Happy New Year Everyone! Sorry that I haven’t written in quite some time. Life has been agonizingly busy, and I say agonizingly as you wouldn’t believe what I just went through – one of the worst moves of my life. I will leave this story for another day, but needless to say I was not happy about moving – I also had to downsize, and pay double the rent! 😦
Anyway, onto happier memories from last year….and hoping this year will be better for me and for all of you. We visited Santa Monica last summer, and I have had so much happen that I couldn’t even post my pictures until now. Well, it’s better to do it now than deciding to do it five years from now.
We loved Santa Monica, it’s quite close to Los Angeles, and we were just in Santa Monica for a day, but in the Los Angeles area for nearly three days. Isn’t it amazing that I live in San Diego, but don’t get up to Los Angeles that often any more, and that I have never visited Santa Monica until last year – and I’ve been in San Diego for almost 19 years!
Well, without further ado, here are some of my pictures:
This last picture is of main shopping street that is a block or two away from the beach. I will share more of these pictures another time. Well, that’s it for now, I hope you liked my pictures, and that you are already having an amazing year!
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!
Here are some of the other performances
One of Aditya Rao again, with the main presenter
Here’s little Chandra having fun!
This is Aditya Rao standing with the main organizers and this is just prior to the Indian Anthem being sung
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!
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!
Lovely La Jolla, what more is there to say. This place which is just a 12 minute drive for me going south, or a 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego is spectacular. The scenery is amazing, and the wildlife is abundant.
Most of the time, the seals like to laze on the beach, and don’t move much at all, but all of a sudden, a few of them got up to take a dip in the ocean!
Look at this one! Doesn’t it look like a cross between a sea lion, and a tortoise?
We walked away from the ocean onto Prospect Street, and Chandra got to play with a massive globe that was a water-fountain feature. Oh, she rolled and rolled the globe around. She was enchanted!
Afterwards, we went for a treat to the Living Room, a really wonderful coffee house, that has wonderful pastries, and sandwiches. I got Chandra two macaroons, which she devoured before I got to take photos of them, and I also did the same with my pistachio baklava. Chandra then eyed my coconut mocha, and oh my gosh, it was delicious – it was made with low fat milk, and extra hot. I left a tiny bit of it for Chandi to try, as she really should not be drinking coffee at her tender age of 7! She loved it, well….it was delicious!
Then she got some gelato from a place called Gelateria, across from the Living Room, and again, I didn’t take pictures – but this was Chandi’s treat as mine was the coconut mocha. Then, it was time for a few more pictures.
This last picture was from a previous visit to La Jolla
I hope you liked my pictures of La Jolla. It really is a nice place to visit. I really enjoy it there, and I think I would like to say it is one of my favorites in San Diego.
I went to the San Diego Zoo in December, and saw the beautiful Museum Of Man from the Sky Ride. You may have seen some of the pictures I have posted before of this particular amazing building, but I haven’t posted pictures taken at the Zoo of it. So here you are…..
You may wonder what the Sky Ride is, it’s a wonderful lift with seats for about 4 people that will take you from one part of the Zoo to another, and you go up, up, up in the air! Best of all, it’s a free ride with you annual pass, otherwise I think you have to purchase tickets. We love the Sky Ride!
Pictures may be taken near or afar, but San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park are two treasures that you have to see up close. Did I tell you we love the Sky Ride? Well, we also love the San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park!
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!
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:
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!
These girls had a very interesting costume, especially the head gear, but it certainly looked nice and colorful!
Here, they are dancing with the dandia sticks. It’s a South Indian dance I believe.
There were all kinds of dances, even hip hop!
Also, there were American girls dancing to Bollywood music. I think they did a pretty good job.
Here’s a video of their dance:
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.
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).
I love samosas, you can’t enjoy Diwali without samosas, or at least I think so.
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!
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).
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.
Want more sweets? I knew you would!
Then, if you’re like me, you’ll have to wash the sweets down with a delicious cup of 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!
We must celebrate Indian Independence Day, especially if we value freedom. To be given back a country like India that is as rich in diversity, culture and heritage – what’s not to celebrate? This year was the 69th Anniversary of Indian Independence. It has been 69 years since the British gave back India to the Indians. That is reason to celebrate. So celebrate we did! First, I took the day off from work on Friday, August 14th. If a country won’t give us our own holiday (I guess we can’t expect it here in the USA), we must give ourselves the holiday.
So, we drove up to the Disneyland area and were supposed to go to Knotts Soak City today, but the kids said we had arrived too late as our arrival time was about 1:15 pm, and they would only have about less than five hours at the Water Park, they wanted the entire day from 10 am until 6pm, so we decided to just go to Artesia and have lunch somewhere. We really like Ashoka The Great, and have been here before many times, so this is where we ate lunch.
These are my three kids enjoying the buffet at Ashoka The Great
This is me and my three kids
My little girl Chandi loves fruit, and Ashoka has a great selection of fruit for her right after she eats enough of the other lunch items. I love Khadi Pakora, it’s my favorite curry (the yellow one below) and I love Saag (spinach – right behind the Khadi Pakora).
Then we walked around a bit, and went to a few different stores. I bought some bangles for Chandi and Niki, and decided it was time for a visit to one of my favorite Sweets & Snacks restaurants – Ambala Sweets & Snacks! The kids had just enough space for banana milkshakes, and I had space for a cup of tea, and one of the sweets from the assortment that I bought – see the picture of sweets in the box below. The rest of the sweets I could eat at the hotel or back in San Diego (if there was any left).
Then we headed to the car which was parked in the parking lot of Bombay Sweets & Snacks. I had to go inside, and get another cup of tea. I sometimes just love the atmosphere of different restaurants, and when they have TV screens that play Indian movies or music videos, I just love relaxing there with a cup of chai. Chandi just hung out with me while my other two sat in the car, even though it was an extremely hot day – they were fed up of me and my cups of teas. I love the food at Bombay Sweets & Snacks too, but how much can you eat after a buffet? I sometimes stay full all day after a buffet.
Our stomachs were full, and we got to the Hilton Garden Inn in Anaheim at around 8 pm. What a lovely hotel, and the service was very nice.
Next morning, I had coffee in my room, and then enjoyed another cup in the lobby, before we headed out to Knotts Soak City.
In my next post, I will continue writing about our celebration of the Indian Independence Day. We started celebrating one day early, and celebrated all day Saturday, and then Sunday too!