Friday 11 November 2016 – Agra, India.
As expected the ATM’s were not open prior to the departure of my train to Agra. The tuk tuk driver who drove me around yesterday was (not) mysteriously waiting at the end of the alley way to my hotel and he gave me a ride to the station, he had to reduce his price by a few pennies as neither he nor I could get the money correct; and I was not going to over pay him, even by a few rupees as my cash is running quite low.
I felt a bit guilty about leaving the guest house without tipping the house boys, they were pretty useless, but they were friendly and meant well, and the food was always good and it was pretty clean and tidy. I also feel a bit bad about not doing any shopping, there is plenty of it in Jodhpur and I had promised El I would buy her something. Not having any money and worrying about the next few days had me very much not in the mood to do Indian style shopping.
This time I checked I got in the correct carriage before getting on!
The train journey from Jodhpur to Agra takes between 9 and 10 hours though today it took 12. I was hoping to doze, write and edit photos on the way and fortunately l managed a bit all three depending on how rough the tracks were. Like all my train journeys I am in a two-tier air conditioned carriage, an AC2. It is pretty full, but not madly so. My throat is still sore and my nose is only merely runny today, not streaming, though the constant dust is making me sneeze a lot.
I had one brief ‘moment’ on the train, or off it I suppose. Unlike both of my previous train rides, no-one had come round selling anything, so at one of the stops I got off the train to buy some water and something light to eat – a bag of crisps in the end. I went to get back on the train and could not find my carriage, I had paid no attention to the door I got off from, and the carriages are unmarked. I tried a few doors, but none seemed right, I had to ask in the end, the heart was pumping a bit!
As an aside, I have found India to ‘feel’ quite safe, while I took my camera bag with me when I went to the loo on the trains – mainly as it had my passport and other important things, I was happy to leave my pack behind, and in the guest houses I left most of my possessions behind when I went out. I felt I didn’t need to worry – unlike some other countries I have been to. Nice.
I arrived in Agra hungry, tired and close to broke, finally making it to the home stay at 9:30pm. The city stinks, really bad, the worst air pollution I have had to face so far. The journey from the station to the home stay was foul, it stunk of sulphur as well, just to add a putrid tinge to the corrosiveness of the fumes. There was no food and no beer at the home stay either. I now wish I had stayed in a hotel. The home stay owner told me that the ATM is 1km away and had massive crowds today. I expect I am going to have to spend my one day in Agra not visiting the fort or the Taj Mahal, but queuing to get some money. I do not have enough to get to both those places via tuk tuk, let alone get into them.