Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The road out of hell.

We were going to leave early to Agra to reach the Taj Mahal! Oh, wishful thinking.

On the way we saw a stepwell, which was in a tiny backwater village. It was Karin's first encounter with an Asian toilet. The guy took us to the back and unlocked the holes. He stood outside waiting to lock again, and, of course, for his tip. If you closed the door, it was pitch black, so he had a nice view while we squatted. At our age, getting up, while holding your pants, handbag and camera, without touching anywhere, is no mean feat. Your shoes became wet, and your knees creaked.

Karin taking photo's at the stepwell:

- the stepwell was started in 1100 AD. This what a stepwell looks like:

We then continued to Fatehpur Sikri. It is an Unesco site, and very old, a palace and mosque, beautiful but badly kept. Our guide looked like an old Elvis Presley, and irritated us endlessly.

The road was very misty and ful of traffic. Not in the normal sense, but carts pulled by men, oxen, camels, bicycles, tricycles, rickshaws, autorickshaws, small lorries, big lorries, buses, many motorcycles with up to 4 persons on, people walking, children running over the road, pigs, cows, calves, loaded donkeys, waterbuffalos, goats and emaciated brandsiek dogs coming from absolutely nowhere. This sounds very unlikely, but you have to believe me it is true.

The worst of all is the constant, terrible noise. Every car, motercycle, autorikshaw, lorry and bus hoots for everything they pass. Our car has a loud hoo hoo, the lorries sound like a childrens' play ambulans, everyone has their own sound.

Most of the time we travelled on a highway, but they worked the whole way on this , though we never saw anyone working.

The board said "diversion" instead of detour, and Nicole found that very funny.

Driving on the wrong side in the wrong direction is totally normal. Going from tar to dirt without warning happened all the time.
This was the the division between the two roads, and Nicole wondered if they were gravestones?

Along the way, we saw this out of the window:

Banwhar, our wonderful, calm driver drove like a madman to get us early to the Taj, but all in vain. We fell into the middle of a traffic jam and immediatly the 2 way road turned into a six way road. We are sitting on the right side of the road here, facing lorries and trucks.

Somehow he managed to pass all of this, with our hearts stopping every two minutes. Banwhar gave us, after all of this, 3 hours at the Taj. This was not enough, but serendipity gave us the best guide ever.

Tomorrow, the Taj.
Sweet dreams,
From the tired but very happy Crocs.

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