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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 6 Bhopal to Agra

My train to Agra left at 9:45 am this morning. I sat with some college kids who were traveling from Mumbai to attend a wedding. They were very nice and watching some Bollywood movies on their laptop.

I did not arrive in Agra until 6:00 pm so it was off to the hotel to rest for tomorrow. On the way to Agra I decided to change my plans and not go to Udaipur. I did not feel like traveling the 15 hours on the train, then take a 6.5 hour bus to Jodhpur and then a 9 hour train to Delhi and then a 13 hour train to Varanasi. I have heard horror stories about Delhi and didn’t want to brave it. Also, after discussing Pushkar and Jaipur I didn’t really feel like going there either and although it might have been nice to take a camel trek in Jaisalmer it wasn’t worth the 19 hour train ride to Delhi for me. So I decided to scrap that entire portion of my trip and head right to Varanasi from Agra.

India has some great sites, it is just too bad they are in India. I am struggling with India. Someone said that you need to spend 30 days in India before you start to like it and that may be true, but I’m not sure I will last that long. Friends have told me how hard India is to travel in and they were right. However, it is a different kind of hard. There are just way too many people here. It is exhausting just walking around because you always need to be moving and dodging people or cars or animals or whatever. Also, I have found some quiet places, but on the whole there are no quiet places. In Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, which was the first book I read on my kindle (thank you all for giving me this - it has been a godsend for all these long train rides and space and weight in my bag), said in the novel that the poor in India have no place to be alone and is correct. There are so many people that there really aren’t too many places for people to go to be alone and it is draining for someone not used to that. At least, I have my hotel rooms.

Also, although most of the people I have met have been nice and great people, a good number of them are being nice because they want to sell you something. I can’t count the number of times someone has said “My family made this” or “You are my first customer today”. They all have the same script. And, it is good enough to just say “No, thank you!” They keep on bugging you until you have to either totally ignore them or just keep saying “No” then they get all sad looking and saying I just want to “Make good luck.”

Also, people are always wanting more money. I went to use the bathroom at a place I paid 110 rupees to enter and after giving the bathroom guy 10 rupees he wanted a 100. I said I just paid 110 to see this artistic masterpiece and you want to charge me 100 rupees to see the bathroom? I don’t know if they are hoping to trick you in to give them a good deal of money or what. Because when a hotel room costs 300 rupees and a good mean costs anywhere between 70-200 rupees we aren’t talking bad money for doing so little. Also those guys that were washing clothes in Mumbai only make around $6 or 300 rupees a day. It is just frustrating.

I am glad that I didn’t plan too much of this trip ahead and decided to let things come as they may because I am very flexible in my traveling and can leave one county anytime and come home anytime. I have already cut a lot of India out and instead of spending almost 2 months here will probably only spend a month or less.

One thing that has been is the weather. It has been very pleasant especially here in Agra. It was very cold last night that I need long sleeves, pants and socks to sleep.

Here are pictures of my $7 a night hotel room and it’s rooftop restaurant with views of the Taj Mahal.

Agra had over 400 weddings happening today and most of them could be heard from my hotel room.

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