OMG! There is Stuff in India Besides the Taj Mahal!

Hello hello!

Hey, I forgot to tell you guys: Avatars 3 got a starred review in Kliatt!  WOO HOO!  Best book review magazine ever.  :-)  They said (among other things): 

"Sutherland’s plot is as fast paced as the other books in the trilogy, with a dizzying array of characters.  The main characters are particularly appealing, and Sutherland continues to incorporate a lively sense of humor into the story.  There is also substance to the trilogy; it has a serious and thoughtful edge, and Sutherland exhibits great skill in balancing the two."

Aww, yay!  I’m lively!  And thoughtful!  And dizzying!  I love that.  It’s true, I like lots of characters.  And humor.  And thinking!  It is very lovely of them to like it.  :-)  Thank you, Kliatt!

I am currently crafting a boatload of characters to populate the elementary school for my Pet Trouble series, which requires a crazy series bible, which is very fun.  I feel kind of like the Lost writers, throwing in a line from a background extra here and there and then having to remember them later (Michelle is allergic to dairy!  Virginia likes horses!  Zeke is secretly a polar bear!  and so on).  Although as far as I could tell Lost blew up all its leftover plane people at the end of last season, and don’t worry, I’m not planning to do that in this series. 

My DVR is such an embarrassment of riches right now, I can’t even handle it.  I don’t think it’s been this splendiferous since before the writers’ strike.  New Chuck!  New Mad Men!  New Sarah Connor Chronicles!  New Gossip Girl!  New Heroes!  Yay for everything!  🙂

Incidentally, did you notice how Heroes totally took my advice, at least about bringing back Ando?  YES.  THANK YOU.  That show is secretly ALL ABOUT ANDO.  I LOVE him.  And I love that instead of brooding around glaring at Ando and refusing to tell him what was wrong, Hiro was immediately like "OK, I’m mad at you because I saw the future and you’re going to kill me."  Thank you for being a smart TV character!  That’s exactly what one should do when one jumps into the future and sees one’s best friend betray and shoot one.  I mean, it’s just logical.  So now they’re bickering about it ("I’m not going to kill you!"  "Yes, you are!") and it’s hilarious. 

Well, OK, I’m one or two episodes behind, so possibly things have gotten less hilarious, but at least for the first two episodes I’m happy.  But you know what I want to know?  When future Peter jumped back and encountered present Peter, did present Peter get ALL of future Peter’s powers, considering he must have met a lot of superfolks in the intervening years?  That seems like a convenient way to enable him to do ANYTHING!  But it also seems like cheating, a little bit.  I presented this conundrum to Adam and he posited that there are probably space-time continuum rules about that kind of thing.  Hmmm.  I’m not convinced.

Anyway, while all this thrilling television was happening back here in the US, this is where we were!:

The Agra Red Fort! 

So this is Day 2 of our trip, when our guide was like, OK, now that we’re done with the Taj Mahal, would you like to see something equally cool and RAWTHER imposing?

Most Imposing.  I would totally not attack that.  Although I doubt I’m the intended audience.

And we were all like "Pssht!  As if there’s anything as cool as the Taj Mahal!"

Even imposing on the inside!

Until we got to this here fort and were like, "OK, yes.  And by yes, I mean HOLY BANANAS."

Well, someone’s not intimidated.  Snooooooooze…

The Agra Red Fort is swarming with adorable ground squirrels!  Check it out; they’re like chipmunk + squirrel = awesome!  You, uh, don’t want to know how many pictures I took of these.

Imposing bathtub!  Seriously, that’s the emperor’s bathtub.  If only we’d seen this BEFORE we renovated our bathrooms!  Right, Adam?  :-)   

I have better pictures of this courtyard, but they all have family members in them who "object" to their "faces."  What"ever".  ;-)   I am clearly wearing a tent, and I don’t seem to mind sharing that with everyone.

This, by the way, is the fort where Aurangzeb imprisoned his dad Shah Jahan while he killed his brothers and took over the empire.  Doesn’t look so bad, does it?  You know why it’s not so bad?…

Because you can totally see the Taj Mahal from here!  Eeee!  Taj Mahal! 

Wistfully watching the Taj Mahal from afar, just like Shah Jahan, who probably spent every day like this, thinking: "Sigh.  I miss Mumtaz.  She knew how to handle the kids.  And wouldn’t this view be prettier with a black Taj on the other side?  I probably should have spanked Aurangzeb more often when he was younger.  Or named him Dave."  

Imposing from the side as well!

The women’s quarters!  Pretty!

Pretty with gardens!

Pretty with light through marble!

Pretty with MONKEYS!

This is the audience hall where the emperor would receive petitioners.

He’d sit on that throne up in the wall and make V. Important Decisions, such as: "This petitioner is annoying me.  Trample him with elephants!" and "Sure, Aurangzeb can have an army.  Where’s the harm in that?"

We’re not being Mughal emperors here.  You can’t get up into the part (above us) where the Mughal emperor sat.  No: we are being the Mughal emperor’s DISAPPROVING CHIEF MINISTERS.  You can’t tell from this distance, but we have very disapproving expressions on.  If only the emperor would listen to us!    


One of the coolest things about this part is that it totally looks like a scene in this epic Bollywood movie called Jodhaa Akbar, which I watched on the plane, which was actually filmed in a bunch of real sites such as this one, and it was all about Shah Jahan’s grandfather Akbar and how wicked awesome he was (not to mention hot), and his ridiculously gorgeous empress Jodhaa and how they changed the face of India and also were really hot.  In the movie, Akbar sat on thrones like that, surrounded by ministers and petitioners and columns, but we would have approved of his Very Important Decisions, because like I said: wicked awesome.  (And in case I didn’t mention it: hot.)  

Aaaaaaaa!  Adam, look out!  Something extremely adorable is CREEPING UP ON YOU!

Oh, yeah, I totally saw this squirrel coming.  It popped out of the bushes and made a beeline for Adam.  No, I didn’t tell him.  I stood there with my camera ready!  I mean, if he were attacked by an adorable ground squirrel, wouldn’t he want it on camera?  I’m sure yes.  Unfortunately (ha ha!), this is as close as it got.

I’m pretty sure the collective noun of sari is "an awesomeness of saris".

And one last glimpse of the Taj Mahal!  Bye, Taj Mahal!  You totally deserve to be a Wonder of the World!  Yay!

So that was the first half of Day 2.  WHEE!  Are you having fun yet?  :-)  More to come!

And finally, here is a website I most certainly think you should visit, brimming as it is with the wise words of Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, and suchlike exceptionally clever and funny authors who can say this stuff much better than I can:  YA for Obama.

Quote of the Day: 
Hiro:  "You’re telling us your plan?  What kind of overconfident nemesis are you?"
Daphne:  "You’re 0 for 2 against me, Pikachu.  That’s just regular confidence."
— Heroes