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Varanasi, India

When I was cycling I was looking forward most of the time. Now, editing the video, I’m looking back. When I watch some of the footage, riding along some road, I can usually remember quite well what comes next: each bump that shakes the camera, each truck that passes too close, each signpost. Though now that I’ve watched the video all the way through, all 52 hours of it, I’m not sure if I’m remembering it from having watched it or from having experienced it.

Now I don’t know what comes next. Another six weeks in India and then home. England. But with no job to go to and no home to go to I don’t know how that’s going to work, so I’ll just concentrate on what’s happening now and hope that things sort themselves out, which they probably won’t, but you never know.

There’s a sign here in Varanasi that says:

You can know your past-pre sent-future

and then an arrow below it. I’m thinking that tomorrow I might follow the arrow and see what they have to say. But I might not. I don’t know. When I passed it yesterday the place looked like it was closed.

A guy, pretty old, shook my hand yesterday and held onto it with both his hands, turning it palm upwards. I thought he was going to tell me my future, but he was doing a massage and he wouldn’t let go so I let him continue. He said: I’m a massage guru. I don’t want money, but I knew he would and when I said that’s enough and handed him 20 Rupees he asked for another 10.

His hands were sweaty, but so were mine (it’s the heat) and apart from the unpleasantness it wasn’t a bad massage. He did both hands and arms, my neck and my head and then was starting on my back when I told him to stop. I didn’t want to take my shirt off.

I spent about an hour trying to find a cash point this evening, walking in a long circuit around the old town. Most of the tourists here don’t seem to stray far from the ghats.

The streets are full of pedestrians, cycle rickshaws, motorbikes, cars and cows. The cows here are very different to the ones I encountered in Canada. The Canadian cows would run away when they saw me on my bike, whereas the Indian cows don’t appear to be afraid of anything. They’ll set in the middle of a busy road knowing that the traffic will negotiate its way around them. I’ve not yet seen a cow get hit, but it must happen.