Thursday, November 26, 2015


This was going to be our first trip from Kenya and we were going for a holiday after a year. It was just a 5 day trip and Aakaash and I were celebrating 15 years of knowing each other, so we decided to go to one of the most tranquil places with powder like white sand beaches and deep blue sea – Seychelles.

A little more than 3 hours of flying over the Indian Ocean and we touched down in Mahe which is the largest island among 115 islands of Seychelles. I have been to 30 different countries and till date no airstrip is as beautiful as Seychelles. The airstrip was literally next to the ocean. The view was breathtaking as we were taxing right next to the turquoise blue ocean and were ready to breath in the fresh air plus the weather was just perfectly romantic. After going through immigration and security we withdrew local currency and took a cab versus hiring a car since we were uncertain about the location of our bungalow and the connectivity of local transportation.There was a viewpoint of the entire Mahe from a hillock which was gorgeous.

Our hotel was almost 45 mins from the airport. On the way to our Hotel we drove up a mountain which forms a part of the Morne National Park that also covers 20% of Mahe and descended onto the west side of the island towards the beautiful beaches of Beau Vallon. We also drove past a big Indian temple. Initially we thought of booking a hotel but later decided to experience the creole hospitality by staying in a bungalow. Well truth be told - most of the good hotels were fully booked and exorbitantly expensive. However we settled in this duplex self-catering bungalow right across the beach with the sea view and indeed it was the best decision we made.

This beach was perfect as few of the other beaches were not very safe coz either they were very rough or were full of sharp rocks which can really cut through your skin. However, Beau Vallon beach is considered as one of the best beaches in Mahe as it is usually very calm, shallow and we could walk in for quite a distance with kids. The kids had a blast dipping, soaking and splashing in the sea. Further away we could see a lot of hotel properties and restaurants alongside the beaches. Our Romance bungalow was perched on a small hillock with a sea view (I am not kidding! That was the name of the bungalow). The top of the duplex had a king size bed and single bed for Aananya and the lower segment had one bed with TV which was occupied by Aan. The kids had a blast running up and down. It was like a single house with terrace and we were staying in the terrace so when you look down from the railing you can see the kitchenette and the bed below.

After leaving our luggage in the room we spoke to the owners and understood the way around the island. Although the transportation is good and some of our friends had used the buses we decided to hire a car since we had a short trip and it is more convenient. So Aakaash went and hired a cute Nissan March for 2 days. We just went to the beach and by evening we were tired and did a take away from an Indian restaurant nearby, came home gobbled our food and slept like babies.

The next morning we were woken up by the housekeeper who had our breakfast and fresh juices ready at our veranda. It was a real treat and amazing experience smelling and seeing the sea early in the morning with hot breakfast being served. After the breakfast we got ready and drove all around the island stopping wherever we wished, hopping from one beach to the other, from one resort to the next. It was pure bliss since we were spending quality time with family, taking pleasure in little things. Playing games with nature, when the water would recede Aan, Aananya and I would run after it and as soon as the waves would hit the shore we would try to out run it.. Had a great time with the inner child in me as well. We stopped at a small departmental store filled up the car with knick knacks for kids. I enjoyed driving up and down the mountains, next to the sea and all around Mahe Island. At night when we reached back  to the bungalow, to our surprise we got to know that there was a night market with a local food fair right on the road next to the beach across our Bungalow. We all had a great time mixing with the locals and tasting food from stall to stall. Over all it was an amazing experience.

After a late breakfast we were better prepared and decided to sit in the car with our swimsuits so as to avoid changing our clothes every 15 mins. We stuffed our car with goodies and were out on the run. Seychelles is a place to go and chill, there is not much that one can do. So we spent the whole day driving through Mahe seeing all the most famous beaches of the world. Stopped at a local restaurant with a gorgeous view for lunch and then moved on. We also visited the Baie Ternay Marine National Park and Eden Island – the Marina at the Eden Island is one of the most wonderful properties I have seen.  At night we decided to dine at the same Indian Restaurant since kids were not willing to eat anything else and then called it a night. Tomorrow we were leaving for Praslin – a must see island of Seychelles.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Big Apple- New York

This was our final day in NYC and one place that was in my checklist was Hoboken – Carlos Bakery. Yes from the show Cake Boss. I am not ashamed to say I am a fan of his cakes, so wanted to visit and taste the cake in person. I usually don’t get star struck; but I can’t deny the excitement that had filled my face. As far as cakes and pastries are concerned I think I was short of buying the whole shop. Buddy – the cake boss was not there but did meet his sister Maddalena. After buying loads of goodies we chilled out in a park and saw the beautiful skyline of New York.

Later returned to Times Square for our final goodbye. The NYPD was also there to say bye to us so we kindly graced them with a pic of ours - basically Aakaash and Aan. Later we had an awesome dinner at Hard Rock CafĂ© and it was time to bid adieu to US. This was one of my favourite vacations and a big tick mark on my bucket list. Little did I know that when I get back to Lagos I was to get ready for a new adventure of moving to Nairobi, Kenya. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bye Bye LA

In the morning we started our journey back to LA. On the way we stopped at Ethel M Chocolate factory and Botanical Garden. This is also the only Ethel M factory in the world which has the same old recipe and still hand packs the boxes. You can see how the chocolates are made through the factory’s window which goes from pipes and conveyor belts to the storage unit. The overwhelming aroma of chocolate forces you to pick up a pack for yourself and after stuffing our mouths with chocolates we went on a short trip to see 300 different species of cactus.

After couple of hours we reached LA and went back to Amarjeet Uncle’s house and spent time with his lovely family. The next morning we were ready embark our final leg of the journey…. Back to New York.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Sin City - Vegas

Early in the morning we boarded the bus from China Town in LA for a 4 day trip to Vegas and Grand Canyon. By noon we had entered Vegas after passing through the San Bernardino Valley Area and the immense Mojave Desert. Our tour guys let us explore the Sin City by ourselves and I have to say each hotel has its own charm and is a spectacle in itself. No wonder Vegas is called the “Entertainment Capital of the World”. You can walk in at any time of day or night; inside the hotels you can never get to know what time of the day it is since there is a constant flood of people at all hours. It doesn’t matter which hotel you enter, you would be astounded at seeing a different city and atmosphere in every hotel. Time runs very fast in Vegas and after hopping through so many hotels we were ready for out night tour. We saw Treasure Island, MGM, Planet Hollywood, Caser Palace, Palazzo, Venetian, Monte Carlo, Mirage, Trump, Encore etc. This tour is ideal to see the hustle bustle and night life of Vegas Strip.

Our first stop was the Volcano Show at the Mirage that displays high explosions of lava with fireballs dancing to the tunes of music and tabla of Zakir Hussain. Whenever I am out of the country and see Indian talent getting recognized it makes me feel very proud. Our next stop was the Bellagio Fountains which mesmerizes you with the interwoven show of light, water and music. The beautiful choreography of water dancing to the tunes of music looks amazing against the buzzing backdrop of Las Vegas. If you are an art lover then you must visit the Venetian hotel to see the spectacular art work. Our final destination was the Freemont Street Experience which is in down town Las Vegas. We were just in time to see the Viva Vision light Show. The atmosphere was amazing. When we went I didn’t know about the zip line and while we were there they weren’t doing it else I would have loved to do it. After spending some time at the Freemont Street we were finally taken to our hotel which was the Stratosphere. I was very happy since it is the tallest building in Las Vegas and the tallest observation tower in the US that has some crazy rides.

Early in the morning we were super excited to board the bus which was taking us to the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon which is considered one of the natural wonders of the world. After a 4 hour drive we finally reached our destination and straight away booked a helicopter ride. The immense size of the Canyon along with the intricate and colorful landscape is enough to visually overwhelm your senses. I would definitely say that one of the most exhilarating ways to see the Grand Canyon is by a helicopter. The excitement reaches no bounds when the helicopter slowly flies over the edge of the Grand Canyon and descends into the gorge and lands next to the Colorado River. The experience of being on a boat in the Colorado River surrounded by the canyon on both sides is also amazing.

From there we went for Skywalk which is a horseshoe shaped steel frame which projects about 70 feet from the canyon rim and has glass floor. It is suspended at a height of 4000 feet above the river bed. I am very scared of heights and was finding it impossible to walk on the glass. After I took a few steps Aakaash started jumping on the floor which was freaking me out completely; finally a passerby said “Be kind to your wife” which took the humor out of Aakaash and I was able to relax. The view is gorgeous indeed. While we were walking on the glass platform we saw an eagle glide below us so you can imagine how high it is constructed and it indeed has a gorgeous view.

I wanted to stay longer at the Grand Canyon but going with a tour bus has its disadvantages. Nevertheless the plus point is that they make sure that you see many more things that wouldn’t have been possible if you were doing it on your own.. On the way back to Vegas we made a stop at the Hoover Dam. It is an impressive dam, especially given the fact that it was constructed in 1936. By late evening we reached Vegas, had dinner and retired for the night.

This was going to be our last day in Vegas. In the morning we found ourselves in the arms of celebrities in Madam Tussauds.  Aakaash and I also got our hands immortalized while the kids were too small to keep their hands still so as to get their wax hand souvenirs. In the evening we saw the Treasure Island’s Pirate Show which was quite interesting and Aan loved it. This was the only free night we had got and I really wanted to go for Holly Madison’s peep show but of course to arrange for a baby sitter and other things it was too much to do so Aakaash forcefully dropped it. Ironically even though we were staying in a casino we didn’t gamble at all. 

We just roamed around the strip and came back to our hotel to do the fun rides. Two crazy rides that are compulsory for everyone to do are X-Scream & Insanity. In X-Scream you are in a ride which propels you out headfirst around 27 feet from the building. You are literally dangling midair from 106th floor and then suddenly the ride stops brings you back in the building and shunts you out like you are about to dash out of the building and you can see tiny cars and people 106 floors below. It is the third highest thrill ride in the world. While Aakaash was on that ride I was with kids and we could see him and suddenly Aan asked “What happened Mumma why does papa look so scared”. All I could do that time was burst out laughing.

Insanity was also a mind boggling ride which is rated as the second highest thrill ride in the world. It is like an octopus with arms and you are sitting on it and it ejects you out of the building and the floor is removed from under your feet and you are dangling outside the building on the 106th Floor and then it starts spinning at 40 miles an hour. It sure is enough to make you insane if you stay in it longer. Since we were with our small babies we had to go turn by turn. Aakaash was lucky enough to get to Big Shot which is the highest thrill ride in the world. It just shoots up and down with a great speed. By the time it was my turn, it had become very windy and they had to stop the ride for the night. So this is how we bid goodbye to Las Vegas and gathered all the memories to store down in the memory lane. Tomorrow we would be enduring final leg of West coast.

LA & Huntington Beach

I remember my mom say this to me once, “I really want you to go to California.” Probably in her heart of hearts she really wanted to visit this place. So when the plane touched down at California I was remembering my mom. We were picked up by Amarjeet uncle a friend of my mother-in-law. It was very sweet of him to come all the way to pick us up from Los Angles and we had a pleasant stay in his beautiful home in Huntington Beach.

After taking us out on a scrumptious lunch uncle took us straight to Huntington Beach. It is also known as Surf City due to the windy warm weather almost all through the year making it perfect for the surfers. Just yesterday from Atlantic Ocean in the East Coast we went straight to Pacific Ocean in the West Coast. Aan and Aananya kept themselves busy by running after the seagulls. We took quick snaps on the lifeguard post since we were not allowed to go up there. The wind was so cold that we didn't have the guts to run into the sea therefore the weather didn't permit me to go complete Baywatch.. lol. From there we went home, had dinner and just crashed.

The next morning Amarjeet uncle took us around LA. The first place we went to was the Griffith Observatory. This was the first visit to a planetarium for Aakaash and the kids. The kids had a great time looking through different telescopes and enjoying the show in the Samuel Oshchin Planetarium. This place also served as a great vantage point over LA and we got our pics clicked with the famous backdrop of Hollywood sign. We then went to Hollywood boulevard to see the walk of fame but had only enough time to find Marilyn Monroe and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stars. While we were heading back home I insisted on seeing the Playboy mansion although uncle discouraged that there was nothing that you could see but still went up till the gates and drove past it.. Just for kicks lol; was following Girls Next Door that time.  From there we headed to uncle’s gorgeous home where the dazzling gas pit table was inviting us into their patio to make us cozy enough on a beautiful cold clear starlit night. The next day we were visiting the Sin City.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Everglades & Fort Lauderdale

 Everglades is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the largest wetland in North America. It is also the only place in the world where American alligator and crocodile co-exist in the wild. I was very excited to reach Everglades and we straight away went for the famous air-boat ride. It was exciting to see so many alligators in the marshy saw-grass swamps and lush vegetation of Everglades. The experience was enthralling and it certainly was one of the best ways to experience the journey into nature’s unique, mysterious and vibrant environment of the Everglades.

Once we were back from the tour, we toured around the safari park, went on the jungle walkway and later saw an alligator show. After the show we all got an opportunity to pet and hold a baby alligator. Loved holding the baby alligator and I was smiling from ear to ear.
Soon after the show we headed to Fort Lauderdale from where we had an early morning flight to California. Our stay at Florida had come to an end but we still had loads places to explore and experience. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Miami Heat

If I remember correctly the drive from Orlando to Miami was 4 to 5 hours. I drove from Orlando to Miami and enjoyed every moment of it. While we were on the highway we had to stop coz Aananya wanted milk and Aakaash had to get off the car to make her bottle. All of a sudden a police car with blinking police lights (complete Hollywood style) pulled up behind us, I can’t even begin to tell you how fast my heart beat was beating out of my chest and I started to wonder would I land up in jail! Suddenly my though was interrupted by Aakaash voice which was all cool and chirpy, I just heard “Good morning Officer” while I drifted back to my thought wondering now what the hell is going to happen. To my relief the police officer just said “Be careful when you park, sometimes the trailers come very fast and we have had a bad accident just last week”. Phewwww we just thanked the officer and off I was on my way. Somehow police officers all over the world make me nervous especially when I am driving.. lol

By the time we reached Miami, it was dusk and we rushed to our rooms, changed and went straight to the beach and dipped our feet in the Atlantic Ocean. Our hotel was a gorgeous boutique hotel with Hollywood themed decor and was located right on the beach. Coz of time crunch we could not really explore and see Miami, something that had happened with us in Gold Coast, Australia. It was just touch and go.  Miami was more so a stopover to go to Everglades. We had dinner and breakfast in the lovely ambiance of the hotel and the next morning we were ready to visit Everglades- a World Heritage Site and the largest wetland in North America.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Orlando – Paradise for kids

These 5 days were just going to be Epic for all of us.  We had decided to do just the theme parks of Disneyland. So we had to cover 4 theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. However, I guess we could cover just 3.

Day 1- Magic Kingdom
Our journey began with Magic Kingdom. When you enter Disneyland you are in a different world and you feel that no pain or sorrow can ever touch you again. We were welcomed by the Disney parade followed by the performance of main Disney characters with fireworks with a backdrop of the beautiful Disney princess castle. Forget the excitement that the children were experiencing, I was constantly smiling ear to ear like a childhood wish or fantasy had come true. Later we went to meet Mickey and Minnie. We also met up with almost all the Disney princesses – Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel and Belle. The whole place was a fun carnival with Disney characters. We went on a few rides where Aan’s favorite ride was the Jungle Safari Cruise in Adventure Land and we also loved Alladin's Magic carpet. I let my inner child out completely by sitting on the carousel after centuries. I also wanted to do Swim with the dolphins which was in Sea World but we got to know that the whole experience would take 4 hours and we had a very limited time and loads of things to do in Orlando so half-heartedly I had to forego the idea.

Time passes very quickly in Disneyland and it was already night. Soon after Disney’s Electrical Parade was over it was time for the long awaited Disney fireworks which we had missed in Paris due to heavy downpour. The fireworks had us spell bound. We all watched the entire show with fascination and wild admiration. This is was perfect end of our first day in Orlando.

Day 2- Disney’s Hollywood Studio & Epcot
The next morning we were more excited than ever because we had organized a special breakfast with the Disney characters. Although I had tried to organize a stay in the Disney hotels but the cost was too exorbitant so we had to skip that idea and I had booked the breakfast beforehand. If anyone is planning to do the same, I had booked it 15 days before and yet could not get the characters which were my first preference. However, we were super-duper thrilled when Jake the pirate from Neverland, Oso, June and Handy Manny came to visit us at our table followed by a few other characters and when they performed for us and danced with Aan and Aananya, their happiness knew no bounds – it was an experience just out of a dream for the kids..

We had an exciting day at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Aan saw and got pics clicked with his favorite character Lightning McQueen and Mater, Pherb, Toy Story solider and Aananya enjoyed the musical show of Ariel the mermaid. We also went on some cool rides and did a toy train ride of Hollywood Studios. Aananya bought her silver Mickey Mouse ear rings which she was very excited about. The Disney parade was once again a wonderful treat to watch.

Our next stop was Epcot which brings together and showcases the diverse cultures of the world. We rushed to the Finding Nemo block to see so many fishes and kids were rolling with laughter in the show organized there. We saw a beautiful Tinker Bell garden with all the fairies beautifully carved out of the bushes. The place was beautifully decorated with flowers all around. The grand finale was with Illuminations - a very different kind of firework with music, lasers and special effects. I think we didn’t do Animal Kingdom, can’t recollect but the Disneyland experience was amazing which I can never forget throughout my life.

Day 3- WonderWorks & Cirque De Soleil
The third day we had kept a little free and I really wanted to visit this place called the WonderWorks which is an upside down house literally. It is one of the strangest buildings of the world. It has loads of fun and interesting things and activities to do especially related to science.

In the evening we headed to Downtown Disney. The place is amazing to chill out in the evening. The reason for us to be there was to watch the world famous show Cirque De Soleil. It is a combination of circus and theatrical performance with elements of over the top dance, humor, acrobats and stunts. It is hard to describe the brilliance of the show so you have to watch it and experience it to truly understand it.

Day 4- Universal Studio
Universal Studio was a special theme park for me coz I had come here 10 years before and wanted to go with Aakaash on some specific mind boggling crazy rides. The moment we entered we were welcomed by Diago, Dora, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, the Simpsons, Daffy Duck and I had to drag Aakaash away from Marlene Monroe. Aan was super excited to see Spiderman ride a spider bike. 

The comic strip area was also very cool and we had  we had our lunch at the Comic Strip Cafe. Now it was time to enter the Adventure Island where there is no shortage of fun, thrill and exciting rides. Harry Potter Castle was a new addition; I enjoyed a lot and missed my sister so much since she is a diehard fan of Harry Potter. Kids couldn’t relate so much since they had not watched Harry Potter but they could go on some of the rides which was very exciting for them. Took Aakaash to the craziest and the most exhilarating ride I ever sat in. All in all had a fun filled exhausting day. Next morning we had to be fresh to take on the Miami Heat.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tampa, Clearwater & off to Orlando – These were the best days of my life…

My enthusiasm knew no bounds as we started our drive from Tampa to Clearwater. A decade is a long time and the whole landscape had changed; people I knew had moved on and the place I stayed in was renamed. Nevertheless thanks to Aakaash’s searching skills even without knowing the address he managed to find the place where I had stayed for a month. The drive from Tampa to Clearwater is breathtaking and the moment we entered the beautiful drive across the ocean it overwhelmed me with amazing memories, the innocence, the fun and a blast of a time that I and my friends/ colleagues had.

Finally we were able to locate the motel where we had stayed and asked the manager if I could take few pics. A decade ago it was called Comfort Inn and it used to be in an open space now the area was covered by flyovers and loads of buildings were constructed. It was surreal to be there a decade later - last when I was here I was a kid and now I was standing there with my kids.

The last night in Clearwater from a decade ago was a crystal clear memory – everyone packing, sitting on suitcases to close the gaping mouth; requesting each other if they had some extra space in their luggage. Once all that was done most of the girls were literally crying coz we all knew that we’d all had the time of our lives and that this time would never come back and the friends we had made were going to be left behind. At that time I had with full conviction said that I will definitely come back here. Alas, so much time had passed and we all had got consumed by our daily lives and the contacts were all lost. 

Our next stop was the Clearwater beach which is famous for its pristine white sand beaches. I remember this is the place for the first time ever I went jet skiing with my friends and I think Rajat, Monika and Namita – all were non swimmers and were driving in one jet ski and  they fell off in the water, they were completely panic ridden and were having a hard time getting back up on their jet ski; can never ever forget their fear stricken faces when we reached to rescue them… lol.. Some memories! It was really nostalgic and sent me back to memory lane where so many cherished moments just came gushing in. The way Namita and I use to shop together, always covering each and every isle. The time when officially we all were taken to a night club and each one of us freaked out dancing and partying all night.

I remember we were supposed to always inform our managers or team leaders if we were planning to go out and one night I and two of my friends decided to go out for a drive to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This was also the first time ever I drove a car in my life. Of course it was late and we had to sneak out and while we were out one of my colleagues found us missing and got worried sick as to where we were. She woke up our Team Leader to ask about my where about, but he was so tired and exhausted that he told her that we must be somewhere in the hotel.. That was a narrow escape for some of us but the amount I got to hear from Monika and Namita was enough for me to always keep them in loop all the time. I do recall how we all were completely hooked to Taco Bell and almost everyday for lunch we use to walk there from office with our FACS mugs for refills which I still have.

When I was shaken back to reality we made our next pit stop at the Bahama Breeze Restaurant where a decade ago we had our last dinner before returning back to India and that time I had told my friends, one day I will definitely come back here. When we reached there I was excited like a kid, as wonderful memories were rushing back in. Took pics in the same spots where we sat a decade back, it was just wonderful. I wish if we had more time I would have definitely taken Aakaash and the kids to the Bush Garden’s where I had first encountered the craziest rides of my life. Due to shortage of time and the fact that we had to reach Orlando, soon after lunch we took to the road. We were ready to rock and roll and hit Orlando to have the time of our lives and to re-live the kids in us.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


We took our flight from New York to Tampa, Florida. The only reason for us to land at Tampa was that I wanted to visit a small town called Clearwater which was a 45 minutes’ drive from Tampa.  I had specially planned a sojourn to Clearwater to reminisce the most memorable time of my life - when I had stayed in Clearwater for a month; a decade ago.

We touched down in Tampa at 10:30 pm and boarded the airport shuttle that took us to our hotel. The next morning while I made the kids ready while Aakaash went and picked up our rental car from the Airport. Aakaash was indeed nervous driving in the US and not because it was a left hand drive, since Nigeria and Cambodia were both left hand drives; but it was due to the strict traffic rules which we had only read as a precursor to the decision of driving in the US. I love to drive but with kids I sure as hell was not going to take the wheels till I was comfortable.
I was ready and filled with nostalgia to explore the place I had lived in a decade ago. Even though the stay had been just for a month, Clearwater holds a very special place in my heart.

Friday, April 24, 2015

New York – The City that never sleeps

We were totally excited to see the iconic places of USA - The Statue of Liberty and The Empire State Building. In the morning we headed to see the UNESCO World Heritage site – The Statue of Liberty. Did you know that Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and is a symbol of freedom and democracy! The queue for the ferry was long and we had to wait a while in the sun but the trip was worth it. The ferry took us around the Statue of liberty and docked at Elis Island which was the major immigration point for a lot of Nationalities who endured days and weeks journey to immigrate to America. The skyline of New York looked beautiful across the clear blue sky. After getting off the ferry we also crossed the ground zero where once 2 majestic buildings stood. It was sad that more than 3000 innocent lives were lost in the Twin Towers due to some sadistic people who had misplaced beliefs and in the name of religion did such heinous crimes. On our way to the Empire State Building we saw beautiful Cherry Blossom trees. 

If you are planning to go to Empire State Building I would definitely advise everyone to do an online booking else you have to stand in the queue for hours. Luckily we had done the booking before so there was no queue for us and we felt like VIPs cutting through the long lines leaving people behind who were standing for hours. Empire State Building is a major landmark of New York and was the World’s tallest building for 40 years. The observation Deck on the 86th floor has a 360 view of New York and is breathtaking. Today the Empire State Building is the tallest building in New York and has 102 stories.

From there we walked down to the oldest chain of toy store in United States - FAO Schwarz. We had to go there coz of the big piano mat on which we all had a blast. The store is definitely a paradise for kids. From the FAO Schwarz we headed back to Times Square where we got featured on the billboards along with other people which was fun. The kids also had a great time meeting up with Minnie and Mickey outside Toys R Us. Finally it was dark and after dinner we called it a night and were super-duper excited for the next leg of our trip to FLORIDAAAAAAAAAA.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Washington D.C, Philadelphia & back to NYC

Today was the final day of our tour. The best part I found about the tour was that it took us to so many places that we couldn't have probably covered on our own. However, the only challenge we faced everyday was getting up very early in the morning, packing, dragging sleeping kids, checking out and hitting the bus.

So here we were tired and groggy getting into our bus to Washington DC. First stop was The White House. Our itinerary had so many places to cover that we did not have the time to go in, hence we just clicked our pics and moved on. On the opposite side of The White House was the Washington Monument. The fascinating thing about Washington Monument is that the obelisk is the tallest stone structure in the world as well as the world’s tallest obelisk. From there we were hushed away to the Thomas Jefferson Monument. At the Thomas Jefferson Memorial the view of the tidal basin and the obelisk made our shots perfect. Later we were lucky to find one of the few remaining Cherry blossom trees that bloom during April. The whole view is spectacular as 1700 Cherry blossom trees surround the tidal basin with a beautiful display of floral fireworks.

Our next stop was the Korean War Veterans Memorial where on the Mural Wall the soldier’s photographs have been etched. We saw the 19 statues depicting Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force officers beautifully carved out of stainless steel marching in the battle ground of Korean paddy field. There were more memorials like the Vietnam War Memorial, World War II memorial but again due to time constraint and a little lack of interest and knowledge we headed towards The Abraham Lincoln Memorial. It is a magnificent 19 feet tall statue of Abraham Lincoln facing the reflecting pool. There is also an engraving of “I have a Dream”; the revolutionary speech delivered by Martin Luther King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

From there we headed to the National Air and Space Museum. It is the 5th most visited museum in the world and has a lot of original exhibits like the wright brother’s original plane, space suit worn in Apollo 13, the first aircraft to fly around the world and amazingly so, you can also touch a moon rock. Then we headed to the Capitol Hill which is the largest residential historic district in DC. On our way to Madam Tussauds we saw the National Archive Building where all the original documents like Declaration of Independence, Bill of rights and the Constitution of United States are stored.

We have been to Madam Tussauds in London and I personally preferred the one in London; we all still had a blast clicking pics with so many Presidents and celebrities. I sat with Abraham Lincoln, gave the “I have a dream” speech with Martin Luther King. Kennedy’s, Clinton’s, George Bush and the Obama’s got pics clicked with us. George Cloony wanted to hold my hand so I let him, Brangelina were there too, Tom Cruise was elated to see me and Oprah took my interview, I might have missed out a few more.  This was our last stop at DC and we headed towards Philadelphia.

Although our tour was supposed to take us back to New York, we decided to get off at Philadelphia since Aakaash’s nephew was staying there. The first place that we went to see was the Liberty Bell which weighs over 900 Kgs. Outside the Liberty Bell Pavilion was a beautiful garden of tulips. From there we took our luggage out of the bus and met up with Dhawal. We drove around and saw the Independence National Historic Park, Independence Hall which is also a World Heritage Site and the City Centre. He took us to the Irish Famine Memorial where they have put a 30 foot bronze statue with more than 2 dozen statues that represents the pain and suffering that Irish suffered due to Great Hunger in 1840 and suffered death and disease in their country as well as during migrating to America. We walked down to the Penn Landing area where the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge was our backdrop. Aan was super excited to meet his cousin brother. We have a huge extended family and Dhawal and Aan are the only Sehgal brothers who are around 20 years apart.

Later Dhawal took us to his university and showed us the oldest computer in the world ENIAC which is Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. We also clicked quite a few pics at the Penn University Love Sign. Did a little bit of shopping and then we went for Mexican food. That was the best Mexican food we have ever had till date. Later on, all around US we did try so many restaurants but nothing could beat El Vez’s delicious slurrptious food and I seriously don’t mind going back to Philly just to dig into that mouthwatering tantalizing food. The day had come to an end and Dhawal took all the trouble to drive us back to New York and went back to Philadelphia. This was the perfect ending to our east coast bus tour.