Ok, a lot has happened since last entry, where to start? We finally left the paradise of Pokhara for Lumbini, with a very long and crazy bus ride. The long part was getting to Bhairawa(border town about 22km from Lumbini), it took about 8 hours on a very hot bus. We then disembarked from that bus with 9 other tourists who wandered around until we found the right bus, and were quickly ushered onto the roof. After the other stagnant bus, the fresh air felt pretty good. Again Rosa Parks comes to mind, this time all the white people were on the top of the bus.
We planned our trip so well, that we coincided with Buddha's birthday extravaganza in Lumbini....which was short on rooms. Every year the full moon of April/May brings a huge celebration to this small town, along with limited hotel rooms. That brings us to our next debacle. The room we finally did find, was to say the least, a huge pile of crap. Hot as hell, no power for the fan, toilet broken, shower broken, and triplely insulated from fresh air made the stay ....how you say...memorable. After getting no sleep, we quickly made our way to a better place a little ways out of town, it probably saved the trip and our marriage....har har.
Putting that behind us we came to see what Lumbini is famous for....we visited the exact place where Buddha was born. The following day we explored the many monasteries that countries from around the world have built to honor the town of Buddha's birth. The monasteries were quite spread out and we probably hiked close to 7 miles getting a majority of them in. Met some nice Indian people that must have thought we were celebrities and wanted us in a family photo....very strange but it has happened to us a few times....they must just like their white people. One funny thing I have to throw out there... we decided to never again take a (man powered) rickshaw. These poor bastards must weigh about 90 pounds wet, and they try to haul us and a 1 ton rickshaw around....it goes so slow its painful, we actually had to get out and help the poor guy get across a road. I've never felt more fat a lazy in my life.
We finally felt like we'd seen enough Nepal, so off to the border. Seemed easy enough, go though all the little customs offices on both sides, exchange our Nepal money, and off to Varanasi.....right. As soon as we got close to the border the vultures dropped, seeing their hapless victims confused and looking for the appropriate signs...oh yea, thats when they get you. We tried ignoring them, but that just fuels the fire inside...where are you going, can I help, where are you going, I know a guy who....over and over and over until you finally submit and then....BLAM. You find yourself getting screwed on your exchange rate and stuck in the back of a little tiny jeep with your wife and two other people, and no leg room. You look in the front seats and see 4 people in the middle seat and 4 people in the front. Yes, the driver was practically on someone's lap driving. Thank god, one of those other people in the back with us was a friendly Isreali guy who gave us many good tips for enjoying India. He was also drooled on by a sleeping fool who worked for the vultures....pissed off the Isreali guy, but it was funny. The jeep delivered us to Gorakhpur well informed and ready to take on another crappy hotel. The train station was a madhouse and we knew that booking a ticket there was futile.......heard many a story(Thanks again Mike and Cheryl). So we found internet access and booked it online, wonderful tool, can't say it enough. The crappy hotel served its purpose and we hopped on our train at 5am without a hitch.
The train ride to Varanasi was heaven, air conditioned and we were lucky enough to have our own private bunk room compete with curtain to keep out the prying eyes of the notoriously staring Indians. For some reason, they can't get enough of us and its like were in a freaking zoo all day long, ha ha, look at the silly monkey.
We arrived in the train station, called our hotel, and those wonderful people sent us an auto-rickshaw, yea. The ride was a trip, narrowly missing dozens of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles, we arrived at an intersection and parked. I got out, looked for our hotel but saw nothing but crazed motorists and more staring natives. Then I hear the auto-rickshaw pilot grunt something and point to an alleyway. We load up our packs and begin following this unintelligible madman though a labyrinth of alley ways crowed with dogs, goats, bulls(yes huge freakin cows), cow crap, and yes more staring natives. After about 15 minutes and many grunts from the pilot for us to hurry up, we finally arrive at the Scindhia Guest House, right on the river Ganges(Ganga in India). The room was great, because Toni in all her resourcefulness did much research on the subject, the stories we had heard were all to gruesome...... After many long hours of traveling with no food we found ourselves at a little hole-in-the-wall(almost literally) sucking down some kind of paneer (hot cheese chunks) dish with other curries spices and vegetables. Indian food is wonderful, and most places serve it well.
With dinner through we headed back to our room and watched a wonderful Hindu show on the Ganges, with fire, boats and everything in between. One fact I'd like to share about the Ganges, people here use it to bath, swim and cremate their dead. Its also their sewer and laundry mat, in a 100ml sample can be found 1.5 million fecal bacteria....so you tell me, how wonderful can it really be.
All in all, we've had a wonderful time here, good foods, and good people, but we must make our getaway tomorrow to the erotic temples. This will involve another very long train ride (16 hours), but again, we're doing it in style.
Tomorrow also marks the half way point for our vacation. It is hard to believe it is half way over, but it feels like years since we left our friends and family in the states. We would be lying if we said that we weren't getting excited to return. But this could have something to do with our plans for when we return. We would like our loyal blog readers to be some of the first to know our plans.........We had planned to moved up to Montana once we returned. But we have decided to postpone that move and move to Estes Park, CO. We would like to try and get Breezy's photography career a shot and decided that we couldn't pass up the free rent we have in Estes. Between being gone for so long, friends having babies, getting pregnant and getting married, we thought Colorado would be a good place to call home for a year or so. So with that said we'll be signing off for another week, cheers to all our blog readers!!! Thanks again for all the comments, we look forward to reading them!!!