Monday, February 13, 2012

Around the World: Welcome to Agra

February 13, 1992

The train arrived in Agra a little after 4am, almost two and a half hours early.  I wasn't able to get much sleep on the train, and when I did finally doze away, it was time to get off.  A rickshaw driver, waiting at the station, takes me to my choice of hotels, the Tourist Guest House, which is full.  Tired and possibly delirious, I ask the rickshaw wallah to choose another one and he brings me to the Hotel Akbar.  

The hotel is also full, but a room will be available in two hours.  I fight with the urge to sleep, frequently losing the battle in the lobby, wishing the ticking seconds would tick on a little faster.  Finally, I am led to my room where I meet the previous occupant.  The young woman is gathering up her things in anger and disgust.  "I can't stand this country," she wails, "I'm so happy I'm leaving!"

Just go.  I want the bed.

Getting around in Agra.

The next time I am conscious, it's late afternoon.  I find a rickshaw and take a quick tour of Agra, just to get familiar with my new surroundings.  The driver is very courteous and seems knowledgeable about the city.  "There is so much to see.  I wish I could find a guide to take me around Agra." I say, joking.

"I know Agra very well.  I will take you!"  We haggle and finally agree on 40 Rs for the day.  He promises to show up at 6am.

• ¤ •

"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds."
~JoJo Jensen

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