Downtown Buffalo

Picture1

Seattle downtown is my favorite downtown so far. I don’t know if it’s the Puget Sound, the extremely steep roads or Mt Rainier in the background, downtown in Seattle looks extremely pretty.

When I was doing my MS in Buffalo, I always went to downtown when it was dark (dinners and other things). So I never saw how beautiful it really was. For me, downtown was one of those shady areas where shady dudes trying to sell shady things roamed around. Now that I work around this region, I see that it has it’s own charm.

Buffalo’s downtown is next to Lake Erie (the lake which is mainly responsible for Lake effect snow in this region). The Canal side is the perfect place to be in summer (and I stress ‘summer’ because winter is really harsh here, that is, for a non Buffalonian).

2016-05-11 10.28.11

While you walk down the main street, you can see a mix of old and new buildings

 

 

2016-05-11 10.28.45

The M&T bank building

 

2016-05-11 09.22.33

Yep, that’s a bank! Pretty, isn’t it? (apologies for the over exposed photo)

 

2016-05-11 09.09.10

2016-05-11 10.35.23

 

 

Advertisements

Being surrounded by something BLUE

cancun banner2

Now that it is cold outside (and snowing!), I sit on my couch everyday and reminisce about the vacations that I took in warm places. This one is all about Cancun, Mexico! We flew from Buffalo to Atlanta, changed flights to Mexico city and then flew to Cancun – a really long distance to travel. On the way to Cancun I read a couple of books and watched some movies, but on the way back I was so tired that all I did was sleep (somebody had to wake me up at the buffalo airport!).

pesos

I like to shop and dine in the local currency, so the first thing I did after landing at Mexico city was to exchange the currency. If I end up not spending all of it, I get to keep it as a souvenir!

 10 reasons you should visit Cancun.

1. It’s sunny and warm!

This alone should be a reason enough to love any place. For somebody who had been shivering in the buffalo winter for 5 months, this warm place was a paradise. For once I could head out in the open without my heavy jacket, and all those heavy winter accessories and not freezing to death! The sheer ability to walk out in the streets in your sandals (and no thick socks!) and feel the warmth of the sun against your skin felt extremely great.

sunny 2

sunny

2. The ocean.

Who doesn’t love water and beautiful beaches! The Caribbean coast is as beautiful as it is in the pictures. With clear light blue water and white sand, it’s really hard to click a bad picture.

feet

My first day in Cancun, rushed to the beach as soon as we checked in!

oceanpo

This is how beautiful it really was.

3. It’s ‘THE’ place to be during spring break.

Cancun is a famous spring break destination, has a decent party scene and places like CoCo Bongo and Mandala are jam packed (and have pretty high entry fees too).

1

4. Awesome food.

Where else can you find the most delicious and authentic Mexican food other than in Mexico?! I’m a Mexican food lover and try to eat as much as I can when I travel to the southwest (you don’t get such great Mexican/Tex-Mex food in the north). Be it salsa and chips or the plain tacos, there were the best I have ever had.

food_collage

This is just a tiny part of what we actually ate!

5. You can forget partying and become a tourist for the day.

We partied in the night and visited places during the day with just 4 hrs of sleep every night. If you like to do some touristy things there is Chichen Itza – one of the wonders of the world few hours away by bus (you can book a tour bus). Another reason to visit this place – you get to eat more awesome food in that area! And if you are in that area don’t miss out on this mesmerizing cave (Yes, they allow you to swim in there!)

chichen1

Chichen Itza

mod2

This water is supposed to make you younger!

6. You can actually see sting rays in their natural habitat!

Yes, I did! I almost touched it, glad I didn’t! 🙂 I can’t swim and that didn’t stop me from snorkeling, thanks to my friends! We went to a place called Xel-ha where I saw amazing corals, beautiful fishes too. My most memorable thing was snorkeling under a boat and when  suddenly hundreds of fishes came out of their hiding and swam past me.

xelha

Xel-Ha

xelha2

7. You get to see creatures which you have only seen in books and on TV.

This guy was chilling around the bus stop while we screamed in fear! He/she was seen everywhere, even near the Chichen itza area.

lizard

8. You get to stay in a hotel right next to a beach and it doesn’t make a hole in your pocket!

Hotels are pretty cheap when booked quite early. We got a place which had a nice view of the ocean and was well within our budget (read a student’s budget).

H3

Our hotel

H1

H4

The beach in our hotel’s backyard!

H2

9. There is just so much to see!

1st

Sunny streets                                                        Pretty little shops

2nd

A wall art                                               A church on our way back from Chichen Itza

art

Mayan art

Oh wait, where’s No. 10 you ask?

That’s for you to figure out on your visit to Cancun  🙂

Fall Colors

Picture5

Best part of living in a place which has 4 distinct seasons is the fall. It’s like a bright warning saying that colorless winter is right around the corner. Where do Buffalonians (That’s what people who live in Buffalo are called apparently) go to view the fall colors? You can obviously view some beautifully painted trees right outside your window, but seeing the whole landscape painted in bright red, orange, yellow and green is something else. We go to Letchworth State Park for that.

Picture7_

Different shades of the park.

Letchworth is about 1hr 30 mins drive from Buffalo.

Picture2

The Upper waterfall. That’s a railway track on the bridge.

Picture1

Under the bridge.

Picture3

Picture8

Drops of colorful paint everywhere!

What’s your favorite place to see the fall foliage?

Cruising through the Desert

I visited Sequoia National Park during mid August, flew to phoenix and drove all the way to the SNP (Mr Husband was visiting from Austria and wanted to drive in the US, and since I love to drive, I didn’t complain).

car

The Giant Sequoia against a car

forest

Met the largest tree on earth General Sherman.

gsherman

Instead of taking the faster freeway, decided to take the historic Route 66 while driving back from Sequoia to Phoenix. Best decision ever!

route66

The road was deserted, stopped at random places and clicked pictures like crazy. After a while noticed a lot of black rocks on the side of the road. According to Google, it was lava which spewed out of an ancient (now extinct) volcano. Since I love volcanoes, decided to make a detour and visit the Amboy Crater. I really wanted to go all the way up to the crater, but it was quite a walk and it was extremely hot outside (read 116F).

volcano

A rock with the extinct volcano in the background

Stopped at the historic route 66 road sign and clicked some pictures. The landscape was amazing. Never expected desert to look so beautiful.

desert

With beautiful sunsets..

sunset

Ever since I landed in Phoenix, I had been looking for Saguaro (the huge cactus species that shows up when you google Arizona). To my utter disappointment, I couldn’t find a single one, in-spite of searching for 4 days (no, I don’t have vision issues). Finally, it was time to check out of the hotel and catch the flight back to buffalo (I’m extremely sad at this point and my husband is trying to comfort me by telling that we would come back to Arizona, just to view the cacti (yeah, I can be extremely childish sometimes)). And all of a sudden, like magic, there was a huge cactus right in front of me! Since we had checked into the hotel in the middle of the night we hadn’t noticed it.

You can see how happy I am in this photograph taken with the cactus. 😀

On second thoughts I decided not to put up the picture of me ridiculously grinning over a cactus. Instead, here is a cat :

cat2

I got this cute little cactus from Phoenix (the green creepy lizard-sort-of-a-thing is not real though).

collage1

While I was typing this, Mr Bear got interested in Asimov. I had to literally snatch the book from him… Literate bears are a nightmare! 🙂 Btw, I found him in Sequoia National Park.

P.S. he is not real! 🙂

IMG_2015-10-08 14:14:54

 

Portland

Winter is just around the corner! I miss the sun already 😦

It’s been cloudy and dark for a few days now.. Last year, just before the sun decided to go on a vacation, we had visited Portland over a weekend… I found these pictures while I was checking my old external drive..The Saturday market, the Powell’s, Dante’s, the food trucks, the Voodoo donut shop were all covered and conquered :). I feel like going on a vacation right now, to someplace where the sun still shines bright and nice, and it still feels like summer. I guess I’m still not ready for the winter Buffalo winter 😦

IMG_2418

This place had awesome coffee

IMG_2423

IMG_2424

IMG_2431

IMG_2435

A bright sunny day!

Seattle’s been pretty dull lately, filled with rainy days. Today, all of a sudden the weather is amazing.

The last time it was sunny, we went to the Kerry park.  To my disappointment, It wasn’t much of a park. But it had an amazing view of Seattle with snow covered Mt Rainier in the background. There were flowers everywhere and the place was spectacular.

Untitled7

Untitled8

Untitled6

Untitled4

Untitled

Untitled3

Untitled2

I hope you guys are having a bright and colorful spring  🙂

Space Needle

My favorite building in Seattle – The Space Needle… You can see it from almost everywhere in Seattle… I have a beautiful view from my apartment and I never get tired of looking at it or clicking pictures of it.. .Call me crazy if you want, but I’m truly in love with it :P.

Space needle resembles the buildings in science fiction movies and cartoons set in 2050. Looks like an alien space shuttle parked on a huge pole 🙂

For anybody who hasn’t heard about it, here’s the wiki link :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Needle

Here’s a picture of it when the visibility was very low:

Image

This time, much clearer:

Image

The SN looked amazing when they fired fireworks on Jan 1st to celebrate the New year.

I couldn’t think of a better subject for my next watercolor experiment ..SO, here it is, Space needle in watercolor (my version)  .. 🙂

sn