onsdag 30 januari 2008 Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Indien
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Hey, hope you are fine. We are great, Gabriella is healthier than ever and I'm almost well as well, especially after my antibiotics and painkillers. (I think we have used as much painkillers together during this week as one person does in a year in general).

So, we are in Varanasi now, the most holy city in India, by the river Ganges. We came here Sunday evening after 5 hours in a car. The distance is 200 km, which takes 2 hours in Sweden. And I thought the roads in Ireland were bad... Ha-ha! I asked Kirti "Where is the road?" when we were driving on it.

We spent the last days in Gorakhpur with the children from the orphanage. Saturday was a national holyday, the Independence Day and we celebrated by watching a dance performance, preformed by the kids from the orphanage, which was HILARIOUS :)

We visited the orphanage during the afternoon and bought a sari to Kirti's aunt to thank her for letting us stay there and load of candy to the kids. Saturday night was cozy; Kirti's aunt and the kids cooked food over an open fire in the garden and sang songs in Hindi.

It was very sad to say goodbye to the children, the small ones gave us a hug and the older ones shake our hands and said "Goodbye Milla-didi", "didi" means "big sister", and asked us to come back soon. Abilash, the oldest of the boys, said he'd lock us into our bedroom so we couldn't leave.

The first day in Varanasi was devoted to SHOPPING. We hired an auto-driver for the whole day, he drove us around to all his friends, of course, and we visited a silk-factory, an other silk shop, two malls... I was completely wrecked afterwards. The silk shops are magic. You sit there, on the floor, and an old man shows you scarves and bed covers and textiles, in the most amazing colors and after a while you are like bewitched. And then you buy a silk scarf for like 600 rupees (10 euros) and come out on the street again and see the same for 150 rupees.

And we got our fortune told! It was one of the old men in the silk shop, he asked our and our mothers' names and did some counting with it before he told that Gabie will have a very beautiful and happy life, she will have some trouble with her eyes and lungs but live until she's 90 years old and will never have trouble with money or work.

And then it was me. He looked worried. Then he said that I was very clever, very intelligent, but I've had big problems when I was younger. I'll have back problems, trouble in my relationship to my family members, I have to be careful when I'm married because a blue-eyed person wants to ruin our marriage, I will fail two times BIG-TIME at work, people will be jealous at me... I'll become 80 IF I survive the great troubles I'll have at the age of 30. When he finished I said: "Oh my god. Will I ever be happy?" and he said "Yes. If you find a good husband and pray to god."

Yesterday morning we woke up at 5 AM to go on a boat tour on Ganges in the sunrise. It was me, Gabriella, Kirti, her aunt, an other man from the organization, a Swedish guy who works as a volunteer in a day centre here in Varanasi, an American couple and an old American lady. It was very beautiful but not a "religious experience" as described in Lonely Planet, it was too cloudy and foggy for the sun to make all the steps down to the river to shine like gold.

After a nice breakfast in a European restaurant I went to see the doctor because of my throat. The wife of a man who works for the organizations kept me company and showed me the way, she was really nice. He looked at it for like 2 seconds before he wrote me a prescription, ha-ha! After getting all my pills from a pharmacy we went to visit the day centre where the Swedish guy worked and these kids were absolutely WILD. There is a perfect word in Hindi for it; pronounced like “junglee” which means like “out-from-the-jungle”, “without any manners”. We taught them “Head, shoulders, knees and toes”. ?

We spent the afternoon in the old part of Varanasi, where the streets are so narrow you can’t go even with a rickshaw. We did some shopping and saw the most holy temple of them all, the Golden Temple, which has 800 kg (!) of gold on the top. Talk about bling… Oh my god.

The last night with Kirti and her aunt was nice as well; we did henna in a mall, really cheap, less than 1 euro. Gabriella did it first and she wanted to have her boyfriend’s name in Hindi and the Indian man who did it didn’t understand that I didn’t want to have it, so he started, I didn’t worry at all, then he asked, to be sure I guess, “Name you too?” and saw the panic in my eyes and started to laugh. HA-HA!

We said goodbye to Kirti and her family this morning; they were going back to Gorakhpur while I and Gabs will stay here until tomorrow. It was sad; they have taken so good care of us. Now it’s only the two of us. All by our selves in India. Scary, but good for my self-confidence I think, we’ve been like spoiled children here. Now we have to make it alone.

But these 8 hours since they left us has been really great, none of us is raped or killed or robbed yet. And I bought 10 scarves today. I’m totally losing it here. Anonymous shopoholics dot com when I come back, ha-ha. Take care, wish us good luck.

Milla Leskinen
Senast aktiv - från Singapore, Singapore

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