A World Wonder
We almost didn’t have any documented proof of our visit. The night before we went to the Taj Mahal, my wife put the camera on the charger. She woke up early and decided to check the status of the battery. She realized that the camera hadn’t charged at all. We were thankful that she was able to catch it in time before we left the hotel.
Outside of the gates, there were several people taking in the experience, while others were working on their daily hustle. We even heard some Indian vendors engaging in Spanish dialogue with some of the tourists. There were other vendors standing outside offering their services as a guide. (The Taj Mahal doesn’t have any official guides.) I had to keep a keen eye for con artists, but it was difficult because I was caught up in the moment. Once we walked through the gates, we were able to see the Taj Mahal in all of its glory. The sky was a smoky grey, but the Taj Mahal was still illuminated. I viewed a flock of birds soar past, suspended. As they sailed through the air, I wondered if they were flying by to marvel at its grandeur.
As we were trying to take a photo, there was an overzealous man who said he’d be happy to take a picture of us as a family. We thought, isn’t that kind, so we allowed him to take a photo of us. After he took the picture, he uttered, “Tip, give me tip.” I started to stiff him and hit him with the Heisman pose, but I simply chose not to fight that battle and gave him some change. After giving him the tip, we took a look at the picture, we realized that he would never win a Pulitzer Prize in photography. He didn't even get a full view of the Taj Mahal! We should've asked for our money back.
A Funny India Story and an Important Travel Tip
When I was in that situation, I had to think fast. Anaya yelled out the details, before I could explain to my wife what had happened. I thought all she had to do was pee, but as I hoovered her over the squat toilet, she mentioned that she had to poop. I was in such a rush to get her to the toilet that I didn’t make sure I had the most essential item...toilet paper.
Our phones didn’t work in India, so I couldn’t call my wife and advise her to bring us some spare toilet paper. I couldn’t leave Anaya in the bathroom by herself, so I did the only thing I could do to alleviate the situation: use my sock. I exited the bathroom sock less, sweating, exhausted, but smiling. Nana was bewildered, shocked, and relieved. Unfortunately, I had to leave my socks behind in India; they were no longer needed or wanted. Some words of advice when traveling in Asia, BE PREPARED! Always carry toilet paper, soap, and hand sanitizer everywhere you go!
Our Experience On
Being Black in India
When we went to the Gandhi Museum in Delhi, one brave person kindly asked if we would take a photo with them. We agreed. After taking the picture, we were bum rushed and surrounded by thirty or more Indians. We weren’t sure what was happening. They all wanted to take a picture with us. It was awe-inspiring and frightening at the same time.