No Place As Home
Contact Daniel: noplaceashome at yahoo.co.uk
General Musings (2)
Guide to this site
At home in the world
Not very heroic
Small town West Bengal
An ending approaches
Sights, frights and memories
Everyone's cup of tea
Introduction to Gari
In the hate period
Don't take this too seriously
Making the bag
Things which make me angry
September 28, 2004
Today I am to buy a ticket back to England - if everything goes to plan, my round the world trip will end with a return to my home country in a few days time. I'm ready to stop now; and I suddenly realised a trip back to England for about three weeks was what I wanted, before beginning my one month relaxing in Chiang Mai. October in London, November in Chiang Mai, December and onwards in Sydney. Praying my money lasts...
Fourteen months of travelling, the end is imminent; I feel a little sadness but mainly relief and satisfaction. Stopping now is patently the right thing to do, and so regret is hard to muster. And a return home feels perfect as the full stop to this period of travelling, a way of grounding myself again in my home before I set off for Australia and who knows where. And I hope Londoners won't mind me saying this, but I also suspect three weeks in London's rainy, dark October will neatly quench my nostalgia for home, giving me fresh fuel to explore the world.
I'm writing this on the great stone steps leading down to the Ganges - Varanasi Hindus take their morning purification in the cold brown water of the holy river. The air is cool - it rained heavily last night - some blue is appearing in the office grey sky. A young light skin toned woman has just come and gone, kneeling on the lowest step, she collected some Ganges water in a little brass jug and departed. She will throw the water over a shrine to whichever god she will be worshipping today, I think. A goat stands next to me on the steps, brown and white hide, it looks around in only the depths of dullness that Varanasi goats can pull off. A man in a tan shirt and brown trousers is now taking water by hand from the river and mixing it into some kind of flour. He kneads the resulting dough, shaping them into balls - I hope it is meant for a God rather than a restaurant, or at least not a restaurant I visit. Teenage boys in their shorts swim and shiver in the water in front of me, one grins at me typing and a while later I take his photo.
Part of me cries: Each week you have seen something so incredible and unique, if you had left last week, you'd never have seen that boy swimming, that goat, that man kneading dough - you'd never have come to Varanasi at all! It is a hard thought to wrestle with. I know that fresh wonders await in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Mumbai, and I have friends who are willing to put me up and entertain me in a couple of places. Part of me also worries about the impending loss of my superhuman status - this life unfettered by everyday concerns of job, house and city. Will I remain as interesting once I am no longer a traveller? Will I retain some sense of specialness about myself if I am longer doing a special thing?
I console myself on the last point that, aside from the superficiality of its whining, I am still doing something fantastic - spending a month relaxing in Thailand then going to Australia to work.
Only a few more days to go, by Thursday night (September 30th) I'll be sleeping in my old bed again. Very unsure what my return will be like: post andrenalin depression; shock at how much everything's changed; shock at how nothing's changed except me; pleasure at all the things I've been missing? To my surprise, it looks like the final city I will be describing in this travel diary will be London.
Cow shit drying:
Silk looms, many of these manned by children:
This sweet little girl neatly ruined my planned photo. The house had a cow standing inside it, I was about to take a shot of it, then this little girl walked down the street and turned to go into the house. She saw me and immediately posed, neither asking to see the photo nor for money, thus losing me my cow snap. You can see a bit of the cow behind her though.
Shiva temple and the moon:
Daniel, 27 September 2004, Delhi
Posted by Daniel on September 28, 2004 07:56 PM
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