Mon 5 Nov 07 - Mon 5 Nov 07
It's almost time to come home, but what adventure would be complete without experiencing a country's wildlife?
Let's start with the trip to Elephanta Island. Before any of you get excited, there were no elephants there. I felt that we should have complained for false advertisement, but I don't think they would listen to this silly American. While at Non-Elephanta Island, as I will refer to it from now on, we did see some really old stuff. There are rock-cut temples all over this little island that were created around 450 AD. They say that there used to be a big stone elephant on the island, thus the name, but it was moved to downtown Mumbai and restored. So, not even stone elephants reside on the island.
I wonder if India has a Better Business Bureau because someone really should talk to them about their advertisements.
OK, so no elephants, but the monkeys were all over the place. They are quite adapted to their admiring public...especially the public with yummy smelling purses or bags. They have been known to be little thieves. Such is civilization...we come in, make a place civilized and then corrupt the poor, previously civilized monkeys. We are such good influences on nature, aren't we? The monkeys just hang out watching us "perform". It's quite an event for them. They have refreshments, sit around and see who can find to silliest human, take bets on which human will be suckered into give "donations", etc. I'm sure we are great entertainment for them.
While watching the humans ooo and ahhh, one monkey decided he needed a drink. He found a water bottle on the ground and decided to check it out. The monkey was a bit disappointed that there wasn't anymore water left in the discarded bottle and just walked it over to the trash can....kidding, kidding... but he really did try and drink out of the bottle. It was a cute little scene until I started wondering why no one in this country seems to know what a trash can looks like.
Speaking of monkeys, we had another experience with them in Delhi. The drive from Delhi to Agra (where the Taj Majal is located) is around 4 hours or so. Along the way, the locals try and do what they can to lighten your load....of rupees! Our driver had to stop at the border from one state to the next to pay a tax. This allows the locals a good 10 minutes of knocking on your window, trying to have you buy a little chess set, or a bracelet or take a picture with the monkey.
I was being really good at not being a sucker. I looked straight ahead and shook my head everytime someone knocked. But I started to crack when this man...I will call him Monkey Man... came up with a baby monkey. He had taught it to do flips, he had it jump on the car and look in the window at me. But I was not going to break.
Then a few more minutes went by and all the other locals were gone, so I decided to be nice and give the man a few rupees and maybe get a picture of the monkey doing flips and stuff. I rolled down the the window to get the picture and give him a few rupees.
The little cute as a button monkey tried to grab my camera (no, this wasn't a heist...yet), but then Monkey man looked at the 40 rupees I was going to give him and said, "500 each".
At this point, my being nice flew out the window that I, now, couldn't roll up because the cute little monkey and Monkey Man were blocking my way and he was demanding 500 rupees. I argued, he argued, the driver finally arrived back at the car, I threw away 80 rupees to Monkey Man and any hope of being nice to another peddler, again!!
Silly Silly Americans.