Today was the day we were going to head over to the travel agent to get my money reimbursed. But first I had to arrange some train tickets.
The day started of with finally a good night’s sleep. By the time we finished the nice breakfast that Akanksha’s mom prepared for us, it was almost 1PM. I headed over to the train station to get a IndRail pass, which allows you to reserve as many train tickets for free as long as the pass is valid. That should allow me quite a bit of flexibility while travelling around.
The plan is to skip the “Golden Triangle” and head south. I’ll first go to Aurangabad, the jumping off point for Elora and the Ajanta caves, two must-see locations. Because I have the pass, I can keep my schedule quite flexible, so I’m not 100% sure yet where I’ll go after that.
Indians really seem to like paperwork, so after waiting for about 2h and running back and forth trying to find an ATM which would accept my VISA card, it still took about an hour before my IndRail pass and train reservation where ready. There went my afternoon.
By now it was 5PM and I had to get to the travel agent before 6PM. Ratnesh, Akanksha’s husband, was waiting at a metro station to accompany me. Getting there by metro would take too long, so I decided to run. Because the walkways were too full of people, I had to run on the road, between the rickshaws, taxis and other pedestrians who had the same idea as me. I got quite a lot of cheers while overtaking basically every cycle-rickshaw :).
We got to the travel agent in time, who then promptly made us wait 30 minutes in an empty office. Some kind of psychological trick? Who knows, whatever it was supposed to accomplish, it didn’t work. In the end, we got him to reimburse me 50000 rupee. So while I still lost 43000 rupee (600 euro), that was more than expected. Still, it’s a high price to pay for a lesson in aggressive sales techniques.
In the evening we had another nice dinner, and I met Sarah, a French girl who is couch surfing with the neighbors. It turns out there’s quite a few people in Aurangabad, my next stop, who are offering accommodation, so I’ll probably try to get some place to sleep that way.
PS: In case you’re wondering, despite eating everything people have been offering me, even food from some market stall, still no Delhi belly ;).