Chilling on the Rogue river
Chilling on the Rogue river

Kara, Yan Cha and Bonnie join our family as graduates from Spanish Class Bariloche  Argentina April 12
Kara, Yan Cha and Bonnie join our family as graduates from Spanish Class Bariloche Argentina April 12
April 4
                The last couple days have all pretty much been the same. We wake up at 8:30 and walk 10 blocks in the biting wind and come to the cheery warmth of the school. We usually play games (i.e. hangman, scrabble, opposites) then have our first break. After that I do exercise while Cami and Tommy fight over massa (the Spanish word for play dough). For this entire week I have been learning “estar” and “ser”. After the second break we do vocabulary and play some more Spanish games and Evon (our teacher) writes up our homework.
                When school has ended, we usually go eat lunch at one of Bariloches’s fantastic restaurants. Then we get our dollar snacks at Mamuscka. Mamuscka is a chocolate marvel. They have so much gourmet chocolate for such a cheap price that getting our dollar snacks there was the obvious option. We would occasionally go ices skating in a very pretty ice rink literally jutting out onto the water.
April 13
                It felt good to leave the Salsa house.   The Salsa house was the homestay that we stayed at when we were staying in Bariloche for 2 weeks. It was OK for the first 2 nights but on Tuesday we discovered that our host played in a salsa band. His band would arrive at 10PM and played and drank wine until 1 AM. This would happen every Tuesday and Thursday. And those mornings we would stumble into school bleary from “salsa lag”
April 15
After Bariloch we went on a 12hr bus ride. The bus ride was Ok but then my psp and ipod ran out of juice. That night we stayed at a place where “down on their luck drifters stay”
The next day the bus came at 10:00 so we had time to get a hot chocolate and some croissants. We really left about 11:30 because the driver had laryngitis. Dad was the translator for that day. When we got to our hostel we ate dinner and crashed. The next morning we walked to a beautiful waterfall 4km away from our hotel. When we got back we did math.
Buenos Aires
        On our first day in Buenos Aires, we tried to stay up until bedtime. We flipped through the channels and watched some Discovery in espanyol. At about 7PM we went to dinner. Cami and I got a $14 steak. It was so good. I had never had a better steak in my life. I slept pretty well that night. 
          In the morning we went to Florida Street. It reminded me a little bit of India. There were dozens of leather shops and people would come up to you and say PLEASE TAKE A LOOK! There were many street performers such as living statues and mimes. There were also painters and cripples who wrote with their feet. There were thousands of people and lots of shops. On one street we turned off Florida Street and went to a river. We walked along the river until we got to Broccolini an Italian restaurant. Molto Bene! Dad got Putineska and all of us got Alfredo. Again a fantastic and cheap supper. This time I didn’t sleep at all so I stared payback my new Andy McNab book.
          The next day we went swimming I made a boat that Tommy could stand on without getting wet. We got about 30 different rafts and kick boards and put them one on top of another. That night dad and mom went to a Tango show after eating at the restaurant that we ate at on the first night. When mom and dad got home they were afraid because we were already asleep and they thought we had been kidnapped. Cami finally got up and unlocked the door (I was fast asleep)
          When I woke up it was 12AM and mom and dad said the tango show sucked. We then went to the park and climbed trees. We passed a bakery on our way back and looked in. We didn’t find anything for breakfast. We then waked 18 blocks to Broccolini where we got really good pizza.
          The next morning at 6:30 AM we woke up and got on a plane. I feel asleep quickly and had a nice rest 30,000 feet above the ground.
The apology
            For many years, Aboriginals had been physically taken from their homes by the government, for what they thought was a better life.  The reality was much different. Most of the kids were sent to orphanages and were treated badly. This led to an entire generation ”stolen”. The Aboriginals are dark-skinned native Australians. There are not many Aboriginals left in the world, so the “stolen Generation” marked a severe blow to Native Australian culture From the 1980s there have been mass protests calling for an apology. Yesterday, February 13, 2008 that apology came
            For years there had been debates on whether or not to apologize. The former PM John Howard persistently refused. His reasons were hand most of the current government had nothing to do with it and legally if he apologized then the “stolen generation” could sue the government. I think that these are completely legitimate reasons. The current government has no business apologizing for past actions that they had nothing to do with. Also it could, in the long run, cost the government millions.
             I see both sides of this story because it is very kind to apologize and it may strengthen the relationship and morale between white Australians and Native Australians. On the other hand it could cost the government millions and again they had nothing to do with it. So overall, I have mixed feelings about this entire affair. I think the end results would be about the same if they did or didn’t apologize.
Jan 30
On our last day in Japan we woke up at 10. We looked in the lonely planet book for a place that one of dad’s friends (Brandon) had mentioned and headed to the train station and got on the Nara line and went to Fushimi Inari. At Fushimi, there are many Shinto shrines and all have a few orange gates heading up to them. There were also many beautiful trails with hundreds of gates lining them. At first, I went on one trail and they went on another mine dead ended and I went on theirs. We went on to the top of the mountain I got up about ¾ of the way up w when I met them. We saw beautiful views and it still startled me that Kyoto was the old city. We headed back and got a train to the Osaka airport. I wish we could have spent more time in the beautiful but snowy weather of Japan.
Today we woke up late and Tommy and I played various video game systems. At about 10:50, mom, dad and Cami went to a place where Cami dressed up as a Geyshea. Tommy and I stayed home. Mom brought home McDonalds and Cami brought back many beautiful pictures that can now be seen on our website.
About 2:30 PM ad and I headed to Nijo-jo castle . When we got off the subway we were greeted by a large white stone corner of a wall with a large keep. These keeps alone were world heritage sites. They were some of the only fully intact Japanese keeps in the world. The gate house was amazing, boasting a large brass gate. The castle was very protected with a 5 meter moat with only 2 small breaks for entrances.
When we got inside the actual palace, we found a bunch of interesting paintings. We also learned about a primitive security system. Wherever you stepped there was a small squeak. There were also places where body guards could quickly access the shogun when he was being attacked. The building was 604 years old. We left the palace and headed to a Japanese garden. Dad said it looked like the One in Kill Bill. We went through the garden and got some lemonade and continued to the exit. Whem  we got to the room, we ate at the ramen place and went home.
Jan 27
Today we left Fukuii at 10:30 by normal train. We had a beautiful ride and we might have seen Mt. Fuji. It was large, majestic, snowcapped mountain. When we got into Kyoto station, we quickly got our bags off and moved to our hotel. When we got there we had to wait for 10 minutes for our room  to be cleaned. When we got up to our floor mom discovered that the room was too small so we headed back down and got mom a new room. When we were settled in our room mom went to get Tommy and Cami America Dogs (corn dogs). I played my computer until it was time to got to dinner. 
We went into the train station mall and looked for a place that served charcoal grilled eels. We looked for about 15 minutes then decided to go to a Ramen place. It was very good and the people there were kind. When we got back to the hotel I took a bath. When I was finished I played my computer for 10 minutes then headed downstairs to ask about my journal that I had left here last time, then I came up here and journaled. Tomorrow we well got to a castle and another monkey place I hope that our last full day in Japan is as good as the rest of this fabulous country. 
Jan 24
Today we woke up and went to Hakuba ski resort. We got our stuff and got Cami situated for ski school. We thought that we might not be able to go fast,  but we found a teacher named Ben. Then we headed out to the slopes . At first we only went on the bunny hill, but soon we went to a bigger and better hill. On that hill we saw Cami and Ben coming down. Cami looked terrified.
 When we went to lunch dad and I got some good noodles. Cami and Tommy had Subway. Then I was finished with my noodles I headed out to ski some more. I skied for about one hour I met Tommy and Dad. When we met up we noticed that the other lift was running. We then went up about 100meters where there was about a foot and a half of powder. After that run I headed inside where I got a drink of water and tried to trade in my goggles that would not stop fogging  up. I went outside and tried for 10 minutes to get my skis on,  then I went up to the second lift and went to the top and met Tommy and Dad . We skied on those runs for the whole day because the weather was so bad that they closed the lifts to the top. The snow was beautiful coming down in sheets.
Jan 26
Yesterday we woke up at 7:30 and went to t Hakuba 47. Mr. Kato picked us up and we bought our lift tickets and headed out before mom and dad. While mom was getting her skis, I went to the west of the run we were on yesterday where I found a really big jump. I did that run for a while and then went over to tell mom, dad, Cam and Tom about it. I told mom and dad about it but to them it didn’t sound appealing. I went back to the aforementioned run and did that until 10:35. At 10:35 I headed back to Escal Plaza where I traded in my old crappy gloves for new warm better gloves. Afterwards I met dad and Tom outside and we looked at the gondola line. It wasn’t moving. So I took them to the trick park where I showed them a couple of jumps. We did that for an hour, then dad and I headed over to the now moving line for the gondola. We went down 2 reds (blues) which were hard but fun. When we got to the bottom I went down some powder. I wiped out 4 times and once my skis were buried ½ meter under snow. We did that same thing once more and sometime in that rum, Cami fell and broke her leg.
Jan 21
Yesterday we woke up at 7:30 and went to the beach. We dug tunnels and swam for lunch I had a ham and mushroom pizza. Then we swam some more and eventually headed back to the Phuket airport Hotel. We quickly packed up and left at about 4:30 PM for the airport. When we talked with the lady at the front desk we discovered that we could check our bags all the way to Osaka. We also learned that we could go through customs at that airport. When we arrived at our gait we say a guy dressed in all pink with a shirt hat said “fifty cent”. We figured that he might be Stormy’s cousin.
I listened to my IPOD until it was time to go. The flight was boring and short only 1 hour. I played on my PSP. When we got to Bangkok we went through security and ate at New York Deli where Tommy had burned his mouth 3 weeks ago. I looked at some books and games in neighboring stores then I ate my sandwich. Once I was finished Tommy tried to write some e-mails to his class but got nowhere because the battery in dad’s computer shut off. After we were finished eating we went to a book store where Cami got a cute dog book. For the rest of the time we were there we heard a million “awwwsss” from Cami. When we got on the airplane I started my computer to play Generals my  battery lasted 1 hour and 20 minutes. Once I put my computer away, I turned on my Ipod and listened to “the Golden Eye” (audiobook) and looked at the stars and sea. When we landed we caught the train and went t Kyoto. When we got to the station we went to our hotel and crashed. W spent the first whole day sleeping and in the evening we went to  a fantastic ramen noodle place.
Jan 22
Today we woke up early and caught a bus to a walking tour. First we walked around the temple grounds and learned how to make a wish in the Japanese religion and walked on to old Kyoto. On the way we saw a bunch of old style restaurants and moved on to another temple. At this temple there was pitch black room where you went through and made a wish. It was so cool. After that, Cami started to complain and we moved on slightly earlier than we would have normally . Once we got back we went to the ramen place. Tomorrow we are going to Nagano to ski. I can’t wait.
Jan 14
Today we woke up and went to breakfast and ate baby pancakes and banana bread. Cami is the weirdest person ever when it comes to eating. A month ago she wouldn’t even take into consideration trying maple syrup. But when she did, she loved it. So today when she got pancakes she wouldn’t eat them because she didn’t have syrup . After wards we went swimming for 3 hours then we went to Rock climbing class. It was a blast. Dad learned a whole new way to belay and Tommy and I just climbed. The first one had a couple of challenges, like at the top where the rock changed colors. The second one was very hard and had many challenging parts. I barely got up. Tommy scampered up like a monkey and dad got 4/5 of the way up. I liked the second one the most because it was a challenge. Tomorrow is Tommy’s B-day and I got him Transformers, Shreck 1 and a laser pointer. At 9 am we are going snorkeling. 
Jan 15 Tommy’s B-day
When we woke up we quickly opened Tommy’s presents and headed to the snorkeling place. We thought we were late, but it was fine because we were the only people going. Once we got there, we tried on stuff and headed out to the boat in a water rover type thing. It was a half an hour ride to the first place that, quite frankly, sucked. The water was clear but extremely shallow which was very nerve racking because there were sea urchins all over the place. At this place Tommy got stung by a jellyfish. He screamed his way back to the boat and he had a big mark from it, so I think it was pretty painful. Therer were also a bunch of unknown stinging things that got us often. It sucked. The second place was nice. There were a lot of people and many fish. It was beautiful. We saw fish like Gus from “Finding Nemo” the only problem was we got stung by multiple minor jellyfish. The next place was the best of all it was big, deep and untouched by humans. There was a huge eel and about 9 clownfish in an anemonae. Some weird ]Germans had a harpoon gun and wanted to shoot something. We steered clear of them. That was by far the best snorkeling we had ever done and we will remember it forever. At the next place there was only a sandy beach and we were quite bored and nothing really fascinating and we left soon. When we got home, we watched Transformers, one of the movies I got hime. I t was funny and Tommy like it. Afterwards we went to dinner and I got a sizzling steak that they would light on fire to cook. It was fantastic and it was only $11.50. Afterward we ate cake and Tommy got an envelope. In the envelope there was a card that said” Take this for 1 free bow and arrow from mom and dad”. Afterwards we had cake that said “Happy birthday Harry Potter”. It was a fantastic and memorable day.
Two days later we went snorkeling again. It wasn’t as good as Tommy’s b-day but it was still fun. The first place we went to was the second place we went to the last time. It was same as before but I got stung pretty often by those stinging things. I didn’t spend as much time as Tommy and dad did at this place. The next place wasn’t very good. Tommy hated it because two ginormous red jellys were in the same snorkeling spot as us. Tommy was terrified and lost his head. The one good thing about this place was we saw a school of thousands of fish like on “Nemo”. At the next place there was a ladder that you could jump off but we didn’t go. Then we headed back to Railay Beach. We were disappointed that we didn’t go to the place we went to last time. The next couple of days were boring do nothing but school days. Earlier   today we took a boat to the mainland where we caught a car to Phuket airport hotel where I am staying tonight. Tomorrow we go to Japan where we will ski and tour old Asian style buildings. It should be great.    
Yesterday we woke up at 7:30 and went to the beach. We dug tunnels and swam for lunch I had a ham and mushroom pizza. Then we swam some more and eventually headed back to the Phuket airport Hotel. We quickly packed up and left at about 4:30 PM for the airport. When we talked with the lady at the front desk we discovered that we could check our bags all the way to Osaka. We also learned that we could go through customs at that airport. When we arrived at our gait we say a guy dressed in all pink with a shirt hat said “fifty cent”. We figured that he might be Stormy’s cousin.
Joey gets some pachydermal afffection
Joey gets some pachydermal afffection
January 6
                Today we woke up early and went to the elephant camp. When we got there I though “this is gonna be the biggest tourist trap ever”. But when we got in it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. When we got in we got some sugarcane to feed the elephants and crossed a bridge where the elephants were walking in the river. We fed some of them then moved up to the show place. The show started out with a parade of about 40 elephants. The first two were carrying as sign that said “Welcome to Maesa Elephant camp”. After that they showed various ways to get up on the elephants. After that they showed the elephants dancing and playing the harmonica with their trunks. It was hilarious! After that the elephants played football. The first time there was no goalie but there was the second time. Once we were applauding the goalie and the shooting elephant did the bow and took the applause. The next act was painting. We laughed at this at first but soon we saw why these elephants won a Guinness world record. It was funny because one of them finished its painting and everyone applauded and the elephant next to it dropped its brush and took the applause.
After that there was elephant versus human dart throwing. At the end there was a tie between the elephant and the human. I was rooting for the elephant. After that there was elephant logging show. It was kind of lame but it demonstrated the sheer strength of elephants. They would drag a tree 15 meters long and 1 meter wide like it was a stick. When the show was finished all the elephants came out and got fed by the spectators and if you gave the elephant trainers 20 baht the elephant would put a hat on you and then take it off. Then we would give the elephant 20 baht and he would give it to his trainer on his back. You can also have the elephant hug you with its trunk. We then went to some shops where we bought paintings and souvenirs. After the elephant camp we got some money and went to the monkey camp. Outside of the monkey camp there was this monkey that walked around with its hands in a traditional Thai greeting. You could shake hands with it, pet it and have it sit on our laps or heads. When we got in we bought some food for the monkeys and there were two baby monkeys chained up. One ran around in circles and one who was cute, mellow and shy. He was my favorite. We watched a monkey show afterward that was hilarious. First they showed how monkeys get coconuts from trees. That was interesting but the real gold came up next. First a monkey walked in with a sign that said “my name is Dech” and gave everybody kisses. The next monkey was named lucky and he lifted weights and did pushups and sit-ups. The next monkey had a very good memory and he could find numbers when they were turned upside down. The next monkey afterward was named “Michael Jordan” and he could slam dunk a basketball into an eight foot net. The next monkey outshot Tommy in basketball. That was one of the funniest of all the monkey stunts. After that a monkey road around on a tricycle and did better than Cami ever did on a bike. And the next monkey dove into a pool for a man’s watch. Finally we fed and watched the monkeys for another hour and left to look into bungee jumping for me and to lunch.
Bungee jumping was $50 which was too much money for me so I decided not to and moved on to see how much go carts cost. Go carts were $20 for a 10 minute ride and the first thing I thought when I heard the prices was “no way”. We ate lunch there. It was overpriced bit it had chicken nuggets so I at there anyway. Next up was the umbrella factory. There we bought some handicrafts and Tommy got a purple cobra painted on his shirt.
I think we spent more time there than we needed to and it was rather boring. After we went back to the hotel and switched into long pants and headed down to the “monk chat”. There I learned all about Buddhist life and culture. Did you know that they do not have any set holy days of the week like Friday or Sunday? There schedule runs on the moon and on a full moon they shave their head bald. They also have a set of 5 rules like the 10 commandments excluding the ones about god they are pretty much the same. I learned more about Buddhism in that space of 2 hours than I had on the other 13 years of my life. That was my favorite day in Thailand and it took 3 journaling sessions to finish this day.
                On Tuesday we headed out of our nice hotel and headed toward the river view hotel. Once we were about 1/3 of the Way, Ake stopped at a long neck village. We considered going but they wanted 10 bucks a piece so we decided against it. After that we went to a hot spring that was fantastic. It had a sauna, a spring pool and a cold shower. It was a blast mom and Cami got a massage along with the pool. Cami loved the massage. We got hot dogs at a 7 11 and headed to the hotel. Mom and dad had a nice dinner out.
On Wednesday we woke up and 8:30 and had breakfast. I had a fantastic omelet and cornflakes. Once we got out of the hotel we started to look for boat to get us to Chaing Rai. The first few were run by crack heads but the thirds one was good. When we got on the river I was surprise by how fast it was going and really enjoyed it.

On Wednesday we woke up and 8:30 and had breakfast. I had a fantastic omelet and cornflakes. Once we got out of the hotel we started to look for boat to get us to Chaing Rai. The first few were run by crack heads but the thirds one was good. When we got on the river I was surprise by how fast it was going and really enjoyed it.
When we were about halfway down the river we stopped at another hot spring. It was very nice but not as nice as the last one. We went to our hotel and had dinner.
Joe gets a hug from a python. Ft cochin India
Joe gets a hug from a python. Ft cochin India
Mysore (Dr. Nott's parents)

December 20, 2007

On the 19th we woke up early and ate a breakfast of one-eyes* or bullseyes.  When we were finished we ordered a taxi and went to Subway.  A good American sub tasted very good after non-stop Turkish and Indian food.  After that we went tot a travel agent and booked our train ride from Mysore to bangalore on the 27th.  We also booked 2 days at an elephant camp. then we headed back to our room . When we got back we did school work and ordered Dominos pizza.  It tasted sooo good.  After, we ate I finished up math and we played UNO.

Dr Nott's family is as sweet as can be and we are enjoying our stay with them very much.

Today (dec 20) we woke up early and had one-eyes again.  then we called a cab and headed to the railway museum.  When we got there dad asked if I wanted to ride on the toy train.  From what dad said, I thought that it would be a train like what goes up the mountains but it was a train made for 5 year olds and I got off before it could go around twice.

*an egg grilled in apan of buttered oast with a hole in the center where the egg goes


December 1, 2007


 Today we woke up at around 8am and had a nice breakfast of chocolate cakes, sesame bread and poached eggs.  When we were done, we headed down to the room and mom and dad planned the hike.
We got into our car and drove to a group of shops where we got our dollar snacks.  at one of these shops there was a camel and a "turtle crossing" sign.
  When we got to the trail head, we started to hike up and then we started to head out on the rim of the canyon. We hiked down one side of the cliff to something that looked like a hole in the wall.  It was a church.  when you get in, you go up a set of stairs into the church's main section.  the main part of the church had massive stone pillars that were carved from bare sandstone.  On the way out mom noticed a wall that looked like it could be climbed.  We climbed up and we found a lot of book cases.  We climbed up another wall and found a great view and a tunnel that tommy and mom climbed into.  when we were finished with the beautiful church we headed to a chapel that wasn't as good as the church.  On our way out we were greated with the same red white and yellow cone shaped rocks that we saw while we were coming in.  It was a very fun hike.

Deniz joins our family atop the hotel Dersaadet.  Blue mosque is in the background
Deniz joins our family atop the hotel Dersaadet. Blue mosque is in the background

November 26, 2007


    Our hotel in Istanbul was fantastic.  Breakfast was great, and the rooms were clean and the TV had a bunch of channels.  But the highlight of the hotel was the staff. Deniz, the hotel owner was very nice and him and our family quickly became friends.  He recommended things for us when we couldn't decide on where to go.  And on our fourth day, he played his guitar for us and he taught Tommy a couple of songs. We invited him over to our house if he was ever in the western U.S..
      On our first day, we met the guy at the front desk names Uhmet he also recommended good things and told us who to root for at the basketball game.  He also taught us ten words in turkish on our first night.  He was very nice too.
       there was also a nice lady at the front desk. Once, while I was on the computer, she gave me a piece of cake from breakfast.  We can't remember her name.
      And last, but not least Amet.  He worked at the terrace on the top of the building. He always brought us water and brought dad his Turkish coffee without even being asked.  He was really nice and spoke fractured English.  He really liked our company and he liked to talk to us and we liked to talk to him. 
    The whole staff was great company and they all were very interested in the trip.  We tried to get as many pictures with them as possible on the terrace. 

In front of Istanbul's Blue Mosque
In front of Istanbul's Blue Mosque


Friday November 16, 2007

On our first full day in Istanbul, we went to two places;  The first was the basilica cistern.  The second was a large Muslim mosque and catholic church.  Both were very cool and fun to go to.

The cistern was a huge rectagular prism room with large pillars and water with a depth of about two feet.  There was a bunch of fish and coins in the water.  Before it was officially discovered, locals would lower buckets in their basement and come up with water and sometimes fish.  People would also throw corpses into the cistern. Towards the end was the Medusa heads which were placed upside down and sideways.

After the cistern, we went to the Aya Sofia basilica.  A long time ago the Pope had his home there.  When Christian rule was overthrown, they changed the basilica to a mosque. When they did that, they took the doge's bones from his coffin in the basilica and threw them to the dogs. There were over 3 million painted gold tiles for the mosaics.  When the muslims made it a mosque, they covered up the mosaics.  In 1935 when it was made a museum, they took the plaster of the mosaics.  We met a lady who showed us some Viking graffitti.

So far, I really like turkey and things are going too good to be true-knock on wood.   People are really friendly to us even though we are Americans. so far, I love Turkey.

                When we left the UK,we had an 8.5 hour plane ride. I watched “shooter” and “Shreck 3”. When we got to the Nairobi-Arusha flight gate it was delayed for 2 hours. When the pop plane finally rolled down the runway at 12am, we were ready to go to bed. 
                We went through customs and got our luggage. We met our safari guide, Eddy. He brought us to the hotel. All the normal rooms were taken, so we got the presidential suite. We got to have a nice 5 hour rest.
                The next day, Eddy came to pick us up and drive us to the Roy’s safari office. When we got there, we got briefed and we picked up our cook, Damien. Then we headed to Lake Manyara National park. We set up our tents and ate lunch. I didn’t eat the meat pie cause with meat in Africa it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
                After lunch, we headed out to Lake Manyara. The first animal we saw was the blue faced monkey in the tree outside the park. When we entered the park, we saw an impala perched on a rock. Soon after, we saw a couple more vervet monkeys in a tree and some medium sized elephants. We also heard some baboons fighting. We saw a couple of dik-diks and they were like small impala or deer. They looked like Bambi when he was a baby. When we were about three quarters finished of the original time plan, we decided to head back. Everyone was tired, especially  Cami. On the way back, we saw a troop of baboons and we had a lot of fun watching them; One monkey was sitting on a log and all the bigger monkeys would just walk right over him. There was a baby monkey sitting on a rock, minding his own business and the biggest monkey walked over and threw him off the rock.
When we got back to camp, we had some delicious leek soup and some spaghetti with meat sauce. After dinner we had a nice sleep.
Day 2:
                The next day, we had a very long, but beautiful drive. We packed up and headed up the Great Escarpment where Eddy dropped us off while he went to do more work. We had a hard climb down the great escarpment. We had many river crossings as we went down, but it was a forest hike. When we got down, Eddy and Damian were there to pick us up.
                We drove to Ngorongoro crater and got a fantastic view of wildebeest and cape buffalo roaming around and drinking. A little later we saw our first zebra up close. Then the roads got worse and I bumped my head a couple of times. There were Maasai people walking in the horrible heat of noon without shoes. We were stunned at this toughness that we had never seen before! Once we got out of ngorongoro crater, we saw a bunch of gazelle. There were a couple of weird rock outcroppings and in the crevasse of one, Eddy saw 4 lion cubs lying in the rock cave. It was one of my favorite sightings of the safari, but the sun was going down and our time was limited, so we had to move on.
                We had a pretty sunset drive to camp. For dinner, we had pumplin soup and fantastic fish and chips. We heard hyenas in the night.

Day 3
            At 7:00 I woke up because I had to go to the bathroom. After I was finished with that hole in the ground, it was time for breakfast. After breakfast, we went on a game drive at 9:00. We saw a bunch of giraffe and we learned that the birds on the giraffe’s back eat ticks and the birds that fly behind them eat insects that the giraffes kick up. We also saw a jackal running along the road. We saw cheetah under a tree. We also saw two leopards in tress and one of them was right near our own camp. We observed a couple of recently fed lions that had blood on their chins. When we got back to camp, we had a nice, hot lunch and some quiet time. We talked with some Austrian people, Alex and Lucas. And they said they saw a cheetah hunting.
On our evening drive, we headed to the hippo pool. On the way, we saw a couple of baby jackals. At the hippo pool, guess what we saw? HIPPOS! They were the stinkiest animals we had ever seen or smelled. There were also some crocodiles. On our way back to camp we stopped at a place with more hippos and crocodiles. There was also a bird hunting for fish. That night we had kebabs and fries. We talked with the Austrian people and went to bed at 8.
Day 4
                The next day we got up early and had breakfasted. When we were finished eating breakfast, we talked more with the people from Vienna and sat around until we were packed and ready to go to Ngorongoro crater. The road was really bumpy and I smashed my head a couple of times. We saw some giraffe, zebra and elephants. They dropped us off at the lodge and we took a hike on the crater rim. At the end of the hike, we got to go to a real maasai village where kids came out to greet us. When we headed back, eddy was there to meet us and he took us back to camp Simba where we saw a herd of elephants and I took the coldest shower of my life. Later that night we conversed with Alex and Lucas again. After another good dinner from Damien it was about 5 degrees Celsius when we went to bed.

Day 5
                On our second day in my favorite park (Ngorongoro crater) we descended the crater at about 9:30. We saw some guinea fowls that looked tasty and pecked the ground looking for insects. We headed into the forest and saw some elephants and monkeys. We stopped at a toilet where there was an animal skull. Son after coming out of the forest we came upon a water hole where we saw hippos out of the water, jackals looking for food , male and female ostrich and a secretary bird. We moved on about half a mile where there was a turn in the road Then a serval cat hopped out of the bushes and crossed the road right in front of us. The serval cat looks like a small cheetah with black spots. We were extremely lucky to see one because our guide, eddy had only seen 3 in the 3 years he head been a safari driver. Once the serval cat crossed the road, the hair on his back sprang up and he raised his tail, we say his body tense and then he pounced and held his prey down while he killed it. When he looked up we saw him slurp up a rat tail like spaghetti.
September 23, 2007


When we got to Britain everyone was very tired.  We got to our hotel and hit the feathers. When we got up we noticed that we had overslept 5 hours.  We went to a pub where our waiter told us about hockey and hockey fights he had been in.  His name was Colin and he had a bunch of scars on his face.  After that, we had a nice walk home in the dark. 

The next day we went to the tower of London and took a tour of the tower.  My favorite part was the armor halls.  I got the arrow pen that I am currently writing with there. 

After that we split up, dad and I went to the new Globe theatre and mom, Tommy and Cami went back to the hotel.  Dad and I saw the "Merchant of Venice", and looking back I appreciate the play a lot more, even though I didn't understand it.  We had a nice walk home over a pretty bridge and fell asleep quickly.

The next day we took a big bad bus tour and that was OK.  We also tok a tour of the tower of london bridge.

The next morning we got a car from national and headed to York.  When we got to York it was almost night and the drive was longer than anticipated (it usually is).  We brought our 5 bags to the royal yourk hotel and went to eat.  We had a nice, cheap meal at at rain station.  I couldn't get to bed due to jet lag and finally fell asleep at 3am.  We had a fancy breakfast and then we headed to the train museum.  We saw a really fast train that was the size of two train cars and blue.  We also saw a little train village with a bunch of trains.  In the train museum there was also a wooden train model that you could make and we started an assembly line.  toward the end of the museum there was a little circle that said "platform 9, 3/4" from the Harry Potter movie.

After the train museum we heasded to the castle museum.  We go to climb the steps to the top of the castle and get a great view of the city.  When we were finished with the museum we had a nice walk on part of the wall that encirlcles the city
The next day we went to Shakespeare's birthplace and grave, Stratford-upon -Avon.  The first day we were there, my dad and I went to what was supposed to be Henry V, bt we went to Twelfth Night instead.  It was allright, but Iliked the Merchant of Venice more.  Thenext day we saw Shakespeare's grave, but on  the way we went to a brass rubbing art place.  You taped a piece of paper to a bronze carving ard rubbed it until the carving shows up on the paper.  Then you colored it and when you are finished, you take it off the carving.

The next morning we headed to Bath.  We got to the B and B, watched TV and then went to bed.  The next day i got my hair cut and dad and I went to the Roman Baths for school.

The next day we met Mike and Traycy Joyce and went over to thier house.  We talked, fed ducks and geese and had the best british dinner yet.  We also got to got to a great maze with a tower in the middle and we saw Tracy's black horse
Toys, castles and prison cells
Monday Sept 17, 2007
                Earlier today, my family went to a castle museum. My dad said that we should write about something that we learned. I have chosen to write about my 3 favorite exhibits, the castle, the toy shop and the prison cells.
                Clifford’s castle was a 5 story stone cylinder built on a large embankment. From the top of the castle, you can see the York Minster, the gates and the outer wall of the city.
                The prison cells were reserved for condemned prisoners only. They had a small steel bed and a hole to go to the bathroom in. Prisoners usually got whippings or had to pay money and spend time in jail. The only place that you could get a death sentence was at the azzis festival.
                The toy shop had old lead hand- made toys soldiers. The children would paint the toy soldiers with red and white paint. There was also an old thing that you could spin and there were small cartoon clips. There were dolls for girls.
                To conclude, my favorite pat of the museum was the castle, but all of it was pretty good.
Sep tember 6, 2007         Practically Perfect
             Mary Poppins is a musical currently being played at The New Amsterdam theatre on Broadway and 42nd New York, New York. It is written by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh produced it.
            ‘Mary Poppins’ is about a family in a time of crisis. The kids, Jane and Michael, are difficult children. They drive away every nanny that ever came in contact with them. The father is obsessed with his work and making money. He never plays with his kids. Mrs. Banks is forced to try to become friends with snooty people she doesn’t like. She has completely forsaken her former acting career for her husband. In the midst of all this, Mr. Banks loses his job. Mary Poppins sees the family’s crumbling relationship and comes to help.
            Mary Poppins is easily the best musical I have ever seen. I liked it even more than the movie. The singing was loud and understandable. The acting was fantastic and they switched off scenes very quickly. My two favorite scenes were the kitchen accident and the chimney sweep act. I went to this play because I liked the movie when I was a kid. I had low expectations, but to my surprise it was fantastic! Overall I would give this play 5 out of 5 stars.


After that we went to Grandmas house.  On the 4th of July we went to the parade that was just like in Alaska except they didn't give out smoked salmon, only candy.
Later that we sat on the hill and watched fireworks which kind of sucked.  The next (July 5) day we bought our own fireworks.  We played 9 holes of golf in the morning.

Nexterday we went to the demolition derby and afterwards went to Jackson Wyoming.  We went hiking in the Grand Teton National park.  Once we got to camp we noticed that dad forgot the camp fuel.  The next day we hiked out on an empty stomach.

After our hike, we began our long drive to cousin Brian's house.  He lives in Chicago.  We saw the bean, Sears tower and went to a great pool with a high dive. 

since the last time i wrote a journal entry a lot has happened. after my last entry we made our way to Yosemite
and went hiking.on the first day of our hiking trip was very hard. when we got up one hill there was another one and another
one and another one,and to make it worse i lost my brand new KEEN shoe. we found a nice spot to camp but i insisted we move on
to the planned campground. when we arrived at the planned campground we found that we made the right decision even though it
it was covered in bugs. the next day's hike was pretty easy, we found a great place to have lunch, and we got to swim in a
beautiful lake that was even more so covered in bugs than the last place. the next day we hiked out which was an easy 2.9
miles. about half way down when i spotted water bubbleing out of the ground. dad looked at the map and saw a place marked
spring on the map. we drank right out of the it ground. it was the greatest water EVER! once we got to the bottom we met
some really nice British people who, after talking for a while, offered us a ride to a store that was 2 miles down the road.
once we got there we found that there was a power outage and the store was closed. but outside the store there was a news
board, and pinned to that board was my KEEN shoe that was lost. i was so thrilled and happy! looking back, even though the
 first day was hard, it was a beautiful and fun hike.
            after the hike, we headed to Sacremento California to visit dad's old friends Paul and (R)Michele Murphy(no blood
relation). that could have been my favorite stop so far because for our entire stay we swam, shot airsoft, played game cube,
watched the rivercats game and jumped on a trampoline with Kevin, Claire, and Jen.
            after that fun stop we headed up to the Meadford airport to pick up our cousins, Emily and Micheal. after that we
headed to the Rouge River Lodge where we prepared for our rafting trip that would start the next morning. our raft guides
were named Luke, Neelie, Justin, and Bobby. the first day was very easy and i spent a lot of time in the kayak.the next
day i was in the kayak for a while and we went down some 3's and 4's. the next day i spent the entire day in the kayak and
went down some very big and very fun rapids. and when we stopped for lunch everyone in the paddle boat tells me they saw
a mining monkeys's ancestor. later that day we learned that the monky was planted there by a raft guide and that Neelie had
convinced the entire paddle boat that there was a real monkey in the tree. the next day the water was pretty calm except for
some REALLY BIG holes. the last day was pretty calm and not as fun as the days befor. The raft trip was extremely fun and
there were no major injuries. for the next few days we stayed at a Best Western hotel and planned our next move. and we
tearfully said goodbye to Emily and Micheal.
            we decided to go back down to California into the redwood forest. we stayed at the KOA there and went on a few dayhikes to
the beach and through the stunningly beautiful Redwood Forest. then we went up the coast to Honeyman State Park and went on the
Dunes in a Dune Buggy. that was extremely fun stop 'cause we got to fish, swim ,and ride in a dune buggy! the next day we traveled
down to a cheese factory while we were on our way to Astoria. we went to Fort Clatsop and saw how Lewis and Clark lived back then
            then we went to port Angeles and stayed at a KOA. the next day we took a ferry to Victoria Canada,eh? we went to an
amazing Titanic exibit in the Royal BC museum. they had a unopened bottle of champagne that they found at the bottom of the
sea. it was fascinating. the next day we went to the town that we might move to. it seemed O.K. there was a fort that kids could
explore in. we drove down to a ferry terminal and headed to Seattle.
            we stayed in a Residence Inn and went to a Mariner's game. we sat in a no alchohol section and saw the Mariner Moose.
the next day we went to Pike's Place Market and tried Turkish Delight for the first time and i have to say... i would sell my
siblings out for some more of that dessert. after that we went up to a bagel place and had lunch. after lunch we went to the new
aquarium and saw a bunch of critters. my favorites were the otters and the seals. the next day(today) we were going to leave
when we discovered that our van couldn't get up the steep hill to get out of there. then a really nice guy came to our assistance
he said that he had a Trail Blazer that got the trailor up the hill like it was nothing. then we got on the road and i started
to write this journal.

Sunday June 10, 2007

             on our first day we came into the campground pretty late, soo... the real fun began the next day.  the first two days were great!  We hung out with the McClaflin family at Woods Canyon Lake, while catching crawdad and trying to catch  fish.  the next day, the car and RV batteries went out and we ran out of gas for the generator.  but soon everything was running  ok. i also started my first reading assignment, Lord Of The Flies, my dad is asking questions. then we went to my Uncle Dean's house, but once again we got there at like, 10 or so. the next morning we visited with uncle Dean and Trish and we got to have some fantastic BBQ. the morning after that we went into town to visit my uncles bakery. it was so cool. there was knives and mixers and a bunch of wierd tools. later that day we headed down to Ouray Colorado to these springs that were fun. we had Internet there but i typed this big ol' paragraph and it didnt save!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was ticked. so i waited to type another one. after Ouray we went to Carbondale and met the Kennedys. the next day we visited with the Kennedys, the we went to Aspen and went to see Pirates Of The Carribean 3. the next day was the funnest one yet! We went to Glenwood Springs without the RV and swam. this one had better slides and it had a diving board. after that we went to this place and i had a great burger and some fries. the next day we had to leave. we said goodbye to the Kennedys and drove for about an hour when a tire exploded. we fixed it and went to Grand Juction to get new tires and go to R.E.I. i got a coat and a nice new knife. now we are in a Best Western because we couldn't get as far as we wanted to. soon my dad, my brother, and i are going hiking in Yosemite.   :)
Thursday may 31, 2007 

               the big day is finaly here, i guess it sorda came up pretty quick. in the last few months the trip has seemed like it wuld never come, and today we still have a lot to do. our first stop is Woods Canyon Lake, we wll meet some friends(the Arps family)  there and rent a boat.i cant wait to go fishing!  =)
1/19/07-  The place I'm most looking foreward to is Japan.  I've always had an interest in Japan and Asia.

        - The place I'm most afraid of is Turkey.  It is made up of Muslims and most of them don't like the US.  I'll say I'm from Canada , eh.