After our morning safari, we had a chance to chill out, enjoy another tiresome Indian meal and watch Sam, our tour leader, give us a cooking demonstration!
Look how much fun everyone is having!
After pouring about a gallon of oil in a wok, he put a bunch of dried herbs as well as what I like to call “CHICKEN RESIDUE”
The mess ended up looking more like boiled grasshoppers. Poor Jiminy Cricket!
One of our group kept taunting Sam for all the oil he was using. “You’ve got to be mad!” he protested in his British accent.
After lunch we set off for our second safari. We saw zero tigers, but lots more deer and monkeys. The weather was sunny and pleasant, it was quite enjoyable riding around the countryside.
With one eye always focused on where the next tiger would be hiding.
As night began to fall, the safari took on a whole new feel.
The mood grew ominous and I was convinced we were going to break down and becoming the equivalent of Beggin’ Strips for Tigers.
Brucie, the short Canadian woman, kept asking annoying questions of our non English speaking driver.
The driver then informed us that if we didn’t escape, I mean depart the park by 5:45, he’d be banned from coming back.
So, he doubled his speed and I was certain I’d be bounced out and left for dead for the dinosaurs to consume my body.
“Welcome…to Jurassic Park!”
Joan ordered a disgusting Mutton Curry for dinner. Not one piece could be adequately chewed.
“That goat died of old age!” She said, lighting her foot long cigarette.
Joan and I had a few gin and tonics and a smoke in her room. This ended up setting off the smoke alarm.
I was truly shocked the alarm even worked.
The next day we relaxed and I read a bit in a hammock. Very nice.
We then set off for the TRAIN STATION for our overnight journey to the TAJ MAHAL!
How can I describe this filthy black hole of Calcutta? The place where I’ve never felt more uncomfortable in my life?
Oh, I guess I’ve already done it!
Well, the train toilets do not flush. They go straight through to the tracks below.
You can imagine the ODIFEROUS assault we had to endure as we waited for the train.
We stood next to a food cart, containing a very large wok with bits of fried dough BLANKETED WITH FLIES.
And no one cared to try to shoo them away.
The lack of sanitary conditions seems to be of ZERO importance to everyone.
They were too busy staring at us.
Like we were a sideshow or a performer on Venice beach.
No joke, it was the strangest thing.
A large gathering of Indian men turned their bodies towards our group, folded their arms and studied us as if we had just crash landed on their planet.
Had they not seen white people before??
Being stared at is my pet peeve!
“Watch your luggage VERY carefully!” Sam warned us as I walked away to buy some chips.
After we finally boarded, I found that Joan and I were to be bunkmates.
We immediately broke out the gin and had a few drinks and a sort of train party ensued. It was a lot of fun and definitely a bonding experience.
Until a rat raced past Audrey and she began shrieking unintelligibly.
When Joan and I were told we couldn’t smoke in the connecting cars, we snuck into the tiny, revolting bathroom for our ciggys.
We were DYING of laughter as we were being tossed about in tiny torture chamber and then tossed our butts down the toilet to nowhere.
After Joan went to bed, I snuck the bottle of Gin out of her bag (just kidding, Joan!) and we continued to drink, play weird games where Audrey would shout out answers that made no sense and essentially get very little sleep.
This made the morning when we finally arrived in Agra quite pleasant as you can imagine.
The Taj Mahal is essentially an enormous mausoleum for a Shah’s wife.
That’s all I will bore you with.
Andrea, the Swiss girl, looked at the gorgeous structure and muttered “I sought it vould be biggah”
Now, I will let the pictures tell the rest of the Taj story.