November 5, 2010
I’m exhausted. I’ve been walking around Varanasi with Mowgli all day, the boy from the Jungle Book (that I’ve been willing to read since I arrived here; I also want to read Alice in Wanderland, don’t ask me why). I met him last night, he told me about the essential oils he’s studying with his uncle, Aroma Therapy, so he convinced me to go to his “uncle’s shop” (how many uncle sops have I visited in my travels?). I knew I shouldn’t have gone because I can’t not buy when I’m in a trap like this. But my friend Giorgia, who is studying Aroma Therapy for real, says that essential oils are very expensive. So maybe it wasn’t such a bad business I did. And I bought this oil that should help you sleep better, for my dad, so maybe he will stop complaining I never think about him.
Later Mowgli came with me to the university campus, about a couple of hours walk from the old town, and despite the fact he was talking about interesting stuff (religion, yoga, ayurveda, fabrics), I get tired when I spend too much time with the same person alone. So a few minutes ago I told him I had to go and came to this café-shop with wifi. One nice glass of lemonade. I deserve it. I also had a nice piece of carrot cake, with Mowgli. We came here together for coffee and tea, earlier.
It’s weird, when you travel for a long time you miss the ordinary things that when you are at home bore you. I miss cooking for example. I wish I could bake a cake right now and I want to make that past with tomato sauce and mozzarella the way I like it.
Last night I was excited because I was about to have a pizza for dinner. When I finally had it, of course it was disappointing. I had big hopes about it, because it’s cooked in a wood oven, but it looked like the frozen pizza you buy at the supermarket, and of the worst quality. Ok, you can’t really expect to have real Italian food when you travel abroad. But I really needed a pizza after so much Indian food.
Anyway, here I am now in the place where they make the best coffee in India; they also sell scarves, table covers and clothes that I can’t resist to. It’s beautiful. Indian textiles are colorful and beautiful.
While I was on skype with Enrico, that always checks I’m not going out with bad companies, I thought of the cool guys that you meet in the street here in Varanasi, and in particular along the Gange. I don’t know if they are guru, priests, ascetics or what. They walk around wearing white, yellow or orange sheets around their waist, they usually have very long hair (but clean, in most cases), they seem wild, a hunky chest in display… well, quite attractive, in my opinion. Yesterday I had to turn around to look at two of these guys because I couldn’t believe it! And they don’t seem to care about women. They are the only men in India that don’t look at women. Shame. But I would like to talk to one of them one day. They are like the three men pictured here, of which the one in the middle is from Iran. Similar, but younger and more handsome.
Today we are celebrating Diwali, a big festival in India. They cleaned the streets from cows’ poo and took off the rubbish, so people can walk around with bare feet. It should be the festival of lights (with all houses fully lit), if I’m not mistaken. Or maybe that of the lights is in a few days. The problem here is that nobody knows anything for sure. Like in Nepal, when there was this big festival but everybody gave me different information. Well, I’ll see how it is tonight. The only annoying part are the firecrackers, shooting all the time. As if car and bike horns weren’t annoying enough.
When you walk in Varanasi you have to be very careful, because in India the only effective law is that of the jungle, the strongest wins, so the poor pedestrians must pay attention to everything: a sweep of cow tail in your face, bicycles, rickshaw, motorbikes, cars, monkeys that pee on your head from the roofs.