north india, part ii – fatehpur sikri.

early the next

morning we were

back in the

car with our driver, daniel

and on our way

to agra.





but before going to

agra, we stopped at

fatehpur sikri, a

place i visited with


back in 2006.

this was the

real start of the

trip for me.

time to confront

the memories i’d been

seeking since

we arrived in india,

and to share them

with madeline.

we arrived, and things

were a little different.

instead of driving

right up to

the entrance, we had

to abandon our

car and driver

and drive up in

a non-polluting vehicle.

in awe of something.

and this time,

we went in a different gate.

i remember the place

so well.

last time we were

here it was

unbearably hot,

like 117°f (42°c)

and we were

both a little

more than uncomfortable, but


she was really

not dealing with

the heat.

she complained almost

the entire time, but

she had a great

sense of humor

about it,

letting me snap some

photos of her reenacting

her mini tantrum.

liz in actual 117 degree heat.

liz in actual 117 degree heat.

but this day,

3 years and

a few months later,


were here,

and it was a

hell of a lot cooler.

which is great,

because if i’ve

learned anything on

this trip, it’s

that madeline is more

her mother’s daughter

than she is

her father’s daughter.

and thanks to

the lack

of heat, we

were able to explore

much more than we

got to

on our last trip.


fatehpur sikri.



we walked around

for a bit,

hearing about the

history of the place

from a guide,

while snapping some photos.


we walked through

a doorway

and it came back

in a way i

didn’t anticipate.

i stood in the doorway,

frozen for a

few seconds,


trying to slice

the past from

the present.

that water tank.

we walked there.

the two of us walking across a bridge of the char chaman tank.

but this time

we could only

mind the sign.

at the water tank.

standing on a bridge of the char chaman tank.


we did

some more walking


and some more remembering

liz inside of the hujra-i-anup talao (turkish sultana's house).


and with some

of most ear-piercing

screams of all time,

maddy let me know

that she was ready

to get out

and explore on her own.


her independence only

lasted a few seconds

helping hand.

before she dragged me here:

liz and our guide in the pachisi courtyard.

standing tall.

and i told you

earlier that it

wasn’t hot.

well, it was,

just not as

hot as it was when

we were last here.

like her mom

a few years

earlier, madeline

pitched a serious fit


and just like her mom,

liz checking out the center pillar inside the diwan-i-khas (hall of private audience)

madeline took refuge

in the shady spots


but unlike her



decided that

the best way

to cool down

would be to lie

down on the ground.

she liked the cold ground.

she liked the cold ground.

the rest of the

tourists didn’t know what

to make of her,

so they largely

ignored her.

she liked the cold ground.

(a couple of old ladies gave me disapproving looks, but i didn’t give a shit. my kid was happy and not damaging anything/anyone so i let her lie there).

after a good

10 minutes of spinning

around on the dirty

ground, we took

a little walk,

stopping long

to relive more

of the moments.

liz near the diwan-i-khas (hall of private audience).


liz walking on the platform near the girl's school.

we've been here.

maddy had a great

time running around

happy madeline.

and exploring.

in a doorway.

in a corner.

maddy and my new shoes.

from here,

we went to

a place we skipped

last time

(yes, because of the heat)

about to enter the mosque.

rachel on the stairs of the mosque.

a beautiful bit

of architecture in the

form of a mosque.

rachel got the

scarlet cover-up

’cause her skirt

came up

just above the knees

rachel was showing a little too much skin.

sufficiently covered.

(she wasn’t alone, i saw a couple of women and least one dude with the leg cover).

after a quick

drink of water,

water break.

we made our way

through the place

men at the mosque.





rachel at the mosque.


we stopped to

get some head covers



thrilled with her head cover.


entering a shrine

inside a tomb.


and tying some

wish strings.

tying wish strings.

tying wish strings.

tying wish strings.

wish strings.

tying wish strings.

then we covered the tomb

covering a tomb.

covering a tomb.

and threw rose petals

upon it.

throwing rose petals.

throwing rose petals.

throwing rose petals.

we then continued

to explore

the place

appropriately-dressed rachel at the mosque.



trying to wash herself.

looking at something.




heading through a doorway.


prayer time.




maddy, as usual,

made some friends

pointing to something.

in the lap of the imam.

maddy sitting with the imam.

making friends.

then more exploring.


under an arch.


help down the stairs.

maddy running.



on the way out,

maddy made

friends with a goat

maddy with goat.

before showing us

how happy she was


followed by how tired

she was.


lucky for her

we were about to

get back in the

car for the hour

or so drive to agra.

she took

a nap, and

rachel and i

took it all in.





we’d soon be

in agra,

and at sunrise tomorrow

we’d be on our way

to one of


favorite places

in the whole wide world.

and i couldn’t

wait to

get there.

(part iii coming when i get some time).

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