! Once again shows the importance of checking facts. The drive was totally uneventful apart from meeting Mikey, who looked on very good form considering he had done 100 miles. He was pretty tired by the time he arrived at Agra, but a beer revived him. Leaving the hotel for what we imagined would be a quick walk about town before supper we discovered that Agra is nothing like Jaipur and were forced to get in a rickshaw to avoid incessent hassle from touts. The driver took us up and down the road at a snail's pace and showed us a view of the Taj for free and said we shouldn't go in tomorrow because it was too expensive. His view was quite good, but the enormous raw sewage filled gutter in front didn't make for aesthetically pleasing photos and we definitely thought it was worth a closer look. The driver also negotiated a discount on beers for us and persuaded us to go and look round a shop where so that he could get his 50 rupees commission!
Back at the expensive hotel we discovered our lovely looking room was not so lovely when we ran a bath and it was dark brown. After much messing around by bell boys trying to fix it we called the manager up and negotiated a big discount as we didn't want to move from the room adjoining mum and dads. That done, we ventured down to check out the Christmas festivities. The group of carol singers were actually really good, the first Christmas songs Mikey and I had heard, and a bizarre looking Santa was giving out sweets
. Luckily we got a great seat in the gala dinner earlier as they seemed to have seriously overbooked and there was an enormous queue pf people watching hungrily from the door. Too many courses of different countries cuisines may have been the cause of my illness the next day, but at the time, my soup, salad, Continental, Chinese and then Indian main courses were delicious! Dan also ate an epic amount and even had a go at the ornamental roast Turkey.
After the meal we decided a walk would be a good idea to try and digest some of the food, but couldnt face the hassle outside so wandered round the moonlight pool instead before collapsing into bed.
The previous night I had felt jealous of Mikey setting off cycling, but when I waved him off in the cold and dark at 5am I felt pretty pleased that his bike had let us down and was going to have to go by car. The rest of us dragged ourselves to breakfast at 7.30am which turned out to be completely pointless as the taxi we had booked to take us to Agra at 8am refused to leave. The hotel owner showed us the newspaper which showed that riots over pay had closed many of the roads joining Dehli, Agra and Jaipur. We spend two hours trying to persuade someone to take us and worrying about what would happen when Mikey hit the road block on his (well actually my) bike. The hotel manager assured me they wouldn't hurt him because he was a tourist, but the taxi driver was certain that if we drove to Agra our car would be tipped up and burnt and all of our luggage stolen. He strongly advised that he drove us to Delhi that we then got the train to Agra. However when Dan and I went to the train station we discovered that he must have had business in Delhi as they got us a taxi with no problem and the drive to Agra was completely traffic and riot free!