Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Day 41 – Lucknow – Varanassi

Friday 26th October 2007

Waking up to a delightful breakfast of hard boiled egg toast and cornflakes was made even more fun than usual by the lack of tables. This resulted in a lap based breakfast before hitting the road and heading to the home of the Hindi religion, Varanassi. We are due two nights in this amazing city and I have every intention of combining some much needed R&R with some good old fashioned sight seeing.

We arrived in the afternoon and after unloading and ordering a spot of lunch at what turned out to be a very nice hotel we started to plan the rest of the day. First port of call was to be laundry, the hotel offered a service so we bagged up our clothes and send them off to be washed, simple. Just after sending the laundry off my girlfriend heads off to see what is going on downstairs, do they have internet, etc and locks me in the room as she goes. This would have been fine normally as I knew she was only going to be 5 minutes but as she leaves the laundry service calls I have sent them only one sock and they are sending someone up for the other half of the pair. A minute later the knock on the door reminds me I am locked and much to my girlfriends amusement upon her return, I have to slide the sock under the door and confuse the poor man from housekeeping.

After this mini drama we perused the list of hotel services and discovered a very reasonable priced massage and grooming service which after this many weeks on the road had a certain irresistible appeal. After some careful thought and deliberation me, my girlfriend and my little sister all went for the same package, the “Cheers 2” at the princely sum of £11 we were really pushing the boat out. For our hard earned cash we would receive a pedicure, manicure, oil massage, deep pore facial and steam bath. It all sounded a bit on the girly side but I was sold none the less.

When the time came I dutifully followed my little Indian man into the massage centre which sounded very glamorous but was not. Imagine a greasy spoon café’s kitchen but instead of gas rings and a grill pan there is a massage table and you have a fairly good mental image of where I was sitting. Unperturbed by this I just sat back and went with the flow. The man started off with the unenviable task of giving me a pedicure (those of you who know me will understand that my feet are very far from being my best feature). After working them over with the usual pedicure tools and cutting my toenails with a scalpel which he will also use later to cut my finger nails, he then decided the dead skin on my feet was so bad that he left the room for better tools. He returned a little later with a razor blade and proceeded to cut away at the dead skin. By the end of the manicure and pedicure everything looked good so I was willing to turn a blind eye to the strange methods employed.

Next I was asked to strip down to my birthday suit and lie on the table, no towel was offered to protect my modesty but again for those who know me you will realise that my modesty is not something I am worried about. Apart form the over zealous hair pulling and some “accidental” hand slips which resulted in me being touched in places that I normally only let my girlfriend have access to it was a very good massage and facial and after my steam bath (a tin lined shed full of steam) and a quick shower, I was clean, relaxed and ready for anything.

I found a small group of OzBusers on the lawn playing shithead and waited for the girls to come out of the massage centre. When they did ti turned out the modesty had not been an option for them either. Joint showers, joint steam baths and eyefuls of fellow female OzBuers flesh had all featured in their experience. The quote of the day has to be from my girlfriend who emerged stating that “that massage was only slightly less intimate than the ones you give me”. It was certainly an interesting experience all round.

This was all discussed in great detail over dinner and more games of shithead then it was time for an early night as a dawn cruise of the Ganges meant it was early start the next day.

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