The most beautiful building in the world?
The day I arrived in Agra, we checked into a hotel, and went to have dinner on one of the many rooftop cafes that advertise 'best view of Taj'. It was good, if touristy food, as we watched the sun set over the Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
I did the usual things. Had a beer, ate some western food (a luxury after 2 months in India, and rang my parents to tell them that I hadn't been blown up or anything.
Then we went back to watching the sun go down. But all I could see were the horrible conditions around the Taj in the distance, with people sleeping on rooftops in squalid conditions.
That night I cried. No shame in admitting that - you'd have a heart of stone to see this stuff and ignore it. Or you'd be a rich tourist with the money to avoid what you didn't want to see.
After seeing the Taj in the day, Sarah and I cycled to the other side of the river. Through the squalid slums and on a bridge over the dhobi-walla's washing point on the bank of the river, where for a pittance you can pay to have your clothes washed and beaten clean.
Then we got to the other side of the river. Chatted to some of the kids. Played with them by the barbed wire and filth of the other side, with the Taj in the background as the sun went down.