Tag Archive | balboa park

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Oh, how I love this time of year, the wonderful memories of Christmas that has already passed, and the exhilarating anticipation of Christmas yet to come.

Two fabulous places to experience a taste of the holidays are Balboa Park, and the adjacent San Diego Zoo.  Did you know that you can actually walk from Balboa Park to the Zoo?  It will only take about five to ten minutes to walk from one to the other.

I would like to remind you that December Nights is just around the corner – it’s actually this week on Friday and Saturday (December 7 and 8) …..two wonderful days of holiday cheer, where San Diego celebrates the holidays like no place else.

Here’s three links with more information about this wonderful event – December Nights At Balboa Park, Official Tourism Blog of San Diego and NBC 7 San Diego News.

Here’s some pictures from past December Nights, previously known as Christmas On The Prado

December Nights - Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights – Balboa Park, San Diego


December Nights – Organ Pavilion – Balboa Park

December Nights - Organ Pavilion - Balboa Park

December Nights – Organ Pavilion – Balboa Park

Cultural events and activities galore can be found at December Nights

Cultural Events - December Nights - Balboa Park

Cultural Events – December Nights – Balboa Park

Cultural Events - December Nights - Balboa Park

Cultural Events – December Nights – Balboa Park

These dances took place outside the House of Ukraine at the International Cottages in 2011.

Cultural Events - December Nights - Balboa Park

Cultural Events – December Nights – Balboa Park

I think one of the best places to visit in Balboa Park is this very area…..the International Cottages.  Here, you will see the House of Scotland, England, Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Ireland, Ukraine, and many others.  What can you expect to see or learn from these International Cottages?  You will get a big taste of what it’s like to be from that region.  You can try samples of the food from any of those respective countries, you may even be in for a treat to a dance from that region – it really is a fantastic thing to experience – you might just see Scottish, German, Russian, Indian and other dances (during December Nights, 2012, I know you can definitely see Indian dances on Saturday evening (I apologize if you read it before and it said Friday, I just got confirmation today 12/6/12 that it’s Saturday evening).  Read more about the International Cottages right here: http://www.balboapark.org/in-the-park/house-pacific-relations-international-cottages

This picture of my three kids was taken last year at San Diego Zoo.  The Zoo is beautiful at Christmas time.


Merry Christmas from San Diego Zoo

Can you believe the same tree shown above behind my kids actually magically changes and becomes the tree below when it is darker

Christmas Tree at San Diego Zoo

Christmas Tree at San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells - San Diego

Jungle Bells – San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells and The Elves - San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells and The Elves – San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells and The Elves - San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells and The Elves – San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is a favorite of my kids – especially Chandi – she absolutely loves it here.

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

I really love her expression when she saw the orangutans.

Orangutans - San Diego Zoo

Orangutans – San Diego Zoo

Now from my house to yours – I would like to spread some holiday cheer.  This is a picture of my kids from two years ago.  They wish you a Merry Christmas.


Merry Christmas from San Diego

I don’t have a good picture yet of all three of my kids from this holiday season, but will certainly strive to capture one at some point or other, but I do have a picture of my little Chandi which was taken just a few days ago.


The Wonder of Christmas

My daughter Niki is very creative and made these holiday cookies

Holiday Cookies

Go attend some festivities, get into the spirit, and don’t forget to enjoy some holiday cookies!

By the way……you are probably thinking that San Diego can’t look very “Christmassy”.  I hope you can see that we still celebrate this joyous season here in a big way.  It’s all about getting into the spirit, holiday decorations, festivities, etc., and any place can be seasonally festive.  This is a nice place to celebrate it, because we don’t have to deal with the snow.  I know many of you might like snow, but I grew up in England, and had more than my fair share of it.  I really enjoy looking at it from inside, and seeing the snow fall – it certainly is a beautiful sight, but I can do without trudging through it, and shoveling my car out of it.   However, my kids crave it – so what do we do here in San Diego for snow?  We go to the Zoo and visit the “Snowerator” – at least I think that’s the word for it!

"Snowing" At San Diego Zoo

“Snowing” At San Diego Zoo

We also have places like Julian (one hour away) that are fairly close by, which we can go to if we really need the real thing.

Whatever you do…..I hope you get to celebrate the holidays, and to experience some of the season’s joy.  Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Happy Diwali from San Diego

Happy Diwali from San Diego again!  This time the festivities took place just outside the Shri Mandir at the annual Diwali Mela on Black Mountain Road in Mira Mesa (about 15 minutes north of downtown San Diego).  The 2012 Diwali Mela in San Diego was held on Saturday, October 27th.

First, some pictures:

Rajasthan Dance at Shri Mandir, San Diego – Diwali Mela

Diwali Mela 2012 at Shri Mandir, San Diego

Incase you didn’t see my pictures of Diwali at Balboa Park in San Diego, here are three more:

5th Annual Diwali Celebration – Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali 2012 – Balboa Park – San Diego

Organ Pavilion Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for a video where I put a few clips together, but there are many dances that I did not capture  unfortunately.  I also had to cut out a lot from the dances because of background noise.   In this video, first you will see a Punjabi dance – Bhangra (one of my favorites – especially since my family is from the Punjab), then you will see a dance from Rajasthan, and then another few clips.  At the end of this video, you will see some little kids dancing to Kolaveri Di, which is a cute song that turned out to be very popular, and even my little Chandi sings to it whenever she hears it.

I really wanted to add some more pictures in this post of Indian sweets from a local place on Black Mountain Road, which is a great alternative to going all the way up to Artesia (about one hour and 15 minutes away from where I live). Perhaps, I will add some pictures later on – maybe even on November 13th – the actual day of Diwali.  Just fyi – Black Mountain Road is San Diego’s Little India, and Artesia is Los Angeles’ Little India.  I really do enjoy going up to Artesia, as there are more stores and Indian restaurants, but I am beginning to get used to our own Little India in San Diego, and love one or two of the places there, such as Ashoka The Great Restaurant, and Surati Farsan Mart (the place where I will get my Indian sweets from this year).

Here’s the video of the performances at Balboa Park in San Diego at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration on October 21st.  Here you will see dances from the many regions of India including Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.  You will also see the Diwali Lights display towards the end of the video, and then a finale where everyone dances to Bhangra on the stage.

A new addition to this post – it is now November 12th, and I just got my sweets from Surati Farsan Fart, and here’s some pictures of the fantastic selections:

Surati Farsan Mart, Black Mountain Road, Mira Mesa, San Diego

I just had to get some jalebis, these are yummy and so sweet (actually they have a lot of syrup, and have a great crunch to them)!

Jalebis from Surati Farsan Mart, San Diego

These two boxes have mango burfi in one box (second selection from the top left in the picture from the display selection – see above)

Diwali Sweets, Surati Farsan Mart

The second box has laddoo in them which can be seen more clearly in the picture below.  Laddoo are the yellowish round balls in the first big box  on the top shelf (on the left).  These laddoo are absolutely delicious, and have raisins in them – they almost melt in your mouth!

Indian Sweets, Surati Farsan Mart

I hope you like the videos, and pictures, and I hope you will celebrate in some way on November 13th – even if you light just one or two candles.  Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park!

Happy Diwali, and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park!  The holidays are just around the corner, and this is surely a happy time for everyone!  I love the holidays, and I especially love Christmas (the picture below was actually taken in San Diego Zoo, which is adjacent to Balboa Park).

Christmas in San Diego – San Diego Zoo

I also love Diwali, which is the Indian Festival of Lights celebrated by Indians of all different faiths, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and many others.  Diwali falls on a different day each year, but that day will be either in October or November of the year.  This year, Diwali will be on November 13th, but it was celebrated on October 21st at Balboa Park.

Diwali is a colorful festival, and it’s significance is rooted in several epics and stories. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated with lights, especially candles and diyas.  People rejoice in the occasion, and have parties, and there is definitely a lot of Indian sweets being sold and consumed at this time.  If you would like to know more about Diwali, you can read this article: http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/diwali-significance.html or http://www.diwaliinlondon.com/whatisdiwali.html.  To read more about this year’s Diwali Celebration and an article where San Diego Mayor Proclaims “Festival Of Lights” Day, click here: http://www.indiajournal.com/archives/30604

Here is a picture of the Indian sweets (they are delicious).

Ambala Sweets and Snacks, Artesia

Here’s some pictures taken at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration at Balboa Park.  All the performances were held at the beautiful Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

The night begin with the Indian National Anthem, and I have enclosed my video of this – now you will get to see a little more of the Organ Pavilion too.

Here is my video that shows a variety of performances that depict the many regions of India, therefore, you will see dances from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc.  You may be amazed to see there are so many variations of dance styles according to the region of India that the dance is from.

Here is my video of just one performance to show you a dance in its entirety, and this is the Rajasthan Dance.

These are some pictures of the performances

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but this is when the Diwali Lights were on display, and it was a beautiful scene.  All the women on the stage were holding trays with candles – Balboa Park was truly lit up!

Diwali Lights Ceremony, Balboa Park, San Diego

In addition to the Annual Diwali Celebration where many Indian dances were performed, Indian dances are also performed during the December Nights outside the Houses of Hospitality at the International Cottages.

December Nights, Indian Dance, San Diego

Here’s some pictures taken at December Nights, 2011.  I will of course be taking more pictures at this year’s December Nights (I wouldn’t miss it)!

December Nights - Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights – Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It does get a little chilly in the evening during the December Nights celebration, so you will definitely want to wear a sweater or a jacket.  There is plenty of food on sale, including stalls selling food from all around the world, close to the Houses of Hospitality, and practically all over the park.  If you are in the mood for fine dining, then you might want to check out the Prado on the Park Restaurant.

Prado On The Park, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here are more pictures of Balboa Park (all three pictures were taken a number of years ago, and were scanned in).  It will definitely be time to take more pictures soon of Balboa Park!

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

This one was taken at the Botanical Gardens in Balboa Park

You may know or have heard of Balboa Park in beautiful San Diego…..if not, you need to visit it soon as it is a fantastic place to visit.  This park is adjacent to the world famous San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park is so much more…..it is highly cultural.  It houses the International Cottages where you can visit the House of Scotland, the House of England, the House of Russia, etc., and try a sample of food that comes from that region.  However, when it comes to the holidays, such as Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) and Christmas (now called December Nights instead of Christmas on the Prado) – there is no better place than Balboa Park to celebrate in style!  Not only can you enjoy a world class park in a world class city, but you can enjoy world class cultural arts and entertainment.

You can read much more about December Nights at http://www.sandiego.org/events/balboa-park-december-nights.aspx and at http://sandiego.about.com/cs/familyfun/a/dec_nights.htm

Looking for something fun to do this holiday?  Why not come to San Diego, and come to our December Nights….it will be hosted on two different days: Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, 2012.  This is a fun event for all the family, and highly entertaining!  Kick off the holidays in style!

Beautiful San Diego

I have decided to start a page where I will add my favorite pictures of San Diego from time to time.  It’s no secret that San Diego is one of the best places to live in the world  – it’s a tropical paradise with palm trees, the ocean, Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Balboa Park, Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds, and so many beautiful places to visit.  On this page you will find from time to time new additions (might be old pictures or new ones).  Of course, my favorite place in the San Diego area is the Hotel Del in Coronado.

If you don’t live in the San Diego area, but would like to visit, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to recommend or book a hotel for you, and to recommend local attractions as well as restaurants.

Cornonado, and the Hotel Del (a must see in San Diego).  Marilyn Monroe shot one of her movies here, and many famous people have stayed here, as well as Presidents.

Hotel Del, Coronado – San Diego

Hotel Del, Coronado

Sunset at Hotel Del, Coronado

Hotel Del, Coronado

Ocean at Hotel Del, Coronado

The swimming pool at the Hotel Del

Swimming Pool at the Hotel Del, Coronado

It’s so tropical at the Hotel Del

Palm Trees Swaying At The Hotel Del

Some pictures taken at the San Diego Zoo on December 18, 2011.

Orangutan – San Diego Zoo

Koala – San Diego Zoo

These are my three kids at the Zoo last Christmas in 2011.

Cultural Arts Performance at Neurosciences Institute Auditorium, in La Jolla on December 9, 2011

Cultural Arts – San Diego

Hungry for pastries?  Try Champagne Bakery in Del Mar – love their Napoleons, and Jesuite pastries.

Champagne Bakery, Del Mar Highlands Shopping Centre, San Diego

You don’t have to go to Las Vegas to find casino’s – we have plenty of them here in San Diego.  Sycuan is only 35 minutes away.

Sycuan Casino, San Diego

Sycuan Casino, San Diego

Great place to visit for the day is the Flower Fields which is in Carlsbad, close to Legoland:

Flower Fields, Carlsbad – San Diego

Balboa Park, December, 2011

Spreckels Pavilion – the scene of the amazing Holiday Tree that opens up to display a nativity scene that is inside the tree.  This tree is magical, and changes colors!

Spreckels Pavilion, Balboa Park, San Diego

We have the wonderful Race Track, which has a Grand Opening Day every year which draws thousands of people from all over the country.  There is a hats contest, and a big celebration feel to the day.  Opening Day this year is scheduled to be July 18, 2012.

Del Mar Racetrack, San Diego

Another one of my favorite hotels in San Diego is the Manchester Grand Hyatt.  This overlooks the San Diego Bay, and is a stunning hotel

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Diego

Even though I live here now, I am still a tourist in San Diego – it is a very beautiful place.

Please note, these following links are the additions that I was referring to in the post, where you will see more of my pictures of San Diego: Incredible San Diego – La Jolla and Some Places You’ll Want To Escape To