After a decent night’s sleep, we got up and prepared ourselves for the day of sightseeing. First on our agenda was to drive 40 km to see Fatehpur Sikri, the old capital of India, built in 1570.
At breakfast, Tisra was mastering the art of the Baby Wrap…
and she did it quite well! Dorothy loved it.
Eric, on the other hand, loved “Miranda! The Favorite Orange Soda of India!”
Our driver then met us to take us to the site – and we also had a guide, provided by “The Enforcer”, who helped show us around (and we later realized was actually more like a personal bodyguard! The Enforcer knows how to take care of us!)
Tisra and I made the mistake of not using the restroom before we left, so we got to experience the awesomeness known as Public Pay Toilets in India. It cost 5 rupees and it wasn’t pretty. hahaha
At the site, we had to take off our shoes and all I kept thinking about was “Slumdog Millionaire” when the boys stole the shoes of the tourists. I really hoped I would have shoes later!!
The grounds were amazing. The sheer size of the monuments was the most impressive!
Then we went into the “shrine” (not “shine” like the sign says haha!)… for 500 rupees you could buy a cloth which you take into the shrine, put it to your forehead (for good luck), and then spread it across the center table in the room (not sure if it was some sort of altar or mausoleum)… then you sprinkle flowers (with your right hand only, for luck is in your right hand), and finally you tie a string through the holes in the carved marble windows, wishing for your greatest desire. You must never tell of your wish to anyone or it will not come true!
It was quite crowded inside… also, you had to keep your head covered. Tisra had to wear a little plastic hat that reminded me of a strawberry basket.
I used my scarf from my outfit as my head covering. You can kind of see the altar thing behind me – it was covered entirely in mother-of-pearl so it shimmered beautifully.
And this is the outside of the shrine…
There were vendors set up in the entrances everywhere, and young boys following us around asking if we wanted to buy some postcards or other trinkets…
Our guide (to the left of Eric there) helped usher us out, find our shoes (still there! hooray!), and back to our vehicle.
This was the boy who led our tour while at the monument. He was so charming and sweet – looked to be maybe 18 or so. He asked where I was from, and when I said USA, he said – oh! USA is a wonderful place! And he pulled out a Barack Obama pin. I told him he should visit someday, and he said, probably no because it is so expensive. I suggested maybe he can do a college exchange or something and he told me that he cannot, because he is part of the lower class of people and he is not allowed to have an education. In fact, he told me that he does not know how to read or write and cannot even write his own name. It broke my heart – this boy was so articulate, so helpful, and so sweet and he is forced, as a result of some ridiculous ancient caste system, to never be able to make a life for himself beyond lower class.
I told him that I will wish and hope that someday he is able to save enough money that he can come to the USA, because he will love it there, and he should never give up.
On our drive back to the hotel, we saw something akin to our own personal Holy Grail… PIZZA HUT!! And, it was only a couple blocks from where we were staying!!!
We knew exactly what was on the agenda now – Pizza Hut for lunch, then back to the hotel for massages, naps, and getting ready to meet “The Enforcer” for dinner at his house later in the evening. The Taj will have to wait until tomorrow - today it is PIZZA TIME!!!!
Our server, Jyoti, was so very helpful and adorable. She really really wanted us to have “extra cheese” because it makes it “so so tasty”. We almost felt like if we didn’t have extra cheese we would have insulted her, so we figured, what the heck? Let’s have more cheese. The food was great (although the pepperonis tasted a bit questionable so Tisra and I removed ours from our slices), and Eric and I even had beers. Mmmm. Beer and pizza on a hot day.
We went back to the hotel and Tisra and I went to the spa for our ayurvedic massages. They were pretty amazing and a perfect way to relax and decompress for an hour. Back at the hotel room, though, Tisra was locked out! She knocked and knocked and no one came to the door…
Oh. That’s why… ♥
it was naptime.