Sunday, August 2, 2009

delhi stories Pt.2 The mighty TAJ!!!! (tam tam tam ! ! !)

"OH! your going to india?! you simply must see the Taj Mahal! it's a fuckin' wonder!"
that's what every idiot on the planet who's ever heared of
a country called india can tell you..
"it's amazing, and enlightening and blaaaaaa!"
the only real wonder is that this over-sized building can somehow convince people to come
and see it in any kind of weather. obviously i'm one of those idiots... and this is my story...
I remember it like it was yesterday... the date was, err... something like the beginning of june...
i think...
what i'm sure of is that i was sitting in my A/C room with 2 ceiling fans spinning on top of me
watching yet another so so funny episode of sex and the city... err... i mean robocop 3... yeah.
i was watching the manly movie of robocop 3 lying down in my underpants and was only mildly sweating thanks to the abundance of cooling devices in my room.
after all the killing of criminals on the TV stopped i went out of the room to the slightly warmer
computer area (only 2 ceiling fans with no A/C... cheap assholes...) and through the magic of
facebook messaging found out "C" is coming to delhi for a few shopping days before flying back home.i met them later that day and they informed me of their plan to visit the very place this post is trying to warn you about. they lured me in by assuring me everything is taken care of and
all i needed to do was say "i do" and i'm done. (being stuck in delhi for over a week now i had very little to lose) disregarding all my friend's warnings i said "i DO" and 2 days later i was forced
out of bed by a call from the reception at 6:30 AM. (i should have seen dawn as a bad omen
and quit the expedition at that moment... but nooooo....)
they got me inside a car with a driver\guide\random person and got on our way through
foggy delhi towards boiling agra. 3 hours after we set out the driver takes us off road to a
tourist trap disguised as a small temple\castle. we walk inside and take a seat, all around us are
"best quality" over sized wooden elephants... (you simply must have the best quality elephant, even if it does cost 150$ more than a similar one in the main bazaar (cost: 10$), but if you buy one there... what will your friends think?!)
now the plan of these establishments is to pay a handsome commision for your driver if he makes you stay and eat there, luckily for us our driver saw that we know how this works and
after we pleaded him for a few minutes to take us elsewhere he yielded and saved us from the 8$
cheese sandwitch (2 slices of bread, one slice of heap cheese) and took us 300 meters on to a dhaba who tried to rip us off by placing bottles on the table when we arrived but the prices were
reasnobale so we decided not to kill him just yet... (i forgive you old dhaba guy... i forgive you)
we got back in the car and continued our journey. the driver decided to be nice to us and to his
desired extra tip by pointing out monuments in the area with an accent we did not understand
("so this is a palace for who?!", "this be rhddadfg for 200 dsfkjh and that one...") but we smiled
and kept asking questions as expected from us tourists.
we reached the main gates, our driver looked around, decided it's too dangerous for him and drove 100 meters further to a safe haven in the form of a restaurant.
while pushing us out he mentioned a few more words of advice of which what i could understand was "say no to anything your offered" and "don't take your clothes off when they tell you".
we walked back to the main gate and 5 meters from the entrance were attacked by a blur of Indians.
first offering to take us by rickshaw instead of the 3 minutes walk and then offering us water
when they can see us with full bottles and then offering nothing but still asking for money in return.
oh yeah... forgot to mention... the heat... it's un-fucking-bearable!!!! i was sweating the second we got out of the climate controlled car. i was sweating from areas i had no idea had sweat glends and i was soaking wet a minute before we entered the main gate.
soaked tourists always look like easy targets. it means they're suffering and being children
of capitalism we are trained to consume to feel better. so i bought another bottle of water...
25 minutes and 750 rupees later i found myself in one of the longest lines i've seen in my life but also the most un-organized one. my female friends passed through the ladies line (4 women) and
the people in the men line (248 men) let me go in front of most of them (probably hoping to help me have sex with all 3 of them, man solidarity has been put to a test and won!)
Now i have just 6 people ahead of and i could actually see the light glowing through the metal detector. but then! out of the blue and grey and offf-white! comes an indian whale! looking very much like the fat guy in some movie you've seen. and sweating like that same guy on a tredmill.
unlike a fat guy on a tredmill this was a fat guy in line just behing me and he was hoping to get me killed by making me smell his armpits which were convinientlyplaced on top of my head.
after my shirt was soked with his sweat in an equal amount to my own i finally passed through
the metal detector and met with my friends who were hiding in the shade of a dog and a small
child with a toy umbrella.
the marble floor is said to reflect the rays of the sun beautifully.
that happens only between 5-6 AM, we on the other hand were there around 2 PM.
at this time the only thing reflected by the marble floor (or the parts you can see between the scorns of indians...) is UV radiation.
seeing all this people and knowing how you feel makes you go "WOW!!! what the fuck is wrong with them?! what the fuck is wrong with me?! and then... you finaly walk through the arc and see the taj, and now what you'll probably be saying is "err... is that it?!"
unlike the fantasy i had in my head there were no drums, no red ribbons flying my way,
no great spiriual enlightment... no nothing, just a lot of hindu mumbling all around me and a very
distinct smell of sweat. along with our ticket we were handed 2 extras (having paid 75 times more than locals) a 200 ml water bottle and shoe covers. i though they should be used
to protect your feet from the puddles of sweat but appearantly it was another clever way
to go against religion and towards tourists.

shoe covers - a thin paper like cloth with an elastic band, placed on shoes to confuse god and
make him think your barefoot while wearing your favorite sandals underneath.

the reason shoe covers were invented is because your supposed to enter the Taj barefoot.
as you know, the entire building and it's marble surroundings are heat traps and will burn
any foot unlucky enough to be western or just not hard working in the farming sense.
so we got those on, took 20 minutes around this nightmare and moved out. on our way back
we could see entire families trying to get shoe covers out of the garbage bins since the entry
fee for locals (10 rupees) does not include them and why buy them when you can get them for free?!
getting out of the place i still felt it was too hot and bought a small globe of the Taj with small
white stuff covering it. i was offered to buy it for 10 USD and got it for 5 rupees after the kid
ran next to our rickshaw for around 5 minutes which was pushed from the back instead of
being sat on and driven like you would expect...
that's enough of this story, i'm tired and it's not going anywhere.
oh, and on the way back we had a mouse in the taxi, the driver assured us it was ok, but
it didn't seem to convince the 3 ladies in the car who refused to put their feet down during the
following 5 hours drive and kept screaming everytime they saw a wire or a piece of paper moving around in the car.
send me an e-mail, i'll send you all the high quality pictures of the taj mahal i have. i'll even
pay to have your photo stitched to it in photoshop by someone. just do yourself a favour and don't go there.

love. peace, coolness.

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