Thursday, June 12, 2008

Elephanta Caves (and Island)

I visited Elephanta Island, which is home to the Elephanta Caves, which is a World Heritage Site. The island is off the coast of Mumbai, about an hour by ferry. As soon as I got off the ferry, this tour guide approached me, and he took me around the island.

While I was on the tour, a lady who lives on the island approached me, and she insisted that we take picture together (with my camera). At first I was hesitant, but when both she and the guide continued to persist, I gave in, and we took a picture together. And then what happens? She asks for 10 rupees! It cost me 10 rupees to take a picture that I didn't want to take! (So 10 rupees is like a quarter, but that is besides the point!)

At the end, of course I overpaid him (it really is embarassing how much extra I continue to pay), but I am glad that he showed me around the island, because I probably wouldn't have gone to the areas he took me.... definitely not worth as much as I paid, but still. Might I add, while on the tour, he had me buy him a beer at the cafe on the island! I learned afterwards, if you get a guide on the island, pay maximum 150 rupees. I have also heard that there are government issued guides who are free, but I'm not sure.

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