Visiting India. Part 2. From Delhi to Taj Mahal

After safe arrival to Delhi, I checked in to the hotel at 2:30AM. My laptop “s clock still showed 5PM. I wonder, what was the big idea to set the time zone in a 30-min increment?

The bellman showed me to the room of this three-star looking hotel and proudly announced, “We have hot water 24 hours a day! rdquo;. I took a shower keeping my mouth shut. Literally.No tap water should make it into my stomach ndash; diarrhea won “t forgive such a mistake. Only bottled water is allowed.

The morning buffet offered two type of juices: one labeled read Real Juice, and the other Fresh Juice.

The waiter answered, “The real juice is from cans and the fresh one is fresh rdquo;. O-Kay hellip;

My new Toyota van is waiting for me at 8:30AM. The plan is to drive for an hour doing quick sightseeing in Delhi, and then head toward the city of Agra, where Taj Mahal one of the wonders of the world is situated. The distance is about 150 miles, but the driver says it “ll take us more than four hours. Got it. I should not be expecting auto bans here.

If for some reason I “d be allowed to show only one of the photographs to represent the look and feel of this 16-million people city, I “d have chosen this one:

I ‘m sure there are much better residential areas, but I can only speak for what I ‘ve seen. For more touristy photos of New Delhi call your travel agent. If I like some new city, I often say to my wife, “I love it here, let “s relocate! rdquo; For some reason these statements always irritate her ndash; she “is very happy in New Jersey. Honey, I would not relocate to Delhi even if someone would offer me free house in the center of the city.

Lots and lots of poor people. The streets are dirty and dusty. Free cows are eating garbage (when a cow stops giving milk, her master gives her freedom).

Of course, I “ve seen better places today like the House of Parliament or the Gates of India, but most of the city that I “ve seen looks bad. By the way, I saw but did not photograph three men and one women openly peeing on the streets (this was not a quartet ndash; I “ve seen them at different locations one by one).

During our ride to Agra, I kept taking pictures of three-wheeled auto rickshaws. Take a look at this baby that originally was designed to carry a driver and three passengers. I “ve seen them with 8 passengers inside.

After leaving the city limits, I “ve seen hundreds of other modifications of this miscarriage of the car industry. It has the same wheelbase but the body is about ten feet wider which immediately doubles its passenger capacity. This model can accommodate sixteen happy Indians or four complaining Americans.

Drivers here are honking all the time. The overloaded rickshaws and trucks can ‘t see what ‘s happening behind the vehicle. So very often my driver was hanking either when passing by just in case or to request the truck to move to a slower lane. My driver said the following, “Indian drivers need three things: good breaks, good tires and good horn “.

By the way, men in India are slim and women are heavier. I wonder, what will happen with sexy bellies of those flight attendants from Air India?

And this moped owner takes care of recycling.

My driver said that the city of Agra is a small one ndash; only 1.5 million people. After a short rest in the hotel room, we went to see the Fort of Agra and Taj Mahal. It “s 40 degrees Celsius outside, but when you see Taj Mahal, you just forget about the hot weather – it ‘s so beautiful!

I hope you appreciate that I did not publish a picture of me covering a half of Taj Mahal.

The guide told me the whole story about the Mogul dynasty . After giving a birth to the last of the fourteen kids, she died and the Emperor build this wonder of the world as a symbol of his love to her. He loved her so much! To get a little different perspective, you need to know that the Emperor had a harem of 1000 beautiful girls too. This helps.

When I was a teenager, we had an English textbook, which contained the following sentence, “London is a city of striking contrasts rdquo;. For some reason, this phrase is carved in my brain, even though I ‘ve been to London a couple of times and its far from truth. It seems that the author of this textbook have never been to India.

We can call it a day. It was a good one. I “ve seen a lot and did not get diarrhea. When I “ll get it, you “ll be the first to know.

Stay tuned.

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