Sight Seeing and Stuff

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November 2nd 2006
Published: November 4th 2006
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As is habitual of late, we rose before dawn today. We had hired the friendly driver who picked us up from the train station the night before to take us around Agra. Our first stop was a sunrise and FREE view of the Taj Mahal from the other side of the river. Obviously this is obligatory for me since getting a decent shot of Max and myself posed ever so lovingly in front of a monument to love, without the herds of tourists in flourescent colors splotching the background was impossible inside the complex. We spent about an hour there and max talked with the driver while i had us pose in ridiculous positions and took literally over 100 snapshots in an attempt to get the right light and whatnot. It's true, and i admit, anyone with a camera is a pain in the ass to travel especially. There's always a "Wait!" "Hey can you hold this?" or "Go stand by that door" or " Will you take a picture of me?" "No, frame it so that the door is in the photo" and things of the like. Lucky for me i have a manfriend who has the patience of a saint so he is usually happy to oblige me in such things.
After viewing the other side of the Big Taj, our driver took us to a mimic monument called oh so cleverly, "the baby taj." It's pretty much a small scale of the same building, but it has a lot more detail work on its walls. Plus there were monkeys all over the grounds so i thought it was well worth the visit.
I still can't pinpoint it, but there is a particular area of town, i think by the river, that has a HORRIBLE smell. (i know, imagine that right?) I first caught whiff of it when we drove in late night from the train station, and have caught unwelcomed subsequent breaths of it since. It smells like a combination of rotting carcass, burning hair, and is delivered with the pungency of perm chemicals.....pretty nasty. You can't really accurately relay the sights without a truthful description of the smells that accompany them.
From the Baby Taj we went to the Agra fort, which is an imposing structure that sort of dominates the town. Once home to rulers and concubines it is incredibly large. From the fort you can see the Taj Mahal across town. There are chambers with carefully carved doorways and niches that vary in color from deep red to soft white. It was, like everything else in Agra, swarming with tourists. But, it was a worthwhile visit.....even though in certain corners my sniffer made me aware that people have no freaking decency and still manage to piss on walls inside.
Like every other driver hired for the purpose of tourism ours attempted to take us to this and that shop and we were not in the mood. He managed to drag us to a marble store where they demonstrate how they make the inlays. It was mildly interesting and i was visibly aloof and uninterested in the merchants wares.......and we ended the day with our driver on a sort of awkward note. Apparently he gets comission at these stores even if we don't buy anything and we made him take us home anyway.....which again lead to guilt and us wondering if we should've just gone so he could get his extra dollar. But anyway. There's one more email detailing our time in agra and this one was more or less written as an accompanyment to the blog. Enjoy the pics.

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9th November 2006

Lovin' it
Hi Lyndsey, Your mom (I assume) forwards all of your emails from your journey to me. I so enjoy reading about your experiences (and I am quite happy that it is you and not I in all of your situations!) I LOVE your photos! I can identify with that passion. Hope you enjoy the remainder of your trip. I will look forward to seeing all of the pictures neatly compiled into an album at some point, right? Take care. Jane

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