First of the Summer Rain

Agra Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 17 › view all entries
I got to the station bright and early, well it was like 10am and not so bright because it monsooned last night so everywhere was muddy and grey-er. It was easy enough to find my platform because things were written in English thankfully, and I waited in section S6 and everyone stared at me, as per. I managed not to get on the wrong train that came like 2 minutes before and when my train did finally come everyone was pushing and shoving even though practically the whole train load of people needed to get off, and we all had reserved seats so there was no need for the rushing. I think people in India just get stuck in their ways and find it hard to change. Sleeper class isn't that bad to sit in for a couple of hours, I don't think I could manage overnight on that hard sticky plastic though. The breeze through the windows was nice and the rusty old fans helped. We got to the outskirts and started passing slums where people live under roofs made of sticks or plastic sheeting or general other items we'd easily toss into the rubbish piles. I fell asleep for most of the journey.

I got a rickshaw from the station to Taj Ganj area for 60Rs and I let the driver take me to whatever hotel he wanted because I didn't have one booked and he might as well get his commission. I got a room down from 250 to 150 and it has an amazing rooftop view of the Taj Mahal. I actually gasped and went "wow" when I first saw it. It's actually to beautifully amazing and I'm one of those people who get bored of seeing temples, palaces and churches etc. but even though it was still quite a distance away it was still astonishing. The rickshaw driver from earlier tried selling me some tour thing but I just used his information to now know know there's a park place on the north bank where apparently you get good views of the Taj Mahal at sunset.

I went on a little walk and ate some chicken curry at Joney's which was yummy and then walked around town some more where I met Arfi (?) who was some jewelery shop owner but I diverted from that and we just talked for a bit and then I went on the roof of Shanti Lodge to see the sunset but it was cloudy and started monsooning. My hotel had no power so I went back to talk to Arfi and he taught me some Hindi so I now know a few useful phrases. When I finally went back to my room there was still a blackout and I fell in a puddle on the way, and my flip flop came off but some nice people helped me. Now I think about it, the chin high puddle was probably the side gutter that stunk of pee and shit earlier and I had hoped I'd never fall in it. You seriously have to have eyes everywhere in India: below to look for poo, piss, animals, small children; above looking for the rain clouds; infront and behind, looking for 'vehicles' and to the sides looking for whichever alleyway the hotel is down but trying to avoid catching any shop owners eye.

So my room had no electricity so I had to open all my windows which meant all the noisy generators, people, vehicles and animals felt like they were in my room and it barely made it cooler, just sticky and humid. It started monsooning again but this time it was PROPER and lightening and thunder and it was so close because there was hardly any time between the two and it was seriously the best storm I've ever witnessed. It was WILD.
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photo by: rotorhead85