Beeeeep, beeeep! Imagine NYC's taxi drivers in drugs, a constant sound of car horns from the early hours if the morning. Now wide awake it was time to get ready for the day.
Neither of us felt like eating anything, so we set out to organize our train tickets out of Dehli. The second we walked out of our hotel we were approached by a rickshaw driver aka a tuk tuk, "2 people 20 rupees" which is the equivalent of about 20p. This was the first of many, "Hello Sir, where are you from?", "Cool glasses Sir, where did you get them?", I made the mistake of actually having conversations with these people as much as I didn't want to! We were miss directed by these drivers even though we knew where we going, not that we actually took any of their directions.
Ignoring these people seemed to be the most effective method, they soon realized that we were not getting in their rickshaws. Finally though we made it to the train station and joined the queue for the "May I help you" counter, within seconds we were approached by a tout (someone set out to scam you or refer you to a separate business), "for your train tickets you go to this counter, they don't speak to English in that one", Hannah was on the ball at this point and had her guard up, we walked to the other counter hoping to speak to a staff member behind the glass, however the tout just suggested we fill out a form and get a rickshaw to an address he have us. At this point we had enough and just walked off, after queuing for a little longer we were then approached by another tout, trying the same tricks "follow me Sir, I show you where to get your tickets", we had no intentions if going with him, he got a bit offenses and said "I am not stupid, I work here". However we didn't believe any of them even after showing us some ID. Eventually we made it to the counter and were told to go upstairs to the Tourist office!!
Immediately after entering the tourist office we felt like we were in the right place, foreign people everywhere! We sat down next to a nice Canadian couple who gave us the run down of how the place worked and how to get out tickets. An hour later we finally got out tickets and head off to the executive lounge to chill out for the next 3 hours :) for £3 each we had internet, comfy recliner chairs, food and beverages! It was like one of those airport lounges that we would all like to enter before a flight!!
Once our 3 hour limit was up we then wondered around the platforms until finally finding out train, it wasn't the simplest of systems but we found the train eventually. Up next was to find our carriage, again not the easiest of things to find because they weren't in number order! After another 10 minutes we finally found our seats and sat down.
About 45 minutes into out 4 hour train ride, I was woken up be an "interesting" man who wanted to ask us where we were from, whilst pretty much entering my personal space! Awkward!! He then got off at the next stop so all good.
To make our train ride a little better, the staff were wondering up and down the carriages saying "Chai, chai" in a short and loud tone. We took up on this offer an had 2 chai teas for 14p! Barginnnnn....
4 hours later we arrive in Agra. Whilst walking trough the train station and being overwhelmed by the amount of people lying on the floor sleeping in hoodies, wrapped up in blankets and sitting crossed legged under the yellow lights of the train station. It was clear to see that the train station was good choice to sleep if you were in a situation such as them. What ever their situation may be?
Our thoughts were interrupted by a short Indian man who wanted to guide us to a taxi. I told him the price which he knew I would pay no more for. We followed this man up to the "pre paid taxi service" booth outside the station. This is where we met our friendly taxi driver Solomon who drove us to our hotel just 200m from the Taj Mahal entrance!
During the taxi ride we passed crazy drivers, pigs, cows, dogs and monkeys "as you do in India"!
We then arranged a tour for tomorrow with Solomon because he was very nice and his English was also good.
Around 11pm we had finally checked into our room on the third floor. It was called the Taj Room because it was the only room in the hotel with views on the Taj Mahal! (Including views from the toilet!!)
We told the hotel about the arrangement with Solomon for the next day, and they soon advised us not to go and to take their taxi service instead. Once we got into our rooms and having doubts flying through our mind about Solomon. We didn't know what to do. So instead we just thought we sleep on it and go from decide in the morning.
A long and crazy day but thoroughly enjoyable. Peace out!