India 2001 Travel Diary, Part 12

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© 2001 Giles Orr

Wednesday 23 May 2001, 1600

Interesting development today: at our late lunch after our morning excursion, Bettye was talking about going on to the hills of India and Nepal when the others return to the U.S. I asked if she wanted a companion, and she said "sure!" Then I had to face up to the fact that both of us were serious. Especially when I found out her main preferred destinations, namely a good view of the Himalayas, the Dalai Lama's village, and Kathmandu. As she says, "how often are you going to be able to get to Nepal for a couple hundred dollars?" A week ago, I was sick, and wouldn't have even considered it. Now ... well, there are several hurdles - a Visa (Farley thinks it would be very easy for an American), changing our departure flight, and for me (not Bettye, who is nine month faculty) getting my boss to agree to me being away another week. Also, not least of these things, I have to decide if I really want to do this. I think I know the answer: I would have preferred to go there in the first place, and I knew that before I left on this trip. Now that I've found out how much I like travelling ...

We fly back to Mumbai tonight. The hotel has been very kind though: we don't have to check out until 1800.

Cave 16 at Ellora. More pictures here.

We went to the Ellora caves and Daulatabad Fort today. Both awesome (I shot a lot of film). "Cave 16" at Ellora is just ... incredible. It's a temple building carved right into a stone hilside, and the building is at least 10 m tall. It defies description. Several of us had photos of ourselves taken from the hillside above looking down into the cut.

We visited several other caves which all paled by comparison, although they were quite wonderful too. And then Dalatabad Fort. It wasn't as debilitating as the day at Banganga Tank, but it was close - incredibly hot. But so fascinating that most of us stumbled on despite offers to turn around.

Late lunch at the hotel, shower, recovery, packing, and a plane to Mumbai to follow.

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by giles