Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spelunking Holiday

Two weekends ago we had a three-day weekend.  I went to Aurangabad, India which is in the same state as Mumbai.

Outside of Aurangabad are some amazing caves.  The Ellora and Ajanta caves.   This is the draw to the area.  Aurangabad also has the Bibi Ka Maqbara which was created by a prince in honor of his mother.  His father built the Taj Mahal for the same woman.  She was definitely loved.

My first Indian holiday was definitely just what I needed.  The weekend shared:
  • great people (my traveling companions Bobbi Jo and Andrea along with 7 other wonderful ASB faculty members who we bumped into and hung out with throughout the weekend).

  • unbelievable Buddhist, Jain and Hindu temples.  Seriously, how did they make these so long ago?

Elephants and pillars, Ellora
Bobbi Jo's favorite animal and becoming one of mine as well.

I loved everyone's clothing colors against the colors of the rocks.

The caves were so incredibly dark.

Amazing paintings.  No flash photos allowed so not so easy to capture.

photo by Andrea Johnston
  • scenery.  There is an incredible India outside of Mumbai that reminds me so much of the Cerrado in Brazil.

Boys doing some crab fishing.
  • a real break from everything.   The challenges, the noises, the chaos, the intensity.
 Here are a few highlights from our trip:
  • having a bad case of the church giggles when the doorbell rang for 10 minutes while Bobbi Jo tried to sleep and two hotel employees tried to save her ("No problem madam.",
  • laughing and chatting with 10 ASB friends in one hotel room while enjoying "grape juice" on a dry day, 
  • sipping on a delicious Fosters on a dry day at the Ajanta Caves,
Andrea and I and some nice cold Fosters, photo by Bobbi Jo using Andrea's camera
  • eating delicious tandori (aka "The Sizzer") and fresh lime sodas with friends,
  • feeling like celebrities as everyone wanted their photo taken with us and some even had us hold their babies,

They wondered why we wanted a photo with someone with such dark skin.
Photo by Andrea Johnston
Photo by one a local using Andrea's camera
Meet my new family, photo by Andrea
  • feeling peace inside the caves.  The type I haven't had in a long, long time.

  • seeing India's wildlife:  spider-like chipmunks with accompanying theme songs, camels, cows and crabs.

Spider chipmunk is in the center of the photo.  Can you find him?
  • sunning and splurging as friends treated us to a poolside afternoon at their hotel,
  • playing charades to entertain ourselves and other travelers both at the Aurangabad airport and on the airplane back to Mumbai.
I gave this weekend...
And for those of you Eat, Pray, Love fans, yes that is what you think it is.  photo by Andrea Johnston

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