Well I visited the Agra on Sunday, and it was a great day. Although I spent way to much money, but let me back up a minute and describe the day leading up to my visit to Agra.
I finally was a able to go into a fitful sleep at 11pm on Sat. At 1:46 am I woke up and was very ready to go (I was suppose to get up at 2.) I got ready for the day and sat in my room until 2:43am waiting for the car. I went down stairs (waited a little bit longer,) then got in the car and started for Noida to pick up Aanchal and Rajdeep. (Although I thought we were picking up 3 people but oh well.) The driver was padding his bill a little bit and took the long way to Noida. Through the hills at 3 in the morning. Sigh. The road in India suck. The back roads in India suck badly. It was a very painful drive filled with lots of sudden stops and near misses with pot holes like lakes. But 1.5 hours later I arrived in Noida. We then spent the end of the drive, going to the Adobe office, going through a residential area (I hadn't seen one yet.) Anyone with any kid of money had a 10' wall. Everyone else slept in make shift shelters or anywhere they could find on the side of the road. I saw a few people sleeping on top of a metal carts which food would be served out of later (it was explained to me later than although those get extremely hot during the day, and don't really cool off, they have to sleep on them so people don't steal their goods. :(
At 4:45 am we picked up Aanchal and Rajdeep from the Adobe Sector 25A office and started off. It was a great car ride down. About 4 hours in the car but the four of us just talked, laughed at things on the road, and enjoyed the trip. We stopped at a side market and bought a bag of chips at around 6am for Rajdeep as she was threating to eat the seats. What I found interesting here is that we looked at around 10 of these before we decided one of them was safe enough to purchase from. The driver included did not want ot stop at any with trucks out front. They were looking for tourist buses and families. :( We stopped at a small "resort" for breakfast and I had a great India breakfast with panata and tea. We bought a few items there (I should have gotten more. Even though they were over priced,) and continued on our way. The only other really exciting thing that happened on the way down is a truck that was overloaded (this overloaded thing is not new) tipped and block the road ahead of us. We sat for 20 minutes and then decided to find another way. The car to the left of us tried to cross a ditch thing and ended up stuck. We decided to jump the merdian and go into on coming traffic. (Something that happens way to often in India.) We were going great until a few officers showed up and we had to quickly merge back onto our own side or get a hefty ticket (20 rubies. Ha, hefty.)
We arrived at some tomb in Agra and Aanchal arranged for a guide. The man spoke almost no English but I had a translator. About the time we arrived at the tomb our driver showed up with another guide an Aanchal and he argued for about 30 minutes before deciding to take the new person as he was going to be our guide for the next 3 stops. Ha. The tomb was beautiful and I have many pictures. One of the things I found interesting, and Aanchal and Rajdeep got quite mad about, was we were not allowed to wear our shoes into the kings tomb. We "rented" booties. The queens tomb on the other hand we were allowed shoes. There were monkies at this tomb as well. BEWARE the monkies (semi quote from Michael Jantzen.) Some person was trying to convince us to pet the monkies because they were nice. We didn't buy it. :)
So we loaded back up in the car and found out our tour guide was going to drop off and his son would be joining us later. My ha from eariler was because of this, double ha. So we drove some more picked up his son and went to the Taj. We rented a horse drawn carriage to take us there. I ended up riding in the front cause I am too fat. I had a hard time with the ride because the horses there are sooo malnurshied. I was literally waiting for our horse to fall over.
We then got into the courtyard and had all of the gates explained and went through the gate to the Taj. I am going to keep my descriptions of the Taj short but here we go. WOW! and not World of Warcraft wow. I have a lot of pictures. We had a great time there and stayed for almost 2 hours. On the hottest recorded day ever at the Taj. Ug. Oh I did better in the heat than the Indians. (/pride)
We went and had an India lunch after the Taj. Then went to a marble smith who was working on pieces of the marble used to construct the Taj. They they explained how the Taj's inlay was done and we watched these young men working on their craft with bloodie hand from a grinding wheel. My heart skips beating remembering that. I ended up buying an item or two there. I will say not more though. You will have to wait to see.
We then visited a jewerly store (this was the third I had been too on my trip,) and they told us about the star of India. I ended up buy the jewerly from people here as they had the best deals I had seen so far. I also ended up getting star rubies as they were far cheaper than any other gem stones I had seen in the country.
We then called it a day having spent far to much money. We packed up and started back to Noida. It was an uneventful drive as we were all tired. Rajdeep slept, Aanchal and I chatted, and the driver drove. We arrived in Noida at 8:30 pm and grabbed some dinner. It was western food with an Indian twist. Odd but good.
I was finally dropped off at 10:30 pm and paid the driver 8,550 rubies. All and all it was a very good day. Oh then I called some people and said hi, followed by sleep. I slept for many hours. I probably wont post much until I get back maybe once on Thursday or Friday. I need to do a little more shopping and I probably wont have as many suviners as I would like as I may not get back to a normal market were things are cheaper but I am working on it.