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February 26, 2008 - Varanasi, India

Written by GingerBlossom Published in
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Usually when I arrive to Varanasi, it's straight from the U.S., at least straight via Istanbul and Delhi. What I mean to say is that usually I just jump into the thick of rug buying while half-delirious with jet lag. Coming from Kathmandu has been a pleasure, there's only a 15 minute difference in time zones. Yes, India is 30 minutes off of GMT (plus however many time zones) and Nepal, not to be outdone, is 15 minutes off.

Shub, Shanu and I got an early start and at 7:30 p.m., I'm just getting back to the hotel. Badohi is the biggest rug producing area in India, but it's also farm land and is very spread out. The roads are not high speed highways, but it's most pleasant to be chauffered around by Shanu, able to watch the scenary, which is much greener than Rajastan. Having cut my eye teeth on reading Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham, I still get a thrill out of seeing the jackfruit trees, which line the roads, and stacks of cow dung drying for cooking fires. I also saw an elephant lumbering down the road with a load of wool on his back.

Carpet buying buying is progressing, albeit slowly. Except for Shub's beautiful rugs, I'm slowly filling in my wishlist. Shub said that his rugs are all spoken for, for the next 6 months, so I've left an order with him for next year.

It's going to be a late evening for me, I'm invited to a dinner for a Santoor Maestro, and I'm sure it will be well after 9 p.m. before we start to eat. Having only had peanuts for lunch, I hope that I don't do something crass like eat the flower arrangements.