Tuesday, March 13, 2012



So, I checked out of Om Guesthouse.

The manager looked a bit surprised to see me leaving. This is by intent! He said, "Aren't you going to look at a different room?" I held up three fingers and said "Dirty, infested, noisy." He repeated himself and I did as well. It was like he wasn't getting it even though his English was very good. I think he just didn't want to get it.

The interesting thing was it was the family themselves who were making all of the noise. As I'm sure people who have read here know "If I wanted to hear a family, I'd have had one myself." I didn't complain. I can stand a single night of noise. A different guest did complain. Twice before they quieted down. Noisy people in India.

So, now I'm at Kedar. Liking it so far. Got a mosquito net (mozzy net in Australian) and they even put netting on the windows to keep the bugs out. Lot of bugs here. Bring mosquito netting to Varanasi - not every place supplies it. I'm not sure how you'd keep it elevated though unless there is something in the room to tie it to - like a ceiling fan. Accidentally turning on the ceiling fan would result in fun filled mayhem. Since there are usually a lot of switches and they aren't labeled...

Anyway, I'm just taking it easy right now. I'm trying to figure out the myriad of spaghetti like streets and alleys around where I am staying. Then, I will broaden my search pattern and try to find more interesting stuff within the city.


When reading my facebook, I sometimes read people thanking other people for getting together for birthday parties, meals and such. Sometimes, I get a small twinge. It would be nice to do that. But I realize that I can never permanently go back to that small room. The huge world beckons. I might visit there for a time but even should I stay I would remain a stranger.


I had mentioned that I might temporarily settle down somewhere to play computer games for a bit - it's cheap living. However, that place might not be the parts of India I'm in. It's rough getting consistent electricity, much less consistent internet...


I think this relates more to 'spirits' than to beer but I'm not sure. In India, a lot of different alcohol is 'finished'. That means they add chemicals to it in order to finish the process of making it.

These chemicals can be toxic.

According to the owner of the guest house I am staying at, 1000 people or more die every year to these chemicals. Police, politicians and other corrupt people are paid off to ignore these deaths by the 'alcohol mafia'.

Some of the alcohol (especially the cheaper stuff I've tried) has given me the hiccups. I think this may be due to the chemicals within. Anyone who knows me well knows I can drink straight spirits without any drama. But these mess with me. Repeatedly.

Hence, I recommend avoiding all alcohol in India. The beer - just because it isn't very good and is pricey. The other stuff so you don't die.


Why am I doing restaurant reviews? Chances are good that someone clutching notes from this blog won't find themselves in Varanasi but it could happen. Also, the reviews are so bad/outdated/misleading/did they charge money to put their restaurant in that frickin' book that I decided to do my own reviews. So here you go...

Vinod Restaurant: The 'special thali', 100 RS. While I wouldn't call it 'shockingly good' like the gushing Lonely Planet might, I would mention I made some 'yummy' noises while eating it. And possibily protected my food - prison style. Recommended. Note, they only have Thali sometimes. Presumably, when they feel like it.

Shiva Family Restaurant: I walked in and asked the guy to impress me and bring me 150 RS (a good amount compared to stuff on the menu) in food. He totally failed to do so. He brought one main and four pieces of bread, 105 RS. So much fail. Hence, I didn't get to try little bits of things to write a decent review. I can only tell you the one thing I had was 'so so'. Other than that, the exterior of the restaurant seemed clean, there were a lot of tourists there (few locals) and they have wifi - presumably free.

The Festive Villa Restaurant - run by the matriarch Chnnu. Wanted to use 'matriarch' in a sentence and there we go. I asked one of her sons (or workers, not sure which) to pick me something. I got the Paneer Tikka Masala. It was excellent. That's eggplant and paneer which are little white cubes I like. A meal here will set you back 100-200 RS. Nice food, nice people. In Assi Ghat.


Always assume monkeys and birds have sat and crapped on your soda bottles. Often they have. There is usually a good deal of rust as well. You've got five potential ways of dealing with this:

1. Learn to drink what I call "Indian style". This is when they hold the container a short distance from their lips and just pour in the liquid. Since my belly has it's own gravitational field, and my dexterity isn't what it should be, I've left this alone. If you get lucky, the place you bought the drink has straws. This also counts in the 'keep the nasty away from your mouth and try to get the good'.

2. Clean the top of the bottle as best you can. Often with your shirt or a dirty rag borrowed from the vendor.

3. Ignore it and build that immune system. (Or get some horrible disease.)

4. Use only screw top bottles. The threads are where your mouth goes, that will give you some protection.

5. Be one of those freaks who carries their own cup. And a bottle of clean water to rinse it with.


"Nepal is like north India on a good day." - Sabine.


I was talking to my brother, wrote this and thought it might be useful to someone else out there.

If vacation tally's $3000 (as an example) and you plan on leaving in two years (and make it a bigger priority than everything else period) that means you only have to cut $31.25 per week from the budget. Much more manageable that way and it removes it from 'someday' (the reason most people don't travel) and puts it on the calendar. But that's only if you really want to travel. Some people don't want it enough. Hell, you have a university degree. If you wanted to travel bad enough, you get a TEFL certificate (under $100 if you get it via the internet) and go teach English in foreign countries for a couple years. And they even pay you.

Options are everywhere. Most people who don't travel simply don't have it as a priority. There is nothing wrong with that. But if you really want it, possibilities abound.

Hopefully, this blog will help give some people who want it a head start.


For anyone who is curious about what I think about movies, I've finally figured out how to defeat IMDB. At least a little bit. I've made my list public and it can be found at http://www.imdb.com/user/ur4974482/ratings My hope is that if someone enjoys my sense of humor they might find a new movie they haven't thought about seeing that will give them some pleasure. Enjoy.

And, in case you haven't yet had the trauma of seeing Team America, this is why you should.


Matt Lunn Educational Video
Children's Chores
Crow Riding Cow
River Walk
Varanasi Back Alleys
Walking and Riding Tour Varanasi
Wind Noises
Cow Eats Trash
Kedar Paying Guest House


Something that looked more like a pancake (crape style, not US style) than the 'egg roll' it was suppose to be from a street vendor, 25 RS. Taste in the 'meh' category.

Small soda in bottle, 12 RS.

Kedar Guest House breakfast, 35 RS
Kedar Guest House lunch, 75 RS
Kedar Guest House dinner, 65 RS. Yes, odd pricing. Breakfast and dinner are great so far - had one of each. Tea is included for me but I'm not sure if that is normal.

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