At the Taj Mahal by about 7am to beat the crowds. It's okay I suppose but I wouldn't say its a wonder of the world, I'll give it a 7/10. Seen more impressive things here such as the Jain temple at Ranakpur or the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur but the Taj has its iconic status for whatever reason, probably because its made very photogenic due to its elevated base meaning it looks defined having only sky as background and also helped by a partly made up love story of a man who built it in tribute to his dead wife. Very cynical today aren't I?
A funny sideshow its watching the habits of the photo taking tourists. Here's a few of my favourites;
- The 'Hoggers' who lay claim to the prime posing areas until they've got another perfect profile pic, anyone who dares trespass into this posing area risks shouts of "excuse me! we're taking a photo!", Bec tells me off when I start replying "look around, so is everyone else!".
- The 'Happy Clickers" who's mission is to snap anything and everything in sight with minimum thought and maximum speed just incase when they turn around everything has disintegrated including the Taj Mahal.
- 'Madam CUCO' decribes the middle aged women who are trying to look elegant and regal with this wonderful monument in the background. Stand poised at 45 degree angle, swish of hair and then chin up, chest out (CUCO) and click. Repeat several times at each good viewing point.
Went to buy some gifts and souveniers. There's a row of shops all selling the same kind of stuff so we set each other a challenge of both going off to buy the same item and seeing who bargains the best price. The item - a little carved marble tea light holder. I went for the tactic of asking the price in several different places then going back to haggle in the ones with the best starting price, meanwhile Bec got charmed into a shop by a cheeky young boy then went for the tactic of getting a discount because we are friends. The results are in and the scores are Becci 105 rupees, Jonny 70 rupees!
Just chilled out for the rest of the day, back to Delhi tomorrow.