Good Luck at Fatehpur Sikri
James organised a pick up time with M&D's taxi driver from yesterday with enough time to squeeze in a breakfast buffet, for the men and two poached eggs for the ladies! Our excursion today was to a fort/palace and a mosque just outside of Agra called Fatehpur Sikri. The car journey was interesting in itself as we drove further out of the dusty city and into the countryside. The word countryside usually conjures up images of rolling hills, green grass and farms. As you are probably aware by now there are plenty of farm animals wandering the city streets so spotting them is not very exciting. There are fields full of crops and greenery but I think the thing that will stick in M&D's head from the journey was the men hovering their buttocks over the side of a ditch and their faeces still latching on to their bottom-lovely!
I was pleased that M&D got to see some of the countryside and the smaller villages with almost as much hustle and bustle as a city but in a more rustic way.
Road management is not India's strong point so it was hardly surprising when we arrived at the toll road that the traffic was set back into large clumps all pushing their way towards a toll gate. It reminded me very much of the Metro in Delhi!
There was a lot of giggling (probably from nerves) and gasps with the crazy driving and our driver explained what attributes are needed to survive the roads: The three G's, which are Good Brakes, Good Horn and Good Luck-so true!
After cramming our way onto the shuttle bus we made it to Fatehpur Sikri. The palace was built by one of the Maharajas because he met with a fortune teller who told him, an heir would be born at this site. The prophecy came true and consequently he moved here along with his three wives, one Christian, one Muslim and his favourite, despite being Muslim himself his Hindu wife. The palace grounds were very impressive and I was spot on with my tour guide expertise, well apart from the curtain hooks, the kitchen and Mums input of the 'Gift Well'!
We walked out of the relaxing palace grounds and straight into the onslaught of school children trying to sell us stuff or show us around or to have our old tickets. We were told by our driver to ignore all the touts but when Mum entered the mosque (we were allowed in this one) she cut her foot. We get enough attention for being white, but when they noticed Mum was bleeding the boys surrounded her. She got out a plaster and I stuck it on her cut, this prompted all of the boys to ask for a plaster showing Mum the tiniest healed cuts or scars as if to prove to her they were in desperate need. They couldn't understand that she only had one with her. One of the boys just wouldn't give it up with the tour guiding and I was soon replaced as M&D began to embrace his charms and soon after James and I couldn't resist either. He had such good English, constantly assisted Mum up and down the tiny stairs as if she was an invalid and was just so lovely and charismatic we bought a few bits from his uncle's stall-they know how to sucker you in!
The drive back to the hotel was another interesting journey with an even bigger queue at the useless toll road; James nearly got out to sort everyone out! I wasn't feeling 100% so we didn't go to Agra Fort but the driver still asked for a tip. We made a deal with him, if he dropped us at the station the following day he could have his tip then. We are glad we didn't tip him as he didn't turn up when we needed a lift to the station and we had to get to autos at the last minute.
We played more card games in the evening and I think we restrained Dad from getting a buffet and ate at the café instead.