Thursday, June 28, 2007

Weekend Tourism

A bit late due to internet issues... but a bit about fun on the weekend. Sunday was Julie's birthday so we surprised her with a lit up tiara and a chocolate cake and then took her out to dinner at Haldirams, a restaurant that has become a favorite of ours.

On Saturday, we visited some tourist attractions and had an amazing day with awesome food and architecture. We went to Agra Fort, the Taj Mahal, and Fahtipur Sikra. In Agra Fort, we even got to see the Sheesh Mahal (Glass Palace) which was the sultan's favorite wife's bathroom. It is not open to the public, but our tour guide said if we paid him extra we could see it, so we did, and it was amazing! The room is made up of reflective glass mosaics and if you shine a candle in one corner, the entire room starts shimmering with the light. Absolutely gorgeous. We also saw the dungeon where the sultan would put one or more of his hundreds of concubines if they "misbehaved."

The Taj Mahal was built by another sultan for his favorite wife who he had FOURTEEN children with. That was an astounding work of architecture and made me remember why I had almost switched to course 4 (Architecture).... the magnitude, the white marble, the intricate designs, the angles and curves.. definitely worthy of being a World Heritage Site.

We hit some bumps along the road on our way back to the campus (we had rented a cab complete with a driver for the day). We were driving along when we got stopped by the Indian police... a strange occurence since the traffics laws seem so lax and the driving is well.. chaotic. Apparently they stopped us merely because we were foreigners and they wanted to get money from us. Musheer and Dharani, the Indian group members, explained the corruption within the Indian government/police. The policeman started out by saying that we needed to pay 500 rupees, and then realized that the cab driver wasn't driving a van with the correct licensce, and so decided to charge us 400 rupees more. Apparently they would have just kept asking us more if we hadn't been with the Indian boys. In the end, we got to subtract that cost from the cab rental fee, and we were up another story, so all ended well.

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