Thursday, December 3, 2009

My terrifying trip to the Taj Mahal

It's impulsive. Perhaps insane or just simply idiotic. I jump on a plane to Delhi without booking a hotel, in order to pursue a work opportunity with potential and the chance to see the Taj Mahal.

I trust the tourism office at Delhi international airport to sort me out with a place to stay and while my acquaintances in Delhi advise me against visiting the Taj Mahal on my own, they end up booking a ‘safe’ taxi for me when I insist on going.

My life flashes in front of my eyes a few times before I try to sleep in order to get away from the crazy antics on the road. Every now and again the driver’s favourite Bollywood songs stop playing. Bah, bah, bah! - he bashes the radio with the utmost frustration.

Eventually I do fall asleep and wake up alone in the car on a dirt road in an empty field. The driver’s door is open and he is nowhere to be seen. I panic, but then see him walking back towards the car through the field, flicking his cigarette.

Four hours later we are driving through an extremely dirty and smelly town. I wonder if I am being abducted and become very aware that I have trusted this strange man with my life. I am nauseous from all the stress and haven't been able to eat all day. Next thing however, we are driving past the Red Fort and finding parking outside the Taj Mahal.

I get out of the car and literally get attacked by vendors, camels and rickshaws. I am petrified and throw my driver a ‘help’ look. A man with some documentation in hand pushes through the crowd explaining that he is a government official employed to protect tourists. My driver nods and I join him on the rickshaw as it is apparently quite a journey from the parking lot to the Taj entrance. He suggests that I pay an official guide to accompany me, “better for information and also safety”.

An extremely handsome young lad appears as though by magic. Somehow I know I am going to be ripped off but he makes a few jokes and I try to relax as we walk side by side up to the gates of the Taj Mahal.


Anonymous said...
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Mona Lize said...
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Mona Lize said...

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