Day 13 - Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - Overland to Agra; Afternoon at Leisure
After our late night we were able to sleep in until 8:00 this morning. We put our bags out before we went down to breakfast and then came back to the room to organize ourselves for the day.
We waited in the lobby until the driver and the hotel porters loaded the bus. Internet was available at the reception desk so everyone was checking the early election results.
The other disturbing topic was that Prime Minister Modi discontinued the use of the 1,000 and 500 rupee bills as of midnight last night. Pakistan has been flooding the country with counterfeit bills, which was also a cause for the economic panic.
Because of Black Money and corruption, people are buying gold, and the Asian markets have fallen dramatically. The banks were closed and will be for two days. No ATMs have money and the country is in turmoil.
The result of this is that the country will not have enough small bills to keep the commercial ventures flowing. Sujay was up until 2:00 AM trying to get more information to give us.
Sujay presented the regular morning briefing that will be a more relaxed day than yesterday. We will drive to Agra and base our itinerary on the fog and pollution at the Taj Mahal. He wants us to see this iconic monument in the best light.
We passed into a new state, Uttar Pradesh, a very fertile land because of the many rivers bring needed moisture to the state. The economy in this region is based on agriculture and is also known as the religious capital of India and home of the Ganges River.
As we drove toward Agra, the driver stopped for us to see two female blue antelope, also called Nilgai. They are the largest of the antelope family and are found grazing in the fields. Potatoes, rice, spinach, mustard, were the primary cash crops.
Traffic was backed up for miles and we had delays at the tollbooths because of the currency crisis. Even though our bus had already paid the taxes, we were trapped behind many trucks and buses that could not pay because they only had large bills.
As we neared our destination we learned that Agra was a strategic center for the military. The United States and India conduct joint military operations in the city.
The Jaypee Palace Hotel is huge – the nicest place to stay in the city. We arrived at noon but because the accommodations were full, we had to wait a bit for the rooms to be ready. We went to lunch and then back to reception to be shown to our rooms.
The afternoon was on our own but we were invited to go with Sujay to the Sheroes Hangout at 4:30. The mission of this group was to make people aware of the women of acid attacks and to support the victims of the assaults.
These acid survivors are trying to make a new life for themselves by being productive members of society. The women told us their stories and made us aware of the difficulties of their lives.
The motto of the organization is “My Beauty is My Smile”. Although doctors volunteered to help them with their medical needs and the government helped with stipends, their raw courage was the only thing that turned these victims into survivors and then Sheroes.
Our evening was free – a good thing as we could catch up with the journal and the photos from the day. The Internet was humming right along so there were no problems getting you our story about this fantastic day in India
Chess was invented in India, as were buttons, the ruler, shampoo, the value of pi, and cataract surgery.
Amazing Facts About India
Accommodations: Jaypee Palace Hotel - - - Meal: B & L
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WOW!! The Castle -- that would be a great place to play hide-and-seek for the grandkids, but I "could" lose them. I can just imagine what the inside looks like, seeing the courtyard, which was manicured to perfection. I am so glad I got out of your pocket to see these people and places - I love it!! I was surprised to see that cataract surgery and the other things you mentioned were started in India. Amazing!! What did you have to eat that was the most appealing to your pallet? Y'all sleep well and I guess you have heard the new President is Donald Trump. Don't want to get into politics, but I am truly glad it is OVER - never so tired of hearing politics - everywhere! What is in store for tomorrow - always such a treat when I'm let out. LOL
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Love the colors of India, even the street sweepers! Looks like you are having a good time. Hope the currency situation resolves for you. Are you thinking of staying given the political situation here?
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...