This story continues 2 countries and three weeks ago, in the northern area of India and i have plenty to tell you. The city of the Taj Mahal, Agra, is much more charming than everyone says. Our rickshaw driver, upon introducing himself as we sped through the city, offered us ‘a very nice massage indeed-perfectly fine intentions!’ we told him that was very kind of him to offer however we simply must run. He looked a little hurt but not at all surprised that his unusual approach hadn’t worked!
Amber and I trecked to the Taj Mahal early enough to catch the sunrise, leaving an immoveable and resolute Harley sleeping soundly while we joined the throngs of tourists and even bigger throngs of mosquitos delighting in the prospect of such a feast so early in the day. I swear i heard one of them turn to the other and say:
“oh Charles, so much O+, I really am going to get Indigestion at this rate!”
I sincerely hope they did.
Since an untimely earthquake a few years ago, the famous pillars that surround the Taj have been a little lopsided, adding a quirky humour to the monument’s fabulous white granduer. We joined the masses to barge a spot on Diana’s bench, take a photo across the ponds and marvel at the beautiful river opposite before going to get Macdonalds (Amber was starting to get serious Maccy-D cravings) at Agra’s premier establishment.
The 14 hour train journey with food poisoning a little later, however, put a slight damper on the evening! I spent my time chillin in the door of the train, leaning over every couple of minutes and exhaustedly appreciating the landscape swishing by as i fed the mountains of railway rats making their home alongside the tracks. Getting to Varanasi, the Holy city and the spiritual heart of India, Amber carried my bag and i made it to the hotel to sleep for 3 days straight; after an exhausting treck throught eh Old City, dodging cow, scooters, hecklers and the ashes rising in the breeze from the burning ghats.
Varanasi is a beautiful, disgusting place. The Ganges, the famous river that flows through the city, is not just the place used to bathe in, drink from and wash the city’s clothing but also to throw dead animals, dead people, ashes; dead babies wrapped in tiny saris float amongst all kinds of rubbish, rotting food and of course all the chemical and toxic refuse from the 1000+ factories upstream. However, being the ‘Mother River’ to the Hindu faith, very few believe it holds any harm and contribute the masses of gastronomic infections and leprosy caught from leprosic bodies floating by to be a result of Karma instead and happily swim amongst it all, filling their mouths with the green sludge and spitting back at each other for fun.