Trip Start Sep 04, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Lake View Guest House

Flag of India  , Rajasthan,
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Okay, here's what's been happening lately.  Saw some ruins in Hampi, which is a small town, very cool and laid back.  Went to Aurangabad, from which I saw caves at Ellora and Ajanta, both UNESCO World Heritage sites that, honestly, put Petra to shame.  Specifically, one temple at Ellora that was carved out of solid rock from the top down over a 150 year period.  One of the most remarkable things I've ever seen.  As a special bonus, both of those sites were free because of a holiday.  But check this out, usual entry fee for an Indian: 10 Rupees, for a tourist: 250 Rupees.

One thing they don't tell you in guidebooks or on the Bureau of Indian Tourism website: don't look out the train doors or someone might chuck an old Palestinian missile (rock) at you.  That story will have to wait for awhile, as its current incarnation contains an inordinate amount of expletives.  I'm talking inebriated George Carlin territory.  But, Hinduism provides endless opportunities for blasphemy with 330 million deities, so that helped some.  Then, I get into Udaipur, and an old woman squirts water all over me as I pass in a rickshaw.  I'd like to think that she's the only thing between me and a record setting 65 yard field goal, but Indian society frowns upon kicking old women in the teeth.  Go figure.  That being said, there are plenty of nice Indians.  I am vacillating daily between a deep and profound appreciation of all humanity, and pure misanthropy.  The latter prevailed yesterday.
Today I took a cooking class, which was a nice change of pace from sightseeing or transportation, and helped me relax.  My hotel is nice as well, with M.C. Escher inspired architecture and a nice view of the lake.

Train travel in India is pretty nice I think, although some might pay a bit more than me to be more comfortable.  The only challenge is actually getting a ticket.  The have a quota for tourists, but those go pretty fast as well.  So, I sat down and actually planned out two weeks ahead, which I would prefer not to do.  However, after doing it, I kinda got carried away and kept going for the next few years of my life.  First, I'll finish this trip and come back to Colorado in time for the last turns of the ski season.  I'll figure out a career, probably involving a pyramid scheme of some type, and meet a girl (every plan must contain an element of fantasy).  My backup plan involves myriad types of soothsaying, which India is prime territory for.  Palmistry, augury (reading of entrails, thanks Old Testament!), phrenology, and the science of astrology.  When science takes a backseat, superstition proves the pathway to profit.
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