Continued from Agra Part 2.
At some point during the day, I had told the guide about my return ticket issue. He said that he would solve it, no problem. He knows the person who works at the station, and we just need to show up an hour before the train leaves and he’ll be able to get me a seat. So, with that, I think I’ve got 4 different possible ways of getting a return ticket. Things are looking very promising that I won’t have to sleep on the cold dirty floor of the train station.
After the carpet shop, it was time to go to another shop. This time, it’s the marble inlay shop.
This place was smart. They would serve beer to the husbands while the wives shopped. They also had free wifi to keep the husbands distracted while the wives shopped. It worked, because one of the girl in our group bought something.
We had a lot of time to chill at the Baby Taj Mahal. My new friends and I clicked very well and we shared a lot about our cultures. Or rather they told me a lot about their culture as they already know much about America.
Some highlights from our conversation.
My name sounds just like the word for the bar that you use to put on weights in the gym. That same word is also an Estonian slang for a massive bar of a shit. So you would say “I took a (my name) today!”
Estonian girls like to say “cocks is good”. Its spelled kaksteist kuud, which just means 12 months. I prefer the English meaning better.
Putin is not a very tall man. He is only 5’7 but yet has carefully manicured his image to look much taller. This last one is because Estonia used to be part of the Soviet Union.
This kid kept on coming to pester us for money. We tried out best to ignore him for a good 5 minutes, but he just would not leave. When one of the girls finally told him “just leave” then he left. Apparently all we had to do was verbalize our needs. Who knew!
There were also these kids that carry stacks of wood around here. I didn’t think much of it at first until one of my new friends pointed out that it was a routine for the tourists to feel bad for them so they could get money. Ahhhh, it all makes sense now.
The weather felt perfect. We just sat on the grass, looked at the Taj Mahal and hung out. It was perfect. All that was missing was beer. It was supposedly election day, and the polls had just closed. So they delayed the sales of alcohol today to prevent alcohol fueled riots in case the results were not satisfactory.
Click on this for full version. If you look carefully, on the left side of the photo, above the red tower, you’ll see a very faint moon. On the right side is the sun that has yet to set and the middle is the Taj Mahal. It was cool to see that in person.
Here’s all of us taking out our money to try to settle accounts for our guide and driver. We decided tip our guide 200, and I told him that I’d tip him some more if he could make my ticket wait list problem go away.
We used the restrooms before leaving here. It was at that point that I saw our guide walk with an ever so slight limp in his step. I had not noticed that all day, or maybe he had been trying hard to hide it. We had already tipped him at that point, and I could tell that he was a little disappointed, but tried his best to not show it. I decided then that I would give him another 200 if he could make my waitlist problem go away. He is a hard working man who was cheerful all day and walked with us all day despite being in some obvious pain from walking.
After leaving the parking across from the Taj Mahal, our guide suggested that we go to another place to shop. But that we should stay for 20 minutes or longer. He said it kind of as a favor from us to him. We had no where to go for an hour anyway, so we just all lazily agreed. We showed up at this shop that obviously caters to tourists and they sell cashmere goods. They had scarfs in there for $200!!!!!! Wow!!!! This was by far the biggest tourist rip store I’ve ever been to. We stayed there just long enough for our guide to usher us out. I hope he got his commission because we’d be stupid to buy anything there. I think even paying 1/10 of the price there would be overpaying.
The guide took my ticket to an enquiry counter. Didn’t say a single word to the guy behind the counter, but just slipped the ticket through the window. The guy behind the counter looked at the ticket, typed a few things on the computer, and then wrote down my seat number on my ticket. Not a single word was exchanged. I am not sure if I had just made the waitlist, or whether our guide had a tacit agreement with the guy behind the counter. Either way, I got my seat!!
I thanked our guide, and I gave him another 200 INR. He was pleasantly surprised that he was able to double his tip just like that. Seriously though, it’s only $4…
These guys wearing the red shirts are food sellers. The train pulls up to the station, and these guys go to work hawking food. They kept on yelling the same word/phrase over and over again. This kept on for the entire time that the train was at the station for about 10 minutes.
There were these two teenaged guys who kept on bothering me. First, they wanted a photo with me. Then they wanted another photo, then another. I felt like they were up to no good. I kept on saying no, but they insisted. Finally I got fed up and just walked away farther down the platform. Oh look, I found my friends! Two birds with one stone.
Dinner was included in fare and very good. Ice cream was a very nice touch.
I fell asleep on the train, but I was worried that I would over sleep my stop. Watch alarm solved that. Still fitful sleep though.
We’ve arrived back in Delhi at around 11 PM. Really tired. That long day is really wearing on me now, but wow, what a day!! I still remember being in awe whenever I find out that someone has visited the Taj Mahal. Now, I belong to that club and the Taj Mahal was everything I had expected and more.
I shared the rickshaw with a young Indian guy. He’s a civil engineer and told me that I should go visit the Golden Temple in his hometown. I’ll definitely have that on my list for my next trip to India.
I arrived back to my hotel. I had been beat by 15 minutes…
Seriously, what an awesome day!! Started out on such a low note, but ended up being just fucking sublime!
By the time I had gone to sleep, I had been up and about for close to 22 hours. Tomorrow shall be really laid back.
To be continued at Delhi Day 4.