Here is Dad's report of the trip:
The Taj Mahal was as beautiful as promised especially at 6 o'clock in the morning when i arrived and was able to hear "the echoes of the ages" for about 5 minutes before the masses arrived. It was awesome. I walked on every path, I visited every area for 4 hours until Dawn & Byron and the kids arrived and then visited many of them again as the temperatures climbed.
We tried pedicabs, auto rickshaws, and horse drawn carts but didn't get to use the camel cart.
We were thwarted in taking a rental car and driver from Agra to New Dehli because of the political blockade of all roads into New Dehli so we had to take the 6:00am train to New Dehli. Imagine the lack of sleep. (Imagine the auto rickshaw ride to buy the tickets the night before with 7 people in a space designed for three, in the rain without windshield wipers, competing with dump trucks, cows, and half of India. )
In New Dehli, the Red Fort was closed because a woman terrorist pledged to blow it up and the authorities didn't want us flying high without paying for the experience. Breakfast was two frozen chocolate bars by the roadside.
The car was a hot car - unfortunately not air conditioned although promised.and paid for. Forgot to checkout the Ganges river where your mother's father spent the war making the water safe for allied troops to drink during the war. Remember?
If you've ever asked the question, "Where is everybody?" I now know the answer. They are in New Dehli. Chennai is crowded and I didn't think that it could contain more people in a space but New Dehli packs in a lot more with more of the unpleasant stuff too. We were probably influenced by the bad karma of the hot car and shopping when people grab your arm and insist that you buy stuff.
We were finally driven to the airport with Byron praying in the back seat that the car, which was only able to go 30 miles an hour and was overheating drastically in the middle of several lanes of traffic and might have broken down any minute, would make it. Unfortunately he forget to pray that the car would take us to the right airport. We took an airport buss to the right place
I was amused because when we went to the gate to board the plane we were again put on a bus and driven for about 10 minutes before we found the plane - meanwhile we were passed twice by the mobile stairs which I assume were also looking for the plane. We were allowed to board the plane when the stairs arrived.
We arrived In Chennai about midnight.
Erin - Agra
Lily - at church in Chennai
Dawn and Byron - Sunday
The Father = Caught air pollution and koffs a lot