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7.24.10:Last Day in Varanasi, India

Hit & Run with a side of Nirvana...

Today I woke up early and walked along the Ghats, hoping to get a glimpse of a freshly cremated carcass. I had no luck, but I did enjoy a nice morning stroll to start the day.

Our first stop of another eventful day was Sarnath.
After gaining enlightenment, this is the place where Buddha gave his first sermon. 2,500 years ago, he revealed his eightfold path to Nirvana, making Sarnath a notorious Buddhist center of wisdom.
The most notable sight is Dhamekh Stupa. This colossal tower stands 102ft tall and is said to mark the spot where Buddha revealed his path to Nirvana.
We ventured around the area for a while, visited several Jain temples, walked through Deer Park, and moseyed through ancient ruins at the archeological survey of India.
After a while, the killer heat was getting to us so we decided to pack it in.
We went back to the hostel, packed up our stuff for a long overnight train ride to Agra. We flagged down a rickshaw, hurled our packs in the pack and set off on another electrifying rickshaw escapade.
Every cab or rickshaw we ride in should be considered an adventure. If you've been following the blog (as you should be) you've heard my tirades about Indian drivers. One thing that amazes me is that, while I'm living these daily near-death experiences, I wonder how there are not more traffic tickets or more accidents. I've seen people drive for miles on the wrong side of the road, or suddenly stop in the middle of traffic to get out and ask for directions. I have yet to see anyone get a ticket. I scarcely ever see any police cars on the road, and despite the absence of actual lanes, turn signals, or driving etiquette, I have yet to see any accidents... Until today.
Today I was lucky enough to witness an accident from the backseat of the vehicle at fault. As we were coming to a stop in heavy traffic, our rickshaw driver tried to do some bone-head maneuver around a parked rickshaw. It did not work. He scraped the back and the side of the other vehicle and didn't even blink. As he rolled forward, he casually glanced back to see if there was a driver in the parked car. There was. The driver stared him down, they exchanged a few heated words (I don't know what they said but it didn't sound like an invitation to dinner) and then we were gone. No exchange of information, no insurance, just an 'F you' and we were on our way. I guess hit and run is just the way they do it here in India.

Posted by emichele 19:34 Archived in India

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