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a whirlwind tour....phase one: delhi to agra

Rajasthan Travel Blog

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speaks for itself....doesn't need a caption!

where to begin? the last week and half has been a bit of a blur, a result of complete sensory over load. i arrived into delhi and managed to find my way to a risckshwaw taxi, who within 2 seconds of being in had hit two poles pulling out of his parking spot. this was my first taste of driving in india and would be just the begining. i had arrived a bit earlier than my friend so found my way to the hotel namaskar (if you can call it that) it was in the old section of Delhi and i had to walk down a couple of tiny alleys past "the chicken man" (i was told to make a right at the chicken man to find my hotel) and numerous cows...too many to count. they were and are everywhere in india.

after a week and half i am used to seeing them, but those first couple of hours it was purely bizarre. traffic would just stop for them and wait till they crossed the street.

while waiting for my friend, i quickly fell into the suckers trap of newcomers to delhi, that is getting conned into  booking some form of a tour or booking your own car and driver etc....in my defense i did only have three hours of sleep and was functioning on no food. once i realized i was being fleeced , i fixed the situation and was able to get all my money back, but it did make me skeptical of all people looking to help me. i have continued to struggle with this, but have learned that you have to trust somewhat to get any insight into this country.

our plan was to do a quick tour of rajasthan.

fort in agra....
and try to hit most of the sites and major cities: agra, pushkar, jaipur, jodhpur, and jaislamer. we took a train to agra, where we were set to see the taj mahal and be in utter awe. and we were in awe, unfortunatley, it was a cloudy day so the marble didn't shimmer as everyone says it does, but it was immense and absolutely beautiful. and it amazed me that someone built this for his wife and true love. the rest of agra was a bit lacking, we did visit the fort which was interesting, but  agra is a big tourist destination (obviously) and it felt like it. we did encounter a great rickshaw driver, sameer, who took us all around and gave us a bit of the history on all the places and some interesting insight into muslim indian men, which i won't go into here.
me trying to sand a gemstone that is inlaid in marble...it's the same technique that was used to make the taj mahal
it was great to have him as a guide and we were lucky in that he was someone that we could "trust", i say that cautiously still. it may be the cynical new yorker in me, but everyone seems to have an agenda here and it consists of how much can they rip you off. i have gotten used to it, but also have become alot more savy in my approach and dealings. regardless, sameer was a great guide and helped us tremendously in planning out our next phase of our trip.

alot of the overnight trains were booked already, so we were forced to look at other solutions, buses or hiring our own driver. after much debate and haggling over prices, we decided on hiring a driver for the rest of the journey through rajasthan. in hindsight it was the right and wrong decision. there are pros and cons to it; we were able to see alot of the country side but felt a bit at the mercy of the driver since we had to stay often where he could have accomodation as well, which in turn jacked up our prices a bit. however, we didn't have to queue in endless lines at the train stations trying to see if we could get on a train and we could leave and go when we pleased, which made us able to cover more ground and get a bit often the beaten track. our next stop after agra was pushkar, a smaller town half way inbetween agra and jaipur.

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speaks for itself....doesnt need …
speaks for itself....doesn't need…
fort in agra....
fort in agra....
me trying to sand a gemstone that …
me trying to sand a gemstone that…
bari and i in our rickshaw...right…
bari and i in our rickshaw...righ…
our favorite rickshaw driver....sa…
our favorite rickshaw driver....s…