The Ride to Agra
First I must tell you about the driving in India. Which is a trip in itself. In any 3rd world country you have the crazy chaotic drivers zipping around like mad men. Always holding on & praying for your life. Then after you have been in the experience for awhile it becomes nothing and you lose your fear. Of course, I can think of a few friends back home that would lose their shit in some of these situations. Beyond primitive and total chaos!! In the stream of chaos I think again India takes first place. You have a combination of rickshaw’s, taxi’s and very few personal cars, all fighting for first place in a race to wherever they are headed. Over here the requirement for driving is good brakes and a loud horn. They use there horn for communicating to one another and to warn pedestrians to get out of their way. They are Constantly blaring their horns; but the funny thing is they rarely yell at one another and they squeeze into the tiniest spaces. It is a sea of chaotic noise & craziness that somehow all flows together! Amazing! For some Godly reason you end up ignoring the almost accidents every five minutes and feel safe??? You soon learn the ropes and get out of their way when walking along the street. No daydreaming in this country.
So we road the train to Agra & rented a car when we returned to Delhi. The train station is another smelly experience and you soon learn that you are catapulted back in time before there were bathrooms and sewer catches on trains. Yes, that’s right folks the sewer goes right out on the tracks. So anywhere near the tracks is not a place you want to hang out and that goes for the stations also. Is that where the term came from “Living on the other side of the tracks”??? Got me??? Sanjay, of course knew the ropes and got us a private bunk area, so the ride was not so bad and we had air conditioning!!! Yay!! life saver.
Luckily Sanjay had been to Agra before & knew a great hotel. Always good to have reservations wherever you travel, especially after a long train or taxi ride. Sanjay has done much traveling around India and knows all the good places or has friends who have been. You can always get referrals from other travelers along your journey too. Agra was a very cute small town and a big tourist attraction because of the Taj Mahal. A welcome relief from the city. Our little Hotel Maya had a terrace restaurant and in the morning I got my first interaction with the Indian monkeys. Running about with their babies hanging off their bellies looking for leftover parcels of food. I soon learned you ignore the monkeys and don’t get to close. Sometimes they will try to grab your sunglasses, purse or anything you are holding, thinking it is food. You learn that in India you pretty much ignore most animals and stay out of their way. They all carry disease, fleas, mites & lice so unfortunately no cuddles & hugs for the furry creatures here.
The Indians do eat a lot of wheat so I had to limit that. I must say, the chapati’s were oh so delicious. Dairy and I don’t do well together back home but because the curd(yoghurt) & milk is freshly made, I could tolerate in small doses. It was still Monsoon season, so intermittent showers would come and go throughout the day and night. Sometimes with intense downpours. Next we will get a rickshaw to the Taj Mahal. So the next post will be my experience at the Taj.