LOG ENTRY 36
Summing up the remaining days in Delhi, changing our whole itinerary and divert into a new country, visit Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar and even emptied the beer fridge at the embassy twice.
Happy to report it that all the beer from the luxurious suit has been consumed. For the past month we had troubles finding beer. We bought some in Iran but that turned out to be alcohol free, it was a challenge we couldn't overcome in Pakistan and the few places we found Kingfisher so far in India was either overpriced or warm. Again, I had some good Goa beers but having a full fridge of proper European beers was a temptation we couldn't resist.
As much as we enjoyed the luxury treatment I don't intend to bore you with it for many LOG ENTRIES therefore I put the whole time we spent at the embassy in one LOG ENTRY.
Hungarian Institute of Culture in Delhi and the lovely staff there
In the morning the maid turned up with our freshly washed clothes. Everything was folded to the same size, ironed and stacked up by color. We needed all this as we were invited to the Hungarian
institute of Culture in Delhi for an interview. The institute is not far from the embassy compound and it is one of the prime property in Delhi. Two elderly Hungarian lady lives there, one who married to an Indian guy and another who spent most of her life in India. They had helpers as well and the two middle aged Indian gentleman actually spoke Hungarian. After the compulsory tea and an hour waiting the reporter was nowhere to be seen so we decided to run over to the Thai embassy to apply for our tourist visa. Luckily we had our driver and Mr Pusztahazi, the head of the finances from the embassy who was the most helpful person we met so far. Eventually we got really close to him and spent every night in his compartment with his wife, wine and great food. It took some time until we could submit our visa applications, thank you Thai bureaucratic system. On the way back from the embassy Mr. Pusztahazi was talking a lot about Nepal. How pretty it is, not as we did not know this, and how easy is it to get in there and how much more worthy to get there than to the eastern side of India. Nevertheless, he put the bug into our ears and since the reporter did not turn up even after we got back our way headed to a long night sightseeing with our new embassy friend and his driver.
Qutub Minar, the second tallest minaret in India
That bug worked pretty well in our ears. As we woke up the next day, getting ready to pick up our Thai visas, Dad and me looked at each others, smiled and almost in the same time said, would you like to take a little detour? Hell yeah was the answer from both sides. First I was thinking how to convince Dad with Nepal, he planned this trip, every city, every country everything basically was his child. He tried to synchronize the trip with Sulkowsky and Bartha's trip -the first couple who rode around the world- that the last thing I wanted is to kidnap his brain/dream child. Also, his most anticipated country was India since the beginning and I feel that he is deeply disappointed. He read tons of novels written by great Hungarian expediters who came here in the 19th century to hunt for tigers in the jungle, clearly a different thing what we are doing now. Luckily I didn't have to convince him, he had the same idea and the same bug. To be honest, any biker would trade the warm and humid and most of all crazy India conditions to a cool, hilly and exotic mountain ride in Nepal. We did the trade too. After picking up the Thai visas we headed to the Nepalese embassy to apply for a single entry permit and then do some sightseeing again.
The Iron Pillar of Delhi
The processing time for the Nepalese visa is two to three days so we have some more time to recharge our batteries. We visited Qutub Minar, a Muslim mosque complex which was built by the first Sultan of Delhi in the 12th century and it has the non corroding Iron Pillar of Delhi in it. The pillar did look corroded thought from the very close view but just a tiny bit, taking into account its age and location I understand why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tomorrow is Thursday and we got the news that the Taj Mahal will be closed on Friday so our plan has to be changed again. We planned to go towards Agra -I know, detour again- before heading North to Nepal but the Friday closure would set us in Delhi for the whole weekend so we decided to go Thursday instead and make it a day trip. After a very early start we made it to Agra fairly quickly, beating most of the heat and only had some minor navigation issue in the end. A regular tourist who take a guided tour to this majestic building don't realize how tricky to find it since they are going with a tour bus. Whether we were unlucky but we approached Taj Mahal from the slums surrounding it and it took some time to get to her gates.
Taj Mahal without flash as we really seen it
Before even paying the 20 dollars entry fee we have been approached by at least 10 self made tour guide offering us their services from as low as 10 dollars up to 150. They claimed that without a tour guide we wont be able to take pictures and in general we won't be allowed to go in. When we bought the ticket this fact just got supported by the ticket seller so we picked a friendly guy for 10 dollars who was actually doing a great tour around the not so big complex. I am sure everyone seen Taj Mahal on pictures and many of you visited it already. It is similar to the Sydney Opera House in my opinion, you expect something super big, grandiose and shiny bright white building and in reality they are not. Don't get me wrong, both building is marvelous but they are the clear example that expectations sometimes bigger than reality.
Me and the Taj Mahal, I really regret that I didn't smile
Unlike the way to Agra the way back to Delhi was horrible. Very high traffic, rain on and off and the police kept stopping us to turn off our headlights even thought it was way passed sunset. We arrived back to the embassy in the late double digits, probably after 10 pm. Luckily the embassy's open air fire extinguisher tank -swimming pool- was still lighten up so as the maids filled our beer fridge up we decided to plan the following days by the pool with the best possible adviser, cold beer.
In the next LOG ENTRY we are continuing our trip with the detour to Nepal.