We woke up at 4:45 because Justin forgot to turn off the alarm from the day before. We eventually got back to sleep, but it would have been nice to get 8 solid hours for once. After waking up for good, we packed, then checked out, then got breakfast with Dewey and Clarita. We met Syed again, but it was unclear why he was there to walk us 50 feet to the van when Prashant was there as well. We drove through town for a bit, then stopped at an inlay maker, Akbar International. They employ the family members of the folks who originally constructed the inlaid semi-precious stones in the Taj Mahal. Over time, those original workers passed down their technique to their future generations, but it is slowly but surely becoming a lost art. At a high level, what is done is they grind semi-precious stones down, then chisel away that depth in marble (2.5-3.5mm usually). Then they glue the stones in, making it permanent. No one knows how the glue works, like Coca-Cola. The problem is that very few people participate in inlay, so if one doesn't have a kid who is interested, or gets hit by a bus, there is no one to replace them

We shopped around for quite a bit, and bought a couple of small things. We then drove out of Agra towards Jaipur, with a stop in Fatehpur Sikri. On the drive towards Fatehpur Sikri, Prashant told us about arranged marriage process in India, and his particular story. There were 30 applicants to marry him, but they had wrong horoscope. His family finally found an applicant that had an appropriate horoscope, but her father didn't like Prashant's job. So the process continued, until the woman's daughter came back 2 years later, noting that his daughter and Prashant weren't getting any younger and were both "on a downward trajectory." It all worked out, as Prashant is now happily married, with 9 and 6 year olds. Prashant indicated that 95% of the people have arranged marriages, and that 95% leads to 1% divorce (i.e., 1 in 95 gets divorced), while the other 5% leads to 1% divorce (i.e., 1 in 5 gets divorced). This is a pretty startling statistic, but it can be somewhat explained by the fact that in an arranged marriage, not only to the participants have a vested interest in making it work, so do the respective families, because they were involved in the process.

On the way out of town, we saw a lady crossing the street fall straight down, as if she was a statue falling off the back of truck. She must have fainted, as she was carrying heavy bags of grain and it was over 110 again. Thankfully no one ran her over after she fell, and a lot of people immediately rushed to her aid, including Prashant who brought her some water. She had some bruises and scrapes on her face, but seemed like she'd be okay. If anything, it was hotter at Fatehpur Sikri. The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585. Akbar was having trouble conceiving, met the Sufi saint Salim Chishti in Fatehpur Sikri who helped him, so Akbar moved capital thereafter. But after roughly a dozen years, the area was abandoned in 1585 due to a lack of water and also the nearby areas being in turmoil. In fact, Akbar didn't even return to the city except for one brief period in 1601.

Because it was basically abandoned for such a long time, it is in great condition. The buildings are all carved sandstone, this time not as a facade but as the actual structure. Inside, there are 4 main buildings, one for Akbar and one for each of his 3 wives - one Turkish, one Portugese, one Indian (from Rajastan). We walked around the various buildings and courtyards for around 60-90 minutes. When we left, Prashant went back to Agra and we continued on (in the same van) to Jaipur. But before we got too far, we went to some restaurant about 5-10 minutes off the main road, about 40 minutes from Fatehpur Sikri. Lunch was very good, and dessert was basically a "donut soaked in sugar water." We all slept for varying times on the way to Jaipur, Crystal for most of the way, Justin for about 20 minutes.

We got to Jaipur around 5:15; technically, we got to the outskirts, on the eastern edge of town. The hotel was in an amazing location on rolling hills, with lots of flowering trees, super quiet, way nicer than the place in Agra, Taj Mahal or not. It looked like it might rain, but it never did. We met BP, who told us the itinerary for the next couple days. We got situated in our rooms, and caught up on the trip log. Then we spent a good deal of time packing our stuff to make sure it would fit for the flights home. We'd been driving everywhere, and so we could just put stuff wherever in our bags, but it would be different for the planes, particularly since the first flight would have the stringent 7kg limit on the carry-ons. We got everything pretty close, and everything fit except for some of the stuff we'd gotten at the inlaid marble place in the morning. We found that the largest piece was pretty well packed in foam, so we put it in one of the checked luggage bags and then everything fit and was within (or very close to) the weight limits. We went to the bar, and outside the room were some incredibly loud birds, probably hundreds of them, very excited about something. We played uno in the bar for awhile, then went to dinner, and then back to the room and to sleep.