|Saturday, among the many Delhi things I did was go to the travel agent of dubious quality. You are only supposed to go to the government one and my driver has taken me to one that has the Incredible India sign and Govt stuff on the front, on the other hand it's not in the guide book. While my Spidey senses are going off, they've pretty much been in condition red since touchdown I figure I'll see how it goes. The agent has prices which are in line with my expectations and also timelines that are reasonable i.e. he talks me out of some things I knew were a bad idea i.e. you can't drive from point A to point B in a day and expect to see anything. The roads so far have proven him right. I book a bunch of stuff and head out. Sunday will test my choice. Sunday morning the driver shows up at the tourist agency. As dumb as it seems this is important as the first sign that I haven't been completely fleeced. I bid goodbye to the Ambassador I've been driving in in Delhi and climb into the Tata, model Indigo. We drive south. The driver is Sheik and he speaks better English than Vektor and to all appearances doesn't have Cholera. He tells me a joke about the Sikhs "The potato and the turbaned man are found around the world." This causes great gales of laughter. The road south is a four lane mad house, with the usual assortment of large trucks and tiny vehicles sometimes bikes and pedestrians. Occasionally we make it up to 50 mph but it's stop and go. I will marvel if I escape this country with out seeing someone killed. We stop at a large statue of Shiva. He tells me about how his son Ganesha was born when he was away. His mother took a bath and told Ganesha to watch the door. When Shiva came home Ganesha wouldn't let him so Shiva chopped his head off. His mother, Laxmi, was upset and yelled at his dad. Shiva for some reason couldn't put the head back on so he chopped the head off an elephant and put it on his son's shoulders. Ganesha is inexplicably the god of good luck. Sheik later told me an abbreviated version of the Mahabharata with a great deal of swearing. Eventually we made it to Agra. I dozed off occasionally on the drive, which was punctuated with wheat fields and small dung huts that were strangely beautiful. Agra is a mean town. I have seen the police beat someone with a cane for jaywalking with his cart. Granted he was causing a bit of a traffic snarl. The police were hitting people for taking pictures of the fake tombs in the Taj Mahal. I was taunted by the local toughs for reasons unknown. The girl on the plane says she hated Gandhi. My driver, Vektor, mocked me wanting to see the Gandhi house. I asked him what's the deal with the anti-Gandhi attitude. He says people hate Gandhi because Gandhi started a fight but ran away from it. People were killed in the streets and all he did was skip a few meals. He also called Gandhi a British lackey. I get the feeling India is spoiling for a fight. Luckily recent surveys show 83% of Indians are very favorable to the US. Particularly since the election of Obama. The current Indian Prime Minister is also a first time minority. He is a Sikh. The Sikh separatist are responsible for the assassinations of both Indira and Rajiv Gandhi which wasn't that long ago. First I went to Akbar's tomb large impressive and monkeys. The style is the same as the next two place I attend. There are huge black honey bee nests hanging from the top. The whole place which has lawns with straight horned deer is about a mile square next to the river. We pick up my guide for the Red Fort also built by Akbar and the Taj Mahal. He is the only other unmarried man in India, but for different reasons than me. He has a pink cell phone. The red fort's walls are made of red sandstone and are 70 meters tall. It was built right around 1600. It feels medieval to the bone. There were jewels and gold everywhere but the British had to pay for their health scheme and the Falklands war so they tore all the gold and rubies off. The guide graded on the curve that is India was quite helpful which he reminded me of in several ways when tip time came. We went to the Taj. Pointless to describe. Pictures do no justice. Upon seeing it I actually felt moved. It has been described as the most beautiful piece of architecture in the world.Probably true. We walked around as he told me the story and pointed out the various bits. The tomb in the center of the domed area is where the police are hitting people and jostling them along. The line to get in to the Taj is 2 hours long and then to get in the tomb perhaps an hour or you could do what we did and throw a handful of money at the problem and go right in. Indians pay 5 Rupees to get in foreigners pay 5 hundred. I'm not sure if I make everything about money or they do. Either way it's annoying on the other hand when you see the Taj Mahal for the first time framed by the western gate you don't care. It all seems worth it. You are transported back 400 hundred years and feel a man's pain after he has lost his wife and he wants her with him and this glorious building is the best he can do. The emperor who built the Taj Mahal planned on having a matching tomb in black marble built across the river connected by a bridge made of silver. his son had him arrested.