India | Agra: March 5, 2009

March 5th, 2009

We had planned on taking a train to agra, which would have taken us only 3 hours. But anu and sukhpreet suggested that it would be better for us to go by a taxi so that we would not be inconvenienced in agra and also we could stop by fatehpur sikri on the way.

We headed out to agra, and it took us almost 5.5 hours to get there. We wanted to put our bags in the hotel we were planning to stay at. When we walked in and checked out the room, we knew there wasno way we would stay there. All exhausted from lack of sleep, long drive, and the heat, we decided that we needed to head back that night and not stay in agra. We left our stuf fin the taxi to check out the taj mahal.

When purchasing the entrance tickets, the guy asked penny 3 times if she was Indian. And all the three time she said she was from Chandigarh so that she didn’t have to pay the exorbitant price they charged ‘foreigners’.  After buying the tickets for nationals, we were walking htrough the entrance when the guy who checks tickets wouldn’t let us through. He insisted that we provide proof that we were Indian. We had never experience this before. But having been in india for some time, we knew some key terms like the pan card (like a sin card), and well, penny spoke fluent hindi (or so she thinks). We told him that we weren’t carrying the pan cards with us and that they were in the hotel. And after a little while, he got distracted by some other fellas, and we just snuck past him. Phew!

The taj mahal looks nicer from far.

We found our taxi and headed back. We called sukhpreet to let him know that we were returning tonight since anu had told us not to book train tickets from delhi to Chandigarh and instead to come with sukhpreet the next day since he too was driving to Chandigarh. But since we were a day early, we thought we’d spend the night at his place and head to Chandigarh with him the next day. He said that wouldn’tb e a problem, especially since by the time we get back he’d be home from work…at 9pm.

We got to his apartment in Faridabad around 11, but he was still not back from work yet. We thought we’d wait downstairs, but he directed the cabby to take us to his work (about 45 minutes away from his apartment). This didn’t make any sense to us, but we couldn’t do anything at this point, and this late at night. The taxi driver took us through some weird streets where the roads were the worst we had ever seen in our lives…got lost…and hopped back on the highway from wehre we came. We got to sukhpreet’s work area around 1 am, and he still wasn’t done. He told us to wait at a spot where he’d come meet us. When we finally met him, he told us that in fact he had been drinking with his buddies since 9, and htat is why he was not home. What tha?!

We finally headed back to Faridabad with sukhpreet and got there around 2. He told us that he wasn’t too sure about going back to Chandigarh the next evening as previously planned. We were a little disappointed, but mostly concerned because Karthik had to get on the internet to do some work. He said that he was most likely going to leave the next night, and reach Chandigarh the following day. This wouldn’t work out for us at all. We tried to explain to him that it was important for us to have internet access (he doesn’ thave any at home) for work, and well it was frustrating that people don’t understand that we’re not vacationing here. We’re working and travelling. It was too late now to catch a bus or to find tickets on a bus for the next day. Getting train tickets was totally out of question. So the only choice we had was taxi. We decided that to beat the traffic that we had once battled, it would be most wise to take the taxi in the middle of the night when there was no traffic on the road. And this meant…in the next 2 hours. We called up manish remembering that there was a taxi stand near to his apartment. He got us their # and we arranged for a taxi to pick us up at sukhpreet’s place at 4 in the morning. Sukhpreet gave the cabbie directions.

Since he was tired, we urged that he go to bed, and we decided to take a nap. We had all decided that we would not wake him when we left as they door self locks. All was good (except for the mosquitoes that feasted on us that night).

The cabbie called us to come down, we tried to wake him out of courtesy but he was totally zonked out, and so we headed downstairs to catch our cab to Chandigarh.

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