. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: January 30, 2001

Tuesday, January 30, 2001
Varanasi, India
India's FlagUttar Pradesh's Flag

Varanasi, India:
Latitude: 25° 28' 43" North
Longitude: 83° 0' 54" East
Altitude: 195 feet
From Seattle: 8710 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Scindia Guest House

Today's Travel:
Country: India
Region: Uttar Pradesh
Weather: Sunny

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 1391
Linear Dist: 270479
Countries Visited: 74
Regions Visited: 277
More stats...
Hotels: 530
Friends / Family: 338
Camping: 130
Hostels: 262
Transit: 87
Other Lodging: 13
Beers: 4521

Journal Entry:
When I woke up it was ten o'clock - I'd slept for eleven hours! I spent the rest of the morning getting caught up in my journal as I was three days behind. My goal for the day was to see the boservatory, get off the ghats, and see if I could find a bookstore. I walked down to the ghat where the observatory was built. It was built on top of an old palace and is very similar to the observatory Jaipur (built by the same Shah). I had seen some of the giant instruments from my river cruise a couple mornings ago, so I knew where it was, so I climbed all the step, found the right passage, and came to a locked gate. So much for the guide book claiming it was open nine to four thirty every day. The gate and lock looked pretty weathered, like maybe it hasn't been opened for a long time.

I walked down to the main (Dasasvamedha) ghat and then headed up the main street. The crowds were pretty thick and there were various groups of boys franticly dancing to drums around mobile shrines bellowing thick clouds of insence. I stopped for a bit and realized that I wasn't marveling at the ceremony, but rather how quickly the unexpected and absurd seem to become normal in India. A few blocks in I went in to an internet cafe to ask where a bookstore was. While there I checked my email and thn ended up spending a lot of money ordering a underwater housing for my digital camera - if I get to go out to the Andaman islands I should have some great photos! I grabbed some food from a little cafe (the bread and curry that was given to me in Allahabad yesterday) and then continued looking in vain for the bookstore.

I ended up back down at the ghat without having seen the bookstore, so I decided to try and find the one listed in my guide book. I walked about fortyfive minutes down to the farthest southern ghat and started looking. I didn't find a bookstore - though I did see two signs advertising some - but I did wander around the streets of a completely different (more working class?) neighborhood. As it got dark I headed back down to the river (the only chance I had at finding my way around), and then headed up to the Shanti guest house. I spent the evening hanging out reading, having diner, then watching the late movie on the television. Around midnight I walked back to my place (noteing that the burning ghat was still going full speed, they must operate around the clock).

Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Varanasi
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: India
CIA - The World Factbook: India

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