I'm allergic to burning bodies. We left nepal with sad faces yesterday and are now in Varanasi. It's really hard to sum up several days in one blog. We went trecking (hardcore hiking?) outside of Kathmandu and I got a wicked sunburn-which is shockingly turning into a tan. weird. it's that himalayan sun. Of course it was totally beautiful etc. , and we were totally wiped out by the end. The next day was a whirlwind tour of Kathandu. The first stupa we visited was pretty amazing. We got lost in a Hindu cremation site full of scary monkeys with the crazy eye. Then we had dinner outside of the biggest stupa in the world with a guy from washington state. One of our friends met him in delhi. He's going to school in nepal, and gave us the tour of the campus/monastary. I'm seriously thinking about sumer school there next year. It's really cheap.
It started to pour (early monsoon) and of course there was no power. I think they do organized power outages every day. We ran and splashed through giant puddles of nastiness in the dark to a hole in the wall for some chang. chang is a milky white alchohalic substance that is fermented in a rag and then squeezed out into questionable looking buckets stored on the floor. We sat at our table with one single candle for light while our server juggled his crying baby and our cups of chang. It was actually not that bad. If you didn't think about the rag it came out of. I offered to hold his very unhappy little girl while he made some kind of concoction on the stove. She was the cutest thing ever.
We flew back into India and were greeted by a general masalaness. It was funny coming back in. The airport was full of men standing around in uniforms trying to look important, checking and rechecking stamps and passports, demanding documentation ect. They just seem silly now. Our cab driver held his cell phone in one hand and his tobacco in the other while Alex switched gears from the other seat. People on the cell phone always take priority over anyone in person. It doesn't matter who you are. Even if they direly need your business. You will wait until they finish yelling into their phone. It all seems almost normal now. He informed us afterward that his friend was calling and had just found a cobra in his house. He needed a cobra catcher.
A few of our friends are traveling a couple of days ahead of us and emailed saying not to waste our time in varanasi. but it's actually pretty cool. we took a boat out to the the cermimonies at the ghats last night. It was absolutely beautiful and stuff. In an effort to show us how hard his job was, our boat rower offered to let us try. I couldn't even get one stroke going against the current and wind. He made a whole $7 off of us in an hour and a half. Those little guys are pretty strong.
As Carie said, "We've really adjusted to out monopoly money." We've started to freak out over a $5 meal and a $13 hotel room for 3 people. And this is a really really nice meal and pretty decent hotel room. what am I going to do when I get back? One thing is for sure, we have been eating really well. I haven't even been sick since we left the program. This might be because Alex gives us antibiotics after every questionable meal.
I love mango lassi.