Thursday, December 13, 2007

23 November 2007 - Varanasi

Stomach upset. Must be from yester's lunch at the mid way stop. Last night I 'throned' about 3 times. Decided to give the morning boat a miss as I did not want to risk of not finding a toilet in the midst of River Ganges.

Caught up with group for breakfast after their boat ride. They disembarked on the other side of Ganges to collect sand. And dear Uncle Chan actually jumped into the river to have a dip. Can't remember who but I think it was Linda who said that there were some corpses in the river that morning.

Suppose to be out of hotel for city sightseeing by 9.00am but because of the early wake up for the Ganges we decided to have an extra hour in the hotel. We went to the University of Varanasi, had a chai again another round of shopping. On the way to Sarnath we had a minor accident which stalled us for more than an hour and a half. They demanded from our bus operator INR51,000 for the damage. What damage? The car was hardly scratched. After one and a half hour of haggling, the price was reduced drastically to INR5,000. During that time we saw some police cars and ambulances racing passed us. Well, we thought it was the norm in Varanasi or rather all Indian cities. Little did we realise that during that time 3 bombs went off at the Court House killing 9 people. Hell broke lose in the traffic. Roads leading in and out of the city were clogged and after sitting in the bus for 15 minutes we did not move even an inch. We were advised to walk back to the hotel instead of heading for our lunch destination as all roads leading in and out of Varanasi had now been closed. Did not disclose this to the group as we did not want them to panic since we were already getting out of Varanasi the next day. But by evening all TV stations carried the news. Shawn's parents saw the news on Malaysian TV and they called to check on us. Lunch, dinner and everything else were done in the hotel.


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