I almost got left behind at Taj Mahal
My first travel experience to Asia was in 2012. It was a work related trip to Delhi and Agra. We were only there for a few days, and got to see a lot on short amount of time. We used a whole day to travel to Agra and Taj Mahal.
Due to pollution, big buses are not allowed to drive close to the Taj Mahal. Which meant that we had to park our bus a few miles from the entrance. A mini bus was ready to bring us closer to the entrance area.
We were told to leave our belongings in the bus, due to the security checks at Taj Mahal. We didn’t have that much time, and wanted to use it as best we could. We were also told to leave our cellphones behind, as they would have made us stuck in the security check for longer. I only brought a bit of money, my camera and a water bottle. It was a really hot day. It’s weird how naked you feel when you leave your handbag with wallet and cellphone behind.
Taj Mahal has four identical sides. I don’t have a sense of place at all. Not a good combination. I was already lost from the start. I just followed the people I traveled with. The area around Taj Mahal is huge, with gardens and large buildings.
We started our Taj Mahal experience by having a minor photo shoot at the Diana-bench. It was a bit embarrassing. This is a popular bench, and people stand in line to be taken photos of there. Which meant that there were loads of people watching our little photo shoot. We were a group of 10 or so, which meant that it took some time as well.
And then it was finally time to experience the inside of Taj Mahal. We had to walk up a set of stairs before we came up to the entrance area. The lines were long! There were one line for Indian people and a different one for tourists. A lot of people wanted to experience Taj Mahal at the same time as us. We were almost pushed inside by armed guards, and we had to walk in line through the different rooms. I’m always fast and efficient, sometimes too efficient. I just take it all in at once and don’t need to use a lot of time in the same place. I automatically thought that my travel group did the same as me. Just walked through. Crowds confuse me. And stress me. I guess I should learn that I don’t need to be in such a hurry all the time. The guards that were rushing people along by screaming stressed me out. I just kept walking, and suddenly lost the others. I stopped for a while, but didn’t see anyone. I didn’t know if I they were behind me or in front of me. I didn’t have my watch, and I didn’t know how long I’d been standing there for. I just kept walking, and suddenly I was outside again. I lined up against a wall and started waiting for the others. I waited… and waited.. and waited… I felt like I had been there for hours, and no-one came. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue of where I was. Was I near the entrance area? We hadn’t agreed on a meeting spot. Not that I had found it on my own anyway. Several crazy thoughts appeared. I imagined loads of different scenarios. Did they walk past me without me noticing them? I didn’t have a clue of what to do. The bus was far away, and I didn’t think I knew the way either. So I walked down from the main floor and decided to wait for them there. I hoped that they would see me eventually. I’m a huge over-thinker, and imagined all sorts of crazy stuff. What if I can’t find the way back? What if they just left without me? What if I’m stuck here forever?
I guess I looked misplaced and confused, and I actually stumbled and scratched my foot at some point. I was a bit scared after a while, and was only minutes away from starting to cry. I had never felt that alone in the world before as I did when I stood there and hoped for the others to find me.
I guess I hadn’t found the way with a map either. Just a fun little illustration – I’m not good at drawing.
Suddenly I finally heard someone calling my name. I almost jumped up and down of happiness! My travel group were still on the main floor, and had used more time inside than me. I should of course have relaxed more. And I need to remember to stay with my travel group and not just start walking around on my own.
I can stress sometimes and be too fast and efficient. And I over-think everything. Always. If I had waited inside for a while longer, they would have found me earlier. But, it has become a fun story, and a nice little crazy memory!
Do some of you have a fun story to tell from your travel experiences? Write your story as a comment, and I’ll post 3 of them.