Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Taj Mahal

More pictures to follow... The laptop just died and I only have a handful of images on a memory stick. So in the meantime some monks having a stroll in the Taj Mahal.

Ok. So I am not the kind of person that gets overly excited by a building that everyone else loves and says you have to see. Generally interiors get me going more. After all, a roof keeps you dry, but it is the inside that makes you cozy. And then of course, there is the Taj Mahal. We got up at an eye rubbing 5.00am as your humble narrators had read that whilst most people dash straight to t he Taj at dawn, the place to be is across the Yamuna River yo catch the sun as it rises from the East. The first taxi driver I approached on this was dismissive. “I can take you. But you are wasting your time.” The second was only slightly less dismissive. But he was cheaper so hey, we went with it. Again he thought we were fools to go across the river at that time when we could go straight into the Taj with the other eighty early risers. We got to the taxi at 5.40 (“Your ten minutes late” quoth the taxi driver) and then undertook the twenty minute, ar*e shattering drive across the road and to the riverbank where we spent the next hour. The view was astounding with fantastic reflections in the water and an abundance of birdlife on the river banks. Better yet, we were the only people there bar a couple of local kids. As the sun rose the Taj began to fill up with people and then we were on our way again, off to the worst restaurant in India for breakfast (the somewhat ironically named A1 Quality Restaurant). Allegedly out taxi driver ate there every day. Then again maybe he did, he was as gaunt as a strip of biltong. Our waiter had the body odour of Methuselah the charm of a snake (“Sorry, I cannot find a menu so I have put down the prices that I think are right.” He did not know just how formidable my wife can be.

And so on to the Taj. It is beautiful. I’ll leave it there. No need for bombast and superfluous adjectives. It is impossible to look at it and not feel moved. In my humble opinion of course. Whilst the romance behind the construction and dedication of the building may be a little dubious, it is an astounding monument and the way that the white marble catches the light is erm, breathtaking at this risk of sounding like an eighties cheesy romance.
Onwards and upwards: Jaipur (And no, I am not referring to the restaurant at Sunrise Sports Club in Harare where you used to leave the tips beneath the table cloth so that the management didn’t nick it from the staff).

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