Yesterday was a sad day.
We had arrived the night before in Agra from Jaipur, and though I'd heard horror stories about Agra from friends who'd been, I actually found it a nice change of pace from the bustle of a government town like Jaipur (seat of the Rajasthan state government). After a visit to Fahtepur Sikri, an 15th century abandoned palace complex, we had a night booked at the Oberoi Amervillas. Our room had an unimpeded view of the Taj which made me realize that I'm actually on a honeymoon... with my mother. Hmmm.
The next day, after a short wait in mosquito infested air to get through the gate (note: bathe in bug repellent before heading out), we rushed in to a breathtaking sight as the sun rose over the Taj. I was all prepped to be let down by the Taj - there are just too many superlatives that come with a description of the place. Nope. It's as amazing, peaceful, imposing, fragile, exceptional, and as beautiful as all the guidebooks, magazines, tourists (now me) gush.
We also went to the Red Fort of Agra later the same morning. As the Taj is beautiful, the Red Fort is fascinating. Akbar, Shah Jehan and his crazy, cruel son. Fun stuff.
Before I post the pics a few thoughts on my experience in India so far, especially since arriving in Bhutan. My lasting feeling about India, after one day away, is of noise, dust, yellow, red, smiles, horns and honking, dilapidated buildings, respect, corruption, sad, modern, and very very happening. There are way too many people but everyone knows that. Driving there makes any other countries I've been driven in (cause lets be honest here, I'm way too western to drive anywhere other than a small handful of countries) seem like the picture of germanic rule following.
One thing really sticks with me though - people are very optimistic about the future but no one, and I mean no one, seems to trust that the government will get it right and they all believe that corruption is a way of life in India. "They" being the ones I met. I found that dispiriting. But then again this doesn't seem to stop anyone from rushing forward. Exciting too.
Enough of me and my opinions. Pictures!