Sunday, July 22, 2007

Leaving Agra

Agra, India; January 12, 2007
This story is from my recent Journey in India
Exploring Agra has been a very satisfying and tiring experience. After seeing the Taj, Mannie, our auto rickshaw driver, wants to take us to some more places but we say no. Now comes the part I have been dreading. This morning when he begged us to let him be our guide in Agra, he said: "You are my guests" and "As you l
ike". Well, he was okay but we found we had to reign him in a lot during the adventure. Mannie kept trying to take us to tourist emporiums and we kept saying no. And when we insisted he stop heading to the next one, he would give us an aggravated look of disappointment to show us that his 'guests' were not doing 'as he liked'. At the end of the day we think his services are worth 400 rupees and the trip from the train station to the hotel, another hundred. I pay him 500 rupees ($15 CAD). He argues that it is not enough but I hold my ground. When he realizes I'm not going to budge, he finally pastes the happy-go-lucky face back on and bids us a fond 'Namaste'.
It's early morning now. Our next stop is Rajasthan and our train is scheduled to leave at 6pm. But now at 8am there is still no sign of it. There are many people sleeping on the concrete floor around us. These children and their mother are waiting for the same train. Notice the snow suits. This is as cold as it gets in India. Aw thinks 20 degrees Celsius is cold enough but this ain't Thailand. Children always gravitate to Aw where ever we go. And she blends right in. People assume she is Indian. We wait for the train on this cold platform for 3 hours before we finally give up. The deal is that after three hours you can get a full refund on your tickets, so we do. We get on a bus to Jaipur instead. This is one bumpy ride though. The roads in this part of India are full of potholes. But at least we are on our way again.

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