Ajanta Caves Day 5

About 15 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, I woke up. I wasn’t really rested because I went to bed late and some other residents at the hotel where I was staying at, seemed to be having a party in the hallway the entire night. There was also a cat scratching my door, not opening the door to let the cat in for a cuddle went against all of my cat loving instincts. I am glad to be moving to a different hotel tonight though, I am going to the hotel Jin is staying at because he said they communicate in a professional way with their guests, it has good vibes, it is clean, a decent breakfast and it actually has working WiFi in the rooms. Everything my current hotel promised on their website but failed to deliver.

Last night I made the guy at the reception promise me to make sure breakfast would be ready at 07:15 sharp as I needed to leave at 07:30. Of course, it was late again and it was very meagre. Before I got my breakfast I needed to repack again ready for my next hotel. Getting that bloody sleeping bag in its cover is one of the most annoying and time-consuming things ever, but at least I was somehow miraculously ready before my breakfast made its way to me! I went down to the lobby to check-out of the hotel and the guy at the reception had the audacity to demand ‘WHY MA’AM’. When I explained why I was unsatisfied he at least apologized for the inconvenience.

I got into the hired drivers car and we went to pick up Jin, once at his hotel I gave my bag to the hotel manager ready to put in my room. I didn’t want to have to go back to get my bag at the last hotel I had stayed, as I felt extremely uncomfortable there. I must say that I have noticed myself put a wall of confidence around myself as some sort of barrier. I don’t even think about it, it just happens automatically. I am pleased though because back at home people often think they can walk all over me, but here I really stand my ground and bite back until I get my way.

I am slightly horrified. In the car, on the way to Ajanta, I looked up from my screen for 1 minute and saw a dog get skinned on the side of the road. Out of all the moments, I could have looked up, I decided to do it then. We also drove past our driver’s village, it was an hour and a half away from our hotels in Aurangabad Jin and I felt so guilty because he would have got home so late last night and would have needed to get up really early to pick us up again this morning. I genuinely feel so bad for him. Our driver couldn’t get the car into Ajanta itself. So we needed to catch the government bus, for the last 3KM. The bus ride was quite funny because it was super wobbly and even my ears were vibrating from all of the bumps we were going over.

Once we arrived at the Ajanta site, it turned out that there was an archaeological event that day so we got free entry! Whilst walking into the area all of a sudden I saw something fly right past my head an instinct made me fly out of the way and then I heard a splatter right were I was stood, monkey poop! I couldn’t stop laughing for about 10 minutes and I congratulated myself on my superhuman instincts. The nature surrounding the caves was absolutely stunning. We were completely surrounded by mountains and greenery. It was kind of strange though, Jin and I both got weird vibes from the place, whilst yesterday at the Ellora Caves it felt so peaceful even with the hundreds of people wanting to take pictures with us. Whilst we were here we met a guy and a girl who were very hippieish to say the least but very nice none or the less. The girl was backpacking alone too so we exchanged numbers so we will be able to meet up again during our travels in Rajasthan. It is nice to have that option open as we are both slightly wary about travelling there as a solo female traveller so together it might be safer and just it will be just plain nice to have someone to share these memories with. When we had seen the last cave I sat down and rested and was just thinking about the energy present at the Ajanta Caves that just felt so completely off, it was amazing to be able to see such beauty but we didn’t mind when we were done there and left the area.

I still had a load of bananas left from yesterday so I split them between the driver, Jin and myself for our lunch. I was surprised at how full we were after but we have decided to have an early dinner together as Jin would be leaving for the airport at around 18:30 PM. I am physically and mentally really tired from the past couple of days, so I honestly can’t wait to retire to my room early tonight and have some me time.

Just for your information, I am typing live right now from the passenger seat of our drivers’ car. I still have 2 posts that I need to finish and edit before this one even goes up, but I thought it would be nice to get some raw footage for my blog today. It is easier to tell you how I am feeling and what I am experiencing whilst it is happening than a couple of days later when I have had so many new and bizarre situations happen to me.

We asked our lovely driver to take us to his village so we could see where it is that he comes from and where it is that he grew up in. Once again it was not safe for me to go too far away from the car or even leave his sight. Some of his friends came for some pictures and to speak to me in Hindi but when I wanted to follow Jin into the town and meet more locals, the driver almost ran to stop me and make sure I got back safely into the car. ‘These people rape pretty girls, ma’am’. I still need to get used to this complete contrast in thinking. His best friend bought some Chai tea to the car for me which I was really grateful for and was absolutely delicious, I still felt a bit annoyed and envious about missing out on another fun experience with locals. But hey, better safe than sorry.

After we had stopped at our driver’s village, we wanted a quick look at a cotton field. I wanted to go right into the high plantation crops to look at the cotton but instead stood and watched from a distance so as to avoid getting a weird snake or insect bites which I am probably allergic to knowing me. Whilst I was observing and taking pictures from the side of the road with the driver, a couple approached me and offered me some sort of fruit that they had been picking out of the trees from the side of the road, they were tiny, about the size of a pea and had a yellowish peachy colour to them. They tasted very different to anything I had tried before, the texture was so dry and almost rough but the taste was fresh and mouthwatering, almost like a mango.

Just woke up from an accidental nap in the car. My neck is killing me, my head must have been going all over the place haha! I think we should be nearing Aurangabad now, where our hotel is situated. We want to go past some shops and hang out a bit before we head off for a bite to eat. I have got Jin’s old room so he can have a shower and freshen up before he leaves. It will be sad to see him go, I will be alone again and there will be no one to look out for me except myself again for a while. It has been nice the past couple of days that whilst walking around with a male at my side people don’t really pay as much attention to me as when I am alone.

After Jin had freshened up and I had settled into my new room we went into a shop that sells traditional Indian clothes as Jin really wanted to get something to wear and take home with him ‘ When I am old and retired, I want to return to India and still fit this garment’ this thought made me chuckle. He ended up trying about 8 different pieces and I had to take pictures of each item at every angle because there were no mirrors. The shop assistant actually did his best with the lighting so that Jin could use a window as a mirror which was rather interesting.When Jin was making his final choice I decided to go and look at the scarves, I had found a few nice ones but the cashmere one I had seen a day earlier was still lingering in my mind and apart from that, I don’t really think these scarves would get much use back at home with my current wardrobe. As Jin had finished shopping for himself he then wanted to get something for his fiance so he got me to try on a few dresses to see what they looked like haha!

When we had finished we went to get some street food, we tried an array of fried foods and my favourite was the Punjabi Samosa I will definitely be eating more of those during my stay in India! We headed back to the hotel and said our goodbyes as Jin would be picked up for the airport within 15 minutes and I was very ready for a shower after a long, hot day of walking.

The hotel I am now staying at is a vast improvement compared to the horror I was staying at the previous 2 nights, I was so grateful for the cleanliness and big king size bed, I was going to get such a good night’s sleep tonight. Before heading to bed I made arrangements with the hotel manager about what I would be doing the following day, did some writing and went straight to bed.

Namaste

Chloë O’Brien

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