March 19, 2009

Day 067 : Benares

Originally I was scheduled to be in Benares during the hindu holiday of Holi...being the ignorant American I am, I had no idea. A phone call from Tripty resulted in me reconfiguring my schedule accordingly. Several days after the actual event there were still signs of a hectic holiday (notice the color streaking the steps)...

The multifunctional use of the steps is something I had noticed yesterday. Today as was able to set out much earlier in the morning I ran into yet another use for the steps...a natural drying machine!

Seems like people aren't the only animals finding more than one way to lounge along the river.

Don't ask me why, but I think I'm starting to develop a fondness for men with long hair that wear skirts...

I spent most of today weaving in between the river front and the tiny chaotic streets of the old city. The light , not to mention the scenery, was fantastic in these archaic alleyways.

More images as a result of my obsession with openings...

Bath time.

Interesting (this one's for you Julien!)

'Fair Trade' 030 : These girls tried to rope me in yesterday, but I stayed strong. Their story of 'Do you want to come to my uncle's shop? He has sold goods to Goldy Hawn and has an autographed photo with her. Come have a look!' wasn't going to work on me, no way jose. Well, that was yesterday. Today they somehow found me again while I was sketching on the steps. They spent a good hour with me, chit-chatting about India, about boys, about school, etc. Then of course they wanted to take me back to the shop. I kept refusing, showing them my sketchbook (which they wanted to keep because it contained 10,000 Vietnamese Dong! Little do they know that's equal to slightly more than 50 cents), saying that I needed to continue sketching as much as possible before catching my train to Delhi at 7pm. With some good old fashioned persistence they suckered me right in though. Before I knew it I was being escorted through the old city's alleyways to some silk shop! I figured if I was going to be a sucker, I was going to get something out of it! So after looking at countless silk scarfs (and countless photos of Goldy Hawn!) I bought 4 then politely asked, 'Do you mind if I have a look?' pointing upwards. We had a fair trade. This is what I got out of it...

A four stories high staircase led us through the floors of several family homes, upwards to the roof.

The building is centered around this courtyard which provides air and light throughout the building.

The rooftop provided a 360 degree view of Benares. The perfect way to end my stay in this special city.

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