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Big Trip Blog Bigtripblog is a multimedia travel experience capturing the adventures of Kevin and Valerie during their one year trip around the world.

See the Taj, have a beer

INDIA | Friday, 9 March 2007 | Views [887]

Our Indian adventure continues as we desert the desert and hit the big city.

Jaisalmer to Delhi

The train to Delhi took twenty hours. TWENTY HOURS. Definitely a record for us! Luckily we chatted with a really nice American guy named Shane, which made the time fly by. It’s always great to talk to someone from back home who’s doing what you’re doing. Shane runs cultural food tours through his company called Chicago Food Planet and designed the products for hammockbags.com - check ‘em out because they look fantastic!

Shane wasn’t going all the way to Delhi, and after he left some nice Indian guys sat down with us. One of them could speak Japanese! I took a step back for a moment to wonder, if ten years ago you told me I’d be on a train going to Delhi talking to an Indian guy in Japanese, I might’ve called you crazy. Anyway, he told me his favorite song ever is My Heart will go on from Titanic and proceeded to sing it to show he’d been practicing. It was funny. They asked if our relationship was for love or arranged by our parents. Also a first, and also funny. Then we heard them muttering to each other and finally work up the courage to ask if we eat beef, which of course led to a discussion about cows being holy and cultural differences. It was tough not to exclaim, “we love beef and we really really really miss eating it!”

The Taj Mahal

We didn’t give ourselves enough days in Delhi to really explore it, which is unfortunate. We went to the Taj Mahal on a day trip, though, which of course was fun. Our main goal was to reduce the infamous hassle associated with going there. We heard so many stories of aggressive guys trying to sell you things, beggars, and ridiculously long lines to get in. Plus it costs around twenty dollars for a ticket. It seemed impossible to enjoy it under those conditions, so we opted to go on a Friday when it’s closed! We just sat on a rooftop with a great view and some beer. It was perfect. It didn’t cost much and there were almost no tourists or street hawkers around.

Checking out the Taj

Holi Festival

Our last day in Delhi coincided with the Holi Festival. It’s a crazy holiday where people throw colored paint or powder on each other all morning! Anyone walking down the street is a target for colors or water balloons. It looked really fun, but we heard some of the colors have toxic chemicals in them. You can buy safe herbal ones, but we just didn’t know what kinds the people on the street had. Plus it was a travel day, and any colors thrown on us would’ve been there for at least 24 hours. So we just laid low and watched the mayhem from our rooftop. Occasionally the police would come down the street and rough up some of the Indian guys, I think you’re not supposed to throw colors or balloons at people who don’t want to get hit and maybe someone complained. Still, the cops were slapping them pretty hard. It was really sad to see and hard to believe those guys deserved it.

The festival is such a fantastic idea - an entire country playing a paintball game at the same time? Sign me up! I wish we had that back home once a year, too. It’s just such a shame things can taint it like toxic chemicals and bullying cops. :(

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Tags: Adventures

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