📍new york’16

Firstly, this leg of New York was very short. It was just 5 days. We are going to come back in the third week of July. The next time it will be for a week. New York is beautiful! I’ve always wanted to go there! Also, its the land of Taylor Swift and so many other of my favorite singers and idols! Actually, we reached New York on the 12th of April, but I didn’t write anything. So, I’m writing it right now.

We reached in the late afternoon- around 3 in New York time and midnight in India. We were staying at a close school friend of my dad’s house- Sanjay Uncle. It was a very comfortable stay. That day, we just relaxed and then went to an Indian restaurant for dinner with Sanjay Uncle and his girlfriend- Rodica. It was wonderful.

The next day we unpacked and relaxed and wrote our blogs and settled down. We went for a walk in the neighborhood in the evening. It was absolutely beautiful. There was a small waterfall nearby too. That night, we went out for dinner again with Sanjay Uncle to a Japanese restaurant where they cook the food right at the table! Its soooooooo cool!!!

The next day was the big day for me! The City!!! We saw Times Square- Day and Night, the Pubic Library, Bryant Park, Central Park, Grand Central station and Radio City Music Hall. It was amazing! It felt like home to me! Here are some pictures:

Grand Central
Grand Central
Bryant Park is Beuatiful!
Bryant Park is Beautiful!
Radio City made me feel like I was there throughout all the concerts and shows I saw.
Radio City made me feel like I was there throughout all the concerts and shows I saw.
Times Square- The lights never will blind me!
Times Square- The lights never will blind me!

The next day we went to another friend of my dad’s- Rajneesh Uncle’s house. I enjoyed myself there with my family, Sanjay Uncle and Rajneesh Uncle, Preethi Auntie and Ashwin. We stayed there the night as well. The next morning we did a small and fun trek together, all of us. After that, we said goodbye to them and we left for New Jersey where my mother’s cousin brother lives. There, I played with Atharv, my younger cousin brother and Meera, my cousin sister who is only 2! She is soooooooo cute!! And only after that, the next day after that we made an exit to Orlando. Oh wait, I forgot, the night before that I had dinner at the one and only Cheescake Factory which was absolutely amazing!!

📍universal studios, orlando’16

Basically, the Universal park is divided into two parts- Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure. We spent 3 days in total in both parks altogether. To be honest, The Islands of Adventure is more for younger kids, and Studios has things for everyone! But both are great and have wonderful rides!

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On the first day, we did most of the Universal studios, except for the Harry Potter section and 2 other rides. On the Second day, we spent most of our time in the Harry Potter sections in both parks, and finished whatever was left in Universal Studios, except for one ride. On the last day, today, we did that last ride, and did a few of our favorites and headed to the Islands of Adventure. More info below! (Extra Harry Potter tips and things below as well!)

A lot of these rides say that there are a lot of twists and turns and involve high speed and all that parents get away from. But actually, most of these rides are just simulations, and are not very high speed, and are very fun!

The Best Rides overall were:                                                                             1. Revenge of the Mummy (Indoor Roller-coaster, mid level)                       2. Transformers  (Simulation)                                                                         3. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (Simulation)                        4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (Simulation)                               5. Hollywood Rock It! (Outdoor Roller-Coaster, high level)                         6. Dragon Challenge (Outdoor Roller-Coaster, high level)                            7. Despicable Me (Simulation)                                                                       8. Jurassic Park River Adventure (Water Ride,mid level [to me])                 9. The Simpsons Ride (Simulation)                                                                   (Pictures below the Harry potter section)

Harry Potter-…. Everything?!                                                                          So in the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios, it is based on the famous ‘Diagon Alley’, which is the area where you can do all your shopping, if you are. I didn’t do any shopping, except one thing. So what I recommend you do to save time and enjoy yourself is that once you enter, you will see the famous ‘Weasley’s Wizard Weezes’ which was opened by Fred and George Weasley and it full of jokes and fun. Take the turn over there, and head to the Gringotts money exchange. There, they take in either 10 or 20 dollars, how much ever you want to give, and give you Gringotts money. You may feel like this is a waste, but you can use this money, just like regular money anywhere in the Harry Potter section. Then, head to ‘Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment’ where you can get many souvenirs, its not essential, and honestly I do not recommend spending money on these items because you can make them yourself, and they are very expensive! But do take a look around, and get some ideas of things you can make, or just to get an idea. After that, go on the ride- ‘Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’ which is a simulation ride, which is suitable for everyone! It is very exciting and even my parents love it! Which is saying something! After that, go ahead straight up and take a spin around Knockturn Alley, where the dark spirits go. But, its cool. Be sure to go and take a look in ‘Borgin and Burke’s’ which has dark art things for sale. I do not recommend buying over here because it is much much much more expensive from other stores. I just went everywhere to get ideas of things to make :P. Then, go ahead to Olivanders, where you can get yourself a wand. There are two types of wands- Interactive and Non Interactive. There is an 8 dollar gap between each, but its quite expensive! Both of them! Interactive wands let you do a wee bit of magic from outside stores on the window displays, but once you leave, it doesn’t ever work again, there is no point. If you want to get a wand of someone you love in the series, they are available in Interactive and Non Interactive. I got Fred Weasley’s wand, because the wand chose me. I also felt very attracted to it. “The Wand chooses the Wizard”. Then go ahead to ‘Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions’ where you can get yourself a robe of Hogwarts, or a house robe. Its very expensive-Over 50$ for a robe that you can buy online for 10$ and make for 7$. But do take a look if you like. Then, go over to Quality Quidditch Supplies, which is next to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, where you can get Harry Potter Merchandise at a VERY expensive price, but nonetheless, it is very cool. Then, take the Hogwarts Express to Universal Islands of Adventure and watch the simulation windows that give you an experience of going to Hogwarts. The section of Harry Potter on this side is based on ‘Hogsmeade’ which is near Hogwarts where the children can go to get supplies if they run out in the middle of the year, or to have fun. There, watch the Triwizard Rally, which is a show, lasts about 10 minutes. Go on the Dragon Challenge, which is an outdoor roller-coaster, pretty high speed, I rode these scary rides alone. Also, ride the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is open to all ages, and is okay for anybody. Then, ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is a simulation, and is open to anyone. It is truly amazing. Make sure to drink butterbeer, which is the classic Harry Potter drink, and is amazing.

Overall, it was great. Its what I’ve dream’t about my whole life.                                   Picture Gallery:                                                                                                                              

With Stanley Shunpike, the conductor of the Knight Bus! (Harry Potter)
With Stanley Shunpike, the conductor of the Knight Bus! (Harry Potter)
Despicable Me Squad!
Despicable Me Squad!
Gringotts Bank- The safest place on Earth.
Gringotts Bank- The safest place on Earth.
The Dragon liked me too much....
The Dragon liked me too much….
BUTTERBEER!
BUTTERBEER!
Hogwarts (A.K.A- My Home)
Hogwarts (A.K.A- My Home)
It takes time till your wand calls you out of the top 2....
It takes time till your wand calls you out of the top 2….
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With the Durmstrung, Beaubatons and my own schools Witch.
The two houses I belong to!
The two houses I belong to!
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Diagon Alley- where you go before attending a school year at Hogwarts if you are a witch or wizard.
The wand chooses the wizard/witch and the wizard chooses the pose!
I was in the middle of two idiots
With Black Widow and WonderWoman, my #GirlPower Squad was ready to go@
With Black Widow and WonderWoman, my #GirlPower Squad was ready to go!
So Captain America and I became best friends... no big deal.
So Captain America and I became best friends… no big deal.

Keep following my blog to see more of my world tour experiences!

~X Mihika X 

Walking Like an Egyptian ;)

Our big journey started on 6th April. The first stop was Egypt. The land of one of the biggest ancient civilizations. The land that had the mighty river Nile.

From Chennai, we took a flight to Mumbai, from where we headed to Cairo, by air on EgyptAir. On the flight, we had a comfortable sleep. We reached on the 7th morning and were greeted by some friendly people from our hotel- Pyramids View Inn. They took us to our hotel in Giza, which took about 45 minutes. We settled in our room, in absolute awe. Why? The pyramids were right in front of us. There was a small window which gave a view of the pyramids and the sphinx. There was a terrace on top where people ate, which also gave a better view of the Pyramids and Sphinx. We had a wonderful breakfast of bread, jam, falafel and juice.

IMG_0270After that, we got ready and headed to the Pyramids and Sphinx, where we marveled at the beautiful sight. The Pyramids and Sphinx were much bigger than my expectation and I kept wondering how they built such massive buildings 5000 years ago. One thing that no tourist likes in Egypt, is that anywhere in Egypt, are the troublesome vendors. They show you what they are selling, and keep bargaining a price when you simply say “no”. They also walk with you for about 100 meters and keep trying to make you buy whatever they are selling. Sometimes, to seduce you, they start a conversation. They know where different people are from by experience, so in our case they said “India! Amitabh Bachchan! Karina Kapoor!” But the simple thing to do is simply keep walking and ignore them. The same thing happened with the Camel and Horse ride people who give horse and camel rides to reduce walking speed, but we didn’t go on it. We took some beautiful shots, and here are some.
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We also got the opportunity to go inside a tomb in front of the Pyramids for free. It was very exciting. It was a bit claustrophobic, but we saw the holes where the coffins were placed, but eventually robbed by robbers.

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After that, we freshened ourselves up from the extremely hot weather and went to have a beautiful lunch at Pizza Hut, which was a minute walk away from us.

That night, we watched the Light and Sound show of the Pyramids and Sphinx  from the terrace of the hotel which was followed by a Good Night’s sleep to an early start in the morning.

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The second day was planned out with three places in mind- Sakkara, Dashur and the Egyptian Museum. In Sakkara, we saw the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Ti. The Step Pyramid was much bigger than I had expected. The tomb of Ti was not too different from the others that we saw.

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After that, we headed to Dashur where we saw the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. The Red Pyramid was built before the great Pyramid and is said to be smaller, but to me it looked much bigger. There is a special thing is it, where you can go inside. It was very, very, very tiring, dark and claustrophobic. There was not much in it, but the ceiling amazed me. The Bent Pyramid didn’t take much time. Since we were tired, we just looked at it, took 3 pictures, and left. The Bent Pyramid is a different kind of pyramid. The edges are a bit curved, its pretty cool.

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Next, we headed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It is the main museum of Egypt and has statues, sarcophagi, utensils used, clothing, jewelry, everything! It even has royal mummies! But you have to pay extra to see those, we did. It was absolutely worth it. They were a bit freaky, but cool.  Most of them had their head, hand and leg bandages taken off. The bones had turned to stone and turned black. The eyes were half open, half closed, very freaky. Most of them had chipped, dirty and broken teeth. The museum has animal mummies too, which are open to all. Also, the museum has the one and only King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus and mask. I am very interested in King Tut.

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The next day we took a train to Luxor. The experience was terrible. Vendors would pass by each cabin and throw whatever they were selling onto your lap and come back later and collect them, or money from those who bought it. People pushed, screamed, smoked. The smoke filled the cabin at times and I am claustrophobic, so it was very hard for me. That being said, we went to the hotel which was very comfortable and  had excellent food. We ate there everyday!

The next day we went to the Karnak temple in the day, and Luxor temple in the evening. The Karnak temple is humongous and has many artifacts. It is very beautiful.

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The Luxor temple was done is the evening. It is much smaller then the Karnak temple, but is very beautiful.

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The next day we went to the Valley of the Kings. There, we saw three tombs. My favorite was Tutmoses III’s. It was built in the high hills, where robbers would not dare to go. He built fake doors and passageways, and it was beautiful.

And then the big day came the next day.

We flew to Gorgeous New York.

 

Pros+Cons of the World Tour?

To be very honest, I am having completely mixed emotions about this. But I am 99% on the pros side….

There are many pros, as well as cons. If I think about it at the moment, I would say that there are way more pros than cons.

The cons aren’t too big, to be honest. Its just leaving my friends. But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep in touch with them. And this experience also teaches me that sometimes you have to let go of people sometimes.

The pros are HUGEEE. I get to go to various parts of the world, I get to see different cultures, eat different kinds of food, see the lifestyle of other places, see the real world and get such a wonderful experience at such a young age.

~X Mihika X