We had a lazy morning in our room as the air-con came back on early this morning- I think that at least some of the power cuts are due to the monkeys swinging on the electricity cables! At about 4pm, when it had started to cool down a little we ventured outside, on foot again to the dismay and displeasure of the rickshaw drivers, keen to earn some good money from tourists. If we knew where we were going we'd take one but we're wandering looking for diaries. It was still quite hot so we drank bottle after bottle of limca as we wandered around the market. We eventually found a couple of notebooks on the top shelf in a shop, the owner was reluctant to get them down but after a little persuasion he climbed the ladder and passed them to us. We were desperate as our old diaries were full and they were OK so we took them. We wanted to have a look around the fort next and were adamant that we weren't far away so refused the rickshaws, the only thing was that we didn't have a map and we couldn't see it over the 2 story concrete monstrosities that were surrounding us. We walked in the general direction of the fort and after 15 minutes we were non the wiser as to where we were. A rickshaw stopped and we asked how much to the fort, we haggled him down as we thought it was less than 1km away but it turned out that we'd walked back to near our hotel some 3km away so when we arrived we paid him what he had first asked for.
The fort was fort-like, giant and made from red sandstone. It was not as spectacular as Jodhpur fort and the information plaques were not very informative! As we didn't have long until it was closing we rushed around the '16 palaces' but in reality there were only 4 or maybe 5 with the final building, a giant white marble mosque closed for 'maintenance'. Of the buildings inside the fort, 2 were made from sandstone and 3 from white marble. The views of the Taj Mahal were spectacular from one of the marble palaces. It would have been a mixture of emotions for Akhbar (the architect of the Taj Mahal) when he was imprisoned in the fort by his son; sad for his imprisonment but happy at the splendor of his creation. We saw the beautiful little Gem Palace but the underground palace where the king used to keep his 1500 harems was closed along with the pearl palace (which we got a glimpse of through the thick glass windows- it was beautifully decorated in shell and pearl. When it was time for the fort to close at 7pm the security guards came around blowing whistles and wafting their arms so we left and bought drinks outside as we were parched. We refused the offer to buy a photo-book of Agra which the man wanted "20" for but when Sam showed interest he was quick to point out that he meant 20US$! Crazy fool!
We went for dinner in an LP recommended restaurant near our hotel, I had a really tasty Thali which comprised of rice, breads, Dal (lentils), curry, aloo (curried potatoes) and some semolina like dessert, Sam ended up eating a lot of it though as it was very spicy! The prices had also doubled since LP was published a few months ago so we've vowed to try not to go to LP places again! Back to our hotel for a film and bed.