I Am Heading to Agra!

 

Monkeys

See ya later Delhi! I am heading to Agra!

I am going to skip ahead for a minute and say Agra is where the Taj Mahal is.

Great Driver

From Delhi to Agra is about a 4 hour drive. We had a nice time with Ram Niwas our driver.  He told us about the area as we were driving through and about his family.

Road to Agra

a bit of sunshine

The sun made a brief appearance

A taste a home

We didn’t stop, I really am enjoying the local food!  If I could eat Indian food and never have Micky D’s again, I think I would okay with that.

 

a full motorbike

This is normal!

 

 

The Taj Mahal

 

I can say this, I don’t care for Agra. If I never came back, I think I would be okay with that. I am amazed that for an area that is so well traveled and visited by the world, it is still surrounded but what looks like a war torn country. This area does not seem safe. Personally I found the Taj Mahal to be so busy that it was like a hot summer day at an amusement park.  It was like everyone was pushing to get a spot.  There are just too many people in one area.

I am thankful to have had the chance to visit here.  Taj Mahal is checked off the bucket list.  However, unless the woman I marry says this is a must for her, I just don’t see a reason to return.

Entrance to Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal 2

Taj Mahal

Another View of the Taj Mahal

The Poverty

You know the scenes in war movies where the special ops guys are driving around and the locals are fine but you know they are in a danger zone… that is what Agra feels like to me. I feel like I am in a movie and the sh*t is about to hit the fan. We will be leaving in the morning to head to Jaipur and I am very happy with that.  Agra is the 19th largest city in India, with about 1.7 million people.  Delhi had 16.3 and was the 3rd largest.  The area I am from has 6.9 million.  Just no comparison.  And we will be in Mumbai at some point with 22 million.  And that is only the 2nd largest city in India.

Agra street vendors

Street with balloons

Balloons always brighten the day.

FOG/SMOG/SMOKE

The fog/smog/smoke has been heavy all day so my photos have been less than desirable, but I did my best.

We had lunch at a place just 200 meters from the hotel. It is not safe to walk that far for dinner. I think we will just bunker down for the night and maybe grab something here at the hotel.

 

I feel a Rant coming on!

We saw Agra Fort which was interesting. I was very upset to see all the graffiti. People can be such jerks. I hate to see where they are destroying history. This is a sad fact when it comes to historical places all over the world. People feel the need to deface the places with their name, as if they matter at all, when it comes to the history of the place you are visiting. I’d like to poke a few of these people in the eye and tell them to stop that! But, that would be rude and I was not raised to do that in crowded areas where they can cry and make a fuss about it to everyone around… I mean I was raised not to poke people in the eye… yeah.

The Animals of Agra

The Chickens

Chickens

Goats

A goat in a sweater with a pig in a gutter.  There is a joke in there somewhere…

cows

Lots of cows

cows

more cows

Cow in road

and a of course, a cow crosses the road.

mule

But some of the animals actually work for a living.

Delhi – Now serving number 57.

I should have written this yesterday after the trip but I fell asleep.

Morning: Time 9am Delhi Time.

After trying to recover from the jetlag we woke up, packed up for the day, had breakfast and went on to start our day. As always we called for the driver Mr. Ram Niwas.  He has been our driver since we arrived in India.

Our guide, Mr. Sunil Kumar Arora joined us and we were on our way.

I am writing this and I am unsure how to write about our day. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the places since you have already seen the photos.  I do feel like I should say something, so I will say this. If you are interested in knowing more about this location, please leave comments and I will write a new post when I get home about all of this.

We started at Qutub Minar which is a tower.  This is a monument to the fact that Muslims back in the 11th century had over taken a Hindu temple and rebuilt it into a mosque. We went on to Jama Masjid Delhi which is another mosque that holds up to 20,000 Muslims during religious times.

I am not a Muslim and I did not come on this trip to see mosques and other Islamic things. But with a country that is mainly Hindu, Muslim and Sikh, it is hard to miss seeing these beautiful locations.

I have to give a moment to thank Ram for his amazing skills at driving. I watch this man drive and I am in awe of his ability to drive with a billion other drivers on the road.

On that note I would also like to mention that Indian roads amaze me.  The fact that bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, cars, truck, three wheelers, rickshaws, and everything else share the roads and freeways and no one dies is amazing!!!!

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

We had tea with people from Kashmir as they tried to sell us some $24,500 silk rugs. Sorry mom, but I am not buying you one on this trip.

We visited a step well (like a normal well but instead of throwing a bucket down the well you just walk down the steps to the water) which was really amazing to see this place in the middle of Delhi.

We drove past India Gate and Sunil made fun of my awesome photography skills of catching the perfect moment with a car in the photo.

India Gate

To end the day of sightseeing we lastly visited Humayun’s Tomb.

As I told Sunil when asked what I liked most about the day was him. As a tour guide he visits the same places over and over and over and yet he isn’t treating it like he has been there a million times and is just repeating the same old lines. He gets involved with you and tries to make it as enjoyable as possible.

We dropped him off for the day and headed back to the hotel where I passed out until 8:30.

DINNER!

Jet Lag Hits!

 

It was bound to happen.  Jet Lag, Drop Box isn’t loading, internet speed is slow.  Just too frustrated to go on.  I will catch you up when I can. 

But I did realize in all that, you hadn’t seen a single photo of my amazing grandfather.  Here Grandpa. 

Grandpa in New Dehli

Also, Grandpa did a great graphic of our trip and thought I would share that real quick so you will know where we are going.  Fantastic, right?

Map of 2016 India Trip with Atticus

India is a very large country and we will see a large portion in a months time and yet see such a small part…..

You are thinking what I am thinking!

Another trip.  Of Course.

Please honk! – New Delhi

Horn Please

Driving in New Delhi

Thoughts that don’t seem to go through Indian drivers heads

· Why is this guy honking at me?

· Did he just cut me off?

· Pick a lane bro!

· Man that guy almost hit me!

· Why are there people walking where I am driving?!!?!

· My car is unique and stands out in a parking lot

Traffic in Delhi

All kidding aside watching our driver yesterday was interesting to say the least. Watching him drive makes me appreciate the road ways in Texas.

 

police car Delhi

Lotus Temple

 

We left the hotel and went to the Lotus Temple, a Bahá’í House of Worship.  The outside is beautiful and amazing and is made of white marble.

Lotus Temple

After that, we went to a Hindu temple, The Akshardham Temple.  This Temple  does not allow technology inside the gates. It was interesting getting inside the walls as the security is a cross between prison security meets theme park security meets airport security. I was stupid and forgot I had a flash light in my pocket.  Thankfully the guard was nice and let me pick up my flashlight on the way out.

Akshardham Temple

 

If you want to go inside the main temples you have to remove your shoes.  Once you are inside, it is all hand craved walls and gold everywhere.  It was just beautiful.  This Temple and the Lotus Temple are both fairly new.

Akshardham temple is worth checking out if you are ever in New Delhi. Over 70% of tourist visit here.  I would recommend Googling it.  There are pictures online of the temple and it is really beautiful.

I stopped taking pictures after we left the Akshardham.  I had only slept 3-4 hours since since leaving on Wednesday (we saw the temple on Friday 02-05-16). I just couldn’t see straight anymore. When I got back to the hotel at 4pm I laid down and passed out until 4am on Saturday.

Next up is a guided tour of Delhi.  You can bet I will be taking a million photos just to try and give you a small taste of what we are seeing over here. This place is incredible.

Atticus James

LAX to Dubai and on to India (Delhi)

 

Emirates A380

The A380

Okay, my grandfather surprised me and didn’t tell me that we were flying business class to Dubai and then on to Delhi. I have flown first class once before, from Dallas to Cabo San Lucas, when I was 17. THIS WAS NOT THE SAME!

Anyone who likes or follows planes knows that the Airbus A380 is a monster. If they haven’t seen it or flown on, they know that it is a “bucket list” plane. Why?

· It holds 500 people!

· It has TWO floors!

· It requires 3 jet ways to load the plane!

A380

Okay so maybe I am just a bit excited right now, but you would be the same in my place.

The Triple 7 (777) holds 360 people so you can see the A380 is a beast and a wonderment to our ability to build planes that are bigger and more awesome.

After the flight from LA to Dubai, I am currently in the 777 flying to Delhi Airport in India and I have to say, this is an old plane. The 777 is a twenty-year-old design and it’s just not as nice as the A380.

The 777

The plane is a cigar tube with wings. If you have ever been on a flight with someone like American for non-international travel you can pretty well figure out what first and business class looks like on the 777. A wall to divide the classes and not much else. screen timeelse.

First VS Business Class?

I was texting with family while I was on the flight to Dubai. They asked what first class had that business didn’t and honestly I am not sure. I know first class has a shower but the seating pods were the same. I know they had to pay for Wi-Fi just like the rest of us but I don’t know what the difference really was. I will have to look it up at some point.

The Food

Wow, okay, so let’s talk food. I told my peeps (that is gangster for people because I’m AN OG!) when I get home I think I will be thinner. I figure due to the change in how and what I eat. After eating on the A380 I think I might become fatter. WOW! the food was amazing. Side note: I am smelling the food served on this four hour flight and I am getting hungry again for dinner. (FYI I just ate breakfast 2 hours ago on the last plane).

Breakfast

Emirates

I don’t want to give away too much in regards to my upcoming review of Emirates but I will say this… if you are taking a long haul they are worth looking into.

I understand that most people cannot afford business or first class (myself included) but trust me when I say that as someone with a bad back, I have never slept so well or been in so little pain after a flight. It is crazy. This is because the seats aren’t cramped. They are open, you have room to move around in and you can make a nice little nest for your flight.

Dinner

My Final Thoughts for Today

I have the coolest grandpa ever. We are somewhere in the sky and I am just so blessed to be on this trip. I give my thanks to God and to my grandfather because if this trip was not meant to happen God would have shown us that. The skies have been clear and we are ready to take a trip of a lifetime.

Traffic In India

Traffic outside the airport in India at 3am.  Crazy, right???

India – (Not) The Final Frontier

Stardate: 212016. Bags are like 99% packed…. I think. Just remember everyone, if we forget something on this trip, we are blaming Kevin. Sorry Kev.

I now have a will. I’m now “that guy”. While talking with a family friend he made a comment saying that after a week of India I will want to be home. I think since we aren’t staying in one location for more than 1 or 2 nights, I won’t be sitting still long enough to even think of home.

Tech Free? Not!

I am bringing my phone and laptop so I can keep in contact with family and blog/vlog. Part of me wishes I could just let everything go and just be there. No camera to take pictures, no phone to call family, no laptop to upload pictures and content.

It isn’t because I don’t want to be in touch with people. It’s that I want time that belongs solely to me and my grandfather. I know that the essence of this trip really is that, but it would be nice to just be tech free for a day or a trip.

Just Ready to Be There!

My family Is being awesome about my leaving. I am trying to tone down the true level of excitement I have so I don’t burn them talking about it. As the hours tick closer to takeoff, I am just ready to be there.

I have some goals for this trip

· Come home with a pet Himalayan Blue Sheep

· Do not come home half eaten by the tigers

· Do not get bitten by any snakes

· Take amazing vlogs

· Spend time with family I have never met

· EAT ALL THE FOODS (insert meme here)

· Do not come home with a bride

· Figure out how to make yearly work trips like this

The Food

I made a bad decision last night and decided to look up different foods in the regions we will be staying. I did this on an empty stomach and I was ready by the third page to go to the market and pick up all the ingredients to try everything I saw. Not smart to do at 3am.

Mango-Chutney-Chicken-1-finalMango Chutney Chicken

AJ’s Trip to India – Bringing Home a Bride?

Bringing Home a Bride?

This week has been filled with anticipation for the adventure ahead. My grandfather has been joking with his friends that the whole point of this trip is for me to bring home a bride… Thanks -_- Grandpa!

Trip Needs a Richter Scale?

I have been out of the country before(obviously), but never on a trip of this magnitude. I am packing light, so we will just do our laundry as need be, in India.

A380

We are flying on the A380. This is just one more part of this trip that makes it epic! My best friend and his father are plane nuts and sometimes I am just plain nuts myself… wait a minute… I digress. I told them that I was flying on the big bad boy and my best friend is a bit jealous. He has been a world traveler his whole life and still wants to take a trip in one.

Modes of Transportation

I have been looking over the itinerary and it reads something like this: plane, rickshaw, car, bus, plane, train, boat, plane car and bus ride. Needless to say, we will be busy traveling to many awesome locations. Hey, any production studios want to pay for me to scout awesome locations? I only charge $1.5 million per location per movie. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

What Did I forget?

I am sitting here just waiting for it to be time to leave thinking, sh*t did I pack everything?

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