Doris's Dear Diary - Off With Their Heads

Trip Start Sep 02, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel Sheela Inn
What I did
Baby Taj & Red Fort

Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 Here again and I'm back to last
Saturday 15th 
  Our second day in Jaipur. I didn't feel
great when I got up and it was so incredibly hot, the last thing I felt like doing was walking round the frantic streets.   As it happens, Fred & Ginger weren't relishing that experience either so we decided to have a lazy morning and get a auto-rickshaw for a trip to the Amber Fort in the afternoon. We had a lovely afternoon out –it was about 5 miles from the city set in the countryside and was a remarkable sight. Travelling through the city centre, the large gates are pretty impressive and the Wind Palace was very beautiful, but that was really all we saw of Jaipur. Ewan was ill this morning – well it is his turn – he was meant to come with us for the
afternoon trip but was bed-bound for pretty much all of the day.

Sunday 16th
Up at 5.30am for a 4/5-hour bus trip to Bharatpur. Beautiful hotel out in the countryside - oh it's so very hot and humid here though.  We were well giddy that there was a pool, and it was much needed to help bring the swollen ankles down.   Ginger's pretty much covered our lovely trip with Mr (Just one) Singh (song) – but it was such a fabulous couple of hours in the tranquil setting of the national park.  The only downside to the beautiful hotel was that the food didn't quite live up to the standard of the architecture, and Ginger, in typical Princess mode, was in the old 'chop off their heads' mood when returning her and Fred's overpriced and undercooked dinner!  And rightly so, cause we've pretty much had good meals every day so far, from street food, small back street cafes and the nicer hotels.  Otherwise this stay was a most welcome, relaxing and peaceful day – apart from the racket of my air-con and fan!

 Monday 17th
Sees a 2 hour trip over to Agra. The plan was to meet late afternoon to walk the 10 minutes to the Taj Mahal and see the sunset – unfortunately at the meeting up time, the sky went black and we had torrential rain. It did brighten up, but we wouldn't have had enough time to have a good look around, so instead we took a short leaky boat trip up the river to the back of the Taj Mahal, which was a sight to behold.  Now I say 'a sight to behold' and the stately Taj Mahal with the river as a backdrop certainly was, no doubt about it.  But just looking at the water and the water's edge was also a sight to behold - but definitely not in the same way.  It's unbelievable, and I know I keep harping on about it, but this building is one of the top most famous buildings in the world, visited by god knows how many people each year.  The view from behind is spectacular, but having all manner of rubbish lapping up to the shores is such an eyesore.  As we're sat peacefully looking over the broad river in this beautiful setting, bugger me, summat nasty comes bobbing along the water - oh no, it's only a bloody dead cow with a host of vultures perched on it having their dinner!  Oh why do I sound remotely surprised?

 Afterwards, when we called to a little cafe for a coffee and a cake, the Princess had another 'off with his head' moment when the eagerly awaited delicious chocolate coated doughnut she'd spied and ordered, turned up having the reverse properties to a malteser – soft chocolate on the outside and like a bullet on the inside – it'd been microwaved!  She returned it, assuming that the microwaving had done the damage – but on receiving a second specimen, it seemed that maybe being a couple of weeks (or months) old might have had more to do with it.  The boys in the café obviously saw Ginger's royal aura, and wanted to make amends, they insisted on her having a piece of chocolate cake – which, as she cleared the plate, we can assume was satisfactory.  (what a royal porker!)

 Tuesday 18th
OH these bloody early mornings – up at 4 am to go and watch sunrise at Taj Mahal.  We were first in the queue for the gates opening to see 'THE BIG WHITE BUILDING' – see Ginger's notes for full story there – but although it had been a beautiful clear starry sky walking down to the Taj, it actually turned a bit cloudy by sunrise – so that'd been a waste of time.  Having said that, the temperature was perfect and it was a pleasure walking around at that time in the morning.

 The Taj Mahal is a beautiful, simple, and elegant building with an expanse of gardens to the front - which are far from elegant.   I said to Ginger that had this Taj been in the Far East, the perfect symmetry of the building
would have been reflected in the gardens.  The trees would have been topiaried within a milimetre of their lives and someone would've been lurking ready to pounce on any blade of grass which dare grow above the next.  But oh, heaven forbid - not here! We've got rows (not necessarily straight) of cypress(?)  trees, all varying in height, all varying in width, some bushy, some spindly, some green, some dead looking plus there are gaps in between where some have died off.   And the grass needed cutting!   Why has no-one spotted the potential here?  Why does no-one see it?  I'm not wingeing, but it's frustrating cause it would take so little effort to correct it.  

 After lunch we had a trip to the Red Fort, which looked
impressive, but wasn't as interesting as the Jodpuh Fort.  Then we went
on to the Baby Taj, which apparently was built before that 'BIG WHITE BUILDING' we saw earlier and was very prettily decorated with colourful flowers and motifs – quite a contrast.

 Tuesday night - it's another overnight train adventure - 12 hours - to Varanasi. Oh joy!

Excerpt Taken From Doris's Diary Copyright 2012
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