Ever hear of sh!#ing a brick???

Trip Start May 12, 2010
Trip End May 19, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Friday, May 14, 2010

The rest of the day was spent on the bus driving to Agra. We left the crowded city of Delhi and progressed out into the rural areas. The scenery changed from lots of construction and traffic to fields and farmers. The buildings were starting to be seen further and further apart.

When we first started to see the mud huts along the side of the roads I thought for a moment that very poor farmers lived in the tiny buildings. It wasn't until later when I saw a hole in the side of one that I realized that they were stacks of cow paddies that then had a protective coating of manure built around them to keep them dry. I had researched before our trip that dried cow paddies are used as fuel for heat and cooking in the more rural areas of India. It wasn’t the number of these $h!t houses that amazed me it was the amount of care that was put into them. The outside of the huts had beautiful and intricate designs pressed into them. Even something as mundane as a "fuel shed" was decorated to the tenth degree.

I was also amazed at what the women can carry on their heads. We saw women with clay pots, bundles of something wrapped in string and material, I even saw one woman carrying a stack of bricks on her head. It looked like she had stacked them two by two as far up as her hands would reach. She walked with them just balanced there leaving her hands to do anything else she might need to do. Plus she looked beautiful while doing it dressed in a colorful sari. Amazing!

Every now and again we would pass through a small town filled with the color and activity that you might only find in India, men working on motor cycles or the beautifully ornate trucks, women dressed in saris, maybe a camel or two. It was impossible to take it all in.

We stopped to take a bathroom break on the way to Agra at this little shop. Amit was great about trying to find us someplace that had some “American” toilets. Not that I cared. I have used squat toilets before and will probably find myself there again. When I walked in the only stall left was one with the squat I took it without hesitation. I am lucky that I still have pretty good knees and get up and down okay there may come a day that using a squat toilet is out of the question.

We found ourselves drawn into the shop and found a couple of traditional Indian music CD’s. We always bring back some traditional music from our trips. It makes great background music for the video we take and it really adds ambiance when we have people over for dinner. Plus listening to it always transports us back to our adventures.

We were starving so Cory decided to purchase some coffee flavored nuts. There wasn’t a price on them but didn’t think it would be too much. Come to find out they were imported from Thailand and cost nearly 10 US dollars. Oh well they made a great snack to get us all the way to Agra and they were delicious.

We arrived at The Gateway Hotel. Unlike our last hotel that was very sleek and modern this hotel had an old world feel. It is one of the Taj Hotels and due to issues that the Taj hotel had in Mumbai there was very heavy security.   Its expansive lobby gave you plenty of room to sit and relax while they worked out our rooms and got our keys.

We felt like we had a long day by the time we got to Agra so we decided to freshen up and eat in the hotels restaurant. It was getting late and we had an early morning the next day. We couldn’t decide on what to order so we ordered the Royal feast and decided to share it. Thank goodness because it was a lot of food. It was displayed beautifully on a silver tray and in silver bowls. It really did make you feel like a maharajah and maharini.

This is where I have to admit that I really don’t care for Indian Food. I am not a picky eater by any means and my rule of thumb for traveling is always eating the local food. I have eaten live shrimp, eyeball soup, horse, sea cucumber and so many other things but I think it is the combination of spices, maybe curry that leaves me uninterested in the food. I am so disappointed in myself for not being able to find something that I really like.  I am still slogging through it but for the first time in my life I am not living for the next meal. It is more of an obligation.

Amit had warned us about power outages. They happen often in India and during our dinner we got to experience our first one. It was only minutes before the lights were brought back by the hotels generator. We giggled and said “ambiance”

After dinner it was getting very late so we headed up to our sweet little room and finally got a bit of sleep.
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