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!
Venetian Magic, Venetian splendor! Oh, how I love the Venetian grandeur. This hotel/resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, is my absolute favorite out of all of them there. I have stayed at the Venetian many years ago, and absolutely loved it! I wish I could always stay there when ever I visit Las Vegas. Even when I stay elsewhere, I make it a point to go visit the Venetian. If you can’t go to Venice, at least go to the Venetian – it’s a bit of the real thing. Here are some pictures:
My kids outside the Venetian, last Christmas
Isn’t this place pretty? Isn’t it magical? Wish I could have a permanent suite there! These were all pictures taken outside of the Venetian, next time I will show you some pictures taken inside.
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.
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.
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!
We had Christmas Eve lunch at The Carnival World Buffet at Rio
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?
I’ve spent New Year in Las Vegas, and summer in Las Vegas, but not Christmas in Las Vegas, so last Christmas we tried it, and we liked it!
There are less crowds in Vegas in Christmas, than there are at New Year. Also, when it’s New Year, it’s just not the best place for kids in all that noisy, raucous Vegas celebration – what with the drinks and the drunks, and well…..let’s say I think Christmas was a little more mellow in Vegas.
Have you ever associated Las Vegas with Christmas? Or have you ever even considered it to be a good place to celebrate such a joyous occasion? Well, I think our Christmas in Vegas in 2015 was spectacular, partly, because we found a beautiful church to celebrate Christmas Eve in. I am Sikh, but I like all kinds of churches, temples (including Hindu temples, as well as Sikh temples) and have even enjoyed visiting Mosques or at least taking pictures of them, see this link. The church we visited is an Italo-Greek Byzantine Catholic Church called Our Lady of Wisdom, located on 2120 Lindell Road, Las Vegas, NV 89146, only about 5 minutes drive from the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard. It is such a truly beautiful, spectacular church, and is very European looking – I could not believe I was in the USA while I was in this church, it was such a wonderful feeling that the church gave me. Here are some pictures:
I managed to get my two daughters in the picture
I don’t really think I was supposed to be taking pictures at the church, but I think it was too beautiful to not take pictures. I would love to be at this church every Christmas Eve, too bad it’s not in San Diego!
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!
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!
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
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!