NOTHING CAN STOP A BULLET
Varanasi was a joy for the senses. We arrived on the Royal Enfield and started to look for a guesthouse. Someone promised us a good price and told us we could stall the bike close by the guesthouse. We followed him into the smaal streets only to get stuck. We had two big backpacks on the bike which made the bike extremely wide. We had to remove them and Ilse and the guy from the guesthouse took them up. I enjoyed the whole situation, being stuck in these small streets.
The guesthouse was ok. We could see the rooftree from the neighbours out of our windows where a few kids were playing. I threw them some balloons, something I do a lot when travelling. But this time I realised I better never do this where I stay. The kids became obnoxious yelling and hitting a wire that was attached to the steel frame in front of the window. They just wouldn’t stop. I asked their parents and even the management to ask them to stop. In the end I had to throw a bucket of water… pfff
Varanasi is like no other place in the world. I had been here before, some thirty years ago. I remember being afraid never to be able to leave, such strong was the magnetism. We went walking the streets to the ghats and ended up at the burning ghats. This is something impressive. You can see the body’s burn, see the skull looking out of the fire, and it is a mass burning. Two three at the same time while others are being prepared.
Filming was not allowed so I held my GoPro in such a way that it didn’t look like I was filming. But someone noticed. When Ilse and me started walkin away from the burning Ghats I was approached by someone who told me he had seen me film and wanted me to come to the police office. I told Ilse to walk on and followed him into a strange space where an abandoned building was supposed to be the police station. I had to pay one hundred Dollar or go to jail. I already knew it was a scam but wanted to know if they could make the threat real. I had taken the mini SD Card out of the camera into my mouth while I followed him just to be sure. But when I arrived at this stage place I knew I could walk away.
The guy kept on following me through the streets threatening me when I suddenly stopped and told him to fuck off. He had lacy eyes and a disgusting aura around him. When he kept pushing me I slapped him hard. The street was full of people and everybody looked around. When they saw me and they guy many approved my action. He was a junkie and had no respect among the people in Varanasi. The junkie turned around and left, leaving us with a strange taste.
The other day we went for a trip in a boat on the Ganges. I had heard the stories of floating human bodies in the river and really wanted to see if it was true. I didn’t take long to see the first body floating bloated in the river. I asked the boy who was peddling to get closer to it. It was a woman with a blue sari on. Het arms were thick and full of water. Her face had gone leaving a sinister grin looking at us. We were in aw. I made some pictures and a video and made the boy go around the corpse another time.
Not long after I saw the next. It was washed ashore on the other side of the Ganga, not far away of a small hut where a Sadhu had made his home. This one was dressed beautiful, but also here the face was gone. I could not get rid of the sensational feeling I was experiencing something extraordinary, while in the distance people were washing themselves in the river and even cleansing their mouth in the water of the Ganga… Varanasi is a very special place and the atmosphere can only be compared to some scenes in movies. I remember the first time I came there and felt I was on Mars. I still think this is the closest comparison that one can make.
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