Friday, February 27, 2009

Ellora "caves"

Hi, now I'm in Aurangabad. I took a 7 hour train from Mumbai which was hot and extremely uncomfortable. It probably would've been fine if I wasn't hemmed against the wall by a family of four. The mom and dad had seats, and their 3 yr old daughter pranced around on the fold-down tables and the baby laid/squirmed on mom's and my lap. They had redeeming qualitites though. They were extremely nice people and shared their food with me. The kids were just about the cutest kids I've ever seen in my life! (Cuter than Mexican babies, if you can believe that) Everyone was quick to smile, and even though we didn't share a language, we communicated well enough. Still, I am hoping on the way back to sit next to grown-ups.
So today I went to see the Ellora "caves". There are quotes because the caves are actually carved out of stone cliff faces. It was beautiful and amazing and extremely hot. It's really, really hot here. But I saw some nice stuff and took pictures to share with you all.

The first picture is me and a class of 4th? graders. The teacher saw me and made me stand with the kids so he could take a picture. Don't know if I've mentioned it, but I'm quite the oddity here in India. Everywhere I go, people stare at me and people ask me all the time if they can take their picture with me. I am not kidding! Unfortunately. It kinda makes you feel special, but it kinda makes you feel like a freak. Usually I say no to pictures, because they're always teenage and 20 something yr old men and I'm not really sure what they're doing with my picture (are they bragging to their friends that I was their girlfriend? Am I gonna end up on the internet?). It sounds egotistical and paranoid, but if you were a girl traveling by herself in India, you would understand what I'm talking about. Sometimes men and boys can be really rude and say some really gross things.
Anyway, back to the story. This is my first picture with complete strangers. I figured it was a teacher and his kids, so what the hell. Probably the first time they've ever seen a foreigner- sounds like a Kodak moment to me if I ever saw one.

Seven Buddhas supposedly in different poses.

This was cool. You can't really tell the height of it in the picture, but the buddha sitting is twice as tall as me standing. All the ribbed stuff on the ceiling is supposed to look like wood, and there are intricate carvings of stuff along the bottom of the ribs.

Whoever carved this one has never seen real breasts.

A picture of some of the caves from faroff with a dried up stinky pond in the foreground.

Lemonade stand outside of the cave area.

Weird random horse procession in the middle of the street. You gotta love India for moments like these.

I am here in Aurangabad for another day and then I head back to Mumbai to buy linen pants, drink city coffee, and watch Slumdog Millionaire. I was only in Mumbai for one night but so far I like it. The streets are wide and clean and people don't stare as much. When I get back there I will take lots of photos so everyone can see.


Uncle Lindy said...

Hi Jenny,
I'm enjoying your tour, your photos and observations. I really respect your curiosity and bravery. I've looked at the photos several times over the last month since I got the url from your dad. From Slumdog I got the impression that many of the slums had been removed from Mumbai. Did you see anything that looked like the slums that the kids were running through? About the upside down columns in the Istanbul Cisterns - our guide told us that the Muslims put them upside down on purpose in order to show disrespect for the Greeks and Romans who constructed them and, of course, were not followers of Islam. The Muslims took the columns from ruins in Ephesus and elsewhere in Turkey and brought them to Istanbul. Enjoy, and keep the photo tour rolling. -Uncle Lindy

Pinky Royale said...

Damn, Jenny! You are by far the coolest lady in the WORLD! I really want to go to India and seeing your pics and words makes it even more so. You are a true inspiration and I love you.Keep up the goodness and when you return I look forward to a 37-hour slideshow.

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