Saturday, February 7, 2009

Our Backpack Chronicles: The Taj (part 2)

read part 1


Series One continued: Do & Dee’s quest to check if the Taj Mahal was really made of marble.

I thought we were stuck halfway to Agra.

Street Food

But I was relieved to find our ride just around the corner, our driver was having a smoke and some street food. I signaled him and we were back on the road in no time.

We finally reached the outskirts of the Taj around 2:00pm. At this point, these extremely persistent sandal-clad Taj Mahal tour guides came rushing towards us. They started to flock so I had to think of something quick before the intensifying aroma made me pass out.

Garando: “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe…. Which one of you’z got the tidiest toe?”

Taj Tour Guides: “ ??? ”

Garando: “You! You will be our tour guide.”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Thank you, friend! You will be extremely delighted to learn about the Taj’s wonderful history of love and tragedy! May I ask where you are from?”

Garando: “Kazakhstan.”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Oh! And how about the lady?”

Garando: “She’s from Mongolia.”

Garandee: “Nyo! I’m Japanese!”

No fuel powered vehicles are allowed within a certain radius of the Taj (I think around 2km) so we had to ride an electric rickshaw which I thought was pretty cool.

The Taj 06

This was the final gate we had to go through before reaching the courtyard of the Taj Mahal. We were expecting to see the Taj Mahal behind that gate, but what we did not expect was how we'd react upon the sight of one of the seven wonders of the world!

Garando’s Tour Guide: “These massive gates were built to shield the Taj Mahal from… uh... pardon me, friend... but I am still explaining the…. “

Garandee: “Chop chop, Garando!”

Garando: "puff.. puff..." (walking really fast)

the Taj

And there it was... in all its glory, THE Taj Mahal. Our jaws literally dropped, we were totally overcome with awe by this majestic monument of love.

Garandee: “Wow, it’s so white ne….”

Garando: “Yes, perfect concept for a Tide advertisement. Let’s go Garandee!”

Garando’s Tour Guide: “Uh…would you not want to hear me finish about the gate first?”


The weather was searing hot, probably reaching 40 degrees. We wished we hadn’t left our water bottles in the car, but we had enough adrenaline to hustle through the hot courtyard to the foot of the Taj, our trusty tour guide strutting behind us trying to catch up.

The Taj 07

Visitors must remove their footwear before setting foot on the Taj. There was a footwear counter where you can conveniently leave your shoes/sandals. The counter didn’t have anyone handing out number tags for your shoes so you’ll need to dig through a pile of it when you’re done with the tour. Good thing I knew how my shoes smelled so I can just follow the scent.

the rubber carpet

A long carpet was laid out leading up the Taj. Thinking that I can probably cook an egg on the floor because of the heat, that carpet was an excellent idea!

As soon as I took off my shoes it immediately felt like the cement was grilling my soft, delicate feet so I started hopping frantically to get to the carpet! I made one big leap for salvation, and finally settled my feet on it.

Garando: “AAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!!!”

The carpet was made of rubber. Apparently it was 10 times hotter than the cement floor.

Darn it!!

continue to part 3...

Garando mode:
My apologies for not being able to post more often... It has been crazy in the office and I've been catching up on a lot of work!


Anonymous said...

suuuuuper ganda! it really is a wonder of the world! and nice pics! :)

lenj said...

bettyful pictures! galing! pero naaliw ako sa sinabi mong taga-kazakhstan and mongolia kayo. reminds me of my dad. ^__^

Anonymous said...

1. I am super awed at the pics you had of the Taj. The love story behind it is very inspiring, and the gate has a separate story by itself, why didn't you listen to the tour guide? Teehee...

2. I am super amused at you telling the tour guide Garandee's a Mongolian. Haha, she just couldn't roll her eyes and shush up, teehee.

3. I am super missing your posts, they're funny but is full of sense.

AngelMD-No-More said...

.......speechless.hahaha alright! im going to india...soon!hahaha one thing that i'm very afraid of mentioned about the scent...teehee ive got sonic nose you think i can survive there?hehe

Anonymous said...

What's the food vendor in your photo selling? I hope to be able to visit India or at least see the Taj Mahal in Agra in the not too distant future. Looked like you enjoyed your travel there!

Garando said...

Thank you! Yup, sa Taj Mahal pa lang, sulit na ang India trip namin! :)

Thanks! I thought the guide took me seriously, until binisto ako ni Garandee. :D

I guess we got too excited when we saw the Taj Mahal. LOL! But I did know about its history from the Discovery Channel & Lonely Planet. :D
That joke never fails to drive Garandee nuts. Very nationalistic kase kaya biglang react. Hehe!
Thanks for your comment regarding my posts, it really inspires me to continue what I do. :)

Trust me, give it a couple of hours and you'll eventually get used to the scent. And when you do, it's almost as if it wasn't even there in the first place. :D

Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, you MUST visit India! It's such an unforgettable experience!
The ones in the wok looked like "Puris". It's a very popular snack usually eaten with lentil curry. They make a hole at the top then scoop some curry with it. The ones behind it are deep fried sandwiches (also popular). Not sure what's in it though because I wasn't brave enough to try it. :D

Jules said...

wow cool! :) love the pics. are u pinoy?

Anonymous said...

i want to hear more! hehe.

the Taj's really magnificent, not to mention its romantic history. i wish I can see it too. :)

Alice said...

I laughed and I laughed and I laughed reading this post. Great photos, Mr Kazakhstan and Ms Mongolia! LOL

AngelMD-No-More said...

manong it's what you call nose fatigue!hahaha well, better than having stomach cramps if i don't get used to it.hehehe save! save! save for india!hehehe

Sardonyx said...

Hahaha that was funny! Are they cooking banana-Q too?

Garando said...

Thanks for dropping by! Yes, I'm 100% Pinoy! ;)

Our adventure is far from over so part 3 will definitely follow soon. :)

Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed my stories as much as I enjoyed sharing it! :)

Well you'll definitely get more than stomach cramps if you don't take extra care when eating in New Delhi. LOL! But there are places where the food is safe and super delicious! go go go! :D

Thanks for visiting my blog! I haven't really seen banana-Q, but potato-Q was pretty popular! Fried potato wedges marinated in spices! :D

Dennis Villegas said...

Wow wonderful travelogue, Garando. I always have fun reading your stories, hehehe.
The tourist guide must be inebriated to learn you were from Kazakhstan (the country of Borat, in the movie Borat!), and Garandee from Mongolia, hohoho!
Thanks for sharing this, pinasakit mo tiyan ko sa katatawa hehehe!

P.S. Galing ng pictures!

Grace said...

Hi Garando, it is my first time here and I want to say that I enjoyed reading your post. :)

Garando said...

Thanks! Yeah and buti na lang game yung tour guide namin. Meron pang part 3! Need to find time lang to write it... hehe. Sobrang busy sa office lately eh. :(

Hello! Thanks for dropping by, and I'm glad that you enjoyed reading my blog. Hope to see you here regularly. :)

escape said...

definitely jaw dropping! you brought us like we were really with you.

nice shots and i also noticed that gate in the movie slumdog millionaire.

astig post!

ms firefly said...

photos are fantastic!!!
i would love to see the taj, but i do have the same problem with my gag reflex. i don't know how much i can hold up to. :)

keep writing, i'm looking forward for the sequels! and garandee humor is lotsa fun :D

Anonymous said...

bwahahhahaa...your garandee is so cute. Tell her I love her that much. :)

Love the photos. it captured the tru beauty of the place. Why la ka pa update...busy?

Garando said...

Thank you! I always wanted to watch slumdog millionaire but never got the chance... hopefully over the weekend mapanood ko na! :)

@Ms Firefly
LOL! Part 3 will definitely follow soon... :) Just caught up with a LOT work lately

I'll make sure Garandee hears that. :) Yeah, I've been super busy the past few weeks so my posts/blog hopping became less frequent. Hopefully I get my work all sorted out by this week so I can get back to blogging! :)

Anonymous said...

indian palaces are amazing, aren't they? love the details that go into the traceries ;-)

can garandee pass for a mongolian? ;-)

Garando said...

Yeah, the Moghul art and buildings were so awesome and the Hindu culture is so mystical!
The dress Garandee wore that day made her look like a traditional Mongolian, at least in my opinion. :D

Anonymous said...

How are you doing today Mr. Kazakhstan? So what did you give Ms. Mongolia for Valentine's?

Ang ganda ng photos mo! I wish I can go to India too and see the Taj Mahal. It looks magnificent and massive. I'll wait for more of your chronicles! :-D

Garando said...

Hi Dyosa! Thanks!!
Mr. Kazakhstan's sick... :D But I'll try to make the most out of Valentine's Day for Ms. Mongolia...