On Google maps, the route out of Delhi looked straightforward; it was anything but. So much backtracking, so many bewildered looks from random folk. Why can’t they comprehend their own anglicised place names pronounced in a native English accent! Call me old fashioned, but India was the bloody jewel in the crown, maybe one would do better shouting and waving a big stick. But really, I felt pretty stupid – “T-AJ M-HAL”.
Finally on the right road, the countryside slipped along beside an empty highway, propelled and accompanied by the pulse of a simple, elderly, single.
The fields were divided into numerous plots, large enough to be worked by a person with an animal and punctuated by cattle, hay ricks, and little earthly stupas of drying cow dung arranged like cinnamon whirls on a baker’s counter.
Though leaving Delhi was hard, finding the hotel in Agra was easy. I arrived in time for sunset, and the best of views.
Today has been a baptism of fire: negotiating midday Delhi traffic on a steed you have to kick into life, lost without a map on a 200 mile ride. But perhaps, more disconcertingly, I’ve enjoyed every moment, the song of the road, some very “creative” driving and riding, bemused smiles, reaching the unearthly Taj Mahal at dusk and sucking on a beer.