I'd experienced a lot for a naive little white girl - trundling along in an old Austin, ricketing around in diesel and pedal rickshaws; the spice and silk markets; the mosques; that undemocratic mix of people, existing in tension but flourishing anyway; beautiful people; screeching feral monkeys in towns, accepted as if pigeons; the ubiquitous cows, black, brown, dirty, everywhere -taking over streets, lying outside funeral vats, on train lines; big rats, when the train i held a ticket for caught on fire and was delayed for 24 hours, and the night meant a night on the train's station on a bench banging my feet on the ground every 20 seconds or whenever something dashed towards my shoes; great poverty and homelessness; bollywood; violence against newsagencies on valentine's day; grandiose temples; drugged out sadhus, circled by stoned westerners, checking out girls (ha); incredible food, and bookstores, and delicious chai; ashes of the dead being ceremoniously disposed of in the ganges, and bits of bodies pushed out into the river when relatives were too poor to pay the cost of having the entire body burnt. and this is just stuff the tourist remembers; they're typical snapshots. when i stop and focus on it, i remember much more singular instances.
Varanasi from the water 2001
And the second day i was back in Adelaide, I went out and bought a really big tv. I didn't understand why at the time. It makes more sense to me now, but the story still amuses me. So much for enlightenment - or maybe that's exactly the point.
Anyway, I didn't watch it much; I gardened. But it was useful later in the year when September rolled around and so much of the internet jammed.