The wake up call was for 6:45am, but someone was a little to full of energy and woke up at 6am. She even skipped breakfast, just wanting to hit the road asap. We repacked our bags so that all we were taking to Agra was our carry on suitcase to hold our one nights clothes. We got a lot of double takes from our driver and bell boys when we showed up with the one small bag. We are staying at the same hotel in Delhi on Friday night, so we decided we might as well store them there instead of carrying them all over the place. Our driver showed up on time just before 8am and we hit the road. The distance is just over 200km to Agra from Delhi, but for some reason, everyone keeps quoting 5 hours for the driving time. It was a fine road, paved, but, you can imagine the traffic. Actually, if you haven't been outside north america, then you can't, it's super crazy. It took a good hour just to get out of Delhi, and when we reached the outskirts of Agra, another hour to get to the hotel. In between, it was trucks,
cars, motorcycles, bicycles, walkers, and the two wheel taxi's that I have forgotten the name. They have a festival here called Dhaliwal. It a hindu festival and is a big 4 day holiday here that takes up most of a week with different kinds of celebration. One constant is the fireworks each night from every part of the city. When we arrived in Delhi, we were wondering why it was so cloudy, and were told it was the fireworks. We doubted that story, just like the "humidity" in Hong Kong, but it turned out to be pretty accurate. So, today, as we drove, they have something called brother/sister day, but it's got another name in Hindi. It's a day where sisters go visit their brothers. So what we eneded up seeing on our drive was tons of women in some really happenin' sari's, on the backs of motorcycles. Once we got to Agra, it was to the hotel, a quick clean, and then waiting for the guide to show up. We had a 2pm date, then it was off the the Taj Mahal. We did a quick meet and greet at 2pm, he was almost hijacked by another white couple
waiting for their Indian guide, then it was off to the Taj. It was just 10 minutes drive, and suddenly we were there at the outside gate. The first we saw was the dome, then partial building as we walked through the doors of the gate, and then..there it was. WOW!! You can build it up as much as you want, but it will always be a superstar as far as world monuments go. The guide took us to many angles before getting up close. We got a good history of the monument, and then had a tour inside to see the fake tombs. The real ones are under the floor, and there is no admittance down there. As we were leaving the inside, I looked to my side to see Penny posing for a picture with an indian woman. I asked Penny what was up, and she said the lady asked. Then, it happened just a few minutes later, another woman asked. And so it went for about an hour of walking around the Taj. If they weren't approaching to ask, they were being sneaky with their cameras. Sometimes they would pose right beside her, making it look like
she was not in the picture. She would always catch their eye and ask them to pose with her properly. A shy face at first for getting caught, they always gave her a smile, and then posed with her. You can imagine how much she loved this attention. We were done just after 5pm as the sun was pretty much done with its lighting up of the dome, so we packed up and left for the hotel. We made a short stop at the usual "artisan" shop for the hard sell of local merchandise, then finally, the hotel. We had a nice meal in the restaurant, then a walk around the property to see what we were missing during the day. Its dark out now, the fireworks are going steady like in Delhi, and we are pretty tired. We have a full day planned tomorrow, the Agra fort, a little place known as Fatehpur Sikri, and finally the drive back to Delhi. Let you know how it goes tomorrow!
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