Someone will pick me up at the airport. I'll be driven to Agra where I'll spend the day sight-seeing. Then back to Delhi where I'm staying in a 3-star hotel. In the morning, there's breakfast and a half-day of sight-seeing in Delhi then it's off to the airport and back to Chennai. I get back in plenty of time to get enough sleep for work on Monday.
I was feeling a bit down after work today. I took the recommendation of everyone and went to Spencer Plaza here in Chennai. Imagine the Mall of America, only dingy and crammed with stores selling cheap crap at inflated prices. Complete waste of the 20 rupees to get there by auto-rickshaw, as far as I was concerned. If I wanted manufactured goods, I could see going back. If I don't find a better music store, I might make a stop there before leaving. That's about it.
So I headed back to my hotel and chanced upon a local scam that worked out well for me. You see, the auto-rickshaw drivers have deals with local merchants where they get kick-backs if they take you to the merchant's stores. So the rickshaw driver on the way back took me to place selling rugs, jewelry, handicrafts and such that's near my hotel. That way it only cost me 10 rupees for the return trip. And it turned out that the store sold bolts of silk in a variety of colors and patterns. So I got their card and figure I'll head over there before I need to leave to pick up several meters. We're talking raw silk with a fairly heavy hand, taken from the family mulberry farm, dyed with natural dyes for about 500 rupees/meter. For those of you playing at home, that's about $11/yard. (And that's just the list price, I'm fairly certain I'll be able to talk them down, particularly if I buy entire bolts of the stuff.)
Got back to my room and took a bit of a nap. I didn't feel like doing much of anything but forced myself to go down and get something to eat. Good decision. The friendly, attentive service lifted my mood. Chalk one up for the power of good service. I left a 20 rupee tip, meaning the waiter could have lunch on me. Had a couple of whiskeys after dinner and am now ready to catch a few more hours of sleep before I go to work again.
Each hour that passes is one hour closer to the Taj. I hope I can sleep with that thought bouncing around my hind-brain.