Our first full day in India and the first thing that hit me in the morning was the smog.
Somehow you could tell the skies were clear, but there was no way the sun could break through the cloud of dirt. The air in the city is so dark it has started to affect the main monuments, so the Goverenment has closed some of the factories. But until the traffic is regulated and the city modernised it will continue to suffer from really filthy air.
The smog covers everything, dulls down the colours, everything goes grey, as if you were on the set of Momo. Yet, it is amazing how life finds a way to survive. Amongst all this smog, on a derelict site, sitting on an electicrity cable, there was a beautiful kingfisher. The vibrance of its colours was in sheer contrast to the encroaching dullness the smog brings to everything. I had never managed to see one in Europe, not even in a National Park.
Never before had i experienced traffic like this. It was manic, and so dense, but somehow manages to integrate cattle drawn carts. At one point we got stuck on an old british empire built bridge, one side us, on the other an old cart and in a few minutes hundreds of motorbikes. I couldn't help but smile, I really felt I was here, though I was still in a taxi, not down there on a push bike.
You can't help but think that most people who talk to you are part of a scam. I don't like to sound negative, and I know that as soon as we leave the big city things will be different, but here it has been like that. Charles has been a lot less cynical and agreed to go for a beer this evening. Invited by our driver, it was going to be a drink with the locals. I am afraid this was not the case, as we realised when we arrived at a carpet dealer, where we were going to have a beer with his friend...
However, as negative as I may be sounding I am actually glad we came here. Walking this morning into the Agra Fort, a Unesco World Heritage Site, you really got the feeling that you were part of a Rudyard Kipling book, that Mowgli was hiding somewhere behind one of the walls.