So, I finally saw it. The Taj Mahal is a pretty awesome site. I think the Taj and the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem are the two most beautiful buildings I’ve seen, though the Taj is definitely better from a distance and the Dome of the Rock is at its best fairly close-up. Muslims knew how to get their architecture on back in the day, for real.
And some other bullets:
- Delhi has been the nicest city we’ve visited in India. That’s probably confusing to a lot of people, because before I went there I heard it was one of the hottest and worst. Yet the weather was perfect while we were there — not too hot and totally clear — and it was like an Indian version of Washington, D.C. with all the landscaping and traffic circles. That felt nice and familiar, plus the sweets shops have the good North Indian stuff and it’s easy to find fun bars and restaurants. I give Delhi the props.
- Agra, on the other hand, is a bit on the ugly side. Our driver Vinod, who is mad awesome, was complaining about the Uttar Pradesh government siphoning off all the road and cleanup money and pocketing it, and if so, it’s definitely evident. The Taj Mahal is obviously cool and so is the Red Fort, but around that it could use some sprucing up. You could make it totally sweet, too: plenty of the houses are really old and have lots of character. Fix the corruption = Agra 2.0.
- Of anything I did to make MAP a good experience, getting married was by far the best. My in-laws have been fantastic and are the undisputed highlight of the trip. Shoutout to Palu, Sameer, Gita Auntie, V.P. Uncle, Ashok and Vinod for representing!
- Easter Mass in Delhi is pretty much like it is in Pittsburgh, except they add Hindi Casio keyboard synthesizers. So there’s that.
- Easter also means my Lenten thing of just two meat servings per week is done. That meant some fantastic chicken tikka tonight, which I plan to crush until I leave next week. Gotta load up!
Time’s winding down here in India before it’s back to the States. Keep it otherwise ah-cha til next time, and I’m out.