Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Taj Mahal!

Sunday was a very long day. We left the YMCA at 6 in the morning and had a 5 hour bus ride to Agra. We started the day at some old Mogul ruins. It was a terrifying experience. There were big tourist groups of young Indian men and they had nothing better to do but follow us around. We were constantly filmed and had pictures taken. If we stood in one place for more than a minute we were surrounded by at least 30 people and they just stood and stared. It was terrible. I don't even remember the name of the ruins because we were so stressed about not getting seperated and individualy swarmed.
We then went to the Taj Mahal! It was soo exciting! We got to go inside. The inside was really beautiful but alot smaller than I imagined. The outside was huge. All the marble has precious stones inlayed to make the patterns on the walls. It was great but we had the same problem again; everywhere we went there were men taking videos and just staring. We all got a little more aggresive by the end.Dealing with the vendors outside the gates was another problem. We were swarmed. If you make eye contact they just latch on and follow you down the street. It was really an unenjoyable experience. We were so tired by the time we got home. It was almost 2 am. We had the next morning off to sleep in. On monday afternoon we were at the Canadian Embassy! It was really neat. We met with Rick Westhead, a reporter from the Toronto Star who has been living in India for 2 years. It was really cool. We all wished we could of talked to him all evening because he had so many stories and has been places that I couldn't dream of going. We also had a presentation from the Canadian High Commissioner. They are making a facebook page and will be adding our group blog to it! In the evening we went to some shrines and a private Qawwal concert. Here is a link to the group we saw. http://www.merajnizami.com/ It was really magical to be in India, in a shrine, having a private concert from one of the most famous singers of Qawwal music. Then we went for beer and a pizza and that was amazing. I am really craving some american food.
This morning we caught an early train to Amritsar. We are staying at Guru Nannak Dev University. The rooms are huge and clean. It's great. We'll have alot more free time here to recover from our busy stay in Delhi.

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