Taj Mahal | Agra, India

I’m beginning to understand why our hotel wifi password is “Grand Theft Auto…” Because Delhi drivers think they are playing this video game in real time. We arranged for a driver, which we later found out has some serious road rage for a day trip out to Agra. It takes a good 3 hours to get there via the expressway and he first takes us to the back side of the Taj Mahal. This is clearly the “wrong side of the tracks” or in this case, “the wrong side of the river.” This view is complete with barbed wire. Agra_Taj_Mahal001 Agra_Taj_Mahal002 Agra_Taj_Mahal003 Agra_Taj_Mahal004Not far from this vantage point is a community of people who recycle fabric and clothes for a living.

They wash, dry, mend them, and resell them. My camera was loving it.Agra_Taj_Mahal005 Agra_Taj_Mahal006 Agra_Taj_Mahal007 Agra_Taj_Mahal008 Agra_Taj_Mahal009 Agra_Taj_Mahal010 Agra_Taj_Mahal011 Agra_Taj_Mahal012 Agra_Taj_Mahal013 Agra_Taj_Mahal014 Agra_Taj_Mahal015 Agra_Taj_Mahal016 Agra_Taj_Mahal017 Agra_Taj_Mahal018We finally make our way to the Taj Mahal and it’s as impressive as you would imagine. Agra_Taj_Mahal019 Agra_Taj_Mahal020 Agra_Taj_Mahal021 Agra_Taj_Mahal022 Agra_Taj_Mahal023 Agra_Taj_Mahal024 Agra_Taj_Mahal025 Agra_Taj_Mahal026 Agra_Taj_Mahal027 Agra_Taj_Mahal028 Agra_Taj_Mahal029 Agra_Taj_Mahal030 Agra_Taj_Mahal031 Agra_Taj_Mahal032 Agra_Taj_Mahal033Here people were taking pictures of us, wanted us to take pictures of them, or wanted to be in pictures with us, so somewhere in the world I may be someone’s girlfriend on facebook and Rick may be someone’s best friend.

Of course it can’t be a tour without scamming you into some sort of shop where they want to dive into your wallet. They of course never tell you this and before you know it, you find yourself corralled into an artisan shop, sipping chai, learning about pietra dura, in the dark with a flashlight viewing how light passes through different stones, being shown all sorts of marble items which are probably the worst items you could buy as a backpacker. Yes, I’ll take a 10 pound marble table top please. I have plenty of room and it’s easy on the back. When you try your best to kindly say you are not interested you are lead onto another floor of the building with textiles. Sari. No thanks. Oh but wait, there’s one more room with postcards and magnets and things of that nature. How many rooms does this building have??? I am beginning to feel like a mouse lost in a maze.Agra_Taj_Mahal034We finally escape and we were exhausted by now and still had the 3 hour ride home. Which by the way, included an incident where our driver got out of the car in the middle of the road to accost a motorcyclist and I thought they were going to throw down right there in traffic. He got back in the car without a word and we Grand Theft Auto’d all the way home. Seat belts fastened. Agra_Taj_Mahal035 Agra_Taj_Mahal036 Agra_Taj_Mahal037 Agra_Taj_Mahal038 Agra_Taj_Mahal039 Agra_Taj_Mahal040 Agra_Taj_Mahal041 Agra_Taj_Mahal042 Agra_Taj_Mahal043 Agra_Taj_Mahal044 Agra_Taj_Mahal045 Agra_Taj_Mahal046 Agra_Taj_Mahal047 Agra_Taj_Mahal048 Agra_Taj_Mahal049 Agra_Taj_Mahal050Taj Mahal. Check.