Today went off without a hitch and I am feeling fine at the end of it. I took my time getting ready before consuming my last meal in Varanasi: two cheese/tomato/onion toasted sandwiches, courtesy of my guesthouse. Once ready, I ducked down the street to buy some more medication, then hit the road. It felt so good to be moving on the bike again. It always feels incredibly good to be on the bike after a bit of a break. Getting out of Varanasi took some time, but eventually I found myself on more empty roads where I didn’t have to concentrate so much on dodging the maelstrom of cars, rickshaws, cows and pedestrians found in the city.

While sick in Varanasi I didn’t even have the energy to exercise my mind, instead just spending my time watching a whole heap of YouTube videos. My mind seemed to revel in the change of environment today by being incredibly active and imaginative, taking me away on long, whimsical daydreams. As a result, I didn’t pay much attention to the ride itself and I hardly took in my surroundings. Nonetheless, I noticed enough to know that I didn’t miss much. There were a couple of kind-of-nice river crossings and some beautiful fields of what might be canola (carpets of bright yellow flowers), but otherwise the landscape was fairly dull and dusty. I pulled down a dirt track to have some lunch and was quickly surrounded by curious locals. I considered finding somewhere else to eat but knew that anywhere I went I would be met with the same crowd of spectators, so I just ate anyway. Lunch was sliced bread spread with mango jam and wrapped around bananas.

I spent quite a bit of time riding around Jaunpur trying to find reasonably-priced accommodation. Some hotels took the piss by asking as much as 1,200r for a single room, while most hovered around the 500-800r mark. Finally, I came across one dingy hotel that gave me a room for 350r (AU$6.80). I cleaned myself up in the shared bathroom before heading out for some food. On my return home I sat with the manager (maybe owner) and had some tea, all the while being interrogated (in a friendly way) by an older man who must have just been visiting. The longer I sat and chatted, the warmer the atmosphere of the place became, as I learned more about the people around me. The manager’s little daughter came out and ran amok for a little while, and then two young guys turned up with guitars and I learned that the hotel manager is their music teacher.

I am in my room now and a bit worried about how the night will go – the manager warned me that the mosquitoes are really bad here and there is no net available. I have been given a mosquito repellent device to plug into room’s single power socket, but for now I have prioritised the charging of my phone’s battery. I will be sure to swap it out before I go to bed as I am already being bugged by several mosquitoes as I write.

Moving on

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 74.76km
Average cycling speed 14.9kph
Total distance ridden 17,026km