So, a little background info is needed here to real grasp the specialness (a word?) of this day. When I was working in Lourdes, France in 1999 there was an huge group of Indian pilgrims who came to visit. They only stayed for about 4 days, but I was mesmerized by the gracefullness and beauty of the Indian women in their brightly coloured sarees and salwar kameez. This was when I decided that I really wanted to visit India some day. I've read a ridiculous number of books both fiction and non about India since then which made me want to go there even more. Fast forward 7 years to when Darren and I first started thinking seriously about this crazy trip...when we were first discussing possible itineraries I noticed that it would be possible for my birthday to fall within our time in India...and then of course I started thinking of where I'd want to be on that day and the Taj Mahal just seemed like the most fantastically romantic place to spend a birthday. I had mentioned this to Darren before we even left Canada and he was determined to make it happen. He delivered...plus some.
We arrived in Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) on the morning of my birthday. During the last couple hours of the train ride I had been scanning through the budget hotel listings in our Lonely Planet and had a couple of ones that sounded decent picked out. When we stepped off the train though I was surprised to see a smartly dressed chauffeur waiting for us with a "Mr. Darren Deschamps" sign. We were whisked away to the Taj View Hotel which is one of the Taj chain hotels found across India. It was luxury at it's finest. We were presented with flower garlands, cool wash clothes and complimentary drinks while we checked in. Our room was amazing with a view of the Taj from our window. We freshened up and I got into my salwar kameez (an outfit consisting of baggy pants and a long shirt worn with a scarf--almost all Indian women dress in a salwar kameez or a saree) and we headed to the Taj....It was breath taking...I don't even know what else to say about it.
We spent the rest of the day lounging by the hotel pool. In the evening we had a fantastic supper at the hotel restaurant. After our meal I had my palm read which was fun, fun, fun!
It was the perfect day, a birthday I'll never forget. Thank-you Darren!