We rented a yellow taxi with open windows and went direction Howrah Train Station. In the first minutes I realised: everybody who drives around has a horn and has to use it. At the beginning the ride was fast, but step by step the streets became smaller, the trafic more jammed, people drove very crazy, try to pass other vehicles from right and left, on the wrong side of the street, try to ignore people, cows, dogs, bicycles, rikshaws by using the horn…. and at the same time the air pollution boosted up terrible strong and I got the feeling to puke in the next minute.
Amazing and colourful scenes passed by on nearly every corner, also a lot of very poor areas with plastic huts, beggars and a lot of dirt… and after more than one hour we arrived the legendary Howrah Hotel. Actually we wanted to rent a room to overcome the 8 hours waiting time for the night train to Varanasi. But a glimps in some of the rooms gave me the uncomfortable feeling I could catch fleas, lices, bugs ….. Alfred looked around for alternatives, he came back and the only one he found (except a very expensive hotel) was a restaurant like a cave but quiet (without dealers, beggars and kulis, like outside in front of the train station). In this first hours in India I realized: here I am in a men´s world. Almost only men acompannied us in the airplane. All drivers on the streets are men. Nearly every service job is occupied by men and most of them seems to be not very engaged in it. And often, I have the feeling that they accept western woman with their indipendent behavior as an unpleasant fact. We spent some hours in the restaurant, but the waiter asked all five minutes for the next order, so we went to the train station. We arrived inside this overwelming and chaotic building, and I took care of our lugguage (with the whole Banyan exhibition in it) and Alfred checked where our train will start. In the meantime, a policeman passed by and told me: “Be carefull with your lugguage“. Thank you, Mr. Policeman, to scare me instead to be in company with me or give me some help to find a better place. We spent some hours at platform nr. 8 waiting for our night train. The very loud loudspeaker announcements didn´t stop for one minute and the cars, which can reach the platform, tortured me and my cough with airpollution. Half an hour before midnight the train arrived, we entered our wagon, our bed, happy about something to lay down on.
After a 15 hours ride through very poor countyside areas we arrived in Varanasi, the town of shiva, a fairy tales town between medivial time and moderity.