So, you know how I said Delhi wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting it to be? Well, Agra is. I suppose it’s to be expected of the city with the biggest tourist draw in India, but I swear almost every Indian we came across just looked at us white people and saw walking cash machines. We had to get a rickshaw to the East Gate of the Taj at one point and the driver took us to the South Gate instead (closer, so cheaper for him to get to, and hey if the restaurant we wanted wasn’t here he could take us to another one couldn’t he?), so when we refused to pay until he took us to the right place he gleefully hit every single pothole with his back wheels at full speed.
It didn’t really help that I arrived in a bad mood after a hellish morning. I dropped my watch and the back fell off, our waiter at breakfast ignored us for ages then brought me the wrong thing, I threw up my malaria tablet because I was waiting so long for food that I was trying to digest it on an empty stomach, and then to top it off the padlock on our room got stuck and I ripped a chunk of flesh off my thumb trying to yank it open. Yay. And then of course I had half the bus asking me if I was pregnant because I had thrown up. Hilarious.
But hey, enjoying life isn’t about never having bad moods, it’s about successfully getting yourself out of them, and in this case I got rid of my bad mood by throwing money at it. We grabbed a big group of us and headed off to a seriously swanky hotel for a hideously expensive dinner. Well, by Indian standards. And to be perfectly honest, more than I usually pay to eat out at home as well since I’m more of a 2 for 1 offer at Pizza Express kind of girl. Oh but it was worth it.
I realise this picture looks like I tragically have no dinner while everyone around me is eating. I just swapped seats – mine is the risotto in the front. And a damn fine risotto it was too.
Next morning, feeling infinitely happier (but still with a very sore thumb) we got up in the dark to get over to the Taj Mahal for its sunrise opening time. Already full of people, but given how many more were pouring in by the time we left I’m glad we dragged ourselves out of bed so early.
Henna courtesy of Jaipur, only slightly spoiled by the plaster
Alex and Caroline showing us all up in their beautiful new saris
Sexy shoe covers for walking around inside the monument – presumably to stop it getting dirty, though I think the rain was doing a fairly good job of that the day we were there.
After the Taj (still worth going to even if you have to put up with Agra to get there) we went to see Agra Fort which is…well, I think I’m done with forts for a while.
Yay, it’s a fort!
Parrots and monkeys at Agra Fort
I stood next to this sign scratching my bites like there was no tomorrow. Because I’m rebellious like that.
It was 9 o’clock by the time we left the fort and strangely for a city that opens to tourists at sunrise, we couldn’t find anywhere that was open for breakfast until 10, so we headed back to the hotel to eat and then whiled away the rest of the day falling asleep to the Back to the Future trilogy. Good times.