Funny, my computer, despite being connected to the internet, has stayed on Pacific Standard time. It’s been useful to know what day and time it is back home but I’ve noticed that one of my posts, which I must have published not fully 24 hours after the last post was published appears to have been posted on the same day. Trust me, they were posted on separate days. I know, it doesn’t matter but it’s kind of fun to think that I sent a post back in time so to speak.
The last full day in Agra and what else to do but go shopping! I wrote up a list so I wouldn’t forget anyone and I did a currency conversion cheat sheet so I wouldn’t have to obviously be checking prices on my phone.
I have a tendency to either buy hardly anything, shutting down in response to being overwhelmed by all the stuff available (most of it identical in store after store after store) or buying too much. When I say too much, I mean going native. After spending months in Texas I came home with a wardrobe of western shirts and cowboy boots which felt totally out of place in LA. I’d absorbed the native look forgetting that I’m not from there and that the look isn’t mine at all. I did manage to come to my senses just before buying a fur coat! Yes, I almost bought a 3/4 length beautiful grey mink. I used to protest against people who wore fur and I had gone so native that I nearly became one of those people! I know my tendency. I know I have to be careful. I will not buy myself a sari – though it is so tempting as the fabrics and colors are GORGEOUS! Looking at the photos, I’m sure you’d agree.
To get to the first store, we drove out of our hotel and across the street. Yes, we drove across the street. It was the fastest and safest means. The traffic is insane. If you get the slightest opening, you put your car into the path of oncoming cars and patiently edge your way into traffic. I can’t imagine trying to race across traffic on foot. Nor can I imagine being behind the wheel of a car in Agra. I’m so thankful that I’m not driving – and so is every other driver on the road – they just don’t know it!
The store featured elaborate necklaces, bracelets and rings – all too opulent for my simple tastes. They also sold beautiful tapestries, rugs and all manner of embroidered and appliqued throws, bedspreads, table cloths, table runners and pieces which would not be out of place hanging from a wall. The tunics they sold were all hand stitched on the finest cotton and silks. Too fine for my tastes. I want something easy and playful not something that I’m terrified of staining or damaging the stitching on. It was tempting to imagine a sari made to order when I saw the bolt and bolts of exquisite silks that lined the back wall. It reminded me of the pleasure I used to get from buying fabrics and making clothes. Unfortunately my interest in sewing faded before my inventory of materials had been used up. I have a trunk full of fabrics which one day I need to use to make myself clothes. I managed to resist the lure of the sari. I did help my friend make some choices. He bought a beautiful table cloth and a couple of scarves for a total of $120 US.
The next store we went to was much more my style. They had inexpensive bracelets, anklets, and carvings. They also had cotton tunics which were reasonably priced. I bought a 3/4 length and a short tunic. I also picked up some trinkets for co-workers and friends. I’m not done with my shopping but the place where they said I can find the rest of what I want is directly across from the Taj and would be too jam packed today. We’ll be able to go early tomorrow – before the crowds and before we leave town. Sounds like a plan. Besides, it gave me a chance to double check my list and see what I’d spent already. For my nine items I paid a total of $110 US! Our guide negotiated almost a 30% discount from the original asking price and I didn’t have to do a thing!
This evening we’re going to see “Taj…a timeless beauty” – a stage show that tells the story of the Emperor who built the Taj Mahal for his wife who died after giving birth to their 14th child. Fourteenth! It promises to be a fun night of singing and dancing as they do best in India.