Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
54Trip End Sep 01, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hotel Pacific Heights
We were picked up at 6:00am, in our luxury air conditioned car (thank goodness), for our journey to Agra...to see the famous Taj Mahal! The drive was incredible, passing temples and mosques along the way. We saw the markets being set up, the locals crammed into rickshaws...they should try to beat the Guinness World Record of how many people you can cram into a mini!!...they have the skill!! There must be close to 15 people crammed into a rickshaw, with some hanging off the sides and the backs. It's insane...and by no means comfortable looking!
The farmers grow wheat during the drier seasons and rice in the monsoon season
The whole way to the Taj Mahal, he was giving us warnings...do this, don't do that....etc. He warned us of some common scams and told us exactly where to go and what to do so that we didn't get ourselves into trouble. He said to be sure to ignore the people offering to be guides or who try to sell you stuff. He said, " If you say No, or look at them, they will just walk with you and won't leave. But if you ignore them....they will eventually leave." UGH...it's hard to "ignore" people. He was right though...we were swarmed with people, a little overwhelming since we're always so concerned about losing the camera or our money. We managed to make it inside. Unbelievable! The Taj Mahal is phenomenal. It's all white marble, so the government has moved all the industrial factories, etc out of town to help preserve the color of the marble. They also have the Taj Mahal blocked off for 500 meters all around it, and only use electric shuttle buses within the 500 meter radius. We spent the day, in plus 45 weather, trying not to pass out while taking some marvelous pictures of the beautiful structures. We also had some more photo shoots with the locals, watched a lady fall off the step into the water that is in front of the Taj Mahal, and met some other Canadian tourists...all of which ended up having guides follow them in...haha
After having no shade for a couple hours, we cranked up the air conditioning in the car and cooled down while we drove ten minutes to the Red Fort. If it wasn't so hot, we probably would have spent more time at the fort....but Jay was having dizzy spells (since he hadn't been feeling well for the last couple days!) so we went through pretty quickly. It is also amazing! The structures are wonderful and you can get a great view of the Taj Mahal in the distance. At the fort, we met an Indian man and his son, from Southern India, who were on a pilgrimage. They were very interesting and curious about Canada. We enjoyed talking to them for awhile before heading back to the comforts of our air conditioned car! I hate air conditioning...but not when in India! lol.
The drive back was even crazier than the drive there! We left Agra at 2:30, after having a quick lunch. It took us about 3 hours to get to Agra in the morning, and 5 hours to get back! Our driver was tired and cranky, probably from the heat, so he became more aggressive with his driving....road rage, yelling at other drivers, giving them inappropriate hand signals...Jay and I were worried that one of these other drivers might get a little payback somehow, but everything turned out fine. We were caught in Delhi rush hour....14 lanes, one way of stand still traffic! It was really neat to be in it, for us, not for our driver...haha...but after about an hour and a half, it got a little annoying and tiring. We finally arrived back to the sanctuary of our hotel, ate a delicious dinner, and went to bed!!