Sunday, July 26, 2009

September 20th 2005

The train ride on the other hand, was quite an experience. I still think back on it as if it were a dream because it lasted from 9pm to 9am and I was half asleep most of the time anyway.
Six out of the seven of us were in one compartment that meant that we each had a bench on either the bottom, middle or top (my area) in a room the size of a closet. And although the filth was concerning, the fact that we got to lay down was amazing and make me like the train much more than the plane.
Just a blur of people

Most of the crew: Chris, Elise, Mallory, Me and Jen

September 20th 2005

Varanasi blows. It’s 87 degrees at night (as in right now). The power goes out for hours on end all the time (as in RIGHT NOW) and they have really loud generators that don’t generate any electricity (also going on right now). I am SO NOT HAPPY RIGHT NOW.

September 21st 2005
6:45am- All of my toiletries fell down the fucking crapper –everything- My toothpaste, my acedopholous- my hair brush- my toothbrush- and whatever else was in there that I can’t think of right now.
Yoga on the rooftop was pretty cool

Update- My new little friend Sonny, who is all of 4 years old, just cleared out the toilet ☹
Here is a letter that Mallory wrote to herself while sitting alone in a café for an hour and a half- Some of this are my thoughts as well:

“ To: Me
If you are reading this then you defy all odds & you actually finished asshole! As a check-in.. it is your 3rd day in Varanassi… your leaders do not like you- The Chris kid is a maybe- Girls hate (not Claire) you, you walk too slow. It is too fucking hot to function, you have no clean clothes and smell like a foot and you really want to go home and you would if you wouldn’t have to spend years living it down to your family and friends. Oh & you think you dreads.. yes 100% because-you-don’t-brush-your-hair-dreads. I could pun up this paper about how you “dread” the next day but- I won’t . You’re currently sitting alone in a cafe, writing this because you have NO friends (except Vibhu but he’s most likely playing soduku) you didn’t go home. You deserve- what would be the biggest reward right now? A hug? A haircut? Clean clothes? Shower
Love, yourself. "

From: Claire
Subject: Email from a dirty river

Hello again!
Let me just tell everyone how much i love getting your emails, it makes me feel like I didnt just drop off the side of the world (even though it may be the case).
I arrived in Varanasi yesterday morning after a 12 hour train ride which was something out of a book. I dont even know where to begin explaining it and I dont think i could ever really do it justice through email. Let just say that I spent a lot of time with my head near a 60 year old HORRIBLY dirty ceiling. And it was still better than the plane, if only because you can at least close your eyes and pretend to be home. One of my fellow travellers was accosted by 4 indian transvestites who decided to flash him while everyone else was sleeping. He was not a happy camper.

Varanasi is a lot better than Delhi was. It feels more like a smaller town. If Delhi is New York, than Varanasi might be... Vienna. We are going to be here for 2 weeks and we started our internships today. I had signed up for jewelry making, which already sounded cool, but I quickly discovered that I'm actually going to be doing silverworking. I GET TO USE A SOLDERING IRON AGAIN!!!! Needless to say; i'm a bit excited. This morning we had our first Yoga class on the roof of the guest house and that was pretty cool too - and believe it or not : Im above average flexible : ) !!! And then we had a hindi class which just blew me away. Learning to write in sanskrit is like learning to write in code. It is so cool. I'm just having a really hard time hearing the difference between 'dah,' 'da' and 'da' with an accent.... every letter here has it's 'h' equivalent: they have ga and then gha, bah and bha... its a little confusing.

BUt the real fun was this morning. Let me begin this story by explaining that every toilet we have encountered since leaving delhi has been a turkish toilet. this means that its a hole in the ground that you sqwat over. Well, this morning, after brushing my teeth over the turkish toilet with my bottled water (please pause and try to imagine doing this as it is very odd already) I put my toiletry bag on the ledge and ran out to wake up the others. As I reached the door I heard something fall and then make a "splash noise". I go back to the "bathroom" to find my toiletry bag in the crapper. And I OBVIOUSLY hadnt zipped it up, so when it fell, all the contents fell in first. Which meant that my toothbrush, toothpaste, brush and other things were now floating in shit. All i managed to save was my deodorant. I was a sad panda.

Well, its about 4:30 pm and I meet my homestay family at 5, so I need to run to pack up all my stuff (minus my toiletry bag)

Once I settle into my new home, I will have more time and will be able to write personal emails instead of these mass ones.
UNtil then,
Much Love,
From: Claire
To: Brother

My camera has been on the fritz lately, but Im hoping to get some pictures from my buddy's digital camera and send that to you before I leave for Bodghaya on Tuesday

And just one quick note:
They bicycle rickshaw here and they nicer ones usually have a cool design on the back, usually a lotus flower, with two hands reaching for it, sometimes two elephants or peacocks- well on our way here I saw one that had two llamas on the back and freaked out! i tried to get my camera out but it was gone too quickly. Anyway,. this was a week ago and Ive been looking for it ever since abnd yesterday I saw FOUR!!! I took as a sign that you were saying hello.

Love you,

Say hello to Julienne Fries for me :)

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