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Varanasi and back to Delhi

Well it's just not cricket... wait a minute!

overcast 32 °C

Back in New Delhi where it all began one month and two days ago. We are treading water for an hour before we depart again! We feel we have now mastered going North and East, next, South and West! Our train for the dreamlands of Agra is awaiting and then on to the deserts! Due to the speedy leadup to Diwali on the 26th October trains are booked solid so we have had to do some planning in advance for a change (shocker) but what this meant is that we know we are definately going to be in Rajastan for Diwali , we are going to get to Udaipur and we are all booked to go to the Pushkar Camel Fair at the start of November! Suddenly feel very organised!

We left off in Varanasi where, from re-reading my blog entry, I was apparently somewhat overcome by the dirt of it all. Varanasi or Benares turned out to be one of my favourite stops so far. It is really something rowing down the Ganges as sunset watching Buffalo bathe in the water, pilgrims praying and holy men performing rituals with fire to celebrate the river and Mother Ganga. The streets are manic; rickshaw-wallahs at every corner waiting for you to linger for just a moment in order to pounce, helpful children cum forceful tour guides and silk merchants who are apparently are desperate to set their goods on fire just to prove to you (somehow) that they are genuine silk. All this is just part of the 'game' of India. Dodging through it all becomes a bit like a life size game of Paperboy from the Sega Megadrive and the feeling of achievement you get when you reach your destination is much better when you have to fight for it!

One thing to be aware of is that the auto rickshaw drivers in Varanasi will argue to the back teeth over a 10 ruppee increase in the fare price. You will find that wherever you want to go there are apparently Road Taxes, Closed Roads, Uphill sections that use more fuel and it is always 'long long far'. All these things make it more expensive for the driver... apparently. Now, saying that they are so sure that all these thigs are in the close vicinity of your location, only when you have agreed the price and set off will it become clear that the rickshaw driver a) actually has no idea where your location is... and b) doesn't actually have any petrol. I think we saw more of the petrol station in Varanasi from the back of a rickshaw than anywhere else! Comedy!

So, 12 hotel beds, 2 night train beds and 1 night bus later and we arrived back in Delhi, for one reason and one reason only... for Andy to represent the England fans single handedly at the India vs England One Day Cricket International and what a job he did. Showing my commitment to our upcoming nuptuals, I spent the two nights before learning the rules of cricket (I know family and friends, I can hardly believe it either!) Armed with glasses, salt shakers, matchboxes and sugar bowls... and oiled with a few Kingfishers... Andy went through all the rules, the positions and the hand signals whilst demonstrating with his table top representation of a cricket pitch. This was much to the amusement of other drinkers in the bar and the waiters. What Andy did not mention was that the Cricket we were going to see lasted for 8 hours.

We got tickets in the cheapest stand so were in the rough and tumble of it. People were sharing seats, climbing up poles and dancing for all 8 hours. Luckily, we were again a novelty so we got seats, and a running commentary from all sides in a variety of languages regarding the action. The crowd seemed to think Andy was a representation of England. When England scored a six, rather than clapping and cheering at the players, the whole India crowd in our stand turned to Andy and cheered along with him. Andy conducted them in songs and chants and shook hands like he was in the team. When India caught England out or got a six themselves, they again turned to us and cheered at Andy again. England lost, India was happy, Andrew was popular, Andrew was happy. Every so often we switched allegience and cheered for India... when we did that, people cheered for us. Crazy days!

Onwards and downwards! Our train awaits!

Posted by Annie Thornton 23:32 Archived in India Tagged varanasi delhi cricket_odi

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