Day 21 Agra and the Taj Mahal

Report from your trusty reporter

Indians use painted rice pieces to announce festive occasions.
Here's the one the Oberon Hotel prepared for our rally crews.
As I write this last blog, the Rally has been completed. All the competitors congratulated each other and each car drove through a ceremonial finish line arch. Good fun and very satisfying to finish such a difficult adventure. 

Today’s drive was very different than any other drive on the Rally. We drove 300 km on the one and only real expressway in cows, no sheep herders, no oxen pulling wagons, very few motorbikes. While the speed limit was 100 kph, most cars held it around 150 kph--- and for the first time in a month we were able to air-out the cars. 

There will be an awards dinner tonight and I believe we will be awarded 2nd in our class and a gold medal for finishing all stages within the allowed time. I’m sure there will be lot of speeches and good cheer. 

I’m sad to say Nepal is in worse shape than when I visited there 30 years ago. Everyone has moved into Kathmandu in search of employment and that has made the city most unlivable. It has never recovered from its two major earthquakes in the last 10 years and it has lost much of its charm. I’m not sure I know what to do, but things cannot continue on this course. 

India, on the other hand has enormous potential, but to realize that potential it will have to end corruption (which permeates every level of society) and it has to find a solution to the religious question of cows. You cannot build a post-industrial society when you have millions of cows and other farm animals walking everywhere without restriction. One of India’s biggest problems today is brain-drain. Its best and brightest are going overseas, getting an education and never returning. Until India can find opportunities for the best and the brightest in India, she will be squandering her finest resources.....sad, but true.

As I have said before, we go on these rallies to see the world and learn, but you really learn about yourself. Reflecting on the plight of others makes you realize how fortunate you are. I feel blessed to have had these experiences and I appreciate my own life and circumstances even more. 

This will be my last competitive rally. At 76, I need to acknowledge that they are taxing and a bit difficult for me. I’ll still participate in tours and rallies in my beloved Porsche’s, but not the 30-day competitive type. 

I want to thank Brant Parsons, without whom I could not have done all these events. He has been a great partner with whom to do these events and become a great friend as a result. 

I want to thank my wife, Ilene, for allowing me to disappear for month’s at a time to do these competitive rallies.....while lonely and difficult for her, she’s been supportive. 

Finally, I have a date with her next Friday to go to the Southern California Orchid Show to buy some exotics......a hobby we can do together.


Several view of the Taj Mahal in the morning like; one of the truly great buildings of the world built in the 1630's