The flight over from OZ was the usual videos/ food /videos/food/ etc etc you get the picture. The airlines should issue each passenger a sleeping pill as we enter this metallic plane it would be a lot cheaper then entertaining us all with food and videos etc . So lots of food — videos later we arrived in lovely clean …clean….clean….Singapore ….Did I tell you how clean it was ??The Harem were getting excited , Here we went on our first internal train ride together from one side of the airport to the other side of the airport….very exciting for all of us ,Now did I tell you how clean it was?? After about a 2hrs stop over we were off to Delhi 5 or so hrs away and yes right back into the food / videos / food / videos untill finally we arrived at Delhi International airport at which point we just sailed straight through customs and immigration check points etc etc etc they are very efficient these days ….not like the old days back in the 1970 ies Where if you looked Sus ….ie …..you had a long beard , sandals . long johns and a shoulder bag [ that basically describes most of the whole male population of India and some of the Females too ] If marked you were taken aside and your name was either entered into or looked up in a very thick well thumbed A3 sized book .At all costs you did not want this work of art presented to you as you were likely to be held in the airport for hours giving various explanations to a variety of half interested people who’s job would extend Well beyond your small Lifes .
Just beyond the customs gate waiting for us was our Van Driver – Big smile on his Face.Great to see him again . now I had met this Guy last April when iwas in Delhi looking at and photographing the Chadar sellers who positioned themselves at the entrances to the Sufi Tombs around Delhi This driver was a Great Driver Who could find the smallest most hidden Sufi Tomb in Delhi no problem .
Now i did feel a great sense of confidence knowing that he would be our van driver for the next 21 days of our Adventure / Pilgrimage to Nth India, Now all was well till we left the terminal building …..mmmm….then No he would not be our driver ! another younger man plus an assistant would drive us ?? Then if that was not the knife in the back ….the boss a Mr Singh he wanted or should i say demanded full payment for the van hire and drivers right there and then …WOW…Now Welcome to India in your Face one moment and then in your Face the next moment…… after lots of Argy– Bargy…I do wish some good person would explain just what these 2 words actually mean ??? they possibly relate to Indian Bull- Wobbling….? anyway a compromise was agreed upon as i dug my heels deep into the very Indian roadside, The smell of fresh India deep in my lungs I dived into our lovely Big clean 9 seater van and onward we drove …We had made it …Our destination was Agra 5hrs drive away by the Old highway. The new Freeway road takes only 3hrs for the same distance but we can’t take that road ……??as it gets very congested towards its end near Agra and there are lots of road taxes to pay …. perhaps its just too fast for those stuck in the slow lane of Life? And of cause we will never know the Truth of the Matter…..No one will ever…ever …know ?…these deep Truths I have learnt to just Live with them . And again the words ring in my ears ‘ Welcome to India ‘ these words keep ringing in my ears over and over like a Bad Mantra .
Agra town….mmmm….it has not changed over the last 40 years or should i say 4ooo years….Did I say how Dirty it is ??? Our hotel was fine …I stayed here last year, very central to shopping . Its called ‘ The Ganga Ratan hotel ”, clean, great staff, great house keeping Lady who rules the floor boys with a gentle smile and in doing so gets things done. Pitty she can’t drive a van if so i would give her the van job . Now after settling in the Harem — they are a needy lot already . Next we all went for Coffee and Chocolate cake as one does on our first day in Agra …India.
Sorry that I am writing this Blog so late …….Its India …put up with it ….. get a Life …I am …. regards Michael 25/9/12..