No Room For Decency

Trip Start Feb 09, 2012
Trip End Feb 26, 2012

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Where I stayed
Raj Mahal Palace

Flag of India  , Uttar Pradesh,
Thursday, February 16, 2012

I have never been stared at so much as in the past 2 days. There was some of it in Delhi and Varanasi, but the local tourists in Agra and the residents of the smaller places we passed through are not as accustomed to seeing foreigners, so there is a whole new level of stare - long in duration and unflinching. There is no embarrassment at getting caught in the act, at least not from the men. A few times at Agra, it even escalated to requests to have pictures taken with us, and I noticed a few men taking stealth videos of us while pretending to film a monument. It really serves us (the collective tourist "us", I mean) right for doing our own brand of gawking and pointing cameras at people when we travel.

While we waited for our train to Agra, Sam gave instructions about how to navigate through the commotion of boarding when it arrived. "Remember", he said, "NRFD: No Room For Decency!".  While there was some pushing, shoving, dodging of people's luggage, and yelling conductors, it wasn't as bad as exepected.  We all made it into our assigned car unscathed, and sat quite comfortably in our AC Chair Class compartment, with a constant flow of beverages and snacks provided by the attendants.

The Taj Mahal was every bit as lovely as anticipated. In the morning light, it had a soft glow, and it only became prettier as the sun rose higher. What I did not know prior to this trip is that the designs inlaid into the marble are made from millions of semi-precious stones. Thinking about the inspiration behind its construction - Shah Jahad's memorial to his beloved wife who died while giving birth to their 14th child - makes it seem even more beautiful. It has been called "a teardrop on the cheek of love".  A shimmering, perfect teardrop it is.

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Nee on

Wow, Mo- I may have to make a side trip to Agra now although I thought it was going to be too far. Hmm.

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