Hawkes Bay NZ Water trail

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Today's episode of east meets west

At the Agra station, I agreed to let tuk tuk driver Shabbu do a tour for 1,000 rupees, a princely sum, for Taj Mahal and Agra Fort with a break for a delicious vegetarian thali lunch. I'd originally planned to pay 130 rupees for a one way to South Entrance of the TM. Agra Fort wasn't a must see, given how I prefer to spend plenty of time visiting one sight, not trying to do it all in a day. It worked out quite well until I'd exited the Fort, when Shabbu insisted that I really should go looking at precious stones in the typical backstreet "craft workshop" and kept deflecting my statement "no shopping." It's been a long day of climbing up and down narrow stone stairs, bad air pollutants and general 3rd world filth, and I was in no mood to play along. I do not take kindly to being suckered as a stupid tourist and don't treat me like a compliant Indian woman. After I took a cursory walk around the sales point full of gaudy trinkets that I had no intention of examining, let alone negotiating a price on, I told the salesman I wasn't buying, walked out and seated myself back in the tuk tuk before Shabbu had finished a cigarette. Had this nonsense continued I'd planned to tell him that I would deduct 100 rupees from the agreed price for every additional craft shop he tried to deliver me to, as a discount to me for having my "no shopping" order continually ignored. He's a quick learner. I got back to Agra station in plenty of time for my 17:50 return to Delhi on the much cleaner Gantiman Express.

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