The next morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am we assembled at the train station to catch a train to see the Taj Mahal. We were still putting our luggage on the overhead bins when the smell of smoke started sliding into our nostrils. It got strong then I heard an authorotativel voice say “evacuate the train slowly! Take your small bags” so I grabbed my backpack and politely started walking out. This small woman started shoving me from behind and telling me to hurry and I told her I was exiting sensibly at which point she turned onto George Costanza and shoved her way in front of everyone. And that boys and girls is how crowd crushes happen. We assembled on the station and watched a dude spray fire extinguisher in the top of our train car. I saw the shoving lady who was part of another tour group. I gave her the stink eye but she wouldn’t look at me. There was confusion about where to go after but we managed to get seats on a neighboring car. I wasn’t about to get back on the toxic car. We were only 15 minutes in leaving lol.
It was surprisingly foggy outside, something I wasn’t expecting. We checked into the hotel then visited a carpet factory. They gave us samosas for lunch then gave us the hard sell. We got tea and sat down on the couches. Then they unrolled many many carpets. For hand knotted carpets that take many months they were surprisingly affordable. But nobody bought one then they started walking out which made me uncomfortable.
Then the main attraction the Taj Mahal… the fog had lifted a bit and we were let loose without a guide. Jes didn’t want to dawdle and we got straight to the program. .. walking through the small archway of the corner monuments which just by themselves are marvels. Then seeing the huge monumental heart swelling white of the Taj Mahal was very moving. I cried at the beauty. I had to stop and just look and breathe it in.
It took a while to walk the length of the reflecting pool. Unfortunately by this time I was dying to pee and we had to run to this far away corner which had toilets. Then the next challenge was to get into the top platform. There were different lines for locals and another line for white people. Not foreigners. White people. We got bumped to the front of the queue which made us uncomfortable but we had no choice. The small inside tomb area was dark and cramped and Jes got her butt rubbed by some men. We both enjoyed it much better from far away, outside.
I got swarmed by Selfie askers. I had to run away after a while. Excuse me Selfie Selfie!