Doctor Who?

Dr who weeping angel

A large group on my friends are big fans of Dr. Who (Dr. Who is a long running science fiction series on PBS). My husband recently became a fan. Since a new season with a new doctor was to begin last weekend, he decided he wanted to throw a Dr.Who premiere party at our house. I was reluctant to help plan the event but after seeing his excitement with planning the event I decided to help out.
My contribution started out as volunteering to make the Dalek cakes. I followed the linked recipe for the ingredients and searched online for inspiration for the decoration. After some research I decided I needed this pop up pan to make my cakes. It worked out well forming cupcakes with just the right slant. I just had to trim a bit off the bottoms to make the robot’s bottom flat. I substituted whole wheat flour for white flour and no one noticed.

The ingredients called for melted chocolate mixed with heavy cream. It was a liquidity mess pouring this over the cakes.

I tried to attach six-lets to the side but they kept falling off. When I tried to move some cakes around, they fell apart.

I pieced them back together and continued my decoration. I used pocky, signs, and food spray paint.

I was so disappointed with the way they turned out but the guests really loved them. Plus the cake was pretty good too. (Hint: Secret ingredient in cake mix was amaretto).

After I was done constructing cakes, I helped my husband with some of his decorations.

This was on the ceiling of the bathroom to creep out the guests as well as some eyeliner so you can remember that you saw him.

Angry weeping angel finds you when you close the door. Don’t blink!

After guests arrived, they could cut out their own mask.

Or make their own cute Adipose.

Our guests brought over some more fun treats as well.

Sonic Screwdrivers

Cybermites (rum balls)

Jelly babies

For non-sweets we had Silurian pods, bowtie pasta, green stuff was for the Radioactive-Spuds. We also had k-9 dogs (hot dogs) and fish fingers (not pictured).

And finally I tried my hand at food craft once more. I made marshmallow Adipose.

The night was fun for all. I even enjoyed watching the episode. Ssssh don’t tell my husband but I may be enjoying this Dr. Who more and more ūüėČ

Varanasi Boat ride

After watching the amazing Aarti ceremony the night before, we woke up early the next day to take a boat ride down the Ganges.

This lady was selling neem sticks early in the morning. Chewing on neem is supposed to be good as a teeth cleaner.

Before we started our boat ride we enjoyed chai latte out of a clay pot. I was testing my digestive system and it did me well. This street purchase did not get me sick!

At dawn we started our boat ride.

As did many others.

We floated down the Ganges and got to see many different ghats (stairways along the water).

Another tourist boat was nearby and one brave guy decided to take a dip. Many devout Hindus consider this water to be holy and a dip in the river is extra special to them.

Laundry is also done by hand daily in the river. You will see this up and down the river.

Many colorful boats hang out around the ghats.

This lady was making an offering along the river.

We decided to give our own offering.

Cremations are held at either end of the Ganges. One end I could not photograph because out of respect but this one was currently not in use. You will notice the wood all around waiting for the next ceremony.

We got off the boat and I was given a blessing.

Nice mini temple in the water.

Cremation supplies

We took a walk around after our boat ride and visited some temples (no photos inside) but there were many of these temples around the alleyways.

Our Varanasi tour guide. He was very enthusiastic about his city.

 This cow would not let us pass and had a stinky butt.

After our early morning tour we went back to nap for an afternoon in Sarnath.

Spain: Beautiful Sevilla

One of the places I was most excited about in Spain was Sevilla. Sevilla to me embodied what Spain is: flamenco, paella, guitar music. I know Spain is so much more but Sevilla is essential Spain to me. After some web research, I found a great deal at the botique hotel El Rey Moro. Breakfast was included every morning and the staff was very friendly and helpful. They gave us great advice. I loved waking up each morning to the courtyard (see above) and enjoyed a glass of wine at the table in front of my room while reading a book.

We enjoyed strolling around the city and observing the architecture.

Memorials to¬†Ferdinand and Isabella.They were directly responsible for Columbus “discovering” the new world.

Spanish snacks

Government building

Toro del Oro

Path along the river

Some tapas at Plaza Santa Ana across the river. When we first arrived it was a sleepy tavern with only a few customers. Within minutes the tavern and courtyard were flooded with churchgoers exiting the church.

The next morning we did some more sighting. We walked down to see the Basilica de la Macarena. This church, as well as many other Spanish churches, was very ornate. The basilica hosts the most revered image in Seville, the virgin Mary. This church is located in the neighborhood of the same name..that is also responsible for Los del R√≠o’s hit song Macarena.

Nearby bell tower.

Drinking a beer in Macarena. I really wanted to do the dance but did not want to embarrass myself.

After our early day Macarena experience we wandered around more of Sevilla. We noted many orange trees (not for juicing and eating – mostly good for marmalade) and very cool Banyan trees.

Part of me is really against the sport of bull fighting but a visit to Sevilla would not be complete without a tour of the history of the toreadors. There is a long tradition there that seems to be slowing fading with time.

After hours of touring one must stop for afternoon tapas. This spinach and chickpea dish is one of my favorites.

Later on for dinner we had oxtail and fries

Below is the closest thing we got to authentic paella while we were there (unfortunately). Paella is traditionally served only at certain times and we couldn’t find reliable local advice on where to get the real stuff (most restaurant paella is pre-made and re-heated -> frozen crap). I was real disappointed about that.

And it was off to sleep to have the energy for another day of sightseeing…….

Beyond BBQ – Graceland in Memphis

Upon my last trip to Memphis I finally had time to see the awesomeness of Graceland.

I didn’t know much about the house before this visit except that it is kitschy and on most must see lists of the south. I arrived to find that you wait for a van to take you to the house upon a scheduled time. That day they were about an hour behind schedule. I had a plane to catch and started to get very nervous about time.

The van drops you off in groups in front of the house. You have an audio tour to follow at your leisure.

It is hard to really get a look at things at first with the crowd. It is best to hang back and wait for the crowd to move on a bit.
We started the tour in the living room. I love the peacock stained glass but the white couches and carpet have to go. Can you say wine stain?

Here is his picture in case you weren’t sure whose house you were in.

Staircase up to the private rooms which are off limits to non-royalty like us.

Purple-y spare bedroom

Dinning room

Now this is when the fun begins, kick ass carpet….

And carpet into the kitchen.

And more fun when we get to the jungle room (Note the green carpet; It carries on to the ceiling).

Then we go downstairs to the TV room where I guess you are supposed to watch TV. You have a creepy drugged out monkey looking at you.

And the last room in the basement is the pool room. This is where things go psychedelic. I really like the wall curtains.

After the house tour you move on to the back buildings that hold studio offices, stables, and his personal racquetball court (which is now an Elvis shrine).

Memorabilia museum

His gold records….it goes on and on

Costumes

At the racquetball building

Suits from the last part of his career.

Raoooar

Yeah, here is another wall of these.

I like some of the wall writing at the estate entrance.

After the tour I went back across the street. I still had time to tour his car museum and airplanes (yes two of them).

Barbie jeep

The bigger plane

 And then the little plane.

I was hesitant to visit but I am glad I did. It is a time capsule of a big part of pop culture that shouldn’t be missed!

London – Hyde Park

One great thing to do while visiting the great city of London is to take a stroll around Hyde Park.
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London. It contains many trails and some waterways.

You can spend all day wandering around this park but one part that should not be missed is speakers corner.
At speakers corner you will find lively debaters hashing out topics on any given day.

Discussions sometimes get heated but they never get violent. Spending some time here makes me long for a time when we can have spirit debates in the USA that don’t result in violence.

 Even kids can listen in on the action.

Carlos had a lively debate with this fellow.

This sweet looking lady was full of opinions and could hold her own.

Someone even took a break from penny-farthing to watch.

Hyde Park and Speaker’s Corner is a must see for any London visitor.