Day 12: Varanasi- The Time I Met Hijira

All work-related things are shut today. I felt like doing none of the things, so I hung out in my room on the internet all morning. I ordered breakfast, which was some Panjabi dish, and it was pretty good. Way better than the toast… which worries me, because it was much more intricate than “toasting bread.”

The manager seemed annoyed, the creepy dude seemed annoyed, and only Brahveen was in any way cheerful. Too bad he doesn’t speak much English. I ordered juice and chai, as well, and got “mystery juice,” which was salty. So… didn’t drink that. I got a bill for the last week’s internet and food immediately after, and I thought “hell, maybe that’s why they are pissy. They think I’m not going to pay up when I leave.” No clue. I was going to get them a little cake tomorrow to be like “happy new year’s, thanks for being awesome (for the first 4 days of 10),” but I am hesitant.

After dicking around a good long while and trying to get my mobile broadband device set up (it does NOT auto install, like they claim, and I think the next hotel has LAN… and I just don’t want to be without internet at all…), I thought I would go to McDonald’s. Yeah, I said it.

I Googled the nearest one, which was about a mile away, and set out. When I got on the street, little creepy dude from the hotel was at a nearby paan stand, so I got some paan with him, while he explained to some people how he knew this giant white chick. Then, I just walked for a long time, thinking I would see the crossing where I needed to turn left.

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Going down the alleys, I was getting kind of bummed out. If you hate litter and starving animals, the alleys of Sigra is not the place for you. I walked and walked, and never found the crossing. I probably went the wrong direction, but how to know without Google maps? AT&T won’t unlock your iphone unless you give them a fat wad of cash, btw, so I’m using this crappy phone I bought for way too much money in Pune last year.

I started seeing things that made me decide to stay vegetarian while in the subcontinent… creepy chickens in creepy chicken cages, for example. No wonder the chicken from my curry the other night was so… dry? I dunno, when I tried to get it out of my teeth, it tore, like jerky. Then, there were carcasses hanging to animals I could not recognize. It looked smaller than goats… and I know they do not fuck with the pigs, which are huge… I don’t know what they were, but I got all jeepery inside.

I didn’t see a white person for my entire trek. I also realized I was in a pretty poor area, and I want you to think about that. The rickshaw drivers were all over my shit, and I just wanted to say “do you think I don’t see this fucking SEA of rickshaws? Do you think you’re the first one to hassle me?” They will seriously creep along side you, saying “hello? Hello? Mada’am?”

Eventually, I saw a hijira on the street. I didn’t realize I was staring at her, until she smiled with her crazy tobacco stained, broken, fangy teeth and said “HELLO!” Holy shit, that’s awesome… so I turned around, caught up with her, and got a picture of her and two of her friends. The one in front was dancing for me saying “Hey, mammi!” Life, right?

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So, I just kept walking, and suddenly, the chief monk of the Burmese monastery caught up in an autorickshaw. I hopped in, and we went to a Burmese temple for a minute, then he dropped me at McDonald’s. He has a lot of homework to do tonight, but I hope to catch up with them tomorrow and see what they’re doing for New Year’s. McDonald’s was bland. Maybe it’s different recipes for different cities, because it was alright in Pune.

I knew if I was at McDonald’s, I was only .9 miles from my hotel, so I asked one of the rickshaw drivers which way to the train station, then went the opposite. Walking to where I thought was “back,” I think one rickshaw driver got annoyed at me… and creeped. I had just said “no,” to a ride, and he said “‘no’ to everything?” and I said “yes, ‘no’ to everything,” and, unless I heard wrong, he said something along the lines of physically satisfying me, and that he would be there every night.

Good luck with that, dude. I love how when you offend a lot of guys, their comeback is like “well, I’d have sex with you really well!” Like… what? I annoyed you, and the first thing you think about when you’re annoyed is fucking me? Or… are you now trying to annoy me by offering to pleasure me? Whatever. Dudes are a mystery, and bike rickshaw dude is no exception.

I eventually took a wrong turn and ended up having to get an autorickshaw back. Now, instead of asking how much the ride will be, only to be given some outrageous number, I sometimes will just hand them a random amount of money and walk away. So far, no one has protested. I ended up getting some biscuits and Appy Fizz, then napping for way too long… but I got my modem working about 5 minutes before the accountant shut the wireless down.

I always have had excellent timing 😉

And I got the number to a rickshaw driver that the Australian uses all the time, so I won’t get gouged when trying to move hotels. When I came in, tiny creepy dude was being super annoyed looking and wouldn’t turn the wireless on because the accountant was away. Some other worker turned it on for me, though. I am super weirded out by this change from happy, “yay, you’re here!” to grumpiness… I want to think it’s their own lives, and it’s not like I see them interacting with other people, so it might be, but I’m paranoid that I somehow offended them and/or they are going to come up with some weird charges when I’m leaving in the morning.

I guess we’ll see.

Here’s a dude on a horse, completely unrelated to anything I’ve ever said:

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