Jennifer found the following quote by Elizabeth Mattiesnsmgwel which for me sums up so much,"To be able to pause and not react to your mind is a super power. Implicit in it is questioning whether the things that trigger us are real or not."
We were very very comfortable in our spacious airconditioned car which Jen informs me was an SUV!! The trip to Agra took about three hours of driving through flat farm lands of mainly rice paddies and maize with straw rondavel type dwellings dotted around. There were also many tall chimney type kilns used in brick making. As we sped past, It all looked extremely peaceful with people and cattle working in the fields.
It's dIfficult for me to see if this pic taken from the window shows much except how flat it is!!
Agra or rather whatever we saw of it was teeming with people, small spaza owners, hooting cars, three wheeled auto rickshas, fearless drivers of scooters and motor bikes, cyclists carrying enormous loads of anything from mountainous piles of precariously stacked card board collected for recycling to dangerously long bamboo poles!! In a word the same as we had seen everywhere else in this vast continent. See the pic below!
I'll continue later with our experience of the Taj Mahal.
It was swelteringly hot - we were in a continual bath of drips from the face and down the back! But us us breathtaking. Raj, our guide, was very informative and passionate about both the Taj and the Red Fort which we toured later. The spaciousness and symmetry and extraordinary attention to detail is absolutely amazing, as is the story behind the whole concept and construction. Raj told us that it cost $1.7million in the 1600's to build and was completed at much the same time as The honorable Jan van Riebeck hit Cape Town!!
The Red Fort where the king and his family lived was incredibly opulent - also many stories abound - the two daughters
who were not allowed to marry as there were no suitors rich enough! Once the Taj Mahal was completed the king decided to build a black Taj Mahal on the opposite bank to house his tomb overlooking his wife's burial place and in memory of himself - well the oldest son didn't like this idea so impridoned his father in the Red Fort in extremely luxurious conditions which effectively prevented the king from " spending the kids inheritance"!!' There were 12 sons as well as the 2 daughters who both married after their father died!!!
We raced home along the very modern non stop freeway. We then went out for a very upmarket meal in a great restaurant - courtesy of George, the doctor from the Phillipines. We even had a great Chardonnay from Chile with our meal. We caught an auto ricksha to get there- pretty dam hair raising! They are similar to the tempos in Kathmandu - basically a three wheeled vehicle that rattles along with you sitting under a coveted frame behind the driver.
A truly super day - much because of the comfort and air conditioning and us finding ourselves back in our comfort zones!!! Had we learnt nothing!!!! Hmmmm....,