Thursday, March 10, 2011


Right before we left India, against our better judgement, we went to Agra, just outside of Delhi, to see the Taj Mahal.  While it is definitely amazing and ranks very highly on our "coolest things we've seen" list, it was the biggest fiasco to get there!

Obligatory "first glimpse of the Taj through the archway" shot. 

Because I am an incredible and ultra-organized planner (hmmm), I read up on Delhi before we left so we'd have an idea of what we were up against.  And by "read up on" I just read all the warnings about how people try to rip you off in Delhi - especially at train stations and in taxis.  (I've started referring to this type of ripping off as "getting India-ed", which isn't really accurate, as I've been gypped just as much and as often in China.  India-ed can also refer to the general state of misfortune, stress and helplessness surrounding everything you do in India.)

Anyway, armed as I was with all of this knowledge, I was certain I could stave off any cheaters by planning ahead and booking our train tickets to Agra online.  Our train was set to leave at 6.15 (a.m.!), so we left our hotel just before 5.00 to give us the maximum amount of time to smash through all the hoodwinking.  We arrived early, just in time to discover that we left our passports back at the hotel room.  Not a huge deal, we thought. We shall just hop into this nice warm taxi and he will run us back to get them.  False.  Sometimes taxis say no, and there is nothing you can do.  We took an auto rickshaw instead.  It took 30 minutes longer than a taxi.  Soooo, like almost an hour back to the hotel.  In the freezing early morning.  The hotel front desk said surely the train would be late, so they called a taxi for us and he got us back to the train station at 6.18, just three minutes late!  We sprinted through the autos to the platform (Matt ripped his shorts practically in half in the process)... but too bad the train had already left.  This is probably the only time a train (or anything) has left on time in India since the beginning of time.
Oops.  I thought maybe we could tape it and it would be good as new.  False.  Apparently that makes you look like a homeless person.  

So then we ran up to the travel tourism office to try to switch our tickets.  It was closed until 8.  Then this "nice" man said he would escort us over to the "emergency travel office" where they could switch our tickets for us no problem.  Wow!  What a friendly guy.  The people at that office "tried" to put us on another train, but they were all "sold out".  Except that he only looked at one train time, for one station, for one class.  When we asked him to look at something else, he found a tourist quota that cost $57 each.  For a one way ticket!  Then he "found" us a bus that only cost $40... each person... one way.  (Keep in mind that both our original train tickets cost about $40 together, round trip.)  So, we told him none of these things were affordable, so the said, well, take a car! Only $100 for the whole day.  So we did.  It took 4 hours.  Only later did I realize this guy must have been completely full of bullshit.  Surely we could have spoken to a real official and gotten it straightened out, but how do you know where the real officials are?  How do you know if anyone is ever telling you the truth ever?  Boom.  India-ed.

But, like I said, the Taj was gorgeous.
Obligatory "reflection in the water" shot.  Our guide apparently has been doing this a while and kept telling me all these pictures to take.  I guess that means all my pictures will look exactly like everyone else's pictures, but I don't mind.  

Obligatory "holding the Taj" shot.  Matt wouldn't do it because he thinks he's too cool for school.  He's not.  

I don't care if this one is obligatory.  I like it.  It looks like we're jumping so high!  We got mad ups.  

Inlay work of semi-precious stones into the marble.  

Inlay work and marble carvings.  Impressive.  

I have about 200 more pictures of the Taj, so if you'd like to see them, I'd be more than happy to put together a slide show or a powerpoint presentation (complete with music of my choosing) to show you.  

After we saw the Taj, we just went back.  We are lame, but there's really nothing else around to see, and we were pretty exhausted from our ridiculous fiasco in the morning.  The trip back took five hours and our driver got lost, and then he charged us extra for taking us to the hotel, and then he wanted a tip.  Boom.  India-ed.  (I love America, by the way.)


  1. I would like to see that slideshow, but I think you should mix in some clips of your favorite bollywood movies to spice it up.

  2. Yes we need more pictures! Please include all bollywood music as well.