A Short and Nice Getaway

After a very, very long time, here is another blog. Before I begin this, I’m going to let you know that there won’t be another blog on my India trip because there isn’t anything else that is left for me to talk about.

Anyways, I am going to share my experience with you about my recent trip to Victoria. This short vacation was a little getaway from the busy and congested life my parent’s and I have and to relax and to enjoy our lives without having to worry about anything that had anything to do with our normal lives.

So, we set off on the late morning of Good Friday to catch the ferry which we missed, but didn’t really care because, one, my family and I aren’t time punctual at all, and two, we were just taking everything nice and slow. And so we had to wait for about one to two hours before we got onto the ferry. While waiting, we had some Italian gelato because the day had happily turned out to be sunny and warm, just like we had hoped for. My parents and I spent some time on the deck on the ferry and then the rest of the time charging my dad’s phone. We got off the ferry and ate lunch in the car while heading to our first attraction, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse. This place was a somewhat okay place because, no offense, I felt like the batteries inside the fort were haunted like the souls of the soldiers were roaming around (imagination of a grown up child). Other than that unusual thought of mine, the fort was nice. I loved how they had preserved the place so nicely there and also how everything was like during the war. The lighthouse was better than the fort. It was very windy so I suggest to bring a hood or a warm hat during any type of weather because your ears and eyes will hurt a lot from the wind after coming back from the lighthouse. The view of the open sea from in front of the lighthouse was beautiful and calm. Inside it, there were some preserved artifacts that were owned by all the families who had lived their and some information boards that had stories about the previous owners of the lighthouses. Overall, this attraction was nice and also the fact that the park ranger there gave me a dog chain when I asked her if there were any souvenirs we could get (I don’t have any pets).

We didn’t go anywhere after that except of checking in to our hotel and strolling around the waterfront. I saw the Legislature for the first time as a grown up child and I was amazed by the architecture. About our hotel, we stayed in a one bedroom suite that had a view of the St. Ann’s Academy, a national historic site of Canada. I thought it was a university and thought it would be so cool to go to such a historical one, but later found it was just an attraction and a place where weddings were held nowadays. Before, in the 1800s, it was an all girls Catholic school and convent.

On the second day, we went to Craigdarroch Castle. This building wasn’t exactly a castle, but a large mansion built by one of the richest businessmen of Canada, Robert Dunsmuir, who unfortunately died before it finished being built. The architecture style is châteauesque and it looks so beautiful and complex. There are four floors in the house and 39 rooms for each of the members of the family. This attraction was very nice and I liked it a lot. I got to know what it was like to live in the 1800s in a house/mansion of that time. That day we also went to the Royal BC Museum, which I actually do not recommend. Museums are supposed to be informative, but this one was too informative. There was so much to look at and read, it was too much and I got tired as soon as we entered the first exhibit. For someone who likes to learn a whole lot about nature and human history, it is a great place for them. I’m not going to describe this place that much since I didn’t like it. The only thing I learned from this museum was that climate is what you expect and weather is what you get. From the museum, we walked around the waterfront for a bit and took pictures in front of the Legislature (we hadn’t done that on the first day). We did some souvenir shopping and went of to the hotel to eat dinner.

The last day was a day when we didn’t see much. We checked out of the hotel at around 11 and went to see the St. Ann’s Academy up close and to take pictures. That place was even better when we were right in front of it. I was sad we couldn’t go in because it was closed. From there, we went to Ogden point which is a very nice place to have a short stroll. It was a beautiful place and you could see the Olympic mountains from there. Then, we went to Hatley Castle which was also closed because of classes that were going on (the mansion is now owned by the Royal Roads university). This mansion was built by the oldest son, James Dunsmuir, of the person who built Craigdarroch Castle. From the outside, it was nice and was larger than Craigdarroch Castle. Since the mansion was closed, we strolled around the Japanese garden that was beside it where I saw a peacock for the first time. Too bad it didn’t open its feathers for me. I was kind of disappointed by that. The garden was nice and I took many photographs of flowers. This attraction could have been better if we had gotten a chance to see the inside of the mansion, but a nice, calm stroll around the garden was a great way to end the trip. From there, we headed to the ferry terminal to catch the ferry back to Vancouver.

I really liked this small trip and I think my parent’s and I needed one after a long period of a hectic and bustling life. Victoria is a place where you can never get enough from; there is so much to see and I really want to go back there. It is a place full of history of Canada and I’m proud that it is the capital of BC.  

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My India Trip

I’m back after a very long time and I’m so sorry for keeping all the followers waiting! Here is my blog about my most recent trip!

  From December 2016 to January 2017, I visited my family in India. This was one of the best trips ever. I never had so much fun in my entire time going to India. I loved everything about the trip; how we all lived in one house, the entire family did everything together, and how we all just spent the entire day together. I can never have such an experience in Vancouver.

On this trip, one of my biggest dreams came true, I finally saw Taj Mahal and it was awesome. Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world and it was truly majestic. However, the system to keep people in control was not organized at all. There was a very long lineup to get into the Taj Mahal area (We didn’t go in that line. I’ll tell you why later.) and people were everywhere. Every single lineup you would find in the Taj Mahal or outside it was a chaos. Technically, there was no such thing as organization. It was only peaceful when we finally, after pushing and pulling our way through, got to the garden in front of Taj Mahal. But, if you look on the bright side and forget all about the people and the lineups, Taj Mahal was one of the most beautiful place you have ever seen. When I saw it the first time, my jaw-dropped. Literally. I can’t even stop describing it. It’s exactly like it was back when it was newly built. The pure white colour of the walls hadn’t turned black at all, except one tower which was already under maintenance, and the beauty of the palace was unexplainable. The entire structure was so well preserved. I loved everything about it.

   Many other things happened during the visit to Taj Mahal and I could go on and on forever. There is one thing that very important to be aware of when you visit Taj Mahal. So, since there were so many people in Taj Mahal and everyone was pushing and pulling, you’re always kind of just trying to not fall and get hurt. That’s what my entire family and I were doing and while we were doing that, my uncle’s phone got stolen. It was in his back pocket and someone took. Luckily, his purse didn’t go missing which was also in his back pocket. Here is some advice: if you ever go to Taj Mahal, don’t keep your phone or purse in the back pocket. Chances are you won’t find them by the end of the trip.

When I went to New Delhi, I saw India Gate and the government buildings for the first time. I was really amazed by the architecture of the buildings and how historical and beautiful they were. India Gate was very crowded, but not as much as Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal and India Gate were the two of the best parts of my trip. I hope you all will get an opportunity in the future to travel to India and visit these two beautiful and monumental places.

I will continue to write about my trip in my next blog. Thank you!

The Wonders of Japan

If you want to go to a place where people are so caring, the streets are completely danger-free, and the entire country is a one gigantic family, then Japan is where you should go. When you walk on the sidewalk and look around, you feel so safe and so peaceful. There is hardly ever a sound of honking of cars or an emergency vehicle. Everyone is just going along and doing their own thing in their own life and minding their own business. Japan may be the centre place of major earthquakes, but the place is the most peaceful place I have ever been to. So, now I’m going to share my experience with everyone about one of my best trips of my life.

There are so many things to see in Japan. Nine days aren’t enough if you want to see all of Tokyo and Kyoto. Let’s start with Tokyo, the capital city of Japan. There are two main towers in Tokyo, Tokyo Tower and the Tokyo Skytree. The Tokyo Tower is red and white and it’s base is similar to the one of the Eiffel Tower. According to pictures that I have seen, the tower lights up at night with beautiful golden light. The Tokyo Skytree is taller than the Tokyo Tower and I actually have been there. The tower is 634 metres tall and it has 29 floors. The view from the viewing area is incredible and you see everything in the Tokyo area. When you look out, it seems like the city skyline is endless. The city just never seem to come to an end. Beyond the city, are the mountains and you can almost see all the mountains in Japan, including Mt. Fuji.

Tokyo Disneyland is located just about 30 to 40 minutes away from Tokyo Skytree. Tokyo Disneyland is one of the best attractions of Tokyo. You cannot miss it even though you can take a two hour’s plane ride down to California. But, the experience of Disneyland in Japan is different. The best part of all are the rides and the roller coasters. There are two roller coasters that are really fun and I have been on both of them. One is called Thunder Mountain Roller Coaster. This roller coaster is outside and it has a theme of a diamond mine. I liked this roller coaster since it doesn’t go upside down. The other roller coaster is called Space Mountain. This roller coaster is a ride in pitch black darkness and you have no idea what is coming next while you are riding. This ride has a theme of a galaxy and so when you are riding it, it looks like you are having a ride through the galaxy. I went on this ride two time. It was one of my favourite experiences of Japan! If you like shopping, there is a perfect place in Tokyo called Harajuku. It is the shopping centre of Tokyo. There are so many shops and so many people! I almost became crazy. They have a five story tall shop called Kittyland and a four floor tall Forever 21! It’s the best place to go to for shopping in Tokyo.

On the first night, I stayed in a hotel. After that I stayed at a student’s home who was from my school’s partner school, Tamagawa School. This school is from kindergarten all the way up to university and it is huge. I got a tour of the school and I bet I didn’t even see 10% of it. That’s how big it is. They even have swimming pools there! Anyways, so I stayed at my homestay house for four nights and it was a very unique experience. I learned so many things about Japanese people and their daily life. One thing I learned was that they are really time punchual. Everything needs to be done on time. My family, on the other hand, we are always late and so when I was living with them, it was kind of hard for me to keep up. Another thing I learned was that Japanese people do everything very quickly and so they are able to do so many things in a matter of time.

Let me tell you more about Tamagawa School. This school is also IB like my school(my school’s name is Stratford Hall). IB stands for International Baccalaureate. IB schools have a different curriculum than normal schools do. Anyways, Tamagawa School and University are located in Tokyo and it’s a pretty cool school. This school’s size is huge. I don’t even know how to describe it.  There are so many staircases, so many long and short hallways, so many turns, and so many buildings. I could get lost there even with a map. It would take me years to memorize the area. So, Tamagawa has been a partner school with my school for many years and there is an exchange program between both of the schools. Basically, every year, students from their school come to Vancouver and stay for a couple of nights at the campus/camping area in Nanaimo. Then they come to our school and they stay at our school’s students’ homes for four nights. When we go to Japan, we go right away to the students’ homes after one night and stay there for four nights. After that we go to Kyoto and then come back to Tokyo. We stay in Kyoto for two nights and then in Tokyo for the last night before departing back to Canada. Tamagawa School is from kindergarten to university, this is why their school is humongous.

Kyoto is a seven hours drive from Tokyo, but if you go by one of the fastest train in the world, you can get there in two hours. My group and I went on the Shinkansen also known as Bullet Jet that goes 300 km per hour and we reached Kyoto in exactly two hours. The ride on the Shinkansen was way comfortable than a seven hour cramped up bus ride. There was so much leg space and space to walk around. And guess what? A couple of days after my group and I went on the train, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, went on the same train and he was at exactly the same station as we were! That was so cool!

Kyoto is totally the opposite of Tokyo. This city is full of Japanese culture. There are shrines and temples everywhere. Compared to Tokyo which is all modern and urban, Kyoto is very rural. In Kyoto, we stayed in a traditional hotel and we had traditional meals and rooms. In the night, we had to sleep on the floor by putting layers of beddings to make it comfortable. While eating we had to sit on the floor and use chopsticks and I did not know how to use chopsticks. But, by the end I was pretty good with them. In Kyoto, we basically went to just temples and ancient palaces. One really cool place we went was the Kiyomizu Temple. We went there on the last day. I really liked this temple. You could see the entire Kyoto from the temple. It’s so beautiful. Also, there are so many shops on the way down when you are coming back(you have to climb a little to get to the temple, but not that much.). I bought a lot of things there and many gifts. I really liked Kyoto and I think it was kind of better than Tokyo.

If I was asked to describe every single thing about Japan, this blog would be really long and too boring. So, I’m going to stop right here. I really liked Japan and I’m sure that I have good chances of going back there in the future. I hope you will get a chance to go there, too. Thank you!

(The picture above is the Golden Temple in Kyoto)

If you have any questions about my trip, please comment below! And please provide your feedback!:)

 

Vancouver BC: Grouse Grind at Grouse Mountain

A few days ago, I went to Grouse Mountain to do the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver, BC. When doing the Grouse Grind, you basically climb Grouse Mountain. It is a pretty hard climb, but when you reach the top you feel so good and satisfied. I, personally, am not a professional climber. There are many people who run all the way up the mountain and finish the hike within 45 minutes. If you climbing at a normal speed and taking a rest every five to ten minutes, you can finish the hike in about one and a half to two hours. Many professional climbers also put a timer that is the size of a chip in their shoes to time themselves. There is a timer at the bottom at the of the hike and the top. You put your shoe against the timer to start and stop timing yourself. Later on, you can see your time on the screen in the cafeteria building.

The Grouse Grind contains over 3000 steps that lead you to the top of the mountain. In between the hike there are many places to sit down and have a small snack and drink. Here is a small tip that can come useful during the hike: try to minimize the amount of water you drink before the hike because you will be drinking a lot of water during the hike and there aren’t any bathrooms in-between. Another tip is that you should bring peel-able oranges with you for snacks. They have a lot of juice in it and can keep your stomach full and keep you hydrated. Even though in the end you will be greeted by an enormous cafeteria full of great food and drinks, I would prefer to keep eating during the hike. An empty stomach can result in headaches and many other not so good events.

Maintain your speed. Don’t rush ahead or else you will get tired really early. That is what happened to me the first time I went. Believe me, no matter how many times you take a break after that, you will always be tired. Go slow and take breaks whenever you think you need to stop. I wouldn’t recommend this hike to people with serious health conditions. However, if you still want to do it, then carry on after consulting with your doctor. And remember to take many rest during the climb.

I have done this hike two times and both times I have done it with relaxation and determination. I hope you enjoy the hike like I did and remember to not push yourself to much. Enjoy.

Photo: The halfway mark during the Grouse Grind.

Paper Flowers Activity

For Diwali, I made these paper flowers to decorate my house. Even though this isn’t my idea, I thought of posting it on my website, so I will not take the entire credit for this activity. To make these simple and quick paper flowers, all you need is: tissue paper(any colour), a scissor, and a staples.  There are only nine steps on how to make them so it won’t take you that long. You can use these flowers to make a wall hanger like it is shown in the picture above or you can hang them in your doorway at your front door or decorate your temple or house with them. You can even put two different colours in one flower to make it mix and match. I hope you liked this activity. Please comment below if you have any ideas for quick and easy activities that you would like to be shared.

I realized that you can’t see the last two steps of the picture, so to see the full picture, here is the link: http://www.couponraja.in/theroyale/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/paper_toran.jpg  or search on Google “Diwali decoration idea” and look for the picture in the image section.