Friday, November 04, 2011

India 4

As it turns out, we were in India over The School Holidays. It was never clear what this holiday was, but since the rest of the country seemed to be full-steam-ahead, I presume it was something like our Spring Break. Our hopes to take a train from Delhi to Agra were dashed by The School Holidays, which are an opportune time for the rapidly growing Indian middle class to take the family down to Agra. Our much more limited desire to take the bus? Likewise dashed.

As such, the confluence of two great forces aligned against us: First, the knowledge that it was entirely possible that despite our hopes to the contrary, we may never be so close to Agra again; and second, the temporary illusion that because we were earning Danger Pay and spending nothing in Kabul we were fabulously wealthy. I can assure you that our return to DC has scuttled any brief reverie that we were part of the 1%. But, by for that brief interval, that week, we were!

So we hired a private car and driver to take us down to Agra one day, stay there overnight, and drive us back to Delhi, via Fetapur Sikri, the next day. His price was ridiculously low for what we got. But it would not have been measured in the proverbial peanuts. Being a professional driver of tourists, we figured he would know his way around Agra, and be able to help us with such tasks as finding the Taj Mahal. We were mistaken! Some amount of driving in circles around Agra ensued, along with the asking for directions from random strangers.

And thus, this kindly fellow, hanging out, selling eggs (we did not buy eggs) who was one of many who attempted to guide us to the elusive rooftop-cafe-with-a-view-of-the-Taj-at-sunset. I wish the photo were a bit straighter, but it was taken from the back seat of the car as the indolent staff photographer sat and took pictures and rolled his eyes about the hassles of navigating Agra, and he certainly wasn't going to get out of the air-conditioned car to improve the angle of the photo. The subject may have been the one who got us pointed vaguely in the right direction, but in the end we just told our faithful driver to drop us at some random street corner, found our way on foot, and took an auto-rickshaw back to the hotel that night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Huh! I was under the impression that English is common in India...but no English in sight on these signs, except that they are evidently ADA-compliant (!) and like FLEX, whatever that is. Verrry interesting...