Niagara Falls, Canada

The water, the mist and most importantly the falls = HAUNTINGLY HEAVENLY!

Not only did we get to see the falls from the Canada side, which gives a better view than the American side, but we also got to go on the maid of the mist, which was a boat which took us really close to the falls. It’s at that point of time that one realizes how incredibly big the falls are.

We reached on Friday evening, just in time to catch the last maid of the mist of the day.

The maid of the mist
Inside the maid of the mist-wearing protective rain coats  to keep us from getting wet as we get closer to the waters

The American part of Niagara Falls

The Canadian Part of the Falls

Even though we were wearing raincoats while we were on the maid of the mist we still got pretty soaked. The mist which is formed due to the falling of water from such a height causes it to continuously rain near the falls!

Later in the night, we went to this great Chinese restaurant for dinner called Mandarin. It was the best place i have ever been to. It had a fake sky ( I thought only hotels with lots of money to waste have those). And it had this HUGE buffet (which we did not go to since our family was vegetarian and we kids were the only non vegetarians:most of the buffet was non vegetarian). But the food was great too, so we had a great deal of fun. We also had a very funny waiter, which always make it better!!!!

The Fake Sky at Mandarin

A fish pond, treated more as a wishing well in  Mandarin
My uncle drinks Chinese tea!

..while my cousin, brother and i fool around!

After dinner we also went to this place near our hotel which was a little complex in itself. It was walking distance from our hotel and had a casino, some restaurants, a mall and lots of fountains-and off course, a view of the falls!
We walked towards the falls to see the lights. They had this set up there of laser lights (i think they were laser lights) reflecting on the falls, making it seem like the water is coloured. Basically they had it all super-commercialized!

A fountain in the complex near our hotel
Another fountain nearby!
A water fountain shaped as a wine making factory!
Niagara at night

The next morning before heading back to US, we went to the falls again. This time we saw the part of the falls where the water was falling down. It was amazing! The kind of things that your eyes don’t believe.
The water was so forceful! It would take anything with it. It was apparently pretty deep too.

The water goes over the edge and joins the falls of niagara

On the way back we stopped by a friend’s place, who lives in Buffalo, New York. He happened to be the president of the state university there, so he showed us around!!

At Buffalo: Stating the obvious
My cousin entertains everyone at a friend’s place
My cousin once again comes to the rescue by managing to get everyone in the  picture at Buffalo University  

That was the end of our trip to Niagara, not only did we have to leave Niagara, but we also had to say good bye to our family, who we spent the last 10 days with. That was the saddest part.
Missing them a lot already!

We now head towards NJ, from where we will also take frequent trips to NY. Hope the coming week (and the last one in US) is as good as the previous one. 

State College, Pennsylvania

After 10 days of nomadic travelling, it was time for us to go to our relative’s place in State College. They had been with us in Washington, but we still had lots of catching up to do!

We expected a quiet time at State College with family! But there was an incredible lot to do there. And since we were with them, it was so much more fun than last week had been.

Our relative’s place in state college

We spent about 4 days there, which rushed by. I would have done anything to stop time!

We reached there on Sunday night, and were big time impressed to see such a big and beautiful house. And it was so cozy too!
On top of that, my aunt was an amazing cook! She gave us different cuisines to eat each night.

My aunt Nilima, a 5 star chef!

On Monday, we went for a picnic to a lake nearby called Spring Creek and later got a guided tour of the penn state university by my uncle, who is a professor there. We just keep getting luckier and luckier!

Picnic at Spring Creek

My mom and aunt stand next to the lake

One of the classrooms at Penn State University
My cousin and I laze around at Smeal Business School, Penn State University

A classroom at the Smeal Business School
My dad and uncle in his office at the University
The Nittany Lion Shrine at Penn State University, which happens to be the University’s mascot

Our 2nd day, tuesday, was spent shopping. My aunt was a pro at shopping and knew the right places to take us, so we managed to get some really amazing stuff! Later we went to a Chinese Restaurant for dinner. This was the first time we ate at a Chinese place in the US. It was really different from what we get in India, and pretty good too!

A shopping break: Lunch at Dino’s:An ENORMOUS PIZZA

Dinner at a Chinese Restaurant

On Wednesday, we went to Penn’s Caves. We went into the caves in a boat, since the caves weren’t dry. It was pretty amazing. We saw all the kind of rocks which grew inside. The tour guide also showed us the kind of shapes and images that the rocks formed-like one of them looked like the statue of liberty, another looked like a chinese doll!
These caves also had a mythical tale behind them about Princess Nittany and her lover, who was trapped inside the caves by her seven brothers when they learnt about the two’s affair and their plans to elope.

Our fourth and last day was more relaxed, we spent our time gadget shopping and bought an i-pad 2 and a kindle.

I loved staying at Penn State! It was such a cute town, a place where you really can live. And being with family was so much fun too! We met our cousin after a really long time, which made it even more fun.

The best part is, that they’re travelling with us to Niagra Falls for the next 2-3 days. So although this was the end of Penn State, we still have them for a little longer!!

Washington DC – All of monuments and museums!

The Capital of the Country-where all the power lies-Washington DC!!!!

The capital of USA- where all the power lies-Washington DC!!!

Our 2 days at Washington DC consisted of nothing but monuments and Museums. And pretty good ones too!
I visited more of these in 2 days than i had ever visited in my entire life!

We went to the Lincoln Memorial, The Washington Monument, The Air and Space Museum, The National Gallery of Art, The Natural History Museum, The White House and the Newseum!
Lots of commas, isn’t it?!

The Lincoln Memorial was a memorial of Abraham Lincoln, one of the presidents of USA. His role play in the civil war (that of an anti-slavery figure) led to his assassination.
Apart from a HUGE statue in the center of the memorial, there was also two of his famous speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Speech inscribed on the walls.

Statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial

The World War 2 memorial is a memorial dedicated to the people who sacrificed or lost their lives in the war. It contains 56 pillars (which had the name of the then 48 states and other american provinces inscribed on the them) and a pair of arches (which had the Atlantic and the Pacific inscribed on it).

A view of some of the pillars and one of the arches circling a fountain at Lincoln Memorial

  The Washington Monument was a tall pillar built in honor of George Washington, the first president of USA, and a very active military and political leader in the American Revolution.

The Washington Monument, the tallest monument in Washington (555 feet) and also the tallest in the world until the Eiffel Tower was built 5 years later

The Air and Space Museum was as the name suggests, an astronaut’s and pilot’s paradise. It contained models of space crafts and air crafts and their history.

A model of an aircraft carrier-a ship used as a runway for planes

Next to the Wright Brothers

Inside a space ship

A spacecraft whose fate was to stay on earth-The Eagle

An Armillary Sphere-used by astronomers for centuries  in olden times to study the sky

The National Gallery of Art was an art museum with all kinds of paintings and sculptures-portraits, landscapes, statues, head sculptures. But it was so big that we couldn’t see much of it. There were a couple of paintings I could catch though. 

The Dancing Couple, by Jan Steen
Picture interpreted as  one of the wedding of a mismatched couple, a well dressed girl and a country lad.

Daniel in the Lion’s Den by Sir Peter Paul Rubins
Based on story of Daniel, who was unfairly driven  to  a cave of lions

The Museum of Natural History was the biggest museum I’ve ever seen. It had so many sections. There were sections like evolution, the ocean life, the different continents, other species(just to name a few). But again we couldn’t spend much time there. So although we couldn’t see all the sections, we spent a whole lot of time in the ones we could.

A silver tree 

An optically illusions house. Changes shape and dimensions depending on the angle you see it from.
Handprints on the caves of early man

My aunt and uncle sit in front of a statue of a hard working Neanderthal (ancestors of homo sapiens) while another little visitor of the museum decides to pose for the picture!!

This family is not afraid of being run over by elephants!

In the African section- a peace of their tradition 
The Burial of a Neanderthal (notice the body lying over the brown fur on the ground) 

By the time we finished these places the day was close to an end, so we left the White House and the Newseum to the next day. 
The White House was beautiful . But  I was partly dissapointed having gone expecting something much grander. But one thing that i really liked was that there were people who were standing in front of the white house with signs like ‘peace’ and ‘we don’t want terrorism’. Although there were just like 3 people besides the signs, they still meant a lot!
White and Simple- the White House

If there’s a photo being taken, we’re right here!
A citizen asks for peace in front of the white house

We find cycle rikshaws nearby-*suddenly homesick!*

The Newseum, which was the most recent museum of washington DC, was awesome. I could have spent all month there. It was based on famous news headlines over the past years and journalism in general. There was also a lot about media. 

Part of the Berlin Wall (The Newseum had a part of the same as an exhibit)

Touching the Berlin Wall

My brother poses with journalist detectives

An old fashioned printer! The TYPEWRITER!

The first issue of time magazine in 1923

A piece of the antenna of the twin towers which suffered on 9/11

A view of the Capital hill from the terrace of the Newseum
Another great thing at the newseum was this thing called ‘Be a TV Reporter’. They had sets there, and we could choose to report a story of our choice! Here is my video!!
With that, the Washington sightseeing came to an end. I never thought that there could be so much to see in Washington. And we hadn’t even seen everything, we had only seen a part of it. 
The Newseum was undoubtedly my favourite part. 
Well now its time to head to the next city!! Goodbye Washington DC!

Universal Studios, Orlando

Universal Studios is what I call the real AMAZING deal. If hollywood had wings, Orlando is where it would be.

Entering the big gates!

Not only was it perfectly accurate in terms if all the sets and studios, but they had all these shows there, which gave us the feel of being in a real studio. For a minute I was actually confused whether this was just an amusement park built for us visitors or a place where professional real shooting takes place.

We couldn’t go for everything, but here are a few things that we did go for.

First was the Shrek 4D show. So we sat in a 4D theater which meant 3D + Sensing. So it was like each time donkey sneezed and his wife (the dragon) blew fire out of her nose, we’d find ourselves sprayed with water. It was really fun!
So the story of the whole show was of the guy who was the king in the first movie returning as a ghost and trying to get Fiona to die so that she would join him up there as a ghost too.
But we all know how all fairytales (and shrek) always end.

Heading to Shrek 4D

The second place we went to was the Horror make Up Show. So that was basically about all the make up that artists use in horror movies to make humans look like other creatures or monsters. There were two hosts of the show who actually showed us some of the techniques of horror make up using a volunteer (or more like pull out) from the audience!

The 2 hosts fool around, one with a knife pierced into his chest and blood flowing out!

Dr Make Up gets ready to get the volunteer’s arm. The trick is that there’s a whole in the knife around the edge, which fits perfectly around one’s arm! 

My brother with a new arm

 There were a few other tricks they showed us, but that is for you to see with your own unblinking eyes!

After the horror show, we went for FFL AKA, Fear Factor Live. Now as everyone probably already knows,  Fear Factor is just what it’s name suggests. Basically a bunch of crazy unimaginable tasks that celebrities perform and compete in to win! So in this case, they had the whole set done up as if they were really shooting. But the difference was that instead of celebrities, it was the visitors of the park who could participate. All they had to do is reach an hour early  before the show. And they were made to do the same things people do in fear factor.

The sets of FFL

Hosts getting busy
The 6 contestants stand ready for their first task
The first task-to hold on to the bars above their heads for as long as possible
After 2 contestants get eliminated, volunteers are called from the audience to  spin the  wheel 
The wheel decides that a scorpion must go on  the head of the  person  doing the task-another member  picked out from the audience. 

The 4 contestants on their next task-they must pair up and  as a team aim to collect  as many fish in the basket. One has to throw and the other catches.

Another commercial break-4 members of the audience get  to have  a drink of crushed worms-the fastest ones  win!

The last task between 2 competitors-Rob and Nathan-an obstacle course through which they have to collect flags asap.
Nathan takes the lead in the obstacle course (yes, the car in the air is a  part of the obstacle course)

By the end of it, I had made up my mind to go home and find some episodes of Fear Factor on the internet!
Well next came the Simpson’s ride. It was plain fun. They took us on a virtual reality ride wherein this one guy was destroying stuff all over town while the simpsons stumbled around..and so did we!

The famous clown

and ofcourse, the Simpsons!

After the Simpsons, we went for this show called “Animal actors on location”. So they showed us how they trained animals for the movies.

A chimpanzee creates a fool of his intructor

The instructor tells the bird to fly across to the lady in the audience who was asked to stand up with a $1 not in her hand, and fly back with the dollar note, which the bird did!

A pig who kept annoying the instructors by coming up on stage to grunt around

A dog obeys instructions

A girl from the audience is asked to instruct the dog
It was nice to see all these animals putting up something so amazing, but at the same time i felt sad to see them held captive like that and put in front of audiences 5 times every day. 
Our next stop was this amazing rock n roll show! It was more like a monster rock n roll show. It was a concert by people dressed as all kinds of fictitious people. But at the end of it, it was amazing! And so much fun!
The heart and soul of the show!

Here comes the band!

Frankenstein sings and dances

We went to the disaster studios next. It was this show where they showed us how they make disaster movies. They picked up some people from the audience and they made them do stuff like scream or pretend to be falling in slow motion, or jump around or just wave. They recorded all of this and then they edited it and showed us a disaster movie with those very people in it. It was incredibly funny! I loved it!

After the disaster studios we went for Jaws. It was this slow boat ride on the sets of jaws, and every now and then a shark would crop up from nowhere near the boat and freak us out. 
We aint afraid!
The last ride we went on was the revenge of the mummy. That was the best roller coaster i’ve ever been on. The effects were incredible!

A statue for sale-wonder who would buy it?
So that was our last day at Orlando. And a perfect way to spend it. 
 It was a fun week. I am going to miss Orlando-all its happiness! 
Bye bye universal!

And one more thing..I am definitely coming back to Florida!!!!!!

Epcot – A truly diverse world

From Europe to Asia to the Americas, Epcot has about everything covered and fitted into 300 acres of land.

You could see how all the cultures add up to make such a beautiful and perfect planet! The best thing was that in each pavilion, every little detail had been looked after. You couldn’t find a single thing that hadn’t been altered according to the culture of the pavilion. Even the people working in the pavilions were natives of that country!

There was also a lot of other stuff there, like Future World and The Land.

We started with Future World.

In Future World we went to Spaceship Earth, Universe of energy and Test Track.
Spaceship Earth was a slow ride where you could invent your own future. The showed us some history and development of technology in the beginning and then they zoomed into the future. There were screens in front of us and we were given options, such as ‘where we would like to live?’ and ‘what mode of transportation do we prefer?’ And then once we answered all their questions, they created our future and showed it to us.

Spaceship Earth
Universe of Energy was this show of Ellen Degeneres on dinosaurs and energy! It started with her going to sleep and having a nightmare of being beaten by her childhood frenemy in Jeopardy. So along with Bill, AKA science guy who happened to be her neighbour she went on a journey to the land of dinosaurs and to discover different forms of energy. They showed us all about stuff like solar energy, wind energy and the extraction of petroleum and oil. 
Test Track was a thriller ride, in which we went on a bumpy and rash car ride, as we helped test newly built cars in rough conditions. 
We went to the Pavilions next. These were of different countries. Pretty nice ones too. Managed to bring in the entire country’s culture into such a tiny piece of land! 
The first pavilion we went to was Mexico. 
Pavilion of Mexico

Traditional Mexican Musicians play in a festival like atmosphere in the Mexican Pavilion

Mexican Hats AKA Sombreros!

Apart from that the Mexico Pavilion also had a boat ride which took you through a kind of an exhibition of Mexican Culture.

Next came Norway.

The Norway Pavilion
My brother tries to copy a viking’s pose using an umbrella as the ax and a map of Epcot as the shield

Scary, isnt it?

Viking at peace!

Apart from window displays like these, there wasn’t anything else to see here.

So we moved on to the next pavilion, that was Italy. (We kinda skipped China and Germany!)

There were mostly eating places and fountains and shops here.

L’Italia
One of the restaurants in the Italian Pavilion

A fountain of Italy

Standing on a bridge in front of the Italian Pavilion
Next we went to The American Adventure. They had a lot of activity there. They had this band marching and playing the national anthem and a museum and shows. Although we didn’t see much there apart from the bad which happened to be playing at that time, it was still quite interesting.
Drum roll!

Singing the national anthem!

After America we moved to Japan.
Japan was beautiful! It didn’t have much apart from restaurants and stores, but it was so beautifully built, that we spent our maximum time there. There was a shop there with Japanese Handicrafts. It had all kind of things from accessories to clothes to stationary to art!

The Japanese Pavilion

Shopping area of Japan!

A japanese statue
Japanese art work at one of the stores

After Japan we passed through Morocco to go to France. Now although we didn’t intend to go to the Morocco Pavilion, it was so amazing that we couldn’t help it.

The Moroccan Pavilion

A band plays Arabic songs 

My brother with Moroccans working in the Pavilion’s store

A Moroccan fountain
We site Beauty and the Beast near the Moroccan pavilion!

Morocco also had all these really great stores where they had so spectacular jewelery. I am so going to visit Morocco some day!

Then came along France. Apart from stores full of perfumes and restaurants full of wines, there was a show called Impressions de France (which I did not see- i think it was about the French Revolution and the history of france)

The French Pavilion
Les Vins de France

Lets not forget the art..

…or the food!

My mom next to a woman in a traditional French costume
Sleeping Beauty AKA Princess Aurora

After France we passed through the pavilion of UK to go to Canada. There wasn’t anything there apart from stores and restaurants, and those weren’t anything great either.

A store at UK

English houses

And of course the old fashioned houses

Canada was really good. They had a waterfall which I’m guessing was to remind us that they have a part the Niagra Falls and a hell lotta greenery and culture. There was a show too which i did not see.

The Canadian Pavilion

Believe it or not-it’s a photo booth!
Mini-Niagra

A garden in the Canadian Pavilion
With Canada we finished with all the country’s pavilions. Since we still had some time left before the fireworks and laser show at 9 pm, we went to ‘The Land’ which included Soarin (a ride gave you the feeling  and view of flying over California), Living with the Land ( a boat ride through a built in greenhouse and fish farm) and the Circle of Life (an environmental fable featuring the characters of Lion King)
We couldn’t go for Soarin’ (which happened to be top priority) because of the 90 minute wait time in the queue. 
Living with the Land was pretty good. They showed us their huge greenhouse and fish farms.
Fish Farming

The greenhouse of epcot

Growing watermelons

and nine pound lemons!

We also went to watch The Circle of Life. It began with some Lion King Characters wanting to stop a river and build a resort in its place. Then Simba (The Lion) started telling the story of humans, how their never ending greed for luxury destroyed the earth and the home of 1000s of species and how they now move towards restoring it.

At the end of the day, we saw the laser and fireworks show, which was really beautiful! They also had this revolving earth structure in the middle, which they projected images and laser lights on. It was only 15 minutes long but it was incredible. And it was so well coordinated with the music in the background. Some of the fireworks were of the kinds I had never seen before.

Having seen about 10 countries in one day and with all the rides and shows and not to forget, the fireworks and laser show to top it off, theres not much left to say!

Magic Kingdom-Where all dreams come true

“Wish upon a star and your dreams come true”

12 hours at Magic kingdom were enough to make me believe that!

It was one of those days at the beginning of which you think that everything will go wrong and you will return home feeling all tired and unhappy. But I was in for a surprise!

Well let me tell you why i expected the day to be bad. To start with we were all running terribly late to leave for Disney. it was about 10:30 pm by the time we reached. It was quite ideal to reach late today actually, since we had to stay late at Disney in order to watch the 9 p.m. parade, but we still planned to reach early to avoid the incredibly long queues that we always found at the park entrances in Orlando and the roller coasters when we got there!

And as expected there was a long queue at the entrance. To get to Magic Kingdom we had to take the train or the ferry. We, like all the others stood in the line of the train. The train was more in demand ‘cuz it was much faster and efficient. The heat made me feel like fire. The line was moving very slowly at first. After some time it stopped moving altogether! It turned out that the train had stopped working! And instead everyone, thats right, that tremendously HUGE line, had to go by ferry. So everyone rushed towards the queues of the ferry. Thankfully we got a good spot in the queue and were able to get into the very first ferry which went there.

We resort to our 2nd option-the ferry
Entering General Joe Potter’s Ferry
Inside the Ferry’s second deck
Once we got there, i once again saw all the excitement and happiness..and off course, THE MAGIC! 
The streets of Main Street USA
Special Disney Balloons

Welcomed by a horse!

Walt Disney-the builder of dreams!

A street show in Main Street USA
The famous Cinderella Castle
Magic Kingdom was pretty big. It included quite a few lands. There was Main Street USA, Fantasy land, Tomorrow Land, Liberty Square, Frontier Land and Adventure Land. And each land had about 4 or 5 things you could do. So if we tried doing everything, we would probably end up doing nothing. The queues, like every other attraction in Orlando, were really long. They were about an hour long on an average. 
Luckily, we had picked out the things we wanted to do earlier. So that way, we knew what all we wanted to do and what we did not want to do! 
We started with a ride of Pirates of the Caribbean. It was boat ride taking us through Jack Sparrow’s ship and home! It was a long wait, but then again, we were kind of used to it by now!

Disney gives us something to look at while waiting in the queues

Dangerous stuff! 

Well after we were done with Pirates of the Caribbean (which was pretty calm and slow unexpectedly),we went to the Swiss Family Tree House. This was where we could explore the Robinson’s (the family from the movie  ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’)  tree house. It was quite fun. Very similar to what we saw in Tarzan’s Tree house in Hong Kong last year.

The Swiss Family Tree House
Next to the Robinson’s Kitchen

The Robinson’s living room

We went for the Jungle Cruise afterwards. That was a safari boat cruise through the amazon with all kind of sets put up across the shores to make it look all real. It was quite kiddish!

Red Indian!

An Isolated Hut

The Inspiring Falls as they call it

An Indian elephant

Beautifully built-amazingly tall giraffes!

No worry-they aren’t even close to real!

Oh I wish that was real!

After the Jungle Cruise, we went had lunch, during which was also managed to catch a glimpse of a Disney Show and the popular Celebrate a Dream come true parade.

A show on Main Street USA
Mickey and Minnie lead the ‘celebrate a dream come true parade’
The beauty and the beast follow!

Pinocchio’s nose in normal sized for a change!

A parade in the Magic Kingdom without Aladdin? Noo wayy!

Cinderella’s evil stepmother-as arrogant as she looks

And off course, CINDERELLA..with her prince and fairy godmother!

After that we went to Tomorrow Land.

Mickey bars for desert!

Another Disney Fan, except a better equipped one!

Here is where came along the most promising part-Space Mountain! For those of you who don’t know, it is one of the most popular Disney rides, which takes you through a roller coaster-in the dark! It gives you the aura of being in space!

SPACE MOUNTAIN!
There was a loong wait, but thankfully we got some people to talk to in the queue, so time just flew by!
And the ride was as usual-AMAZING! 
We went to Frontier Land next, where we went to the Splash Mountain-which was a water ride, similar to Journey to Atlantis in Sea World where there was a steep fall into the water, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a roller coaster which impersonated a train running around steep rocks and mines. 

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Both the rides were extremely fun and nervy!
Next we went to Liberty Square. In this land we went to the Haunted Mansion-a ride with a lot of 3D effects leading you through a haunted house and Liberty Square River Boat, which was a 20 minute ride on a ship with sets on the shores for us to see.

We find some interesting DEAD attractions in the queue to the Haunted Mansion

Happy and obliged to be posing with the dead and damned

Tries to imitate-not quite there YET!

AAhh! There you go! Much better!

A grave, which looks more like a bath tub!

We find a man wearing key chains all over in the queue-officially making the queue to the Haunted Mansion my favourite queue!

The most tragic life i’ve ever seen-but then karma has its ways!

A photo with one of the green witches (people who worked at the Haunted Mansion dressed that way!)
The Liberty Square Riverboat

Scenery from the River Boat- Lonely man in a lonely house

Tribal Town!

We stayed for the Disney at night parade which took place at 9 p.m. It was a parade with all the characters in lit up, bright carousels passing through the streets of Main Street USA.

Mickey leads the way!
A horse man- a very lucky one i must say!

Cinderella’s step sisters fight over the Prince

A verry impressive carousel

A carousel which not only is shaped like a dragon, but blows out smoke every now and then from the mouth of the dragon

Needless to say, Disney is  the happiest place on earth.

And Magic Kingdom, paradise!

So have you wished upon a star yet?

Universal Studios-Island Of Adventure, Orlando

Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Spider Man- been there, done that!

Universal Studios, to be specific, Island of Adventure could have been the place where all these movies happened and I wouldn’t know it.

We started with the one highest in demand-HP theme Park

Hogwarts

My brother buys a wand

Dad holds ALL our stuff while we go to the scariest ride ever-The Dragon Challenge
Hogsmeade

A Snowman in 35 degrees Celsius!
Hogsmeade’s Butter Beer
Have you seen Sirius Black?

The Frog Choir

A souvenir from HP land  

Some of the rides we went for here was the forbidden journey, which took us into corridors of hogwarts, flight of the hippogriff, a roller coaster which resembled a hippogriff. and the dragon challenge, which is the scariest ride i’ve been on up till now.

After then came Jurassic Park.

The BIG BLACK gates!
The infamous jeep
A tribal street dancer joined by tourists

At Camp Jurassic-A place to explore mines, caves and dinosaur nets.

My brother fools around in the caves of camp jurassic

The nets/play area of camp jurassic

I fool around a bit too!
..A lot actually!

This was the point of time when mom and dad took time off while we jumped around. That happens a lot these days! We end up going uselessly back and forth the place and ultimately come back to find them at the same place!

Apart from that we went for the Jurassic Park River Adventure, which was a water ride (it didn’t get us all that wet) . Dad wanted to go to these things called Pteranodon Flyers. But turned that the ride was for small kids, and you could only go if you were going for the purpose of accompanying a kid. Dad wanted to go so badly, that he tried convincing the guards that I was a kid! Well that didn’t turn out to well. So Camp Jurassic and River Adventure were the only rides we ended up going for!

Pternodon Flyers

Next we went to Marvel Super Hero Land. Here we went for the Spider Man Ride. It was a 3D virtual reality! We ended up waiting in the queue for really long. There was some technical error and for about 15 minutes they stopped running the ride!
Well luckily they had some interesting things on the walls of one of the rooms in which we stood in the queue. They were things from the daily bugle (the newspaper in which Peter Parker worked in as a photographer). Here are some of them!

Achievements of the daily bugle

Frustrated Boss, no?

and pretty determined too, don’t you think?

Now that is just normal for a boss!

We didn’t end up going for The Incredible Hulk roller Coaster and the the Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, which seemed pretty exciting by the look of it! But we didn’t end up going ‘cuz we were kinda tired of roller coasters by then!

We went to Toon Lagoon next. They had all these comic strips everywhere in the streets and cartoon cafes and everything!


One of the eating joints in Toon Lagoon
That’s a verryy interesting sandwich blondie has there!

My dad and brother get a picture with a statue of popeye
And I get a picture with the real Popeye and Olive!

We go on a water ride-Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and get WET

Since we’re wet anyway (and want a place to sit) we take another water ride-Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. They’re like tea cups revolving at the speed of the earth! No harm!

Maybe we should have reconsidered-this time we get SOAKED!

Our clothes are way to soaked to dry off in the sun. We try out the family dryer. Amazingly effective. (Although it didn’t dry my shoes. I ended up walking barefoot-which was kinda fun!)



Although we visited 4 out of 6 islands (we could not see The Lost Continent and Seuss Landing), it felt like we’d seen so much!

Will keep my eyes shut for the next Universal Park two days later.




NASA

 Today we dropped by Kennedy Space Center. I didn’t expect it to be so much fun.

A view of space shuttles at the entrance

 We started our day with a 2 hour long bus tour. They showed us some sites there.

NASA Building

A model resembling the launch pad
The area which controlled the launch of apollo 8 in 1968
An Astronautic Suit 

A Lunar Sample from the Moon

Another Lunar Sample

The tools used to collect Lunar Samples in 1968

Special Astronautical Suits made out of Metal

Later we hung around in this visitor’s complex. They had this model of an airplane there where we could go inside and see what it really looked like.

Model of an Aircraft

Insides of the Aircraft model

We also went for a virtual reality ride. It felt as if we were really going into space.
Then we went to the I-Max theater and saw this 3D movie called Hubble. It was amazing! It was about this space telescope hubble which takes photographs and sends them back to the earth. It’s been up there for a while and is already pretty deep into the Universe.

The best 3D effects ever seen!
It was incredible seeing the kind of highly intellectual work the guys here are doing. Hope there are many more to come!
And like always, we ended up fooling around at the end of the day. 

Pink Lemonade-A new drink for me!
We see the flyover opening up to give way to a really tall ship passing underway

Sea World, Orlando

We visited Sea World today. It was so much fun!

We went to a couple of shows and also some roller coasters!

The first show we went for is the Shamu Show. It had killer whales doing all kinds of things.

A trainer woos the whales into performing at the Shamu Show

Then we went to another show called “Call of the Ocean”. It was mostly acrobats impersonating life at sea.
After that came the Clyde and Seamore show! That was the best. This one had seals in it. They had this whole story that they acted out on sets which looked like those of pirates of the carribean!

Sets of the Clyde and Seamore show

The captain of the ship orders one of the seals around

One of the pirate fools around with the seal
Lunch time for the seals
A Walrus brought in at the end of the show!

Next came the whale and dolphin show. Although the whale never came (apparently it wasn’t in a mood to perform), the dolphins were amazing! There were acrobats in that show too.

Sets of the Whale and Dolphin Show

Artist impersonating a parrot at the show

More acrobats at the show

We also went on some roller coasters.

The Kraken-My favourite

And here is some other random stuff we did-aquariums, getting airbrush tattoos, and just hanging out!

A fish school 
A Mantaray at the Acquarium

An Octopus at the Aquarium

A Leafy Sea Dragon at the Aquarium

Surrounded by fish-One of the coolest picture booths i’ve ever seen!

My dad’s friend and his son enjoy the whale’s and dolphin’s show

A ship one kills to play on

Tattoos at Sea World!

My tattoo!
A jet prints the word “God” in the sky

Delhi To Florida

Today was the first day of our (My Mom, Dad, Brother and Me) 3 week long trip to the US. 


And like all other trips of ours, this trip too gave us a happening start. 


Firstly, when we were leaving for the airport in New Delhi, our car’s tire got punctured. Well anyhow, that was fixed in about half an hour. We reached the airport around 12. That gave us plenty of time to catch our flight at 2:30.

My brother fools around at the Delhi airport





Not that it left at 2:30! It was late. The airport guys decided that they wanted to be nice and send the families with small kids first. And when we finally got a chance to go in, some really obstinate woman decided that she wanted to take 2 seats instead of 1. So the air hostesses ended up fighting with that woman in order to get a seat for the passenger who was seat less! Well I didnt really mind that too much. It was sort of entertaining. 
We got a little preview (and a pretty scary one) of the roller coasters we hope to find in Orlando during our flight, when the storms and turbulances that we found on our way made our plane shake crazily!


One thing I noticed was that in each of these instances, all the Indians got really restless and impatient. All the foreigners on the other hand remained oblivious to what was happening! 
I noticed this even at Frankfurt airport. Everyone stood so patiently in the long queues. 


Frankfurt airport was quite interesting. We had to spend 7 hours there since we had a connecting flight to Orlando. 

Dad and I playing with Bucky Balls

My brother tries to copy one of the signs he noticed at the airport

McDonalds-Anywhere, Everywhere

My favourite part-Pink Telephone Booth!

Well we reached the Orlando airport, and subsequently our hotel without any more drama! The weather is great here! It’s been raining since we got here and for people like us, who come from a temperature of 40 degrees celsius, it’s quite a relief. 
Our suite here is incredible. Its huge-big enough for 8 people. 

Loving the space!



Today the 4 of us get to use all the extra space! Tomorrow Dad’s friend and his family will came stay with us for one night. They live here in Orlando and are going to spend the weekend with us. We’re going to Sea World tomorrow! 


Can’t wait!