Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India – We took pictures of each other, the Taj, the reflection of the Taj in my sunglasses, you name it, plus as an added attraction it was cleaning day at the Taj, so they drained the reflecting pool and there were 20 locals scrubbing the green scum at the bottom of the pool. They also had the most interesting type of lawn mower, an ox-powered grass cutter. The oxen were hooked up to a manual grass cuter and were wondering around the grounds, had to take photo of that.
We sat there for most of the day and when I got tired of watching the oxen, I took a quick nap on the lawn. When it started to get really hot, we returned to the hotel, and I sat talking to the managers and Sardar during the heat of the day. Watched the sunset over the Taj from my final time from the roof of the hotel and just vegged on the steps of the hotel waiting to go to the bus station. I was entertained by a wedding procession marching by the hotel, groom mounted atop his white horse with a carnival looking electric-light decoration being carried on the shoulders of some men behind the groom. Since they were going down some side streets and hence needed to keep the carnival light thing juiced with electricity, there were another two blokes behind the fancy light set up, dragging their petrol-powered generator behind them.
Shortly after the procession passed our hotel, I met Rich and we jumped in a rickshaw to the bus station to catch our bus to the train station. We were headed to Varanasi by train, but other travels have told us we could shave 7 hours of our train ride if we travel the one hour on the bus to another station outside of Agra. Sounded like a good idea to us, so we figured out which bus we needed and made it to the train station.
The train journey was like any other night train we would have been, but it was the chai boys at the station that surprised me. We called over one of the chai boys to where we were siting and upon placing our order we were presented our. Rs. 1.50 teas in small earthenware pots rather similar to a potted plant pot. Finished our tea and I took the glasses back to the chai boy so he could use them again later. He looked at me pretty funny. When I tried to hand him the cups, he told me to throw them down to the train tracks. I was flabbergasted that he wanted me to throw the cups away, so just to be sure I made the motions of throwing the cups under the train. The chai boy nodded in the affirmative and as I tossed the cups down into the tracks, I was rewarded with the sound of shattering earthenware.
Even after being in India for 10 weeks, it still was amazing me, disposable earthenware cups, what would they think of next.