Yesterday I walked all the way from Assi Ghat in the south (where I live) up to Lal Ghat in the north, which is virtually the opposite end of Varanasi and took the better part of an hour. It was a beautiful, clear day, too warm to wear a jacket, but fresh enough not to be exhausting, and perfect day for spending an hour in the company of Mother Ganga and her entire extended family.
And I saw my first ever live snake-charmer. Strangely, though, I had absolutely no desire to stop and watch to show. The cobra unnerved me, as did his handler, and all I wanted to do was record the experience (see my hasty snap) and then put as much distance between them and me as I could. So, clearly, I am not a snake person.
Behind Lal Ghat I found the Mehrotra Silk Factory where I was entertained by Mr Bal Krishna, who rolled out his wares and served me tea and told me how much he likes people from Germany (me too). I proceeded to finger every scarf in the shop and bought 6—I tell myself they’re presents—which are all lovely, and weren’t expensive, but nothing I can’t get at the Open Hand cafe and shop which is far closer and just as inexpensive. But somehow enjoying the hospitality of Mr Bal Krishna made an already most agreeable day a real delight, so I indulged myself. Or rather, my generous husband indulged me.