Saturday, May 3, 2014

The world's best toilet.

One of the peripheral benefits of travelling around a bit is that you get to see an amazing array of toilets. Starting blocks, squat, western, to wipe, to wash, pay or not (and some you have to pay for but really shouldn't have to)...and any variations on the theme.

Varanasi, Assai Ghats at one end of the many ghats along the river Ganga. Thankfully not one of the funeral ghats. We were staying nearby in the cow paddock with a hotel attached but the view of the river was fantastic. In mist and with the river still it was easy to forget the flotsam and jetsam which accumulate from burning bodies, water burials and the inevitable junk which seems to accumulate in every Indian river.

There is a really yummy pizza place right on the gnat. It's a good option for the occasional jump back from Indian to western fare. Sadly the toilet didn't come with a warning.
No problem's just up this path, past the cows and then it's the next door. Too easy, and it was.
The path was no problem.
The cows locked in their room were a bit more challenging. They had been there for some time. It was cold but there was steam rising from the copious amounts of cow poo all over the place. Even Indian cows have trouble with the food sometimes. Thinking how clever I was for having sturdy, waterproof boots with high tops..I struggled manfully on.
The fact that there were rats all heading the other way should have been a warning sign. That they were mostly convulsing and holding their noses should have been another sign. Foolhardy to the last I searched for the Holy Grail through the door. To hell on earth.
Now I don't want to exaggerate because that would be misleading. The toilet dated from somewhere in the early Moghul period. I could tell this because it certainly hadn't been cleaned in any way in the intervening centuries. It had also been a popular spot for relief. But the gag reflex was sorely tested.
Very worried that my shoes were being eaten away. Seriously thought that throwing me in the river was going to be an option to clean the smell off. All pervading doesn't nearly do it justice.
I must be getting soft.