I may not have mentioned this before, but what had surprised me quite a bit as we travelled around was the lack of people in the sites we visited. Today I sing a different tune. Fatehpur Sikri and the Agra Fort were both teeming with people: tourists, vendors, touts, tourist guides, photographers, professors(!) and so on.
As annoying as they may seem, I didn't quite mind the vendors. After all, I now own five pairs of payals (anklets) and five necklaces, thanks to these 'pestering' salespeople. I also acquired the local-English vocabulary to sell these things: "All five for hundred," "You don't have to buy – please look", "Just touch it", "Feel it, feel it in your hands", "You pay what you like" sometimes added on to "Minimum hundred. You can also pay 200, 300, 500". So, if I don't want these things later on, I know how to sell them!
There was a brief moment of fear, however, when a "student" who was helping tourists around Salim Chisti's mazar and tomb took me to a somewhat secluded area to show me an elephant "just around the corner". "How much will you give me?" he asked. I admit that at that moment, when I looked around and saw no-one around, I felt somewhat vulnerable. Thankfully, money buys everything in this world.
Coming Next: Taj Mahal Musings