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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!

Christmas In Las Vegas

Christmas in Las Vegas was a new experience for us, and a rather nice one.  We spent Christmas, 2015 in Vegas, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Here are some more pictures, these were nearly all taken on Christmas day, 2015.  The last one was taken on Christmas Eve at The Carnival World Buffet which we went to prior to going to Christmas Eve mass at Our Lady of Wisdom Church.

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

We didn’t stay at Bellagio though as much as I would have liked to.  Actually, if you ask me which place I would like to stay at my number one choice is Venetian, and number two is Bellagio.  We actually stayed at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Resort of which I am a member (through my timeshare ownership).  I won’t even go into my tea-bag dilemna that I had there – can you believe they didn’t have regular black tea?  I certainly had tea withdrawal!  Enough said of that for the time being, other than to say you hotels should never just cater to coffee lovers, there’s tea lovers too!   My view wasn’t too bad though.

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View from Hilton Grand Vacations Resort, Las Vegas Blvd

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View from Hilton Grand Vacations Resort, Las Vegas Blvd

We had brunch at the Paris Hotel’s Le Village Buffet, I will show you pictures of that separately in another post. Here are pictures of the Bellagio, where we spent the majority of our Christmas day, just strolling around – what a beautiful Christmas display!

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

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Bellagio, Las Vegas

We had Christmas Eve lunch at The Carnival World Buffet at Rio

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Carnival World Buffet at Rio, Las Vegas

We ate a lot in Vegas.  My kids talked me into getting them the Buffet Pass which cost $55 per person for 48 hours.  So we started the pass at around 5pm on Christmas Eve and it lasted until Boxing Day at 5 pm.  Therefore, we were able to use it for meals over 3 days, but had to time the last meal on Boxing Day to be in the line for the meal before 5 pm.  If you can time it properly, it works out well.  All the meals and drinks that you want are included in this price (except alcohol of course) – but you will be sure to put on a few pounds!  I will post more pictures of Las Vegas soon.  I can’t believe it’s already April, and I’m just getting around to doing this post now.  Where does time go to?

 

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!

 

 

Thanksgiving At The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel Lobby

Oh, I love to feel grand and what better place to have that feeling than at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, located in downtown San Diego, near Seaport Village.  Guess where an incredible Thanksgiving took place?  You might have guessed…..at this grand hotel!  Yes, we had our Thanksgiving meal there in 2015.   So thankful for this beautiful hotel, because not only was the food good, but the entire experience – like spending the afternoon there just lounging around in the bar area, and walking through the lobby, and generally just feeling grand!  I’ve also stayed at this hotel several times, and it has beautiful views of Seaport Village and the bay.  This hotel is beautiful!  Here’s some pictures:

A few more pictures for you, again this is a beautiful hotel, and the artwork incredible!  I could sit here for ages and stare at the paintings or stare at their decor – masterpiece!

Can’t believe it’s 2016 already!  By the way, Happy New Year!

Magical Bathroom at Sloan’s Ice Cream in San Diego

Did you know there’s a place with a magical bathroom?  You may have to come all the way to San Diego to visit it though!  Just kidding!  I think there’s more of these – at least there are in Florida.

The place is called Sloan’s Luxury Ice Cream, and the ice cream is delicious!  I’ve switched my tastes lately to frozen yogurt, and resist ice-cream, but who can resist the decor, it beckons you, tantalizes your every bit of sense, and plunges you into temptation – the temptation to indulge in ice-cream or fudge.  Of course, there is candy, and I believe all kinds of toffee apples covered with scrumptious coatings of the most exquisite imaginings, such as white chocolate, caramel, and…..well you get it! Then there are toys that entice the kids.

But, then…….there is the magic bathroom.  Just be careful that you lock the door, or else everyone will be able to see you while you are in there.  See my video below.  I actually made this video several months ago in August, before my oldest went off to college in September, but didn’t get to upload it until yesterday.  When my kids saw there was a bathroom which was visible from a part of the store where all the stuffed animals are, they were curious because you could see into the bathroom, so off they went to explore.  I could not get my son to be part of the video, but he enjoys Sloan’s just as much as all of us.

We went just again this Friday to celebrate my youngest daughter’s birthday.  Did I tell you it’s a great place for a celebration?

Here’s my video

Sloan’s Luxury And Magical Bathroom

 

A Visit to Knotts Soak City And Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park

Today was August 15th – Happy India Independence Day!  We left our hotel at the Hilton Garden Inn, and got to Knotts Soak City at around 11:00 am, not at 10am as we should have done, but it was close enough.  It was a really hot day, a great day to be in a Water Park – at least for the kids.

Knotts Soak City is close to Disneyland, and right next to Knotts Berry Farm, which we will have to visit next time.  Here are a few pictures of Knotts Soak City since we had to leave early, it was way too hot!  In retrospect, we should have gone on Friday when we had arrived, and I shouldn’t have listened to the kids.  We still would have had five hours almost.  As it was, today, they wanted to leave at 2:45 pm, so we only had about three and a half hours there.  It was really hot today, I think it actually was over 100 degrees, also, it was too crowded,  That’s why it would have been better to have come on Friday.

Still, can’t complain, as the kids enjoyed it, and it was our family mini-vacation.  We also got to go to Farrells Ice Cream Parlor later and celebrated my son Luca’s birthday again (you can never celebrate one’s birthday too many times).  His actual birthday had been earlier in August.

Here are some pictures of Knotts Soak City:

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

My kids got to cool off in the Lazy River while I watched their things for a while.  It was ever so hot though.

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park

Just at the entrance/exit to Knotts Soak City was this lovely little area with these little fella’s in it, do you like this one’s hair style?

Knotts Soak City in Buena Park, CA

They tried a few more water rides, and then wanted to leave, and they were hungry, so off we went to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, which we had seen on the way into the Water Park – it is very close by, just on the same road in fact.

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

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We ate lunch first, and then had to try the ice-cream – it was delicious!

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park

Next, it was time to enjoy the rest of the evening at the Indian Independence Day Parade/Festival, which was close by in Artesia Park.  My son and youngest one did not want to go to the event, they were tired so I left them at the hotel at the Doubletree by Hilton in Norwalk.

Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at Norwalk

Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at Norwalk

Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at Norwalk

Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at Norwalk

I wish my two youngest had come with us, as it’s a shame they missed out on the Indian Independence Day activities, but then later on I thought it was actually a good idea as me and my oldest daughter did not get back to the hotel until about 10:40 pm.  It was good we stayed another night in the LA area, even though we only live one and a half hours away in San Diego.  I would not have enjoyed driving at that time of night though.  Also, as you can imagine – I was very tired – that was a lot of things today, a trip to Knotts Soak City, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, and the Indian Independence Day Festival in Artesia in the evening.  I think I deserved a break – an extended stay in the LA area!

In my next post, I will post more of the Indian Independence Day event pictures and the video of the performances that took place on August 15, 2015.  Happy Week!

July 4th Fireworks At Seaport Village, San Diego

I hope you got a chance to see the fireworks tonight.  If not here you are – this is what they looked like from Seaport Village in San Diego – spectacular!

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Seaport Village July 4th fireworks

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Seaport Village July 4th Fireworks