Trip Start Aug 25, 2003
55Trip End Jul 18, 2004
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The Plan was simple. We wanted two days in Agra to sightsee the Taj Mahal and a ghost town nearby called Fatepu Sikri. Next stop was back to Varanasi where my perscription sunglasses lay waiting for me at the guesthouse we stayed at. There is still some debate as to weather they were left or weather they were "encouraged to stay" by the guesthouse owner. Reguardless, they were expensive and the reward we offered the guesthouse owner to hold on to them for us made getting them well worth trip
Sounds simple right? Well, it's India so you never know. For the first three legs of this journey we wanted to leave our large back packs in Delhi. It was only a few days of travel and with so much train travel we were going to feel grimy no matter what. Plus traveling light in tourists like Agra and Varanasi didn't mark us as much as targets for touting. So, no problem, our guesthouse didn't store bags but there were several in the area that did for a small fee. The only problem was their luggage storage facilities all closed by 8:00 P.M. until 8:00 A.M. We didn't start looking at options until 7:45 P.M. and our train left at 6:00 A.M. Oops, another pesky error in our guide books
By 5:00 A.M. the next morning our big back packs were securely pac-safed and ready for storage and our small day pack was all set for the three day journey. By 5:15 we were at the luggage staorage at the New Delhi train station and, as luck would have it, our train was at the tracks directly next to luggage storage. Long live The Plan! Only there was one thing, the luggage storage "ticket people" weren't there. Our 24 hour storage facility was closed! What made it even more painful that we could see them loading up cargo onto our train! Yes, they said they would be right there,several times, as I tried to explain we needed to store our bags and get on "this train" before it left. Time achingly ticked away. Finally at around 5:54 someone cames to help. Our bags were stored and we had just recieved our storage ticket stubs when someone yelled "Sir, your train is leaving." In fact, it was. With no heavy packs it was easy enough to chase down the train as it had just started off. Not eactly the start I wanted for The Plan.
Agra was as expected
Day two in Agra was set aside strictly for the Taj Mahal. "The Taj," is actually viewable from almost any rooftop in the city. Still, it is not the same if you don't see it up close. It is a huge imposing monument that to me looked extremely surreal. When we entered the Taj complex Sarah and I waited our turn to take "the classic" Taj picture with the reflecting water. The gardens of the Taj certainly reminded me of Humayun's Tomb in Delhi, but all of the serenity was lost somewhere among the throng of tourists. One thing I never realized was the Arabic writing around the entranceways to the tombs
As far as the rest of The Plan, it went rather smoothly. The trains to and from Varanasi were caught with no drama. Sunglasses were retrieved unharmed. We did take an extra day in Delhi as Sarah wasn't feeling well (I refunded the last set of tickets and we left the next day when she was feeling beter), but as far as I'm concerned The Plan was sound. Long live The Plan.