Posted from Jaipur, India
Last night we took the train from Agra to Jaipur. Luckily, it was uneventful and we arrived weary but otherwise ok. Our time in Agra was wonderful. But really, how can it not be with the Taj Mahal right there. What a sight! My pics are on my laptop, which we left at the guesthouse, but I'm sure you'll forgive me as soon as you see them. I can't believe that we saw the Taj Mahal. I want to keep saying that over and over again, because it seems so incredible, but we were there. We saw it. WE SAW IT!
When we were in Kerala, someone we met on a jeep safari said that she was underwhelmed by the Taj when she first saw it. It took her a good 30 minutes to warm up to it. But as Lizzi and I walked through the gate and the Taj came into view, their was not waiting period, we didn't have to pre-heat our excitement ovens. It was the Taj Ma-freakin'-hal, and it was right in front of us, larger than life.
We got to the Taj in the late afternoon, well after the heat of the day subsided. But the lines were still long, and people were pushing and shoving to get in. "Tour guides" were offering people the opportunity to cut to the front of the line for 500 rupees. We watched one poor white guy fall victim to it. He shelled out his cash, the "guide" escorted him to the front of the line, where the security officer told him to go to the back. The "guide" shrugged and melted into the crowd, only to appear next to us a few moments later. We laughed in his face when we offered us his "service".
One other note about queues in India is that personal space is a relative matter. In that, there was enough zipper-to-crack contact from the guy behind me that I think we might be married, at least in Vermont and New Jersey. Seriously, people, I could feel the bulge. I kept my eyes focused straight ahead and went to my happy place.
We are now in Jaipur, taking a day off to rest up and catch up on the world outside of India, which, when you're in India, seems very far away. Our trip is entering its home stretch. We have officially passed the "one-month left" milestone, meaning we have less than 2 weeks remaining in India before heading to Nepal, Hong Kong and then home. Already, we are starting to feel bittersweet about the inevitable flight back to New York, and, yes, we understand that a month is still a long time. But when two-and-a-half months have flown by the way these have, it's easy to start feeling a little sad so soon. But we stil have a month, and that's the most inportant part. The adventure ain't over yet.