Cricket Graff

Traveling the world with my mom for 4th grade...

Peru With Friends!


Cusco, Peru is great. When I say great, I really mean beautiful. When I say beautiful, I really mean that it is too good to be true and that is why I am very excited to write this blog.


Cusco is way high in the Andes Mountains so it is hard to breathe at first but you drink LOTS of water. Because it is way high up, it looks amazing. Coming in on the plane is so exciting.  Window seats are the best on the plane to see the view.  Everywhere you look, you see a mountains and blue sky. But that is not all,  the town of Cusco is really cool.  It is the town you fly to if you are going to Manchu Picchu. Manchu Picchu is still pretty far from Cusco, but it is the closest town you can fly to.  It is a big town but it feels like a small village. The square in the middle is great with no cars.  The sky is so clear too so it is hot in the sun but gets really cold at night. They have artists everywhere too.  We met a nice one and bought some of his drawings. You can sit in the square for hours.  It is great!  




We took a great tour. The best part of the tour was the market. It had anything you good imagine.  Name something and I bet you could buy it there!  Fruit, toys, candy, jewelry, natural medicine, food vendors, meats, herbs, flowers, EVERYTHING! We also went to an Inka ruin that use to be covered in gold before the Spanish invaded and stole the gold off the walls. The Inkas were even going to give the Spanish as much gold as they wanted but they still killed the Inkas. We saw a mistake in the wall that the Inkas patched.  That was cool because they are known to make buildings that still stand in a country that has earthquakes. I loved seeing their mistake.  





Papa Bear broke his arm in Peru. It was so sad. I made him a cast and fixed it. 


The best part of Cusco was when my friends came! We had 6 friends show up! It was my godmother’s birthday and we made a big party out of it.  We decorated her room in each hotel! It was so fun. We showed our friends around Cusco on the first day. It was fun because we found crazy cool out of the way places. One was like being in Pirates of the Caribbean. 


We left Cusco and had a great adventure heading to the Inkas’ Sacred Valley. They had a market on the side of the road that was so cool.  It had llamas, jewelry and toys. It was a fun trip because we were all in a van together.  We also made stops to an Inka village. The cool part was a fresh water stream that was fed by a glacier that the Inkas used in their village. The water tasted so good!  We had fun playing in the ruins. The windows were super fun to play in and we liked to pretend which rooms were the bedrooms and bathrooms.  






Our next ruins were in Ollytaytambo in the Sacred Valley. It was a lot of climbing! I was so tired! Can you believe the Inkas did those climbs with HUGE stones?! The valley is really great. You look up and see Inka ruins everywhere. Our hotel was right on a river and it had hammocks and flowers everywhere. We even had a visitor across the river. A big bull! 




We also found the best corn ever.  It was the biggest corn I have ever seen.  We also saw a lady selling cooked guinea pigs on the side of the road.  They are not that cute dead. 

The next day was the train ride to the little town at the foot of Manchu Picchu. The little town is called Aqua Calientes because it has hot springs. The train ride is cool because the train has windows in the ceiling so you can see everything! Aqua Calientes is a super little town with markets and parties every night. 


You take a bus to Manchu Picchu. The bus is crazy! Is feels like circles but it is up and up and up the mountain. Weaving back and forth up the mountain.  The view is beautiful as you go up. 



When we finally get to Manchu Picchu, it was like Oh My Gosh!!!! It really is amazing up there.  The crazy thing is how many things they built. They used the stones that were up at the top of the mountain but they built so much!! Our tour guide told us that they just recently started to believe it was built as a school and not a palace.  It took 80 years to build but they only used it for 40 years before it was abandoned. And the people only lived for about 35 years each and had children as early as 10 years old!!! Standing in the  middle of Manch Picchu is cool because you can see a trail they made that is through all the mountains so they could walk to Equador! They have a big tall mountain with ruins that is the Moon Temple and another tall mountain that is the Sun Temple. 





Oh man, AFTER we got done with our tour of walking ALL over Manch Picchu which is lots of climbing, we did another hike and it was hours along a train tracks to a water fall. We had no idea it would be a 3 hour walk!!! Each way!!!! We were so hot and got home at dark! What an adventure that was. We did all that while Fabio ( my godmother’s boyfriend) took the bus back to the hotel to take a nap. The hike even was across a rotten bridge full of holes! That was exciting! Daredevils!! The water fall at the end was big and beautiful. 



The next day, we went back to Manchu Picchu. The three of us kids slept the whole way there on the bus because we were still so tired!!! But we woke up fast when we got there.  Dylan and I were so excited to not have a tour guide. That meant we could explore wherever we wanted to. It was a dream come true!  We climber the Sun Temple.  It was crazy hard!!! The trail is super thin and the drop off is super far. You could die if you tripped!! It was worth it. The view up there was amazing. Someone even got engaged at the top of the Sun Gate!!! 




After Manchu Picchu, we all went back to Cusco together and had to say goodbye. I was headed to the Amazon Jungle… Welcome to the Jungle!!!


We flew into a town at the mouth of the Amazon River. Our guide met us at the airport and took us to the port where we caught a boat to our lodge. It was a long boat ride too. The amazon has thick brown water. It is cool to see the Amazon River’s water come together with the black River water where the port was.  Our first adventure in the Amazon River was a long canoe trip. It went  all the way into the night. It was really cool.  We saw a lot of birds!



This is where we stayed. 






We took a boat to see the famous Amazing River pink dolphins early the next morning. They were super cute and playful.  The boy dolphins are more pink.   We also went fishing for piranhas!!! We spent the rest of the day exploring the jungle and riding in boats.  I was so tired, I fell asleep early but Mommy said the sounds were crazy cool at night. There is no electricity and we sleep under mosquito nets. Best part is there are monkeys everywhere!






Our finally jungle adventure was with lots of animals! We went to a place we’re injured animals from the jungle good and get healed. Sloths, birds, monkeys, turtles, and snakes!!!


This is Oscar. He was our guide for the 3 days we were in the jungle. He was very nice. 
Well, bye!!!! Hope you liked Peru as much as I did!!

My First Camping Trip Was In New Zealand

We stayed in Auckland for 2 nights to pick up the car and tent. Our place in Auckland looked right out to the water. I loved it. The area is called St. Mary’s Bay.  

We learned all about the maritine history of New Zealand. I got to play like I was sailing a sailboat. It showed all kinds of boats inside and one room was actually a boat and it was rocking back and forth. It was a boat of immigrants. People who saw ads in their newspaper to move to New Zealand. New Zealand is a very young country. Next to the museum was an ice cream shop where you could pretend milk a cow!

We picked up the car and tent but we were suprised when the brought the car around and the tent was on top! At first, Mommy had really bad driving skils because they drive on the left side of the road.  Once we got out of the city, she got really good. 

The countryside is green green green and mountains. It is so hard to explain how pretty it is. We saw 5 rainbows, plus lots and lots of sheeps and cows. I want a pet sheep now.  

Our first stop was Rotorua. It is in the middle of the North Island.  It is a town on top of lots and lots of geothermal activity. That means all over are hot pools and steaming parks. Our campground even had a natural hot tub! 

We went to a farm and learned all about New Zealand’s farms. I got to feed sheeps, chickens, cows and Alpecas! They all came running. Alpacas were a little scary to feed beacause they are almost as big as me and not as cute as sheep. We got to go into the kiwi trees. They were almost rioe tonpick but needed a little bit more time. They even had a sheep show. We got to learn all about the different kinds of sheep. We also got to see a sheep getting it’s hair cut. They threw tbe sheeps hair all over us. We also gotvto see the sheep dogs herd the sheep. The sheep do not like the dogs! One was taightbtonrun on the backs of the sheep! The dogs even hearded geese!  I wven got to play with the baby bunnies and lambs. Best part was I found out that I love honey! Or at least I love their honey. They had the honey in the refrigerators so it was like honey eatting a honey lollipop!

Driving around Rotorura is amazing beacause all you see is big steam coming out everywhere. All the parks are steaming! We saw the most smazing sunset there too. It was like sky was on fire! We saw it on the was to a Mauri Village. Mauri people are the native people who found New Zealand. They have tatoos on their faces and have really cool songs and dances they do. 




Driving around New Zealnd is lots of fun beacause it is just a bunch of little cute towns. We got gas at everyone one of them because sometimes we woukd srive a long time without seeing any. 

We went to see the famous glow worm caves in Waitomo.  The place was so nice we stayed longer than we thought we would.  The stars at night were amazing! It was my favorite campground. 

The glow worm caves are kind of scary but first we took a long walk through the hills to get to the caves.  The glow worms are really only in caves with water because they eat bugs and bugs go around the water more.  The river that was in the cave we visited had these crazy eels in them.  Scary! I was scared going into the caves but seeing the glow worms was worth it.  We walked a long way in then we got in a boat.  Now I was super scared because I could hear a waterfall but it was pitch black!  The glow worms look like stars but when you turn on your flashlights you see the worms with long strings hanging from them that catches the bugs they eat.  I loved the glow worm caves!



The best thing about driving around New Zealand is all the free sights along the way. You can just pull over and walk to a waterfall.  We pulled over and hiked to a natural bridge that you have to cross a swing bridge to get to. A natural bridge is a cave that fell down but only the top remains so it looks like a bridge. It is so cool to walk through the forest and just find something so pretty. I think we found like 4 waterfalls during our time camping. 



We made it to the beach.  The sand was black and SO HOT! We had a camp site right on the water. The whole bay empties out at night and fills back in by lunch. Crazy!


I think New Zealand has the best playground in the whole world.  They are like ninja warrior courses and the kids are such dare devils. I loved it! They have things we would never have in the US. 


My favorite place was Hot Water Beach.  It is a beach that has hot water right under the sand from geothermal pools. At low tide everyone goes to the beach and digs their own spa.  Some are too hot and some are too cold so you just keep digging until you get a good one.  The campground at Hot Water Beach was great too.  It had a big rainbow bouncy pillow that was a trampoline. It was so fun!  We also took a super long hike to a cove called cathedral cove. It was like a secret beach with a waterfall.  Secret because you could only get to it by boat or by a very long hike. 



We spent the rest of our time in New Zealand in a house by the beach right back in Auckland. The beach had the best shells to collect and the neighborhood park was another great one.  It had a zip line! It was so nice to have a house but I did miss the tent on the roof! We even got to see the kids racing box cars down the street. The kids really are dare devils here. 


Well, bye!!!!

Australia Has Lots To Do Besides Kangaroos


On our very first night in Australia, we went to a rugby game and they wrestle like crazy! My mom got us seats up close and all I could think about was how could my friend Piper play this game at school! She must be very tough! The game is so different than football back home.  They make piles the whole time.  It seems super rough too.  


Our hotel was in the most amazing neighborhood.  It had the best restaurants and walking around was super cool.  I found the best spot for porridge. That is oatmeal back home. The area is called Kings Cross. It reminded us of the French Quarter. 


We spent a lot of time walking around Sydney. That was how we found the new Disney Movie called Beauty and the Beast. We got tickets for the evening show and they were making a huge deal about it. Everyone was dressed fancy and the theater was a very fancy theater that they even decorated! Even the bathroom was nice with a grand piano in it.  The movie was really great. Go see it!



We got special tickets to tour behind the curtain at the famous Sydney Opera House. That meant we had to go before the sun came up so we could have our tour before the people came to rehearsal.  It was really cool.  We got to see the green room. We got to see how they worked the curtains.  We got to see how they moved the scenes around. We got to stand in the orchestra pit. W saw under the stage where the trap doors are.   We got to even have breakfast with the crews that were there to work and the performers there to rehearse.  It was really cool to stand on the stage and look out at the audience and pretend what it was like to perform there. They have several stages at the Opera House. The one for plays was small but really cool.  You have to be very strong and small to work behind the scenes on that stage because they use ropes to move everything on stage. I loved hearing all the stories about life at the Opera House. The ladies kiss a wall before they go on the stage for good luck! You can’t take photos everywhere because it is against the law.  The laws are for safety, the performers and the scenes. 



We took a tour around Sydney to discover all about it’s start as a country. It started as a part of England. They would send their criminals there! Now it is it’s own country, but it is a young country. Guess what!? Sydney was the first to make plastic money. It even makes plastic money for lots of other countries like Singapore for one.  Plastic money can get wet and it won’t tear apart. We also found that they don’t have the Easter Bunny. They have a Bilby instead! It is like a mouse mixed with a bunny. It was a very long tour and we walked EVERYWHERE! Good thing was we saw a lot of interesting art and places. One place to eat and drink doesn’t have a sign. Just a light out front. If the light is on, it is open.  Cool, right?! We even found an alley that had lots and lots of bird cages and you could hear birds chirping. It was to show how the city made all the birds go away. It was a great tour but so long! Mommy liked it because it was a free tour. 




Sydney is a city surrounded by water and you can use your bus ticket to take the ferries. We took a ferry to Manly. It was a great boat ride and we feel in love with the city of Manly. They have a cute little town and everyone walks around barefoot with their surf boards. We went to their aquarium and saw the coolest things. The have a guy who will walk around with you and tell you a about all the things there. It was like having  private tour guide. And you can go swimming in the shark exhibit. No way!! We stopped for dinner on the beach to watch the surfers. A big storm came and the surfers stayed out there and surfed! Our way home on the ferry took longer than the hour it should have because we had to wait for an ambulance to get to the huge cruise ship blocking the ferry terminal in Sydney. The ship was suppose to be leaving on it’s trip but a passenger got sick. 




We spent a really sunny day at Bondi Beach. It is a really big beach with lots going on.  They have a cool graffiti wall and a skate board park. The life guards were really good about telling people to move out of the rip tide. They had to say it all the time. We saw lots of kids learning to surf at surf school too.  They have great little restaurants all around and we found a really cool restaurant that mommy wishes we had at our little beach back home. All their restaurant are very open and are mostly outside or have big walls that open up when the weather is nice. 



Sydney has lots of great art. They have really cool fountains, graffiti and museums. The museums are even free! We went to an exhibit about Andy Warhol. It was all about his early years.  It made me want to draw! 


We went to Blue Mountain. It isn’t blue but it is covered in eucalyptus trees that make it look blue! We finally got to see kangaroos and koala bears! They have a law that says you can’t hold koala bears! You can hold kangaroos but that would be hard. They are very friendly and one even jumped up on me. We saw other Australian animales like the dingo! It is a dog that is so cute. And the flying fox. We went into the mountains and saw waterfalls! We rode in a cable car high up in the sky. The bottom of the car is glass so you can see below it! We also went on the steepest railroad in the world. It is at a 52degrees angle and feels so crazy scary! It was an old mine railroad car. I was freaking out! It is too scary but I loved it! 




Sydney, Australia and the Blue Mountains were amazing. The people were so nice and everyone liked to talk to us. It was a great place to visit! And it is almost winter here! Opposite to back home. 

Well, bye!

Hawaii and My 10th Bithday


I feel silly saying that Hawaii is my favorite place because it is in the USA, but Hawaii is so pretty, the culture is really cool and the people are so nice! I wouldn’t be surprised if it was everyone’s favorite place. 
For my 10th birthday, my Dad brought my good friend to see me while we were in Hawaii.  Her name is Piper and we have been friends since we were babies.  I really missed her. I had not seen her since she visited me in Greece and that was at the beginning of our trip in October, 2016. It was such a great feeling to see her at the airport! 


My Daddy got us the best hotel for my birthday and that was so great because we had been staying in hotels that were not as fancy. It was like a mansion with a mall inside.  Our hotel had bands everyday and every night.  Our room had a great balcony that had a view of the pool, beach and all the bands.  It was so cool to hear the music from our room.  The hotel even had free tours of the area.  The one we went on told us all about the history of Hawaii and the tour guide even sang us songs.  


We were lucky because the weekend we were there was the Honolulu Festival celebrating the different cultures around Pacific Rim. They had a stage down the street from our hotel in Waikiki so we were able to see lots of different act performing. They even had a super big parade with people from Japan, Taiwan , China, Alaska, Fiji, Sonoma and of course Hawaii. They had the best firework display to end the Festival weekend.  It was so beautiful.  I had never seen fireworks like these before. Not even at Disney! The best part was that they were right in front of our balcony too.  It felt like an early birthday surprise. 

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​I picked a water park for our next adventure and it was crazy! They had totally different water slides than what I had seen and I got to try some that I thought were really scary.  One was called the Tornado and it shot us all 4 into a big drop off.  It was a super fun day for my last day as a 9 year old.  


For my Birthday day, we rented a convertible and went on a long drive to a luau. The drive was great because we got to see more of the island.  We saw mountains, beautiful blue water, little towns and we all thought how great it would be to live there. Every little town we drove through was sure to remind us of the aloha lifestyle.  That lifestyle is peace, love and compassion.  Finally we got to where we were going.  It is called the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We stayed there for the rest of the day and left late that night after luau. We got to learn all about some of the Polynesian cultures.  We learned dances, and how they made their food, how they made fires, how they made their furnitureand even how they climbed coconut trees! My favorite Polynesian village was Sonoma, but New Zealand’s was really cool too.  I loved my birthday day! I had a birthday badge, a birthday necklace, a headband made of palm leaves and even a flower lei. And I had my birthday cake and presents at the luau too.  





On our last day, we went to Pearl Harbor where the Japanese did a sneak attack on December 7, 1941 and bombed the United States’ Navy fleet that was there in the harbor. That was the start of the US joining in World War II.  I was so surprised how much oil was still leaking from the USS Arizon which was sank by the Japanese. Over a thousand men died on the boat and it is a tomb now.  They even have a memorial museum on top of the sunken boat with a wall listing all the names.  Some were brothers and one was even a father and son.  


I think that after reading this, you can see why Hawaii was my favorite place. Even the bus drivers wear Hawaiian shirts and have the aloha spirit!


Bye! 

Japan Feels Like A Comic Book

Japan feels like a comic book because there are so many things to see. 


 Japan has a Disneyland and DisneySea.  I went to Disneyland! It was fun, but DisneySea has the Tower of Terror and I really thought it would be fun to see all the people screaming.  I went on lots of rides and guess what? The rides are almost exactly the same as the Disney in Paris and the Disney in Florida, but the food is waaaaaaaaay different.  Plus, in Tokyo everyone dresses in the same outfit as each other and the teenagers here like to act like they are little girls. They dress up in school girl costumes mostly. Couples even dress the same.  Also, everyone is wearing Disney accessories so Mommy and I got us Mickey and Minnie ears to wear all day too. They had all kinds of popcorn like soy sauce popcorn, curry popcorn, honey popcorn and lots more!! They even have a New Orleans street in Disneyland Toykyo with a New Orleans restaurant, shops and a theater where they were performing a carnival show! 






Japan has all my favorite things in one city and the city feels like you are inside a comic book.  Wherever you look, you find crazy, funny things.  They put a smiley face on everything. It is really cute.  We found a cat cafe, but no kids under 12.  Sad. It is a restaurant where you can hang out with lots of cats. Crazy!  


We took a city tour around the whole city and went on a boat too.  I had no idea Tokyo was a city right on the water. And it is a city that loves vending machines! They have crazy things in them too. Also, they have a crazy way of advertising. Besides putting faces on everything, we followed a band that was advertising a drug store. We followed them right to the store.  It was like a second line! 




I should talk a little about the subway. It was so big and so busy. It was crazy. Everyone is pushing too.  Super crowded and very hard to walk around all the people. Probably shouldn’t have taken it at rush hour the first time. We got good at not getting run over. It is the best way to get around because the traffic can be so bad in the city. 


 One of the best things we did was take a trip to Mt.Fuji.  It was covered in snow and because of the snow, we could only go up to the first level of the Mountain. Japanese people believe that they should each climb the mountain once in their life. I would like to do that. We spent the day in the countryside by Mt.  Fuji. They have a crazy amusement park.  The roller coasters were amazing! We also took a boat ride around a beautiful lake and went to the top of the mountain next to Mt.  Fuji to see Mt.  Fuji. It was so pretty out in the countryside. They have lots of farms for green tea!



 

Have you ever seen the movie Totoro? Or Kiki’s Delivery Service? They are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are creations of the coolest guy ever and his studio. Studio Ghibli. We went to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. No cameras allowed inside so you will only get to see the outside. It was so fun inside too!  They show a short film in the museum.  We saw the one about an egg. It was the cutest egg ever.  She worked for the wicked witch. She was making dough and the dough comes alive. They end up running away together. It was such a great movie and it was in Japanese. The movies are made so you can understand them in any language. Mommy likes to point out that the egg was a hard worker which is funny because in Asia, they  have a popular character that is a lazy egg. It is hard to get tickets to the Museum because they sell out in a zap! Best movie studio ever!!!!





Well, I have to go now.  

Bye!!!!!

Being Blonde in Beijing 

Being blonde in Beijing is like you are a celebrity. People are constantly asking to take your picture or they are secretly taking your picture.  I didn’t get use to it at all and I was there for a week!  But I did smile and pose. 


Beijing, China is a big city with lots of cars.  Crossing the street was terrifying.  Cars don’t actually listen to the green light for people to go and people don’t listen to the green light for cars to go.  It was crazy! 


Our first day we ran into a teacher and his student. They were artist and some how we ended up going to their art exhibit and touring around the rest of the day with them. Their art was so pretty.  We bought lots of their pieces.  I got a great one from the student of a little girl and a pig.  I am the year of the pig too! She said that means I will have wealth. I want to have an art exhibit of all the things I have bought around world. Anyway, they brought us to  Tiananmen Squate but the security line took too long so we left.  They then brought us to a Hutong.  That means old house.  It was like a real little Chinese village. It was so cool.  They brought us to a restaurant and we got to try some very interesting things. They even brought us to a Chinese doctor. He felt out pulse and looked at our tongue. Mommy had the most problems.  I had none! Yea! That night we went to a really really cool, I couldn’t look away, Kung Fo show.  I don’t think I blinked 3 times the whole night!  It explained how Kung Fo started and what Kung of is.  It isn’t just fighting. It is so much.  It is a martial art that is peaceful and meditating but also deadly!



Day 2 was the Forbidden City.  That is the Emporors’ house. If you enter from the side, you skip the 2 hour security line! I have never seen security lines like they have in China.  Chinese emporerors had a lot of space.  It was beautiful and so big!  Lots of details. Everything was pretty and guess what!? The sewarge covers were the same as my daddy’s ring! Funny, right?! I tried to peak through one of the closed doors, but couldn’t see anything. On our walk home, we saw so many great things.  We saw actupuncture offices, cool people, shops and yummy desserts.  Walking around is very interesting in Beijing.

We went to the Great Wall of China the next day.  It is a great adventure that you shouldn’t miss. It was so cold but so fun.  It was so cold, we saw a frozen waterfall!!! We went up to the wall by a ski lift.  Really cold too. And we went down in a tobogen. It was so fun and it took us 10 minutes to go all the way down.  You could go as fast as you want.  I forgot how cold it was because it was so fun.  But back to the Wall.  We got their first and had the Wall all to ourselves which was awesome. We got to explore the watchtowers and pretend we were soldiers picking our place to sleep. I picked the best one because it was like a fireplace and I imagined I was cozy but I think they must have been so cold up there.  After the Wall, we went to a jade factory and my daddy got my a great dragon necklace. We even got to go to a tea house. We tried all kinds of teas.  Some of them were so good!!! On our way home we saw the old Olympic grounds and they had the coolest buildings! I forgot to tell you, when we were leaving the tea house, I got photo bombed by our tour guide! She was the best! 



The night market in Beijing was so much and fun.  You could eat live bugs! We didn’t. It was seahorses even! What!? Daddy drove us crazy because he took forever looking and tasting everything but the bugs.  The best thing is the sugar covered fruit. I thought I would stick my dessert on people because there was so many people shoving. There was even baby peogeons to eat. How sad is that? After all that, I stayed up late playing with my daddy. I loved that the best. 


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One of my favorite memories, besides playing with daddy, was going to this great restaurant where we cooked our own food and had so much fun.  They even gave me a present. The people we met in China were all so nice to us but the people at this restaurant were the best of all.


Next we went to Tiananmen Square.  Security is so hard.  The line is crazy.  Lots of pushing and shoving.  I loved it though because we got to see this huge meuseum filled with great things like old Chinese money and great art.  It really is just a big square with the museum of China and government building.  I had to take lots of pictures that day. My mom likes to go to places we are going to have a little bit of knowledge about what we are seeing guess what? You can not google in China. No one really even could tell us what Tiananmen Square is all about. Crazy! Anyway, for us, it was Mardi Gras night so we found a New Orleans restaurant called NOLA and they were celebrating Mardi Gras with a bunch of other people who loved New Orleans too. It was so fun!





On our last day we went to Temple of Heaven which is a really cool park. Everyone hangs out and plays games like dominos, cards and chess. They also do tai chi and we did too.  We met a tai chi master who taught us a little about the martial art.  It was fun to watch mommy and daddy do it.  


China was amazing and I loved it.

Well, bye!!!! Thank you for checking out my blog. 

My 3 weeks in South East Asia Went So Fast!

Singapore, Bali, Krabi, Angor Wat, Bagkok and Hoi An is where spent 3 week and they all so different. Let’s start with Singapore. 


Singapore is a both a city and country! Cool.  It is so clean and big but there are kids EVERYWHERE. I loved it.  We stayed on the river.  All day long people are walking, running, biking and scooting along the river.  Singapore also has so many trees and flowers.  It is a very beautiful, clean kid friendly big city. 

Bali, Indonesia




Bali, Indonesia was really cool. They are mostly Hindu. The Hindu’s make an offing a bunch of times a day to keep their lives good. The offering are left all over town because there are temples everywhere.  Offerings can be flowers, cigarettes and  candy too. We did a lot of sightseeing in Bali but one of the best things was a dance show. It was the story of Barong. That is a lion who is the good soul. Bail is very different!

Krabi, Thailand




We went to a really nice island in Thailand called Krabi and it was sooo clean and pretty! The island has the best beach called Railay Beach and it was sooo cool.  I think I could stay there for 3 weeks. It was a hard place to get to though. We had to go from a plane to a car, golf cart, ride a boat and then had to get on a tractor!!! And our big hotel was on the beach. We got to paddle a boat by ourselves, ride an elephant around the jungle and play on the beach! Krabi was super fun!

Seim Reip, Cambodia



Cambodia was a fast trip. We went there to see Angor Wat. It is the biggest temple in the world. It even has the longest continuos sculpture too. It took less then 35 years to build and it was sooooo big.  It is crazy how they carved almost every single rock in that temple. After a very long hike up a mountain, I even got to see the sun set from the top of one of the Angor Wat temples too.

Bangkok, Thailand




 We spent 3 days in Bangkok, Thailand and that was plenty because Bangkok is super busy and you know what that mean? It is super   Polluted .  If it was not so hard to breathe, I would have stayed longer. We went to a big mall that had a really cool imagination center for kids.  I also rode in a tuk tuk.  It was crazy fast in all that traffic! I also went to Dinosaur World which was super fun! But when we were on a flight and we were on top of Bangkok, you can really see the pollution under the line of blue sky. It is very sad. 

Hoi An, Vietnam


Vietnam was our finally country in South East Asia and it was the best! We spent a week in a great little town called Hoi An. We were so happy because it was sunny and had fresh air! It is sooooooooooooooooooooooo pretty too and busy but no cars. The old town is super old because they keep it the way it was a long long time ago. People can not build over 2 floors or they get fined. And at night people get on boats and put lanterns in the water.  It is so nice to walk around old town which is packed with people.  Did you know silk comes from worms?  It does! We went to a silk worm farm and learned all about how they made silk from the worms.  It was crazy cool.  We also got to see how thay make the silk fabric the old way on the old weaving machines. We did a lot in Vietnam.  We rode bikes through an old village, we learned how they build their boats.  We learned how they make the round bamboo boats and Got to learn how to paddle one too.  We got a chance to go out in a boat and check the fishing nets for fish. We also made rice paper on a fire at a ladies house.  The best was having lunch at these peoples house in the country. It was very peaceful by the riverside. I also took a cooking class and our bellys almost poped because we made 5 big dishs that we than had to eat!  We tried so many different kinds of foods and drinks too.  Some I really liked! Something you might want to know if you go to Asia…  THEY PINCH KID’S FACES like you are a baby!!

Tomorrow I will be waking up a 3:30 am because my flight to China is at 6:00am…ahhhhhhhhhhhh!  But I am glad to do it because I will see my daddy!!! Can’t wait to see him! We are both coming on the same day and it will be so fun to have a play mate!!!!!!!!!

Bye!!!!

Two  Weeks Helping Monkeys in South Africa


Don’t you think it is crazy that people have monkeys as pets?   Well, I am at a place that fixes the problems that causes for the monkeys in South Africa. It is a rehabilitation center and I am here to volunteer for 2 weeks.  The monkeys here are mostly Vervets and Baboons. Some use to be kept as pets which is illegal in South Africa, but lots are injured by people.  This rehabilitation center works very hard to get the monkeys back into the wild.  I will tell you a little bit about what I am doing to help here and give you an idea about how hard it is and how long it takes to get a monkey back into it’ natural habit.  It takes YEARS of really hard work. 


Caring for monkeys  is hard work but fun. Work starts at 7:00 in the morning but sometimes starts at 6:00 am too! That is 7 days a week. What do we do? We  clean the cages (that takes ages because some of the cages are HUGE and there are lots of cages), feed all the animals, prepare all the food (and that is HARD because it is 100’s of monkeys plus chickens, duikers, donkeys and geese), laundry, monitor, harvest grass and food, bath baby monkeys, babysit the sick baby monkeys, clean everything and all areas (keeps deseases away!), and more!! The fun part is meeting all of the people that volunteer here. I am the youngest one and most everyone else is college age. Also fine is hanging out at all the meals with everyone. They treat me just like another person. Everyone is so fun and they act like I’m just one of the volunteers. Today I even got to ride in the back of the pick up truck. That was so awesome. We have barbecues (barbacues are called braai in South Africa) and we always sit down at every meal like a big family. Mommy and I haven’t had many home-cooked meals so these two weeks have been awesome. I almost forgot to tell you about taking the baboons to the river! It’s the little baboons because once a baboon gets older you can’t play with them at all. But while they are a little we get to take them to the pool and it’s so fun because they stay with us as a big group. Baboons love to be in groups. The best part is going into the cage with the baby monkeys. They crawl all over you and then I love it when you sit in their cage with them. Right now is baby monkey season. Isn’t that cool? What’s not cool is that there are a lot of baby monkeys who don’t have their mommy. That’s the sad part. So it takes a lot of volunteers to keep the baby monkeys healthy and happy. Some of the baby monkeys come here sick and that takes extra extra hard work.  Sometimes  a sick baby monkey gets carried around in a pouch. They really need their mommy monkey, but a human can make them feel safe and loved while they get better. 


  I bet you’re wondering how these monkeys get rehabilitated. I have already told you that it takes a lot of work and a very long time. I mean years! The husband and wife who own this center are experts at it too. I don’t know much,  but I will try to explain what I know. I watched a load full of monkeys get dropped off the other morning. First, the monkeys go to quarantine.  Then, after lots of monotoring and test, they will get introduced into enclosures with their species. Then more monitoring and lots and lots of time. Next, they will be introduced into a natural and native enclosure. This time it is totally hands off! That means no human interactions but lots of monitoring!!! Finally, when a troop is strong, they will be released into the wild. It even that takes a long time and lots of monitoring. They will be released to a place that everyone agrees is good for them. Agreeing on the place takes a long time too. It has to be a safe place for monkeys to live! And the release is first semi wild into a temporary fenced in area at the location of the release and with lots more hands off monitoring. They have to be extra sure the monkey troop will survive on their on.  Finally the gate will open on the temporary fenced in area and they will build natural bridges over the top of the fence and the monkeys will be free in the wild! After more time and monitoring, the fence is removed from the site. I was suprised how long it takes to find the places to release the troops.  You can’t just release a bunch of monkeys anywhere! They have to be a strong family of monkeys to survive and the spot has to be safe with lots of things growing that the monkeys naturally eat PLUS water. Thats a lot of things to figure out!

 Well, bye bye! Shower time!😂Edit

 

Cradle of Humanity and Cradle of Safaris


Sorry, this post won’t have many photos until I get to a better Internet. 

Africa is amazing that it doesn’t have very strong internet for uploading. 

I got to see lots of skulls and bones from humans that were still part monkey.  There are 5 big spots in Africa where scientist find bones that are part human but also  part monkey.  The bones become more and more humerus like and less monkeys like.   That is called evolution!   And that is why they call these spots in Africa the Cradel of Humanity and why   Africa is called the Motherland.  


To see these bones and learn about the evolution of humans from monkeys, we first went to a museum then we went to one of the caves were hundreds of the bones were found.  The museum was for kids. It had a ride that was ….. soooo cool.  It even had a ride that showed you how the the Earth  began 70 billon years ago and hiw life on earth started.  Let’s get to the fun stuff, the ride.  The ride  was a long river inside a tunnel where you rode in a boat through the different time periods. It even had real ice in the cave to show the Ice Age. It was just so cool and you were all alone in there, so it felt so real.


In this part of Africa there are hundreds of caves formed billions  of years ago. The cave we went to is called Sterkfontein Caves. When we were in the cave we had to were hard hats and stick togather or we might get lost because the cave is really big with lots of passage ways.  So let’s think about this, how did theses caves get all these cool bones?   Imagine you are one of these early humans 2.7 – 2.5 million years ago and you are just walking along not seeing the hole in front of you when all of a sudden you fall through and drop down into the cave where you die.  Or you die above ground but your bones get washed into the cave by rain or floods. Why is this Important, you ask?  Nothing shows scientists that they lived in the caves. Only that they lived above ground.  


Next up, the safari! We spent a day at the Pilansberg National Park. It was a volcano that caved in to form a crater and now is home to the big animals! It was so cool to drive around all day looking for wildlife. Right when we got in the the park the first  thing I saw was an elephant and  a lot too.  They  took down trees to eat and just walked down the road in front of our jeep.  I never thought I would be in an elephant traffic jam!   We saw hippos, rhinos, zebras, leopards, birds, a giraffe and a lion!!! 4 out of the big five, cool right?


Well, I have to go hang out with some monkeys. More on that in my next post. 

Bye!!!

Mountains,Oceans and Smiles

Monuntains, Oceans and Smiles …where should I start?


In Cape Town, everyone seems to smile all the time.   And everyone is nice! They are almost as nice as the people in Greece and I didn’t think that was possible! Now on to what I have been doing.





We went to the the Cape Of Good Hope for Mommy’s birthday! It was so cool!   South Africa does not allow anyone to build anywhere near the Cape so it is miles and miles of wilderness. Some say The Cape Of Good Hope is were the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean! They also have a lighthouse that we had to hike up to. It was a long hike up, but we got there with no water, no broken legs and no crying! When we were driving around the Cape, we saw baboons just walking down the road,  ostrichs running around and lots more wildlife.  Speaking of wildlife, after we left the Cape, we went to see Penguins!


Boulder  Beach is home to a HUGE colony of African Penguins!  The African Penguins were disappearing from the area so wildlife scientist put 2 Penguins there at Boulder Beach and protected their area. They started to multiply and now there are lots and lots there. The penguins stay there because the beach is protected by huge boulders. And park rangers feed the Penguins there too. The beach is a beach for penguins and I bet you are thinking that I was on the beach. No, it is literally for peguins only. You have to buy tickets and all that jazz. But the Penguins could leave if they wanted to.  They are not fenced in. It is just a real beach with a walkway for people to walk through. One of the prettiest parks in Cape Town. They’re favorite park is Table Mountain. 





So, I am doing my school work and mommy said ‘Cricket, you want to go to Table Mountain?’ YES! We grabbed an Uber and took off to catch the sunset on the top of the mountain. Table Mountain looks over Cape Town.  It even looks like a table too because it has a flat long top.  It also is one of the oldest mountains in the world and some say it is the oldest! The ride up is super fast and the floor in the cable car moves around in a circle so you can see all different ways as you go up. It is so pretty at the top above the clouds and the air felt so great on my face and smelled soooooooooooooooooooooooo good! I think it was the best sunset I have ever seen. We saw the sunset on one side and the moon was so big right on the otherside.  It was like a dream.  Now I will tell you about another kind of dream.


Me. Nelson Mandela had a dream.  His dream was for black and white to be equal and for South Africa to be a democracy.  He spent 27 years in prison for his dream. 18 of those years or spent in a prison on Robben Island. Today, I took a boat out to visit the prison. Robben Island is the island but what makes Robben Island sometimes scary is it’s history.  Our tour guide was a political prisoner at this island and he spent  nine years in prison on that island. Nelson Mandela cell was very small.  The book I was reading said that Nelson Mandela could only walk three steps in that cell! The prisoners had to work in a limestone query on the island. In the query there was a cave that the men would take their lunch in. They say that this cave is where democracy first started in south Africa. The guards never went in the cave and it was the only place where the political prisoners could talk about democracy.  The guards stayed out of the cave because it was also used as the prisoners bathroom. They had to use the bathroom in the cage because the guards were ordered to shoot them if they left the query.  Another really sad thing about working in the query was that the men were not given any sunglasses, gloves or anything. Eventually, several years later, the men’s families were allowed to buy them these things, but most of their families were too poor to purchase the items. The prisoners that work in the query all suffered a lot of injuries that never left them. Most of them could not cry because of damages from the dust to their tear ducks. And when they would speak to reporters, the reporters were asked not to use flash on the cameras because their eyes were damaged from the dust in the query. Life as a prisoner on Robben Island sounded really awful. Which makes me very surprised that President Mandela did not stay angry after he was released. President Mandela forgave and practiced reconciliation. 


President Mandela asked all black South Africans to also practice reconciliation. That is what is so amazing to me. You can read all about it in his book called A Long Walk To Freedom.  He buried a manuscript of the book in his garden at the prison! That photo above is from the inside of a cell. It is a drawing by a prisoner during his time in the cell. The political prisoners seemed to always have hope of a better South Africa.  


Bye! Hope you had a nice trip with me!

PS: you see seals every where!

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