India, Day 21 – Varanasi
Yesterday, after checking into my current hotel, I didn’t do anything touristy. I walked up to Varanasi Cantonment, which is where all the expensive hotels are. There’s also a mall, JVH Mall, on a street called The Mall. There’s a McDonalds, but not much else of interest.
I spent some time on the internet. I left a message on the travel blog of two Americans who are in Varanasi now – and got a message back. There’s some sort of New Year’s do at one of the aforementioned expensive hotels and it looks like I’ll be meeting them to go there.
I also sent a message to Emirates airline. And not just randomly – I flew with them to come here. I queried whether I could change my return flight. I don’t know if I will, but if the kind of frustrations I’ve been having continue then three months is going to be too much. End of January is a possible return date; that will leave me enough time to visit Jaipur (the third vertex of the Golden Triangle) and a couple of other places. The truth is I miss my home comforts, the familiarity and the stability. I miss Korea (how sad is that?).
For a while now I’ve known that my ‘Silver Donation Level’ in Aegis would expire on 31st December. It expired yesterday. Which was the 30th. Anyway, I’d already bought 20 Runes (Aegis is a free game, but you can pay for extra bells and whistles by purchasing ‘Runes’; a Rune is one euro) so I could upgrade to ‘Gold Donation Level’. Then I discovered that the extra things you can research all require you to buy more Runes. Aegis is the best on-line game I’ve played so I don’t mind paying for it – but I won’t be logging into Paypal from an internet cafe in India, so it’ll have to wait until I get back.
After two and a half hours on the internet I went to Varanasi Junction (from where I’d earlier picked up a few reservation forms) and attempted to buy a ticket. After a good few minutes puzzling over what train to go for (and why the station timetable listed different trains than Lonely Planet) I queued for maybe twenty minutes to get a ticket.
Just behind me in the line was an Englishwoman who was cancelling tickets because her husband was sick. They were one month into a twelve month round the world trip (well, South and South-east Asia and South America; she might have mentioned Australia as well).
When I finally got to the counter, the man told me to come back tomorrow – they were only doing cancellations. Now why do I have the suspicion that that wasn’t true and he just wanted to get rid of me?
First stop today is the railway station again. This time at least the Foreign Tourist Office should be open.
Addendum – Day 22
I’ve just beeen to the railway station again, and the Foreign Tourist Office is full of foreigners. I got there around midday, and couldn’t be bothered waiting. I tried the normal ticket counter, but the man there told me it was only for today’s tickets. I should come back earlier in the day tomorrow or the day after.