Before we get to the meat of this sight-seeing pie, there are a few things I have to say.
Having a girl on this trip is a very different experience - apart from anything else alot of my jobs have been taken away. Couple this with the constant staring by the locals at the pretty white girl, just walking down the road makes you think you are part of a parade. What you have to understand, is that Jasmine is a beautiful young lady, and in showing a little bit of her bare arms, and perhaps slightly more cleavaage than they are used to, she becomes a figure of muchos erotocism. I thought it was just me, but apparently not! Even more surreal are the requests made to have their photo taken with us - of course we politely decline. There are however a select few that choose to take covert pictures under the missaprehnsion we don't notice - we do.
It's not fun!
Anyway, now that has passed, today we visited Agra, and of course that Taj Mahal. We arrived actually a little excited. This thing we have only ever seen in photos was just a few minutes away - and when we got to it you can' fail to be dissapointed. It is so beautifully simple, so immaculately stunning, so cleanly attractive, you are in awe of the whole structure. The fact that a man built it for his dead wife makes it all the more alluring. The most romantic gesture ever made in history ever - the best I can manage is a home cooked lasagne and maybe an after eight! From afar, in the pictures, it's awesome, but it's when you get close up to it you really see the detail and work. Small stones in the marble, patterns carved into the walls - it is really a sight to behold.
We were not dissapointed.
And we also went to Agra fort. Equally as impressive, but nowhere near as pretty. Not much else to add to this. (it was nearly 40 degrees when we were there - we pretty much just sat in the shade of a pillar!)
After this, we were shown around some factories and discovered how they made the marble, carpets and jewellery. It was really interesting at first, until each one tried to sell us something! We were not having it, and often left empty handed. Each salesman used exactly the same line - 'If you give this to someone, you are wishing them long life'. I can do that with the actual words. I don't need a rug.
Everybody, I wish you a long life.
At Agra train station, we were feeling slightly frustrated by the constant staring and selling, and I said that if one more ting lke this was to happen, I would loose all my faith in the Indian people.
It did, and I have.
I'm not sure whether you know that in India, there are many shoe shiners in the street and public areas to offer their services for a price. I have no problem with this - everyone needs to make a living. However, when one offers to do it for you, and you'er wearing SANDALS, you start to think that maybe, just maybe, they are a bit mental. Needless to say I declined a buffing of my reefs -
I did get a nice pedicure though!