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Happy Diwali from San Diego

We had one of our big Diwali celebrations in San Diego on October 15, 2016.  It was the Festival of Lights held at Balboa Park.  It was a fantastic event, yet again.  This year it was special, because as well as dancing, we had singing, and there was a world-class singer who entertained us, so it was truly magnificent.  His name is Aditya Rao, and apparently he has won several awards, and has appeared in several videos like the one below:

Here he is performing at Balboa Park, and he’s also seen in this video that I made

Here is a video that shows the lighting of the lamps display, and the women carrying the lamps during the lamp parade.

Here is a video showing Punjabi music and specifically, Bhangra at the Festival Of Lights….spectacular!

 

Here are more photos showing Aditya Rao, and the performances that he was part of.

 

 

Here are some other pictures taken at Festival Of Lights

These are the lamps on display.  I have never taken pictures of the lamps before as I always get a seat, and never venture towards the lamps, but this year I did, and I’m glad!

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

Here are some of the other performances

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

One of Aditya Rao again, with the main presenter

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

Here’s little Chandra having fun!

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

This is Aditya Rao standing with the main organizers and this is just prior to the Indian Anthem being sung

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

President Barack Obama graced Diwali at Balboa Park with his presence, even though it was just on screen.  He wished us a Happy Diwali!  This was ever so nice, just to see President Obama in Balboa Park!

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

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Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park, San Diego – October 15, 2016

I really love going to the Festival Of Lights, as I enjoy seeing the performances, seeing Balboa Park again, seeing the stage graced by beautiful dances in clothes that sparkle, and then of course the lights tinkle!  I also enjoy eating the Indian food that is available from many of the vendors who participate in Festival Of Lights.  This year I got samosas, chicken saag and rice, and gulab jamun – that was two trays of food for me and Chandra, which included passion fruit juice for her and a nice cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai that cost just $9.  You can’t beat that price!

I hope you enjoyed my pictures of the Festival Of Lights, and I hope you all have a truly beautiful Diwali.  May light conquer over darkness, may good prevail over evil, and may we all experience peace, joy and prosperity on Diwali, and in the year ahead.  Happy Diwali!

December Nights in San Diego

December Nights in San Diego at Balboa Park

Time’s already flying by, and it’s February now, but I still haven’t shared December Nights, 2015 with you.  Must hurry up, or it will be December again.  Just my luck!  I don’t want time to go that quickly.  There’s no rush…..I will get too old too quickly like this – slow down time!

December Nights at Balboa Park in San Diego is always a fun event.  It’s a two day extravaganza, and my family really enjoys it.  This year we had to go without Niki, my oldest – since she has started college, and moved away.  Still, it’s a fun event for kids of all ages, and adults alike, and I think I might love it even more than my kids do!

This year, we went early.  Even though the even starts at 12 noon or so, most people don’t go until 5pm, as they like to be there in the evening when all the lights are on, as well as the Christmas tree at the Organ Pavilion.  However, traffic is crazy and hectic, and so is parking.  A few times now, we have parked at Petco Park, and then taken a shuttle bus from there to Balboa Park, but this time I wanted to park at the Zoo, and combine December Nights with a trip to the Zoo.  So, we got to the Zoo at around 1:45 pm, and were easily able to find a parking spot.  We spent about one and a half hours there.

We then took the short walk to Balboa Park – an easy 5 or 10 minute walk.

We first saw the Fountain area, close to one of the museums, and had a little snack, then walked past the Botanical Gardens area where the beautiful flowers, and Reflective Pond is; then we went to the Grinch tree, which is by the Old Globe Theatre, and actually spotted the Grinch!

We then went to see some of the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and since Chandra wanted to eat, we went towards the International Cottages area. When I heard Indian music, that beckoned me, and I was so glad I had allowed myself to be beckoned like that – because that became the highlight of my entire evening.  I normally enjoy the Organ Pavilion area, and the Christmas songs so much, and enjoyed them again this year, but this time I allowed myself to actually wander away from the performances at the Organ Pavilion to experience more of what was taking place at the International Cottages area, and these are two competing performance areas – one on the big stage, and the other on a smaller stage, but equally powerful in performance.  While one concentrates on performances that are mainly musical, and showcases instruments being played, and singers performing – the smaller stage at the International Cottages focuses on dance.  The dance aspect is really entertaining, as you still have the music and the songs, but now have further entertainment too.  I absolutely loved it, and my little Chandra got up to dance on the stage for the Grand Finale of the Indian dancing!

Here are two videos that I made – one shows the Grand Finale that Chandra was in,

and the other one shows a variety of performances, and dances that were performed.  This includes the performances at the Organ Pavilion, and the Scottish Bagpipe Band, as well as the San Diego Chorus, and of course, the Indian dance performances which took place at the International Cottages.

 

I love December Nights, there is nothing quite like it!

 

 

Happy Diwali!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Happy Diwali!  I’ve had some sad news recently, so it’s hard to get into the mood for celebrations, but celebrate we must.  Most of my celebrations shown here, took place before the recent sad event, so I am just sharing with you as a way of trying to get over some of my pain.  As you may know, Diwali is known as the Festival Of Lights, and it signifies good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.  May Diwali shine it’s light on my family, and yours.  May the Goddess Lakshmi shower us with her love and blessings.  If for some reason, the link does not take you to the gif image of Lakshmi,  you may see it here on my Pinterest Board.

Here are some pictures I took at the Diwali Mela in San Diego on October 24, 2015:

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

There were ever so many people there, these two pictures will give you a glimpse at part of the crowds, both during daylight and at night – it was packed!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

These girls had a very interesting costume, especially the head gear, but it certainly looked nice and colorful!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Here, they are dancing with the dandia sticks.  It’s a South Indian dance I believe.

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

There were all kinds of dances, even hip hop!

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Also, there were American girls dancing to Bollywood music.  I think they did a pretty good job.

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Here’s a video of their dance:

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego - 2015

Diwali Mela, San Diego – 2015

Here is a video that includes a variety of the performances.

Unfortunately, I could not include all of the performances or show the entirety of each performance.  I hope  you like the videos, and I hope you like the pictures.

I also hope you will candles, and illuminate your home with just candlelight later this evening.  Remember, let light prevail over darkness.

Diwali Candles

Diwali Lights

Don’t forget to eat some Indian food – how could you not when it’s Diwali!   I have some virtual food and drink just for you!  Here’s naan bread with lentils, chicken curry, rice and raita (Indian yoghurt).

Indian Food

Indian Food

I love samosas, you can’t enjoy Diwali without samosas, or at least I think so.

Samosas

You might even want to have a special dish of mine – my very favorite, and of course it’s a Punjabi dish – Makhi Di Roti (bread made from corn meal/corn flour) and Saag (spinach)!  You must give this one a try!

Makhi Di Roti and Saag

Makhi Di Roti and Saag

After this, you must have sweets.   You must have burfi (can’t even describe how delicious they are – Indian fudge is the closes I can get to it, and oh, how I love fudge!).  Then there’s gulab jamun (syruppy goodness) and jalebi (sticky and syruppy goodness).

Ambala Sweets & Snacks, Artesia

Ambala Sweets & Snacks, Artesia

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Jalebi

Jalebi

You might want to try kheer, which is basically a delicious rice pudding dish – it is a little less sweet than the jalebi and gulab jamun. Sorry about the quality of this picture.

Kheer

Kheer

Want more sweets?  I knew you would!

Indian Sweets - Mithai

Indian Sweets – Mithai

Then, if you’re like me, you’ll have to wash the sweets down with a delicious cup of chai.

Cup of Indian Chai

Cup of Indian Chai

Now, hopefully that was a nice Diwali, some pictures, some entertainment, some food, some sweets and some tea!

Guess what? For the first time ever, we have been given the day off for Diwali in the USA and they didn’t even know they were giving us the day off for our special holiday!  They thought they were giving us a day off for Veterans Day, well….I am very glad that we have Veterans Day!  Thank you to all those who served, and made this day possible so that we could all be off together, and celebrate away from work!  Please can we make Veterans Day next year be on Diwali too?  Please?  I don’t think it will happen again, as Diwali is on different days, sometimes in October, and sometimes in November.  Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask or wish for it…….please, let it be on a holiday again, or better still – give us Diwali off (wishful thinking)!!!  Anyway, must go and enjoy Diwali now.  Happy Veterans Day, and Happy Diwali!

Fantastic Indian Independence Day In Los Angeles, CA – Some Videos

I’m just recovering from a crazy week after Indian Independence Day in Artesia, CA (in the Los Angeles area).  I loved the craziness actually, and why not?  After all, it’s not every day that my videos get over 100,000 views in a matter of days.  Well, this time it happened, but it was quite unexpected.  Currently, my video has 178,895 views.

I shared my video a few days ago (the one that got all the action, and attention), so I won’t share it again here.  However, I would like to share my other videos, and hope you will watch them.

First, let me share another picture of the beautiful Raveena Tandon.  I hope she comes back soon to Los Angeles or San Diego, and I hope she gets the star treatment that she deserves.

Raveena Tandon at Indian Independence Day in Los Angeles

Raveena Tandon at Indian Independence Day in Los Angeles

Most importantly, I take and make videos because I enjoy it.  I take pictures because I enjoy it.  I post because I enjoy it, I tweet and pin pictures because I enjoy them, and I attend cultural events because I enjoy them.  It’s all in the enjoyment, and it’s all just a hobby.

In the next post, I will share more pictures of the actual event.

Punjabi Dance Party

You cannot stay still when you hear Punjabi music!  Bet you!  You will want to break out in bhangra, and why not!  It’s definitely good exercise.  Want to see a video that I made when I was in the UK?  This video was made at a pre-wedding party, but I just called it Punjabi Dance Party.

I love the songs on the video, here’s a playlist.   The timings are listed so that you can go forward and see certain songs without seeing the entire video – but why you would want to do that – I don’t know – you shouldn’t!  The whole video is good!

Playlist

At 19 seconds into the video: Aaja Soniyeh from Foji ft Gurlej Akhtar – Mentah.  I just called it Aaja Soniyeh as these words are in it, but not sure what the name of the song is (one of my favorites);

At 1:01 minutes into the video: Aaj Blue Hai Pani Pani from Yo Yo Honey Singh

At 1:55 minutes into the video: I love the song, but don’t know what it’s called or who is the singer, but the dance to it in this video that I made is rather wonderful.  This is when the men get together and dance like crazy!  The song refers to Jallandarh, a big city in the Punjab – where I have been just once when I was 14 years old.

At 3:30 minutes into the video:  There is a ritual dance that is in honor of the groom who will be married the next day (yes this is the party that the boy’s side held).  The girl’s side held their own party the same day at a different venue.  We were invited to the boy’s side.

At 4:25 minutes into the video: There’s a song that I like to refer to as the “Snake Song”. It is the same music that there was a fabulous dance to in Bride and Prejudice, the “Cobra Dance” that had one of the sisters entertaining the guest Darcy as well as Mr. Khan who was visiting from Los Angeles.  Aishwarya Rai was in this movie and played one of the sisters.  This was a truly fabulous movie!

At 5:57 mintues into the video, it’s the women’s turn to dance!  Again, I don’t know the name of the song, or the singer – but you should tune into to see how Punjabi women dance – they do a dance traditionally known as “giddah” – a traditional folk dance.

At 6:40 minutes into the video, there’s Moorni from Panjabi MC (one of my favorites);

At 6:59 minutes into the video, watch out for the men’s turn again as they dance to the Dhol, and do my favorite – bhangra!

At 8:43 minutes into the video, tune in for nightclub/disco like bhangra!

At 9:04 minutes into the video, tune in for Spanish Bhangra!  That’s all I can call it as there is a song that I should know the name to, but don’t and it is Spanish I believe, also popular, and the men love dancing to it bhangra style!

At 9:45 minutes into the video, tune in for the Bhangra finale!

If you love the songs you hear in my video, and want to hear the full version, and see the corresponding video from the artist click on the song links below

Aaja Soniyeh from Foji ft Gurlej Akhtar – Mentah.

Aaj Blue Hai Pani Pani from Yo Yo Honey Singh

Moorni from Panjabi MC

Cobra Dance from Bride and Prejudice, and I know this is part of another Bollywood movie too

Don’t forget with a good Punjabi Dance Party, you need a nice cup of tea, and some Indian sweets, so here you go – just for you!  I took the first two pictures below in the USA, but the rest are taken at the Punjabi Dance Party in the UK at Walsall Football Stadium.

chai

chai (nice cup of Indian tea)

Jalebis

Jalebis

Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party

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Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party

My daughter Niki took a selfie of us when we were in the car on the way to Walsall from Northern England.

Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party at Walsall Football Stadium

Punjabi Dance Party at Walsall Football Stadium

Here I am at the party before it got started.

Punjabi Dance Party

Punjabi Dance Party

I hope you liked my video, and the pictures.  Don’t forget to watch some of the other videos of the songs that I really like – they are some of the best, but mostly don’t forget to watch my video.  Remember, there’s nothing like good Punjabi music, and especially bhangra!

Old Bazaar & The Old City of Antalya

Are you ready for color, spice, souvenirs, and all things Turkish?  Let me take you on my sightseeing trip to the Old City of Antalya.   In this post I will carry on where I left off a few posts ago.  I had woken up early on the 4th of August, 2014, to go sightseeing all by myself in Antalya.  Then I had stumbled across Haidan’s Gate which I had not even known was here in Antalya – so happy that I had left the resort to go see the sights.  Now, I headed for the Old Bazaar.

Old City of Antalya

I think I took my first selfie, by looking through a mirror and taking a picture with me in it.  I think that’s still classed as a selfie?

The Old City of Antalya

The Old City of Antalya

Now, I did it again with my Note 3

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The people in Antalya greet you warmly, and will give you a cup of tea for just coming into their store.  This woman gave me a sample of tea.

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

When I went to this shop that sold delicious Turkish Delights, the man who sold them to me was so happy, he even ordered a cup of tea for me.  This reminded me of India, where I have only been once when I was 14, but I remember the same thing happening there.  When my mum would go in a store to buy material or Punjabi suits, the people in the store would order tea for everyone, even I would get a cup of tea at 14.  I was happy about that, as I even liked my tea back then.

Turkish Delight, Antalya

Turkish Delight, Antalya

Turkish Delights,  Old Bazaar, Antalya

Turkish Delights, Old Bazaar, Antalya

Here I am looking at the spices – these are the same spices that we use in our Indian food

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

Then I left the Old Bazaar, and ventured around the streets of the Old City, before heading towards the bay.

The Old Bazaar, Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

Old City of Antalya

I really like these all these umbrellas that are all hanging over the street – so colorful!

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

I couldn’t stop taking pictures, I find the Old City to be very picturesque.

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Old City, Antalya

Next, I headed to the bay, and I will show you these photos next time.  I hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures, and that you got a glimpse of life in the Old City of Antalya.  I hope you all have a fantastic May!

Diwali Mela in San Diego – So Colorful!

The Diwali Mela took place in the Black Mountain Road area of Mira Mesa, San Diego on October 25, 2014.  It was a packed-out event, and a great way to spend the evening.  There were many performances to Bollywood songs, and of course at least one to Bhangra!

Here are some pictures, and at the bottom of this page, you can see some videos that I made.  If there is one thing that should strike you from looking at the pictures is that Indian outfits are so colorful, as well as pretty!

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Now, for a break away from the performances – just take a look at all the people, and there were more!

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

I tried a few different dishes including the Punjabi Karhi and Rice, one of my favorites – I should have taken a picture! I did take one of the Alloon Paratha – which were quite delicous (bread stuffed with potatoes and spices, that is cooked on a tava or griddle, and then smothered with oil or butter).

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Now back to the pictures of the performers.

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

Diwali Mela, San Diego

DSC01085

I hope that added some color into your day!

Here is the video showing the Punjabi dance:

Here is the video showing the Rajasthan dance:

Here is the video showing a variety of the performances, including the women’s fashion show and the men’s fashion show.

Don’t miss the performance towards the end of this last video showing a dance to Bang Bang – the Bollywood movie starring Hrithik Roshan, and watch out for the little boy in the audience who definitely has dance fever!