I expected the Taj Mahal to be a disappointment. I thought it would be smaller in real life, crowded with pushy tourists and swarmed with wild monkeys who bite. Instead at sunrise the white marble mausoleum glistened, the tourists were well behaved except for an Indian woman who tried to cut the line and since I didn’t feed or make eye contact with the monkeys they left me alone.
Our guide loved posing us and shooting engagement like photos. Steve got sick of trying to keep his eyes open and after a while I no longer felt like smiling. I think our guide was tired of giving tours and wanted to be the Annie Leibowitz of Agra.
He explained the intricacies of the workmanship of the Taj Mahal, and we began to understand why it took 22 years to build. It’s also why we subsequently decided to buy ridiculously overpriced coasters from an 18th generation artist because he was the last in his family to do this dying art.
The coasters we saw at a souvenir stand when we went to pee looked pretty much the same. But since I believe in karma even if we were ripped off it would be ok.