India, the land of chaos and contradiction, 3 days was enough. Constantly being sold something and told misinformation was exhausting and frustrating. Only having a day to explore Delhi and a day for Agra we should have been more prepared as the train tickets were all sold out to Agra. A private car was our final option to Agra, which was a bit expensive but was very convenient and comfortable. Many Indian people approached us throughout the day seeming so kind and helpful to then find out they were constantly giving us misinformation. People would tell us sites were closed for the day, and then open for the day, different prices and times to everywhere and always trying to get us to a bazaar to purchase items.
After the run around all day we did get to see the India Gate, Parliament Buildings, the Presidents House and the Lotus Temple. The Lotus Temple is modeled after the Sydney Opera house but looks like a giant Lotus flower. In addition to its distinctive design, it invites people of all faiths to come and pray and worship in silence. It is so simply decorated, as it has no pictures, statues or religious symbols related to any one religion. A few minutes before it closed we arrived and we got a unique opportunity to experience the temple in silence and at one point were the only tourists inside. Makes the top 3 list of most impressive temples we have visited. The food was amazing and our favorite dishes were palak paneer (spinach, garlic and cheese), chickpea masala and butter naan.
Agra is the original capital of India before it was moved to Delhi. On the drive there to see the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the ‘Baby Taj’ we saw camels in the countryside, painted cows and horses and many monkeys in the city. The Taj is as majestic as they say. The story behind the king building this memorial for his late wife for the entire world to enjoy for years to come is unbelievable. It took 22 years for the construction of the Taj, the surrounding gardens, buildings and its 4 gates. The pictures don’t do it justice, as it truly is one of the Wonders of the World.
Facts/Stats about India:
Segregation of men and women is very prevalent. Every security and ticket line has separate lines for each gender. There are women only cars on the metro and men will be fined if they are in these cars (as we almost experienced). Maybe the best place in the world to be vegetarian as the majority of the population is Hindu, which are vegetarian. Cows are sacred but they roam the streets and eat trash.
https://picasaweb.google.com/105315223482012434599/IndiaAndBhaktapurNepal02 – Enjoy pictures from India and Bhaktapur in Nepal
2 months down in our travels:
October 1st marked the 2-month point in our travels even though it has felt more like 6 months. The way to slow down time, we have figured out, is to travel abroad for an extended period of time. Enjoy some travel stats we have had fun keeping track of.
Countries visited: 6 (China, Philippines, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Thailand)
Flights taken: 12 (counted since we left Colorado)
Beds slept in: 46 (different towns each day on the trek increased this number)
Average amount of money spent each day: $65.95
The chaos yet simple living of places we have visited has become the norm. Lack of hygiene and cleanliness, animals everywhere, chaotic traffic…..these items no longer shock us. The ability to cope maybe one of the most valuable traits we bring home with us. There are many things we will be extra thankful for when we get home such as paved roads, soft beds, large clean towels and much more.
We now are in Thailand and have been enjoying the food and smiles so much already. They say Thailand is the land of smiles and it is true. The next 3 months will be spent in Southeast Asia with Thailand as our hub. Flexibility is one of the most important components in our travels and this has allowed us to change our path whenever it best fits. We have decided to come home to the states for 2 weeks for the holidays, to recharge, repack and hit the road again at the beginning of January to South America. We are excited to see familiar faces!