My first night I was tempted to stay in the comfort of my luxurious hotel. I probably spent more on this room, actually rooms, than I would need for the rest of my trip. I wanted to transition comfortably, I suppose, but this was over the top. It was room enough for an army.
The taxi that brought me there had arranged coming back to bring me to Muslim town to buy raw silk. I was tired and did not know if I wanted to leave my room, since I had paid so much for it. It was a trap. This was not me and I knew it. I decided to forge through my exhaustion and rally to town to check out silk. They brought me to a hidden store on the 3rd floor of a back street in Muslim town. I took off my shoes and walked on their middle eastern rugs surrounded by walls of decorative material. I asked for raw silk having not compared prices nor availability anywhere else. I was tired and wanted to get back to bed at a reasonable hour knowing I only had one week in this country. They had me. I was willing to pay most anything for some silk. They pulled out gorgeous earthy colors to include silver gray with hints of green as well as a burnt umber and sage green. The muslim man told me it was $40/yard. I was appalled and minimized my purchase to a few yards knowing I never paid nearly this much on other trips. He knew I was not going to shop around. I surrendered with a measly few dollar discount. He threw in a couple of soft wool scarves reminiscent of ones brought from Nepal by family. I bought a couple again paying exorbitant prices for India but I had no sense of the cost since I had not shopped around. A few days later I regretted these whimsical and extravagant purchases. However at the end of the trip, seeing that I had no time to shop, I was glad to have bought these few things.
My taxi driver busted through narrow streets with hoards of cars riding on your tail with no room for error. I commented on the insanity of driving here and he offered to let me drive. I was intrigued but too tired to partake my night of arrival. I would love to have experienced actually driving in India and in Varanasi nonetheless.
We returned to my hotel where he kindly offered that I pay less because we did not visit all establishments as discussed. I was in awe of a person who actually offered to give you money back in India. That was foreign to me. He then offered to give me a cheap ride to the airport the next morning if I needed it. I was sure the hotel had complimentary transportation to the airport but he gave me his card just in case... TBC.