite a character to see.
It also meant we were quickly in contact with the people in the bus, who were all curious about the both of us and kept asking questions to Bal. ‘Why wasn’t I wearing bangles’, ‘how come he speaks Punjabi’, ‘why didn’t I have a piercing in my nose’, ‘how come we are not together’, … It was very nice to see the genuine interest of the people about what we are doing and how we are living.
They did have some difficulties however grasping the fact that we were not together and that I was travelling alone…
At one of the stops in a small town, we went out of the bus to buy some water and take a few pictures. The most daring of the people around had come to ask Bal a few questions and within minutes we had a whole group of people standing around us and listening in to the conversation.
We definitely must have been the talk of town that evening…
Talking to the people on the bus had some more advantages: we shared a taxi to the train station in Mahoba and got to pay the Indian price of 5 rupees each instead of the 40 or 50 rupees we probably would have been charged otherwise…
Once at the station, we had to wait for a while and things repeated themselves. We shared some food on a blanket on the ground with the Indians we met on the bus and who were going to Allahabad to disperse the ashes of the dead father on the spot where the 3 rivers meet. Again, people would sit down and start a conversation with Bal and within minutes a crowd would gather to listen in, the most of them too shy to take part in the conversation themselves…
It helped again in securing us a berth in the same coach, instead of the separate ones we had a reservation for.
Allthough Lonely Planet mentioned hardly a day goes by in Varanassi train station that there is not a backpack missing, we had an uneventful, long journey and even got some sleep.
The quiet peace of Khajuraho was behind us and we were back in a seemingly small city… where nonetheless 2 million people are living!