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Gillis left for Mumbai early this morning by saying "Ellora is probably better than Ajanta. So I'm not going there." Well, we never know it till we go there, right?

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It took me almost three hours from Aurangabad to Ajanta by the pollution generator (aka local bus). The fare was INR103 for one way. It was certainly more costly and more time-consuming than when I went to Ellora with Gillis yesterday.

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The bus conductor yelled at me "Ajanta! Ajanta!" So I got off the pollution generator, but I saw nothing in sight.
There was actually a shuttle-bus to Ajanta caves close to where the bus dropped me off, but I just missed it and somehow decided to walk all the way to the caves, which took me almost an hour to get there under the blazing sun.

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The entrance fee of Ajanta for a foreigner was IND250, exactly the same as Ellora. And contrary to what young Swedish boy Gillis said, Ajanta turned out to be even more interesting than Ellora to me.

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Ajanta caves are located in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by mountains. There is a river flowing through a deep valley whose wall consists of about 29 caves.
As far as I know, these caves have more paintings, more sculptures and more statues than Ellora caves, and most of them are said to depict the stories of Buddhism.

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Ajanta turned out to be quite greenish with a nice river along the ruins and I found this site very peaceful.
Overall, I enjoyed Ajanta caves more than Ellora caves.

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"India = Curry" and "Curry = India", right?

This cliché didn't apply to me at all up until today because all the curry-dishes I had since I landed in India were just mediocre and often salty. I even started thinking that Sri Lankan curry was better than Indian curry.
However, I finally met one tonight and I absolutely loved it at first bite.

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It was called "Bengal Thali" served at a local restaurant near Aurangabad's railway station for only INR70 (about USD1.30). Sensationally good and a few different flavours on the plate. The mashed orange stuff was sweet, possibly made of coconut (?) and it was a perfect match with other curries on the plate.

The best curry I've ever had in India. Without a doubt!




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I took a local train very early in the morning and left Aurangabad for Mumbai yesterday.
Like what I always see on trains in Japan, many Indian commuters seem to like taking a nap or two on trains.

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It appears to me that things such as infrastructure, shops and public transport in Mumbai are moderately organised. There is also enough green on every street, maybe more greenish than Nagoya - my hometown in Japan.

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Although I'm not a big fan of large cities, Mumbai is surprisingly better than expected (I don't mean it a lot better, but slightly better). This Indian metropolis (?) is quite busy, dirty, messy and noisy, but it is somehow colourful and cosmopolitanised.

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!!!!! Note !!!!!
Hotel Kalapi is where I'm staying while in Mumbai. It's located within 5 ~ 10 minutes of walk from the Mumbai Central Station. It's INR850 per night for a super tiny single private room with a bathroom and an AC. The room is very clean, but not cheap at all. In fact, I was planning to stay in another hotel where they had a dorm for INR550, but it was full.
There are many hotels around the station, but unlike all the other cities I've been to in India, accommodation in this city is very pricey unfortunately.




Throughout this whole RTW trip for the past years what I've found the most intriguing are people. No matter where they are from and whatever they are doing, observing people is so much fun and I never get sick and tired of it.
India is no exception in this respect, and I think it's one of the best countries to do human-observation.


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Mumbai seems to attract a large number of young people: most of them are probably students, and they make this city quite lively. Another interesting aspect of Mumbai is that people in this city never keep staring at me on the streets and they seem more accustomed to foreign tourists than those in the other cities that I've been to in India. While Indian people still appear to be very alienating to me, I'm feeling anonymous now.




If you are a vegetarian, travelling in India can be relatively easy. If you are a big meat-eater, however, you might find it difficult. I'm neither of them. But I still find it difficult to adjust myself to Indian cuisine which is mostly curry and is made of lots of spices and a few vegetables. I love vegetables, but all the curry-dishes I've tried in India are soupy with no solid vegetables in them.

The photo below shows a Thali with fried Chapttis. I had this in a restaurant near Mumbai Central Station last night. Obviously, it was soupy and spicy and salty. Although those greasy Chapttis were good enough, this Thali wasn't as good as the Bengal Thali that I had the other day in Aurangabad.

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In order to compensate for all the spicy stuff in India, I've found the best sweet. It's called "Dark Fantasy - Choco Fills" as pictured below. It's basically buttery cookies filled with melting chocolate inside. So irresistible!

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What was even more astonishing than the Dark Fantasy cookies was the one pictured below.
It was exactly the same thing that I had in one of the small dishes on the Bengal Thali in Aurangabad. This orange stuff, possibly made of coconuts, was warm and subtly sweet.

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I found this vendor every morning at the same place, just a few blocks away from Hotel Kalapi. It was super quick, super cheap and super irresistible. My most favourite breakfast in India for sure!

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!!!!! Note !!!!!
I actually walked into a McDonald's in Mumbai one day, not because I was craving meat, but craving something different from veggie curries. What I found then were chicken burgers and French fries on the menu but no beef burgers. Seriously none! Indian people do not know the joy of BBQ unfortunately.






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