BootsnAll Travel Network

May 29th 2008 – Agra, India

Today was a day that was long awaited in my life.  I have always wanted to see the Taj Mahal.  It seemed so grand in the pictures and for many years I thought it was made of all these bright colors and what not.  Sorry to burst all your bubbles but the Taj Mahal is made out of white marble with colored small designs carved in.  It is completely symmetrical including the buildings on the sides of it.  It was a beautiful site and I just snapped so many incredible photos that I hope they come out.  The one problem is that we got there too late.  Instead of waking up at 545 am we should have woken up at 445am and gotten their earlier.  Instead we got there when the sun had already risen a lot, unlike last year at Angkor Wat where I had 1000 pictures every minutes of the sunrise, and it was perfect.  I dealt with it and just enjoyed the view.  I actually got a tout to take my picture professionally and it came out quite well.  We had several hours at the Taj Mahal and every minute was spectacular.  Seeing the tomb inside to the detail artistry on the outside walls was all very good. After visiting the Taj we took our electric bus back to where our tour bus was and then back to the Taj Hotel.  At this point, the sun was blazing and the pool was looking great.  After relaxing for a few minutes, I slipped on some shorts and made my way to the pool for some fun in the sun.  Several others also went to the pool so it was nice.  At one point four of us played Badminton and to cut this short, my shoulders are burnt, but I have a nice tan otherwise, thanks doxycycline (my malaria medication which makes you sensitive to the sun). After swimming, we all changed and showered up.  Several of us were to meet downstairs to head in to town and explore.  We took some autos to this first market but it was like a real market with hardware supplies, definitely not what we expected, thanks lonely planet india!  We then went to another market area where I bought a few cheap t shirts because I was sick of wearing the same nasty clothing every day.  I got a good price and then we walked around and I eventually bought a lungi which is like a male skirt that men wear in southern india because of the heat.  My friend’s dad used to always wear one and I love them. As we were leaving the lungi shop the wind started to blow, but not just a gust this was like mega gusts where the dirt and crap from the ground wisked up and started to fly everywhere.  I couldn’t see, and was just getting covered in a lot of dirt and dust, and I had just showered dammit!  At this point we all found shelter in a store where some of us bought umbrellas for a future time when we needed them, and it also bought time to get out of this ridiculous dust storm.  I think I can say with confidence that this is my first dust storm ever and they are nasty.  My eyes are burning even thinking about it as I write this entry.   Finally we hailed down a taxi and squeezed five of us in to one.  Two of us hung off the side of the auto, me being one of them obviously, and the three others sat in the back.  It started to rain which meant I was getting rained on which is never fun.  When we got back to the hotel, I changed in to my lungi and chatted with others in the lobby of the hotel, and also walked around the hotel checking out the shops.  730PM rolled around and it was time for dinner.  I decided to get the buffet dinner which was pricey but very good.  I have been ok with buying stuff and spending money so far, but most of my money is going to food.  I mean this part of the trip we have already paid for, and most meals are included with the exception of a few.  Once we get to Shimla I am under the impression that all meals will be included at the hotel which will be nice. After dinner I got a drink with Caitlin and we started chatting.  Then I took a walk with Natalie to the ATM as I needed some rupees desperately.  After I got back from there I went to hang out by the pool area with the indian students.  I am trying to spread the Josh love around and I think I have been doing a fine job so far! At around 1030pm I made the call to hit the hay and the others followed.  The indian students tend to eat dinner late and stay up late, but when you are waking up at 445am for a really long bus ride, you want to have a little sleep.  Everyone and their mom knows I can’t sleep on buses, trains, and automobiles so any sleep is appreciated.


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