I worked with two American girls, Maria and Olena, as their tour guide in Benares. They contacted me through my apartment add on craigslist. It was the first time when I was asked to arrange a tour of Benares. It was very exciting for me because I always wanted to work in tourism sector. Maria and Oleana both were from New York. Maria was learning PR from New York University and Olena was doing law degree.
They were very much interested in real Indian life therefore I arranged their accommodation at my place. They had only two days for Benares and I wanted to show them as much as I could therefore we started right after they arrived in Benares. We came to home for a while and went to BHU right after an hour. After BHU we went to Dashashwamedh ghat for aarti. They liked aarti a lot, they were amazed to see that Hindus still spend more than an hour everyday just to pray a river, obviously Ganga is just a river for non Hindus. After Aarti we went to see the Bull shop which was one of their best experiences of India.
Next morning we went for a boat ride. After boat ride we went to Sarnath but could not go inside the Buddha temple because it was closed during the time we reached there. By the way we went to Sarnath Museum which Maria liked a lot. After Sarnath we went straight to Lali Baba which was best as always. We stayed at Lali Baba’s place for almost one hour, saw him wearing all those 350 necklaces, playing with skulls, doing puja etc………..
After Lali Baba we went to Kina Ram monastery, Tulsi Manas Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple (monkey temple). We went to a restaurant to have dinner where Maria and Olean asked me about Hijras, it was strange for me to hear about Hijras from them. We discussed for almost an hour about Hijras. Maria and Olena both were interested in Indian cuisine so I made them spend sometime in my kitchen with my wife. They also cooked Pasta with the Parmesan cheese I had. They were happy to eat real Parmesan in Benares and I was happy to see someone using it.
My overall experience of arranging a tour was just amazing, I enjoyed a lot. I would like to do this again and again. After Benares they left for Goa to celebrate New Year.