A final spot of shopping, watching chaos from the rooftop, and time to take a break from Asian Rambles.

Day 155: Agra, India. Today’s mission was to finish our dreaded clothes shopping, before we head back to the UK early this coming week.

We started our shopping extravaganza on the first floor of a five story mens clothes store, in a strip of shops about 5km from our hotel. Eight overly excited sales staff helped Jim find a pair of black trousers that mostly fit him, albeit they had to do an on-the-spot rush tailoring job. On a positive note, we were offered comfy seats and served hot coffee while we waited.

There seemed to be an awful lot of sales staff in the store, and not very many customers. The owner said he employs 100 people in total across five floors (bearing in mind each floor is only about 10m x 5m, it sounded like a huge amount compared to Australia), and that they expect a ‘big rush’ in the run up to the Diwali festival, which is next weekend.

We wandered upstairs to level three to buy a tie, which thankfully turned out to be a lot simpler than the trouser selection. Once Jim had chosen one, the sales guy insisted on carrying it all the way down to the ground floor for him, so he could pay for it. It’s all part of the customer service apparently (and probably a useful way to keep some idle sales staff busy).

Afterwards we walked down the street in search of mens shoes, and stumbled across a rather eclectic shoe shop. We had a quick browse around, then one of the sales guys rummaged around in the store cupboard and dropped 14 boxes of shoes in front of Jim. Thankfully he managed to find one pair that were big enough for his large foreigner feet.

We headed back to town where Lil bought a shawl in a local ‘cottage industry’ shop, along with some Indian style shoes with curled up toes. They’re a little weird and will no doubt cause some raised eyebrows, but given the limited choice and Lil’s very narrow feet, they were the best she could find. And for the first time in ages, we had to shelter from a rain storm.

This evening we had drinks and dinner on a rooftop restaurant in the town, enjoying the views over the chaotic streets below, as our visit here comes to an end. It’s been a fabulous eight week ramble around India, and despite the chaos and the frustrations, we’ll really miss the place.

We’re taking a short break from Asian Rambles now, as we head back to the UK for Jim’s dad’s funeral. We’ll be back online again once we resume our adventures, in about ten days time.

More soon.

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