Travel Thursday: Varanasi

I thought I’d throw some old photos up from my trip to Nepal/India over the coming Travel Thursday posts.  This is one of my favs!

“I was strolling along the ghats last night after enjoying a few beers on a rooftop terrace when I came across the gentleman that took me out on a boat early that afternoon. He was squatting down behind a beat-up boat with a few other guys. I walked over and discovered that the boat they were bent over was actually his very own and that he was getting some help to get it sea/river-worthy. I watched them for a while and observed their skills using primative tools. I found myself thinking about how they might react if they could see the inside of a Bunnings.

While we were chatting, my new friend got me a chai from his mates shop next door and I showed him the picture that I took of him earlier that day. He stared at it intently. He got me to zoom in and he stared at it a little longer. He then said, in very polite English, “Would I be able to have a copy”. He didn’t have internet, email or Facebook so I told him I’d get him a copy tomorrow and before long, I continued down the ghats towards my bed; all the while listening to the hammer in the distance.

I had seen people carrying little printers around the main ghats for the tourists to have their picture taken and printed (not a bad business idea), so I decided to get a photo printed for my boat friend. While it was printing, a few guys sitting around commented that they were friends with this guy and seemed happy that I was printing the picture for him.

It only cost about 30c, but the look on his face when I showed it to him this morning was priceless. His older brother even thumbed the picture for a while before commenting that he looked like a King in the photo. His friends obviously saw him staring at the picture and they gathered around to look at the photo and make cheeky comments.  The smile on my new friend got bigger and bigger. I snapped a quick picture of him before saying goodbye – he insisted that when I come to Varanasi again, I only get a boat from him and he was looking forward to giving me another tour on the Ganges. After chatting all morning to the boat guys, I know that my friend will probably be in the exact same place if I ever come to Varanasi again.

And here’s the picture I shot.

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