Monday, 26 December 2016

Gorakhpur – An Indian Cultural Shock

Gorakhpur. Got off the bus and I walked straight to the train station. The city looked like a metropolitan shithole and I was about to sacrifice sleep and comfort to get to Varanasi as soon as possible. I asked the few hotel that was near the train station and they were full. One did had space but wanted 900 rupee for it and I was not about to fork out that much money.

Train station and the tourist ticket counter said the train is full. No more ticket for the 4pm train. Thinking back I should have just went to the normal ticket counter and bought a ticket but then again how was I to know since it was my first train ride in India and I had no clue what the system is. Next train was morning at 530 am or 630am then it was 4pm again.
Gorakhpur - India
Thinking I had no choice I went back to hotel hunting.

Row after row of hotels that ply the road opposite the train station all said they were full. I was starting to get desperate but pride would not allow me to go back to the one hotel that had a room for 900 rupee. End of the road and I headed back to the main junction to try the other side.
First hotel I asked, Hotel Gupta and they had a single room for 300 rupee. At this point I barely care how bad the room was but still I pretended to inspect the room before accepting it. Bags down I went out to eat and then back to the hotel to crash.
The room was a single bed room with a large fan that looked like an oversized oven. The fan had to be plugged in to a socket using bare wires and the wire crossed the room front door. One had to carefully step over the wire to get in or out of the room. When the door close I discover the attached single bathroom that had no door.
The large Box on the Right is the Fan ...
Everything about this hotel was like a picture from a 3rd rate indian movie.
I went to sleep after a shower which I erase from my memory of how I did it for it was so dirty I doubt I was cleaner after it. I tried to sleep with the very noisy oven fan blowing hot air onto my body. At 8pm I woke up hungry again and decided forgoing dinner was not going to be a good idea with a long day tomorrow. So far I misunderstood that the train ride was going to take 12 hours.
Walking out the hotel for a smoke a minute later a boy walked up to me and said I needed to check out. WTF was all I could think of. So many people at the reception and they were trying to kick me out without retu…..rning any of my money. 300 for the night but I gave them 500 as a deposit. Fine I told one of the indian guy who could speak better English and seem to be the one in charge (not the one who checked me in).
I go find a new hotel first then come back and check out ok?
Off to the left side going from one hotel to another again but thankfully this time I only had to pass two before I found one that had a room for 400. Cant be worst that the one I had I thought and I was right. This one was a double bed, large room a ceiling fan but a crappy squat toilet with no shower.
Upgrade ....
I went back to hotel Gupta and headed upstairs to pack my bags all the while being followed by a young boy who was keeping an eye on me to make sure I was leaving. He kept trying to take the room key from me but I held on packing in the dark and refuse to let him touch anything.
May I carry your bag sir?
No …. I can carry it myself.
Can you give me tip sir?
….. I wonder how dumb do they think I am …. Or how thick face could they be.
Back downstairs with all my stuff I demanded my money back first before I passed the keys. The guy who checked me in said it was only 300 rupee. My displeasure must have shown on my face but I kept a firm voice and said it was 500 as a deposit. The more in charge better speaking English Indian guy gave me 500 and I return the keys without a word.
Thank you sir and sorry about this ….
I left without a word nor looking back.
New hotel two doors down and I paid the 400 rupee and checked in only to go out two minutes later to find food. The initial reason why I came out in the first place. Local food and I had no appetite to eat but shoved the dhal fry into my tummy anyway. Going back to the hotel I stopped outside to roll a cig. The indian boys was so intrigue with what I was doing they could not keep their excitement off their face. I offered them and they scratch their head trying to figure out how the pieces fits. Soon I rolled two sticks of cig and offered it to them which they happily accepted.
Nothing like a peace offering to get good local helps.
I extracted all the information I could about the train ride in the morning to Varanasi to their best knowledge. Any info you get from Indian locals had to be taken with a pinch of salt anyway. Soon I was upstairs trying to sleep in a bed that seem to itch like crazy. I am pretty sure the bed has been there older than I was born and the sheets were probably not washed in years.
4am came and I could not wait to leave the blasted town of Gorakhpur.
I thought after traveling so much in so many different places nothing could faze me anymore …. But stepping into India … yep this is going to be a challenge like no other … can’t help but feel terrified yet the grin on my face is wider than ever …. The thrill of an adventure and I could feel it in my bones.
4am Train from Gorakhpur to Varanasi

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