Here's the last two entries. I made my way back North on a plane, reaching Jaipur first, then Agra, then back to Delhi - the Golden Triangle, as it is known. Jaipur and Agra are popular tourist destinations, and I'm glad I saved Agra for last. Oh yeah, the Lariam (mentioned in the Jaipur entry) is a pill I was taking every week to protect myself from malaria. There's no vaccination against this particular disease, alas.
I reached Jaipur late at night and left it early in the morning, which allowed me for only one full day of exploration.
Jaipur is lovely, though the Pink City should be renamed Orange City (either that or I need a test to figure out whether I’m colour-blind). This was a real tourist town, with camels and elephants everywhere. I went to the City Palace, which was nice, and then to the Amber Fort, which was much more remarkable. No photo can ever do justice to that place. It is a huge complex of walls and buildings, red or white, climbing up and down the hills. I tried to walk to the nearby forts as well, but eventually decided the enormous distance was not worth the effort.
I went shopping instead. I purchased a pasmina for my mother and a silver ring for myself. Now I have to find something for my father.
I went to bed early, given that my train was at 06:10 the next morning. Even so, I got little sleep. The Lariam, for the first time in a few weeks, gave me such a strong nausea that I had trouble drifting away. The price to pay to protect oneself from malaria. Amen.
I cannot think of a monument which left me as breathless as the Taj Mahal. A truly astounding work of architecture. The three-dimensional effect which it produces upon walking towards it is hypnotic. The appearance of the monument itself, white like a bride, is a highly unusual combination of straight-angled shapes and domes, and the harmony of scales between these figures is something quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. But I see that I am already slipping into rhetoric. It is hard to impress me with buildings, because I know little of architecture and, also, because I have seen so many. The Taj must go down in memory as one of the most outstanding. More than that cannot be said.
Similarly, little can be said about the rest of Agra, though in this case the legitimisation lies in the fact that there’s fuck-all to do in the city. The Taj Nature Walk is a waste of time – a handful of flowers arranged around a path, then you can climb over the fence and keep walking into a wasteland of dirt and bushes. I went to the Agra Fort, but by then I was really starting to run low on money (the Taj costs an insane 750 rupees to visit, about three times as much as most other monuments). I saw the Fort from the outside and it was really beautiful, but it also looked identical to all the other forts I’ve seen from Delhi to Hyderabad, so I chose to save my money and get back to Delhi in tranquillity. This I did, after a few hours reading Twilight at the train stations. Thank God for books. Journeys of this kind would really be impossible without them.
It looks like I am at the end. Tonight I have a dinner with Ashwini, Callie and Winnie. I spent the whole day resting. Tonight my plane is at 03:00 a.m.