The real deal.....Saii Palace Agra, with a little Varanasi thrown in for flavour
Agra Travel Blog› entry 16 of 34 › view all entries
February 26th, 2010 – by: staceyjamie
So, I decided that with some editing, I would share this with you, as to my belief its far more interesting than any contrived pieces, I can piece together to keep people updated when India is kind enough to give me internet connection for longer than 5 minutes.
so hear goes: Its not always pretty or romantic I warn you. But it is real.xx
OMG, Where am I.
I just realised I'm staying in the biggest fucking dump of my stay so far. This room is grotty dilapidated, the toilet doesn't work, the damp is peeling away the walls, the bed linen is filthy, they didn't even provide bedding.
It seamed charming this morning after a 13 hour train journey from Varanasi, with the prospect of seeing the Taj fresh in my mind. Wow, I actually had to pause and think for a minute of where I had just come from. I'm exhausted from moving around so much, but truth be told I wouldn't have wanted to stay in any of the places for longer than I did, save for except Jaisalmer. I'm not much of a monument person, everyday life is what speaks to me, and what I remember long after I have left a place.
Varanasi was the city of the bullshit Sadu, Sai baba following jokers, beggars, scammers, and disgusting hovels calling themselves guest houses.
The dirt, the noise, the harrasement, the toilets, the smells, the scamming, pressure. India is some of the highest intensity travel you will ever undertake.
At the hotel I met Sukhbhir Singh, the 'business man; gentleman' who took me under his wing and made varanasi bearable. Full of good food, beer, and jokes. The man is international thank goodness.I may work on a NGO progamme and other business endeavors with Mr singh. For once I met someone who was willing to buy me a meal. Usually, hands are out stretched here, with nothing to give, but determined to take everything they can possible get away with.
So fancy this, the Taj is closed on a Friday, So today I spent the day with Adam and Alex. Adam, 24 for Wisconsin chicago- well that says it all really.
At first his talky personality and kind face had been a draw, then I listened to what he actually had to say, and if it were down to him, all agriculture in India would be mechanised, leaving the poor unqualified "share croppers" to pursue more meaningful activities. Like learning to play the flute, trading stocks, reading Nietzche or some shit like that.He thinks Indians are peasants, beneath him. I try not to get offended, I wondered what he thinks and says about black people, when he is not actually in their company...hmmmmmmm
In the world according to Adam, nursing care would be done care of robotic orderlies. The boy, whilst sweet enough, has some strange Ideas. Laid back, crook foot French Alex, 21, is totally on the money though. Sharp engaging and non intrusive. I like him. I realise how easy it can be to dismiss people when you don't share a common language, or their accent is different to your's, as not going to "get you". As I said , Alex was on the money-super cool.
The last two days have seen bitter hot tears. Every emotion has come up. I'm like flaky filo pastry on the surface, but ready to crumble at the slightest touch. Listening to sad Joan Armatrading songs on repeat, whilst feeling sad and guilty for the lives of all the people I love. Is that conceited in some way? I don't know. I just want the best for them. When they succeed, so do I. ( I speak of my brother and sisters)
Saii Palace in the night time:
The place gives me the fucking creeps. Alex' Nepali Hash is potent, and we spent the day having a smoke in the park, then playing Jack arse, listening to tunes and have a further smoke on the roof, with the glistening beauty of the Taj Mahal as our Background. My aussie friend Emilys Grandfather told her: There are only two types of people. Those who have seen the Taj, and those who have not.
I guess I've seen it now.
We went to a restraunt after our sojourn to the park that had "recommended by the Lonely planet" daubed on the wall in blue paint. There's something about a LP recommendation that proceeds to turn a once quality place to shit very quickly. Needless to say, the non-veg Thali was one of the worst I have ever eaten.
India lacks any quality control, or national standards. And it shows in the haphazard inconsistency that effects nearly every Indian Process.
And the starring. The fucking rude staring, like your green or something. I stooped to starring out an old man on the train this morning. I had just woken, up and he was starring in my face like he was watching a Bollywood movie.
I'm back to feeling overwhelmed, and vastly unimpressed with most aspects of the Indian "mainstream tourist accessible" society. I don't want to feel that way, but can't really help it. 6 weeks is totally different to a two week holiday, where it all feels like a 'big, adventurous, sun filled shopping heavy holiday'. Travelling a route feels very different. The pace and agenda are different.
INDIA-- I. NEVER.DO.IT.AGAIN, is apparently the acronym used to describe India, and today, I get the sentiment exactly.
A monkey stole a bag of Banana straight from Alex's hand as we walked down the street trying to locate out hotel after our spell in the park. He got straight monkey jacked, it was totally unexpected and hilarious. It's these things that makes India unique and intoxicating. A place you can love and hate in the same hour. I'm so glad I did it this way round, leaving the relative ease of southern India to the last. I'm going to need the break, for real, for real.
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