We arrived at the hotel in Delhi we had booked in England to find it grotty, dark, unfriendly and overpriced. So next morning went to hotel metropolitan. Half the price, had a window and hot water. We stayed 2 nights instead of the 1 as the train we had booked the next day was canceled meaning we had to stay an extra night.
Before we left the uk we let the bank know that we would be in india and they assured us our card would not be stopped now they knew this. On our first day in India we could not draw out cash and when going to an internet account found our account to be non existant. We found a STD! (phone), and spent ten pounds explaining the situation to a bank worker in england who assured us in 15 mins our account would be active and that it had been blocked because of unusual activity (ie, india!). 48hrs later it was still non exisatant and so the procedure of phoning the uk bank was repeated.
Sudakini bought an India sim card for her phone, this was time consuming and involved her giving details about her mother and father along with visiting a shop with a special room(escorted by a boy) with curtains and umberellas to have a photo taken, which when printed we had to present to simcard shop. Absurd.
we went to catch our train to Varanasi at 8.20pm which was 2 hrs late. We had to book 1st class as no others available until a few days time. It was small, stinky and dark but had a lock on the door but we slept pretty well. Unfortunately it was 7 hrs late arriving. We had a contact number and a guy called Kylash met us and said that as the Dali lama is coming everwhere is full and no room at all in saranath. He found us a room for R1000, the next morning we moved to somwhere else he had arranged for R1200, these places are way above our budget which is more like 300 - 400R. We went to the ghats and had a nice walk and saw many bodies being burn, it had a peaceful atmosphere. A boy told us the hotel behind us overlooking the ghat was 500R, which we discovered was true. Kylash, our helper was horrified to think of us staying there, sudakini wasnt keen either. I am worried about money. We have just found out there is 67Rupees to the pound, not 80 as we had thought. Kylash has invited us for dinner tonight with his family, so we will do this and tomorrow go to Sarnath and pray we find a place to stay as it is a long way to commute, apparently there are 25, 000 monks here at the moment. We are grateful for this opportunity to take adversity as the path! xx