India 2001 Travel Diary, Part 9

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© 2001 Giles Orr

Sunday 20 May 2001, 1000

I feel awful. Shaky and weak, clogged nose.

Phil and Harvey are both feeling pretty weak, but both of them have been among those stricken with stomach problems. Someone suggested we were lacking electrolytes, sweated out through the skin.

On the bus. The hotel boys (and they are boys) are slaving to load the bus, stuffing luggage into the back row behind me. After lecture and tour today, we're being put on a plane to Aurangabad. The luggage keeps coming and we're out of room.

I ... want to be back home, in the U.S. Not because I'm not enjoying India, but because I want to be in a familiar environment and just lie down and sleep and read until I feel better.


Masala being made at Jai Hind. More pictures of our last day.

At Jai Hind, our last visit here.

This morning, after another late night last night, Doug and I slept in rather than go to St. Thomas Anglican church. Not very many people went, I think. Breakfast for me consisted of one of Doug's Pop Tarts and some of his "goldfish."

Around 1030, we got on the bus. It took a while to load. We had a lecture here, on Gandhi, by a history prof. who elevates him to saint-hood. Perhaps he's worthy of it.

Lunch was hot, and not boxed - the masala dosa was made right in front of us, and the coconuts (for drinks) were hacked open on the spot. It was very good, but I found I had little appetite. Marc bought electrolytes at a chemist for several of us. I had some with lunch, and between that and getting out of our very damp room (clothes wouldn't dry, the sheets, mattress and pillows were clammy and probably moldy), I feel a bit better.

After lunch, we were shown some dances and a puppet show as a group, and then pottery, henna tattoos, and an astrologer were there for us. I'm sitting on the floor of the room the astrologer is in, because it's air-conditioned. The bus will be leaving for the airport at 1530 or 1600 depending on who you ask.

   - Elephanta caves
   - bad boxed lunch
   - afternoon free
   - another dance recital
   - dinner (some of us) at the Taj

The stairs on Elephanta. More pictures from Elephanta here.

The hike along the pier and up the steps at Elephanta was extremely hot. The stairs are lined with hawker's booths, and they're pretty "in-your-face." There are small monkeys in considerable number, and we were told not to eat around them, as they'll snatch your food. The caves are cool, though, both literally and metaphorically. I doubt I got many good photos - I had slow film in a point-and-shoot camera. Quite open, carved straight into the rock. Amazing.

The walk down was better, and both the boat rides were quite enjoyable. The boat took us back to the "Gateway to India" where it had picked us up, and we walked back to the hotel. I ate part of the boxed lunch, slept a few minutes, then went out. I found a tailor to fix the pants I ripped up on the bus. He agreed to have it done in an hour and a half, for Rs 50. In the U.S., I would have thrown them away as too expensive to fix. I walked south on Colaba Causeway, soaking in the ambience (and staying in the shade whenever possible). I found Colaba Market again, with the Silver House. I realized, with a bit more perspective, that the market does seem to be the dirtiest part of Colaba I've seen.

I didn't buy the Ganesha. I decided it wasn't worth it, not as beautiful as I thought. I bought a small, simple, heavy elephant for Rs 384, and a small box for Rs 510. The latter is a gift for someone, the elephant is for me.

At another touristy place I got an Angora scarf, dark blue. Totally useless here (too warm) but feels wonderful. Rs 500.

We were bussed well across town at 1730, to a planetarium where we saw another dance performance by another academic dancer. The room was warm and the seats excruciating. I really didn't want to be there.

Around 2100 we went back. Farley took a few people to the originally planned vegetarian restaurant. Some of the others, myself included, went to the Taj restaurant for dinner.

The electrolytes really seem to have helped. I kinda want to be here again.

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by giles