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Lighting out for the territory nce more in the Middle East. The more I travel the more I want to travel and the longer that I am out of England the happier I am. At present in Iraq and having a wonderful time. really fallen in love with the country and the people. Very glad I came and

Thursday 30th Oct - Varanasi

INDIA | Thursday, 30 October 2008 | Views [762]

5.30 am. Early morning boat ride down the Ganges with M and J. Sounds desperately romantic, doesn't it?  Actually, the Ganges has to be the most godawful boring stretch of water in the world. Slow, greyish, nothing. It is overcast and humid and the boatman works very hard. At the main burning ghat men are standing waistdeep in the water with sieves. Sieving for noserings, goldteeth and earrings. All along the banks people are standing, washing, cleaning their teeth, dunking their children, blowing their noses - and did I mention, cleaning their teeth?

The old chap who explained the funeral rites to me said that there are categories of people who do not need to be cremated as they are already pure and are taken out to the middle of the river and dropped in with a weight. This category includes pregnant women, children, monks, people who die of snakebite....and lepers. did I mention they are cleaning their teeth in this river?

This, not Delhi, is where my Buddhist, my religious, pilgrimage ends. Delusion this deep is not right. Professor Dawkins, I salute you.

Cannot face trip to Sarnath in this heat so basically sleep all day. No room in this inn tomorrow so will find another and then book the bus to Nepal and have to get out of the heat as it is making me ill. feel rather ashamed not to have seen more of India and now know to avoid Africa, Australia and most of South America. Still, there are lots of lovely cold places to go and trains run to most of them.

Tags: cremation., lepers

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