I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day in the states and partook in the delicacies of hot dogs, burgers, and booze! Man, I hate to admit that those sound delicious, but just thinking about a hot dog and cold beer at a baseball stadium makes me ready to hop a plane for a moment! But let's face it, there's nothing for me to complain about.
I'm sorry to one-up you guys, and I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging, but I will for a moment. While you guys were BBQ-ing all things delicious, Jamie and Jessica and I were getting minimal to no sleep and jet-setting our way around the subcontinent. That's right, this weekend, although I couldn't see Indiana Jones 4, to keep my tears at bay, we made our way to Delhi and Agra and spent Saturday at the Taj Mahal.
It's just as unbelievable and indescribable as you would think. Seeing a sight like that for the first time is a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad that I was there, and even better that there were people to share it with. For some reason going to places that have become sort of immortal, like the Taj Mahal, I feel like if I were to see myself, I wouldn't really believe it. Having Jamie and Jessica there, we just kind of looked at each other and reminded ourselves that it was real! I think, for some of the Indian families there, the 3 of us were like the second most exciting part of their trip. We were asked at least 4 times to take pictures with families. It's like "don't you want a picture of the Taj Mahal?" and they're like "No, just a picture with you", it's a lot of pressure! I feel bad when they realize that we're not Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore, but by then, we'll have been in someone's family photo album for years!
It really is awe inspiring, and you just go with the flow, following the crowds around the outer courtyard and then going up the steps and entering the mooleum. There are people everywhere, and from everywhere and you just stand back and think, "Someone built this because he loved this woman so much!" Just a little history lesson. The man who had the Taj Mahal built, had it built for his wife that bore him 14 children. You know what? If I had had to bear 14 children, I probably would want a wonder of the world built for me too!! I would probably say " You know the Taj Mahal...I want one like that but even bigger and covered with diamonds, Liz Taylor style". In all seriousness though, if you ever get a chance to see this sight, even if you only have an hour or 2, please do see it. To me it was even more impressive than the Eiffel Tower, which is pretty awesome. I mean the Taj Mahal took over 20 years and more than 25,000 people at a time when there were no trains or cranes to lift marble slabs, just donkeys and carts. I can't even imagine the patience.
Sunday we spent in Delhi, which was interesting because it's the capital and another one of the 4 largest cities in India, besides Chennai, Mumbai, and Calcutta. Delhi is a city so it has a city mentality, things are a little bit faster, a little more modern, more apartment buildings and more cars, although still a fair amount of scooters. If you're traveling to Delhi just know exactly where you want to go, and do your best to avoid getting taken advantage of. Although I can guarantee you that they'll know you're a foreigner and somehow they'll manage to hose you a bit. Any place in the world though, that makes their living off of tourist sights is bound to have the same issues. I do have to say though, that after a couple of months in Chennai and my hotel, they've become home and I was ready to hop a flight back!
So lessons learned this weekend:
1. Never, ever pass up the opportunity to see a Wonder of the World. They're a Wonder for a reason!
2. As a visitor to a country, most likely contributing to their tourist dollars, sometimes you just have to admit that you're gonna have to take it and you're not gonna like it, but it's better than missing the experience!
3.Dorothy was right, "There's no place like home"...whether it's a hotel, a city, or the people you miss the most!
Hoping Memorial Day was good for you all, but just one last time, "we saw the Taj Mahal!! na na na na na!" Alright, I'm done and will never rub it in again!