Thursday, 26 January 2012

India Trip- Delhi and Agra

When we finally arrived at the hotel in Delhi, we had such a culture shock. The bathroom was very small and open concept (no actual shower room, all in one), the room was nice and big but the bed was not the most comfortable, but that's not why we went to India. Conrad was able to fall asleep but I was tossing and turning until he woke up. That day we did a lot of things including booking our transport to Agra and other places by train. Biggest mistake: not booking our train tickets in advance. It took us a good hour to figure out the first few days of our trip and we had the worst seats ever!! the lowest class which meant sharing a bench 5 people, that's right 5. Did I mention that these were the cheapest tickets, meaning we sat with poorer people who smelled! ( we weren't able to get better tickets, they were all sold out). After that was done, we decided to walk around. I have never held on to Conrad's hand so tightly before in all the years that I know how. Everyone, and I mean everyone was looking at us. I felt like I was going to be harassed or assaulted. I remembered our friends Julie and Patrick saying that they will be looking at us and that is normal behaviour for them.  We were so thankful that Julie and Patrick shared their stories with us as that made us more prepared for the trip.

This was also the first day that we got into the rickshaw. I was so scared at first but after a few minutes, I realized how much fun it actually was. That's right, I said FUN! We were told by our friends that in India you have to haggle for everything, especially with the rickshaw drivers. So that is what we did and I have to say I became an expert by the end of our trip at haggling for everything, from the drivers to the stores we went to and I loved it.  The rickshaw driver brought us to a few different stores and locations to see in New Delhi and at first we liked that he stayed with us but after a while he became very pushy so we decided to walk. So here we are, our first day in India and we ditch our driver (don't worry we paid him for the time he spent with us) and decide to walk with only one map with thousands of Indians around us looking at us and every taxi/rickshaw driver stopping to ask us if we wanted their services.  Even though it was a crazy thing to do, it was also the best because that's how we realized that we were good map readers and that even though New Delhi was overwhelming it was also beautiful. We also realized that a lot of people are willing to help you, especially with crossing the streets of India. There aren't many stop signs or lights so you have to push yourself and cross the street whenever you see a big crowd of people.

The first day was amazing but we had to go to bed early as our train was leaving early next day and guess what happened. I couldn't sleep! Because of the time change and the culture shock and the noise and the smell, I just couldn't fall asleep. So after a night with no sleep and 3-4 hours on the train to the Agra, there we were standing in front of the Taj Mahal. What a beauty! Absolutely breathtaking. Seeing it on picture and seeing it with your own eyes are two very different things. That being said, being right there was not the only amazing thing that happened to us that day. We realized that people, especially young kids were amazed with Conrad because he is tall (6'4) and most Indians that we saw were shorter. People were constantly asking for pictures with us which made us laugh during our entire trip. We didn't spend a lot of time in Agra because that same day (late afternoon) we had to leave again by train to another city. Of course, our seats were again the cheapest. So after no sleep for 2 nights, we spent 5-6 hours on the train sitting on a bench with 5 people. I was ready to leave and go home!  Here are some pics of our first 2 days. More to come.
our first night

walking in Delhi

Conrad with some of those kids

inside the Taj Mahal

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