Monday, June 23, 2008

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, is breathtaking. Pictures really don't do it justice. But the pain and agony that it took to get us there maybe wasn't worth the sight. First off we left our hotel at 6 am, all three of us jammed in the backseat of a small car. We drove for five hours, which flew by because Donna(the girl we met from Colorado) told us her crazy life story. Ah, but our driver dropped us off at the main gate, pointed us in the right direction, then disappeared. We were then attacked by hundreds of people trying to scam us. We pushed by and walked a short distance to the main gates of the Taj, only to find out that it was closed until two. We had three hours of waiting in hot Indian weather. We found a spot in the shade and waited. Ah, then the tourists started coming. Indian tourists came from all directions to take pictures of us. I felt like a celebrity.... it was crazy, I was sweating so much, I have no idea why anyone would want to take a picture of me. Ah, then the more sneaky scamers approached. They told us of shortcuts and other ways of cutting the line. We flat out refused, but one man stuck his kid on us and he followed us for over three hours. It was actually a little bit scary. The gates finally opened and then the line formed. Another hour in the heat... once we finally reached the Taj, I about passed out, the heat was so draining. We finally saw the tomb and well it's no wonder it's one of the seven wonders of the world. I mean, this guy built it all for his dead wife, now that's love. If he knew how much corrurption would surround the gates, I wonder if he would have built it. I'm so sick of shouting "NO THANK YOU" or "NO MONEY'' everytime I walk out on the street. Ah, but we made it to the car and started on our way. I don't really remember most of the ride because I was unconscious, but I do remember when the AC went out with a boom, and then the brakes. We were stranded on the side of the road, right in front of a bar with drunk men, who kept shouting at Donna and me. Why are men so attracted to sweaty gross white girls? I can't even imagine what they would have done if I had make-up on or even an attractive outfit. Ah, it's just the fact that I'm white. There are ads all over the place here for creams that make your skin lighter. How ironic is that? No one seems to be satisfied with their skin color. Oh, make to the story, we were rescued by another car full of tourists who took us down the street a bit to a restaurant, where they treated us like coin machines, trying to squeeze every coin out of us. We made it make to Smyle (I don't know if they don't know how to spell smile, or if they are trying to be cute) hotel safely, but completley exhausted, what a day.
About the only good thing about the trip so far was going to church on Sunday. I'm not sure if it was the airconditioning or the spirit, but man did it feel good inside that church. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see men in white shirts and ties in my life. Going to church definitely restored my faith in humanity. Even in this horrible corrupt city there are people who are honestly trying to be better. Oh, in relief society they even had a centerpiece for the table. There are some things that will never change about the church, despite the culture. And there was a man at church who is working with a non-profit organization here who graduated from East High School a few years back. What an amazingly small world it is.
We switched hotels and it feels like I'm staying at the president's palace. It is so much nicer here. The AC works and it works well. I actualy shivered a few times last night.
oh, but I'm sick. I think, ironically, I got sick from taking the sacrament yesterday. I'm not looking forward to the 12 hour train ride we're about to take. well actually the train is going to leave in 6 hours, so we are trying to waste as much time as we can in this semi-cool internet cafe. Oh well, ANYTHING to get out of Delhi, the armpit of the world. If I got called here on my mission, I would flat out refuse.
I bet you all think I'm crazy for wanting to come here for my senior trip, and even I am questioning my sanity. But I'm hoping that mountainous Dharamsala where all the tibetans live will be worth it. We might even see the Dali Lhama! I'm so excited! Things are looking up and I'm definitely having an adventure!


Jeff said...

Can I say how jealous I am? You're in India, and I'm in... Salt Lake. And really, who ISN'T attracted to gross, sweaty white girls?

Kevin said...

sounds like you're having a party! try not to catch any horrible food born illnesses

KK said...

Independence day was great here. We went up to the cabin, where the temp dropped from 97 F in the valley to 70 F, and Kristin caught two fish. Seem like a universe away? Your posts are awesome. I just hope the paparazzi aren't bothering you too much.