Varanasi…Adaptation, once again…

Yesterday we met this lovely Indian couple at the airport.

In a perfect world, of which there is no such thing, every travel day, every tour, and every hotel would be to our liking. But, as we so well know, the world is an imperfect place, and our world travels are no different.

Last night we checked into a hotel, Ganges Grand Hotel, located in midtown Varanasi, that wasn’t of the caliber of the hotels we’ve stayed in during the first ten days following the Maharajas Express week-long train excursion.

When we arrived at the hotel by our assigned driver Ojuh, the hotel staff met us a few blocks away to collect our bags. No parking or stopping was allowed in the direct vicinity of the hotel. 
Last night during dinner, we noticed this cow entering a dress shop.

Fortunately, we only had a five-minute walk through the excessive honking of horns from tuk-tuks, cars, trucks, and motorbikes as we darted in and out of the traffic on uneven ground in an attempt to avoid getting hit or tripping and falling. This was the most traffic we’d seen in India thus far.
Finally, we reached the hotel to climb a steep set of uneven stairs to enter the lobby. The small reception area reminded me of “motels” from many decades ago when I traveled across the country with my parents as a child. 

We were welcomed and handed the box from Amazon India containing my new laptop, which had arrived earlier in the day. I am preparing today’s post using it, and so far, I’m pretty impressed. 

We were escorted to our room on the second floor. As soon as the door was opened, our hearts sank. This couldn’t hold a candle to the other hotel rooms of days (or years) past.

Lanterns and fabrics were carried on the heads of locals in preparation for a wedding.

The bed is hard as a rock; the room shows considerable wear and tear; the bathroom and shower are all-in-ones. In other words, the bathroom sink is in the same spot as the shower. 

Water covers the floor and doesn’t drain well, leaving the bathroom a slippery danger zone with the potential for falling on the marble floor. We asked for extra towels to cover the bottom to prevent falls while in the bathroom and when stepping outside the bathroom. 

After getting settled as best as possible in the room, we headed to the dining room for dinner. We hadn’t eaten a thing in over 12 hours. We giggled when we commented that it felt as if we were in a movie centered around international intrigue and espionage in the 1930s.

In our situation, I must be able to get food befitting my way of eating. There was nothing on the menu I could order. I asked for the chef (cook), and he kindly prepared a roast chicken and vegetable dish that met my criteria and tasted fine. 

Bleary-eyed and tired from a long travel day, we shared a few beers (no wine available). Since alcohol isn’t allowed in many Indian cities, this restaurant covers its beers with tin foil. Go figure.

Once again, Tom had chicken and egg-fried rice. It looks like we’ll repeat these same items over the next two nights until we leave for our following location that online appears to be more suitable for our desires and expectations.

Yes, I know, this is India, and yes, we’re adaptable and accepting of cultural differences, but we paid a lot of money for this tour and didn’t expect to stay in this particular type of hotel.

We looked up all the hotels booked over the next few weeks, and it appears this particular hotel was out of character for our 55-night tour of India. We breathed a sigh of relief and settled back into the reality we so often pursue, “love the one you’re with.” We’ll be fine.

I suppose our tour guide selected this hotel due to its convenient location to the Ganges River and other points of interest. This morning at 6:00 am, we met with our Varanasi tour guide, Avi, and proceeded on a tour of one of the most exciting and unusual tours we’ve done to date… a rowboat ride on the Ganges River at sunrise.

Need I say, we have some stunning photos to share tomorrow while today, in the short time we have left until our next outing, to continue to set up my new laptop with all the apps and files I typically use.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. Have a peaceful day and evening.

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