The Taj...Take Two

Agra Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 17 › view all entries
We got on the Agra Express, which is more like the tourist train than the one we were on before. It includes a bottle of water, juice and breakfast! No compartments...more like a commuter train set-up, and it’s 80% tourists. It took less than 2 hours to reach Agra from Delhi (instead of the 5 hour journey with 3 hour delay with the locals train that we took going the other way).

Morgan and I opted out of seeing the Red Fort again so we could relax with coffee at a rooftop cafe. The group picked us up so we could join them for another carpet demonstration - a different one than before, but this one showed us a better explanation of the process, although their stock was similar, and their prices were the same (including the 10% discount for Intrepid travelers) - it’s regulated by the government - hence the free shipping), and they would not budge with those prices. The same 4x6 carpet that cost me $750 was $900 and the salesman didn’t seem at all motivated to bargain...maybe because it was still daylight? Whatever. Happy I didn’t have to hard bargain in front of a huge group is all!

We went back to the rooftop cafe for lunch (just a few steps from the carpet place) and then set off for the Taj. It was nice to know what to expect and take it from a leisurely pace. Mo and I didn’t go inside this time, but took some other photos of other areas - like the monkeys by the mosque - how did we miss that before?

We stayed in the same hotel, Pushp Villas, and at night we went to a family’s home for a cooking demo. On the bus ride there, Harriet got ill and threw up. She bravely came into the house and laid down on the couch for the whole demo and dinner, but after we all joined her on the couch for a photo, she was sick again. This family was pretty well off...and very nice, but we didn’t learn much more about Indian cooking—different variations of the same spices, making chapattis, etc., and we didn’t get to interact with the family very much...they didn’t eat with us, and we didn’t find out much about them except that their eldest son was about to take an important exam.
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photo by: rotorhead85