Another leg completed….are we centipedes?
We are now in Mumbai (Bombay). We just landed from our flight from Aurangabad where we went and had our Mid Eastern leg of the trip. We were certainly happy to leave Delhi and fly in for our ancient carving adventure. Where do we start Amber wants to know…how about the beginning?
Our flight left Delhi at 1pm with no hassles. The security here is fantastic! Everyone checks your passports with your luggage tags with your boarding cards, the checked baggage is doubly wrapped with plastic packing tape wo ensure no tampering. We still use our metal mesh bag cages for our backpacks to further minimize any issues, but we have been most impressed so far.
Immediately after landing, it felt different there than the other cities we have been to so far. It was a bit reminiscent of Goa in the green feel, and less Delhi like without the pollution, so it was off to a good start. We were greeted at the airport by a representative from the Taj Residency Suites who took our bags and drove us to our hotel. It had a pool! We were most excited about that too. It seems the Aurangabad area is very Muslim and several times we were given nasty looks from both men and women alike for not being covered completely with burka’s, so again we decided to up the accommodation from low budget to one that was a bit more expensive, but was on par by our standards, to one with a higher level of security.
When we arrived our baggage was taken to our room that overlooked a beautiful green courtyard with palm trees, pink flowering bushes and the POOL! Did I mention we were excited about the pool? The first order of the night was to suit up and cool down. Afterwards, we went to the phone to call home and decided not to blog due to our growling tummies. Dinner followed…at least for me it did, as Amber was trying to maneuver a call home which took some time. We were both pooped by then, so off to bed it was.
The next very early morning had us eating breakfast and then into our private tour guided car with driver to go to Ellora. We thought the Taj was nice…well this was WAY more mindblowing. It was an ancient city carved into the side of a mountain. 35+ caves all with homes, schools, worship areas….some rooms over 30 feet tall and all hand carved. The scenery was breathtaking, and we can’t wait to show the pictures. You should google it to get an idea of what we saw….unbelievable.
While we were there, there were several schools on field trips with young children who when walking by continuously said “Hallo” in a very sing songy voice, waving and smiling. We took several pictures and video with them for it totally made us smile and couldn’t stop it was just so full of joy! Many many times in this leg we have been approached by locals to have our pictures taken with them! They are not used to seeing such white foreigners. It was hilarious!
Not that any of you would have noticed, but this blog was saved into the drafts section, so I am now picking up with it three days later…. we are still in Mumbai, but this time we are on our way out. Our last leg is now in full swing…
So, where were we….Ellora Caves….
You will simply have to wait until you see the pics. I will try and post them when I get back…16th century sculptures….in stone…Kama sutra carved into the walls….elephants…shiva gods…buddha gods….picture that!!!! (But not elephant Kama sutra thank goodness! lol)
We headed back to the hotel when the day was over pooped but thoroughly satisfied. We loaded up our towels, mp3 players and headed down to the pool for another cool down.
Dinner that night had us trying local Indian wine and prawns to die for….coated in corn flour, garlic, sea salt and pepper fried in butter…..our mouths are drooling just remembering it. Off to bed again to prep for another busy day to come.
Morning came far too quickly, but we headed down for breakfast and then off on a two hour drive to Ajanta. When we arrived, we were given the option of a 400Rs “cab ride” up the one mile incline consisting of four men, two poles and a chair to carry you to the top of the mountain and back. We both declined as we wanted to torture our calves again! Out came the Medicine Hat news with another contest entry being taken.
These caves were different in the fact they weren’t so much about the carving of statues and pillars, but more about painted artwork on the walls and ceilings. 16th century wall paper! The bat guano had a similar lovely pungent odor to it, enough to make you gag every once in a while with the heat warming the smell….
There were copious herds of wild monkeys here. Is it herds, pods, mobs flocks, schools, clans, or convoys for monkeys? Who knows….but they were swinging from the trees, babies and all feasting on the new shoots on the tree. There was a little chipmouse there scampering along when we first arrived, that ended up being our best friend shortly after we started exploring the caves.
We stopped in the shade to have a snack bar, and when my peanut butter chip one was opened, it smelled it right away and came running. It was so bold as to be right at my lap and Amber was freaking out a bit that it would attack, so I threw a small piece at it and it quickly took it away to gobble. It came back a few moments later, but the bar was all gone by then.
It was 45oC then, and our stomachs were roiling, we were pooped and not interested in seeing more of the same, so we jointly decided to jam out at this point, and head back home.
Once we got to the base of the mountain, we had a soda and chatted with some of the local guides. One guy said next August he was going to Canada on a VISA and then was “going to San Francisco and was going to disappear”. He wanted to go to the States, but wasn’t able to get a VISA that way, so he was back-dooring it. We asked about how his family felt about it, and he said he was leaving his wife and three kids behind and didn’t care about it. Sad.
We then went to wait for the AC bus to come, and while there we were swarmed by small children looking for chocolates, money, food etc, when they asked me for my hair barrettes. I thought why not, and went to hand them to the two girls when they started to snatch them. It was almost like feeding the bears they were so aggressive!!!
We then were ready to board the bus when Amber decided to unload some of her fruit bars and again was accosted so dangerously, she instead had to throw them from the window of the bus to stay at a safe distance.
On the way home from Ajanta, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch, but decided to go somewhere else when Amber made a quick pit stop to powder her nose, but was unable to even enter the stall due to all the deposits that had been made not only in the squattie, but ALL OVER THE ENTIRE FLOOR OF THE BATHROOM!!! We bid a hasty retreat pleading a time shortage and then bailed. Our driver was then so kind as to prescreen all future bathrooms for us prior to agreeing on which restaurant to eat at. We finally settled on one where the owners had changed hands that exact day and we were told that we were an extremely fortuitous good sign for his business by coming to eat at his establishment. No foreigners had ever been there before, let alone anyone as good looking as us…. lol
We ate and left. Going home we again rested by the pool before heading out. Amber and I were going to go out shopping, and started out on foot, but then had a bit of a spat because Amber didn’t want to walk to the shops and I did. However, she reasoned me to good sense as it was approaching dark, we were in pro-Muslim anti-white-women-out-shopping-alone territory, so we headed right back, and got our favorite car and driver to take us out on a tour. Thank goodness he did, for he took us to the exact stores we needed to accomplish our shopping missions….you men will be happy with your prezzies, let’s just leave it at that… 🙂
Back home it was laundry in the garbage pail time again, squashing things with our feet, wringing it dry with towels and hanging outside to dry off. We have it down to an art, but both still appreciate our Kenmore appliances!!! (even more now I think) but I suppose I can’t bitch too much as Glen does most of my laundry! Yay! Thanks honey….. Amber however has yet to find someone to do it for her….!
Off to dinner, for more red wine and prawns again. We needed to secure the recipe for them. Guess what else we discovered???? The “milk” we had been drinking in our tea and in our ice cream, did not come from cows…..Fred Flinstone would be proud of us…it came from Water Buffalos!!! Yup…water buffalo milk. We never had a straight glass of it, so we aren’t totally sure how it tastes naked, but in tea and ice cream it is good.
Bed now, for we leave for the airport at 7am.
I will post this now and start a new one in case this computer crashes….