I was visiting India for the first time in June 1999. This is the hottest time of
the year. When my plane landed at midnight in Delhi, I could see a big sign
that recorded the current temperature, 49 C. The heat hit when I left the
airport. A few days later, I took a very hectic and tiresome bus trip from
Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.
You have to take off your shoes to visit the mausoleum at the Taj Mahal.
Even though I was still wearing socks, where the sun hit the marble it was
burning my feet. I ran from one shadow to another. Each footstep was
paired with “Eww Ahh! Eww Ahh!” I reached a section in the shade. I sat on
the edge of the platform around the monument. I took a water break.
After a minute or so, I noticed a young guy to my right slowly sliding over
beside me. Then I looked left and noticed another guy doing the same
thing. Then I looked behind me to see a bunch of guys slowly creeping up
behind me. I let out a loud sigh. I raised both of my arms, waved them
closer and exclaimed, “Come on everybody, gather round. Get your picture
taken with me!” Pretty quickly I had about twenty young guys in the picture.
I posed with singles, pairs and groups for about 5 minutes until I finally had
some peace. Many of the guys rubbed my hair for good luck.
Between all the tourists visiting the Taj Morgan and the touts trying to sell
me stuff and the bus tour taking me to shake down places, I had enough of
Agra. Two years later I came with Mommy first thing in the morning in the
spring. It was a much nicer experience and I got to really see the beauty of
the Taj Mahal.
After Mommy and I were married, we spent many months waiting in India
for Mommy’s immigration papers to be processed. We spent many months
in Shilong, Meghalaya. Near there is the wettest place on Earth,
Cheerapunjee. It has hundreds of little waterfalls. The jungles are very
green. It’s a beautiful place to visit and go for a hike.
When we were at Cheerapunjee, a young guy and his girlfriend wanted to
take their picture with me. I had already done it a couple times that day. I
felt it was rude to Mommy to force her in the picture or not to ask her. I just
wanted to be left alone to spend the day with her. So I said no.
Well, this guy starts screaming at me. “I never wanted a picture with you
anyways. Who do you think you are?” A whole bunch of swearing and rude
gestures before his girlfriend led him away. Thankfully, nobody else asked
me that day.
I expect when you visit India you will get a lot more attention than you want.
Please be patient and kind. You can do it.