Varanasi was a chaotic leg of our trip, full of unexpected incidents and difficult people. Firstly, our train from Agra to Varanasi arrived 7 hours late at Varanasi. The original arrival time was 10am, but it arrived at 5pm. There goes 1 day of our total 2 days in Varanasi. Secondly, we didn’t choose prepaid rickshaw (cost Rs 75 in 2011), but choose independent rickshaw instead to save Rs 5, he offered us Rs 70. We told him we wanted to find accommodation in Assi Ghat, and he brought us to MKP Guesthouse (we found out the next day that MKP Guesthouse is actually near Shivala Ghat and I felt cheated by the rickshaw driver). The rate of the room was Rs 350 per night, we felt it was reasonable so we took it.
Just after we expressed our interest to stay there, the guesthouse owner demanded full-payment. It was a foreign concept for us, usually we pay upon check-out. We responded that we do not anticipate about paying in full when we check in, so we don’t have enough cash. The guesthouse owner said that his nephew can accompany us to the money changer. We complied with their request anyway. (more…)