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!
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!
December Nights 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!
Balboa Park As Seen From San Diego Zoo
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!
Diwali at Balboa Park, 2014
I love Diwali, the Indian Festival Of Lights that is celebrated by Indians all over the world. Diwali has its roots in the story of Rama and Sita, and while I won’t go into the historical aspect – let’s just say that Diwali shows us how good triumphs over evil. We celebrate this wonderful time with family, friends, good food, music and often entertainment. While Diwali is on October 23rd this year, we celebrated it in Balboa Park on October 18th. Here are some pictures taken at the Organ Pavilion – the site of the 7th Annual Diwali Celebration in Balboa Park.
Now pictures of the performances: this was the group from Tamil Nadu
This was the group from Rajasthan and I am proud to say that my daughter is a member of this dance group, and this group dances fabulously!
This is the group from the Punjab – I have to say that I love Punjabi music and dance, and this group is fabulous too!
This is my daughter right before the show.
This is a picture of her group performing in a different show
Well, the Organ Pavilion surely looks colorful!
Oh, by the way, I uploaded a video to YouTube of the Rajasthani Dance, you can see the link below (first video). I have now uploaded another video of the Punjabi Dance (second video). Want to know something? My camcorder’s battery died and I had been so busy earlier in the day rushing around that I forgot to charge it. I had to use my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to make the video – I hope you like it!
Happy Diwali to all those who celebrate this de-light-ful holiday. May the lights shine brightly on you and may you be blessed with a fabulous year full of happiness, peace and prosperity.
7 Picks from San Diego
Well, June is nearly over, and I’ve had a hectic month. I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Let the summer fun begin, and what better than to bring you some of my personal picks (and pics) of San Diego:
1) Balboa Park – this place is full of spectacular and breathtaking sights – just look – this photographer really wants to take a picture of the Botanical Building, but he really should be taking it of the bride
Well, it wasn’t fair to her that she wasn’t in the picture, so I took one myself!
2) San Diego Zoo – world famous and definitely worth your time and money!
My little girl has been going here since she was ever so little and the orangutans did not frighten her away!
3) The Hotel Del – it’s ever so swell!
From any angle, east to west, north to south – it’s perfect!
4) Horton Plaza – most beautiful and the best shopping mall ever!
5) SeaPort Village – a great tourist attraction – don’t miss it!
6) La Jolla Cove – ever so scenic and serene!
Even the birds love it!
7) Carlsbad – The Flower Fields and Legoland
Well, you can’t always visit The Flower Fields, just in March and April of each year, but me and Chandi absolutely love to go there, in fact she insists!
Well, these 7 picks were quick, but don’t be quick when visiting them, take your time and allow at least a day for each one, be sure to remember I gave you that bit of advice!
More than a Glimpse Of Balboa Park
I continue with the trip I took to Balboa Park a month ago now. How time flies! I can’t beat time anymore, it wins me constantly.
Anyhow, as Chandra and I left the Botanical Gardens, we got a closer look at the building that was on the other side of the lily pond.
We saw some devotees chanting “Hare Krishna” and I could not resist taking a picture
We saw people photographing the beautiful architecture
The sky was a beautiful blue, and it was a perfect day
There were beautiful cherry-blossom type flowers in the trees – I was reminded of Washington, DC
A really talented musician played for the audience using an Aboriginal-type horn. I have taken his picture before at December Nights at the Park. We could have listened to him all afternoon. He was very entertaining!
Going in the other direction of the park, closer to the Houses of Hospitality, which sadly were closed today (Saturday) – they’re open usually from 10 am to 4 pm (I believe) on Sunday’s – we saw the Organ Pavilion, also the scene of Diwali at the Park and December Nights.
This is also part of Spreckels Theatre – The Organ Pavilion
Here is more of the park
Pretty flowers….imagine what it will be like in Spring!
Sometimes, I can’t stop taking pictures.
There is art even outside the museums, and children will delight at the sight of it. They can even play in one of the structures, outside of the Mingei International Museum.
At one point, the wind started blowing, and it felt like it was snowing. It was snowing cherry blossom type flowers. It was such a beautiful few minutes, and very surreal.
This is outside one of my favorite buildings in Balboa Park – the San Diego Museum of Man – what a lovely building!
This is back to the area just outside the Mingei International Museum.
Well, I have to leave off here. I think I may have run out of space for my media files – I think I upload too many pictures – infact, I take too many pictures. However, you can never have enough pictures – it’s always best to have dozens of varieties of each, then you can pick your favorite. My problem is that sometimes I can’t pick properly. I want to use them all. Anyway, next time when I sort out my media storage situation – I might even post more pictures of Balboa Park. Happy March!
A Glimpse of Balboa Park
I went to my very favorite park in San Diego yesterday – Balboa Park. The park is so amazing, that I had to give you a glimpse of it, through this picture first:
The picture leads me to the question, do you like looking at the gate, through the gate or at what is on the other side of the gate? This was a hard one to decide yesterday, since I was in the Botanical Building and it was so filled with beauty that I did not want to leave it, nor did my little Chandra.
This picture was taken when we first headed to the Botanical Building, and of course I had to get my little one in the picture
As we got closer this is what it looked like
Here are some pictures of the flowers
However, the ornate fence beckoned me to go outside again
This is a very interesting looking bush outside the Botanical Building
Outside was just as lovely as inside the Botanical Gardens. This is the view looking out from the Botanical Gardens Building.
I zoomed in and got this picture
I either zoomed out or walked a little closer and got another picture
There were fish in the water, both big and small
There were ducks in the water
There was music in the air, as people all over the park were making this park even more beautiful if possible with their wonderful music.
As we walked away from the Botanical Building, I couldn’t help but think that Balboa Park is such a treasure, a park that needs to be on everyone’s list of places to visit when they come to San Diego. The visitors who come here will surely fall in love with Balboa Park, and will definitely want more than just a glimpse of the park – an entire day or perhaps two should be what you allot to just this park.
Here’s more of this beautiful park
However, I am going to save more pictures until next time. Happy February!
Me and My New Note 3 and Balboa Park
I have a new Note 3, and I have enjoyed getting to know it. It was quite a transition from going from an Iphone to a non-Iphone, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
My first major testing place of my Note 3 was at Balboa Park on October 26th, 2013. I went here for the occasion of the Festival of Lights. However, I will show you some pictures taken at Balboa Park using my Note 3, and then some pictures taken with my Canon G10.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 3:
Now, here are some pictures taken with my Canon G10
I won’t show you pictures of my Note 3, as you can see what one is like from taking a look at this link:
However, I think the Note 3 takes pretty decent pictures, and can perform quite well in dim lighting. But, I would never give up my Canon G10 as I love this camera – there’s nothing like a dedicated stand-alone camera! I will say that I prefer the pictures taken with my Note 3 over those I used to take on the Iphone, but then my old Iphone 4’s camera had had only 5 megapixels or so, and the Note 3 has 13 megapixels, so that’s not a fair comparison. The G10 has about 10 megapixels, but I can’t say the Note 3’s camera is better, I am not that much into camera specifications to pass that type of judgment.
Here’s a picture taken with my Note 3 of one of my favorite subjects for photo-taking – my little 4 year old daughter!
I could take photos all day long of this little Princess!
But going back to my Note 3, all I can say with confidence is that I love using this super smartphone!
Happy Diwali 2013 from Balboa Park
I could not miss going to Balboa Park after the wonderful experience last year. I looked forward to another Diwali spectacular, and I was not disappointed. Here’s a video that I made:
October 26th, 2013 was the date set for the Festival of Lights Celebration to take place in Balboa Park, and it started at 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm for activities leading up to the big show. These preliminary activities included stalls from various regions of India that displayed their region in all it’s splendor, including displaying arts and crafts, and putting on some pretty amazing dances. Then at 6pm, the “big show” was performed on the stage at the Organ Pavilion. The weather was cooperative, and unlike last year, there wasn’t any rain, and it was a beautiful San Diego day!
Here are some pictures showing you some of the preliminary activities that took place prior to the big show.
Sometimes, you will see the banners that display the region, and sorry if I don’t always show them
Here’s my little Indian Princess (she’s also seen dancing at the end of the video).
So, now I will show you some scenes from the “big show” that started at 6pm and went on until 7:45 pm or so.
First, there was the introduction, and the Mayor Elect of San Diego was present and also talked to the audience
Then the show began
Here’s the display of lights on the stage towards the end of the show, you can’t really see it very well, but this is where many participants paraded around the stage and the surrounding area with tiny little lamps – it was truly beautiful!
Of course, there’s nothing like a Bhangra Finale at the end of the show! The crowd joined in and danced to Bhangra!
In the next post, I am going to show you a few pictures of Balboa Park. In the meantime, Happy Diwali, 2013! I hope it will be a joyful and wonderful time for you, your family and friends.
The Magic of December Nights in San Diego
I knew December Nights at Balboa Park was going to be magical. There’s not a better way to kick-start the holidays than going to Balboa Park, and experiencing December Nights. What is/are December Nights? I wrote about it in my previous post, just click here to see More Info on December Nights (that post contains some external links with more information too).
Now that December Nights (which occurred on December 7 & 8, 2012) are over, there’s still plenty of reasons to visit the Park. The magical tree is still there, and so are the lights and the great atmosphere, and at least you won’t have the crowds to deal with. Here’s some pictures:
First the magical tree:
It gets even more magical – it opens up!
It changes color!
It changed color again!
This one is more fuzzier, because my camera’s battery died and I had to use my I-phone.
This one’s fuzzy too, but I’m including it because I want you to see the spectacle of color that was so beautiful during the December Nights concert.
Here’s the same color for background, but the tree has closed up
Now for a lighter shade of blue
And the last two of the tree at least!
Now for some pictures of the Park in the dark. Me and my family went to December Nights on both December 7 and December 8. Why miss out on the magic?
I believe this church now houses the Museum of Man
Today, I suddenly stumbled on a second picture that I took of the Church at Balboa Park, I thought I only had one like the one above.
Are you ready for more Christmas trees? Here’s another one at the Park, closer to the church shown above
Oh, my gosh! The Grinch was here, but Chandi didn’t want to have her picture taken with him, so I had to take it of someone else instead!
Even dogs like December Nights, this picture was taken with no flash, but it wasn’t very good, however, it will give you an idea of what the lights were like and how it really looked in the dark
The dog also has glasses, more clearly seen in the picture below.
It’s just so nice strolling through the Park, even in the dark!
Balboa Park was nicely lit up for the holidays
There were so many people there, you wouldn’t believe it. I think I read somewhere that there were at least 300,000 people.
Here’s the Botanical Gardens Building at night time bathed in a beautiful blue light
You can’t tell from these pictures just how many people there were in Balboa Park during these two very busy nights.
Of course, there were a lot of delicious choices for food, but I didn’t get to take too many pictures of the different vendors. Here’s one at least.
This fountain is near one of the many museums at the park, and is closest to the path to the San Diego Zoo.
The words “Happy Holidays” lit up one of the museums
Here’s a clearer picture of some people at December Nights
For some reason, I like this picture
I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Balboa Park at night, it is beautiful both at night and day
I didn’t quite get the picture above centralized, see how it looks below, still not right. It would have been perfect if I could have got both “Season’s Greetings” and the lighting on the wall on the right in just one picture balanced out better. Oh, well. I’ll have to make do with two pictures.
Now for where the reindeers are with presents laden on the sleigh
A different angle of the reindeers
Now, there’s the presents at the back (I guess on the sleigh).
Some more lights
Now, some more pictures of the amazing tree from a different angle.
And lastly, some pictures of the performers who entertained us at the site of the magical tree.
Just incase you don’t get the full flavor of what it’s like at Balboa Park during December Nights, I made this video especially for you.
I still haven’t had the chance to take more daytime pictures of Balboa Park, so in the meantime, you can look at these pictures taken by someone who linked to my post previously, so now I will link to his – so you can see his amazing pictures of Balboa Park: http://onecoolthingeveryweekend.com/2012/11/21/picture-tour-of-the-san-diego-balboa-park/
Oh, by the way, I went to the International Houses on the 8th of December and saw various cultural dances there, including Indian dances, but only managed to get a few pictures. Perhaps, I will put those in another post. Anyway, I hope you can see that Balboa Park is so magical when it’s the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you, and if you don’t – Happy Holidays!