Ah, we found the cows!

Ok, so some of what people have been telling us about India is in fact true, in Varanasi at least! Cows are roaming freely through the streets, in the shops etc. Forget Sri Lanka, there can’t be any crazier drivers than what we have seen here! Cows rule the road and the word is if you hit and kill a cow you will go to jail. Furthermore, it is told that angry villagers will demolish and then set fire to your car! You do not mess with The Cow here. Fortunately our driver, Bheem, is a pro and has negotiated us through some unimaginable traffic; cars, bikes, people, cows, dogs coming in all directions! He’s a man of few words but man, can he drive!

We are certainly a curiosity here, people openly stare at us and follow us through the streets. School children in particular find us quite amusing and are quick to try practicing their English on us. A few days ago some youngish boys asked to have their picture taken with me, and did so on their camera phone and then ran away and giggled.

The economy is struggling here, as elsewhere, and the incidents in Mumbai have drastically impacted their toursim business. We’ve been told that the hotels, which are in high season right now are at less than 50% occupancy.

We spent some time at the Ganges last night and again for a boat ride this am. It’s part of Hindu religion to pray to the Ganges twice a day, once in the evening (to say goodnight) and again in the morning. We witnessed cremation ceremonies this morning at the river bank, meters from where families were bathing and washing clothes. Only men are allowed at the river to oversee the cremations. Furthermore, pregnant women or children under 10 who die or people who die from snakebite or leprocy (apparently karma is intervening here) cannot be cremated and must be thrown in the river when they die. This all makes for an interesting boat ride!

I have taken it upon myself to respond to ‘Sir’ as I am getting frustrated that no one addresses me directly (except for young boys and children!). Women are definitely second class citizens in this culture. When walking together, or at a restaurant, at a hotel etc it is constantly ‘How are you today Sir?’, ‘Can I get you anything else Sir’, ‘Have a great day Sir’. It’s become quite laughable to me and I find myself responding quickly to all of their questions (although I do find it amusing when they call G Mr. Dobbie or better yet Mr. Sarah. Anh – He really is feeling like Mr Big here! How am I going to de-peacock him???).

We’re off on our overnight train to Agra tonight. I suspect it’s not going to be quite like it appeared in ‘The Darjeeling Express’ but we’ll let you know!

PS – Still no Delhi Belly but G did go with the Rogan Josh today, so we’ll have to see how that works out 😉

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~ by sdobbie on January 13, 2009.

3 Responses to “Ah, we found the cows!”

  1. Hey Sarah and Mr. Sarah Dobbie! Oh how if only they knew the real story! hahaha That is quite funny. I think the peacock feathers are tighly tucked away aren’t they? Also I remember watching a documentry once and in Bombay they have “monkey wranglers” have you seen any?

  2. Both my parents are male!? Mr. Chirpys! This is great! I think you will like Agra…tell us all about it soon! We miss you alot and enjoy reading the blog we are doing great and enjoying -20 C. here in Toronto!

    P.s Please make sure you tell us about any CR reactions! I am sure (positive) you will experience a few days of CRs which will put me at rest!

  3. I don’t know if i am doing this right. Glad you are having fun and not killing any cows. Just thought I would let you know, the guy that killed Terry got convicted. The sentencing will be in March. They are going for lots of jail time. Talk to you soon. P.S. Have a burger on me. Ray

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