Lenny Lion, Austria, Vienna


Posted Mar 3, 2011, 4:41 pm
We said farewell to Charlie B. today.
We had some apple pies.
Have a safe journey little mouse.

Posted Mar 6, 2011, 5:58 pm
It's party time! It is Captain Caramel's birthday.
There's a candle on the cake.
After the cake, we played with these balloons!

Posted Mar 6, 2011, 6:01 pm
On our way home, we went via Magna, an industrial science museum set in an old steelworks near Rotherham/Sheffield.
There were 4 zones. The first zone we went to was Water.
A whirlpool exhibit.
Part of a water exhibit with a water wheel.
Next, we went to Fire.
This is a fire tornado.
Lighting isn't that good for photographs with the fire tornado.
Next stop was Air. This is a musical exhibit with tubes and things.
The exhibit can be quite noisy.
We then went for a game of Air hockey.
The air blows through holes in the table and lifts up the puck ever so slightly.
This is a frequency exhibit with little polystyrene balls bouncing.
This is a different frequency.
Before going on to the final area, we caught some of the Big Melt show, a reconstruction of how they made steel. This is the arc furnace.
We went to the final area, Earth. The set up is quarrying "rocks" and these get picked up by the children and taken somewhere by wheelbarrow before going on conveyor belts and distributed either back to the "quarry" or to a chute.
Can you see the "rocks" on the conveyor belt?

Posted Mar 29, 2011, 9:35 pm
We've already said goodbye to Pippi, regit brown, Captain Caramel and Baconella.
Mummy, is this a new visitor?
Let's open it up.
I hope he can squeeze through this hole.
Yes! he's free. Hello, my name is Lenny Lion, nice to meet you Frankie_Blue

Posted Mar 30, 2011, 8:56 pm
Today, mummy got two parcels in the post
I wonder who our new visitors will be!
The new visitors are Belka and my brother, Rendolph

Posted Mar 31, 2011, 9:33 pm
Some of the toys are going away on their travels tomorrow, so we thought we'd have a game of Cluedo playing in teams
However, we spent far too much time chatting instead of concentrating on the game and we all drew the 8th clock leaving the crime unsolved.

Posted Apr 1, 2011, 3:27 pm
Mummy, thank you so much for finding someone for me to go and visit. 3 of my siblings are also off on their travels.
I'll write soon, I promise  :D

Posted Apr 6, 2011, 4:45 pm
Today, Royal Mail issued some nice stamps and my mummy went out and bought some.
Do you like them?

Posted May 6, 2011, 4:19 pm
Hi Mommy,

I barely have time to unpack my stuff and settle down when we are off travelling again!  Today we arrive at the airport.  We are all so excited!


Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?


After we arrive, we are all very hungry.  We go to a place called Nando's Peri Peri Chicken.  It's Portuguese style African grilled chicken.  I am not sure what that means... only that it tastes delicious but a bit spicy.



For dessert, we got some nata pastry.  It has egg custard in it.


Then, we arrive at the Union Station train station.  Opened in 1907 it  was a very busy transportation terminal until trains ceased to be the major mode of transportation.  After some disuse, the station was reopened with shops inside and today is again one of the busiest place in Washington.  We come here to join a bus tour of the monuments.


Our first stop is the Jefferson Memorial.  Thomas Jefferson is
an American Founding Father and the third President of the United States.


In the background you can see the Washington Monument.


This is the statue of Jefferson.  On the wall are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776.


Next we visit the Roosevelt Memorial.  Roosevelt can be said to be the most popular American president because he served president for four terms, a total of 12 years (he died 5 months after his third re-election)!

Hmm, I guess Roosevelt is really popular!!  We couldn't get close to take a nice picture!


We took a picture with the statue of his dog, Fala.


This statue represents a man listening to Fireside Chat, a series of broadcast where the president talked to the American people, reassuring them during the war and the Great Depression.


On the wall is etched part of a speech he gave during WW2:

"I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war."


Hmm, I think he sounds like a nice president. I would vote for him too!

This statue is a relatively recent addition to the memorial park.  It shows Roosevelt in a wheelchair.  His disability was not publicized during his life, but after his death people put up this statue to show that a person is not limited by disability.


We then visit Lincoln Memorial, built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.  The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.



On the wall is The Gettysburg Address,  delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War and considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.  It begins with the phrase "Four score and seven years ago."


Last we visit the Vietnam War Memorial.  It's too dark to take pictures.


This is the directory listing the names of those who fought in the war.


Posted May 7, 2011, 5:30 pm
Today we go to visit Old Town Alexandria.

We have to take the Metro.  First we need to get a ticket.


Let's wait for the train.


Here it comes!


Let's check the map to make sure we get off the right station.


Old town Alexandria was first settled in 1749, and is a historic district.


This is the city hall.


Across from it, is the Gadsby's Tavern.


It was built around 1785, and is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.


What's so special about this place?  George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were among its customers.  President Andrew Jackson spent the first night of his presidency at the tavern; he sneaked out through a window of the White House because he didn't like the inaugural party, and walked to the Tavern!


In front of the city hall is the Market Square.  It is believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating marketplace in the United States, (from 1753 until present day) and was once the site of the second-largest slave market in the U.S.  Today it contains a large fountain and extensive landscaping, as well as a farmers' market each Saturday morning.  We released a BookCrossing book at the fountain.


We walked to the Founders Park.  The riverfront area was called West Point in the early 1700's, and was the first important European settlement along the waterfront, leading to the founding of the town Alexandria.


Behind us is the Potomac River.



It's a beautiful walk along the shore.




We stop by this tree.  It is planted in memory of the daughter of one of host's friends.  The 10-year-old girl Becky was killed when riding a bicycle. 


The Torpedo Factory Art Center is so named because it was, no kidding, the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station during the wars!  When the war ended, the building was eventually given to a group of artists to use as studio.


It may be hard to believe but we came across some other TVs by chance!!  Their mommy is Swan.  We take a group picture together.


Posted May 10, 2011, 5:37 pm
Tonight we have dinner at the hotel.  We are here in Washington DC for a special event, the 10th anniversary of BookCrossing.


The organizers and the president.  They dyed their hair different colors for a fundraiser for this event.


Even the U.S. President, Obama, is here to celebrate!!


This cheese platter is arranged to look like Ballycumber, BookCrossing's mascot.


The participants talk about books while we try to put together the Capitol building (after accidentally taking it down like a Godzilla...)


Posted May 18, 2011, 4:04 am
Today we visit the National Museum of the American Indian.  It's the newest addition to the National Mall Smithsonian museums.

Outside the museum are some sculptures of tipis, the tents that some tribes live in.  We released a [url=www.bookcrossing.com]BookCrossing[/url] book about Native Americans there.


Here is a beautiful display of figurines. 


Here are some metal crafts.


This is a statue of Pocahontas, I think.


The first part of the exhibit is Our Universes, and introduces the creation myth and cultural philosophies of different tribes.  It examines the past 500 years of history from a Native point of view.


Here is a display of ceremonial objects.  Including some corns, animal horns and gourd.


These are some scary masks!


But this one is almost cute!


These are parkas made by Alaska Natives. 


A beaded doll, boots, and a baby carrier.


This part of the exhibit Our Lives, focusing on the cultural, social, linguistic and political issues of Native people and communities in the 21st century.


It talks about issues they face today, such as keeping their traditions.


There is also an exhibit of contemporary arts created by Native Americans.


A display of eating utensils outside the restaurant.  The restuarant features a Native-inspired menu that represents five different regions of the Western Hemisphere. Entrées include fire-roasted cedar-planked salmon, buffalo burgers, Indian fry bread, tamales and other dishes.


Here is an exhibit of watercrafts. 

This one called outrigger canoe is used in Hawaii.  The outrigger float is called the ama, and helps stabilize the boat in wavy conditions.


This is a canoe made with animal skins.


This boat is made with some kind of weed or grass.


We sit inside this kayak.


This type of totem is typical of Northwestern Native Americans.  Unfortunately we couldn't remember what is the story.  We think it's a squirrel and a coyote...


We visit the gift shop.  These dreamcatchers will trap bad dreams while letting the good ones pass through.


These wooden chickens are really cute!


Little toys made from Pevurian gourds.


Corn is a popular food of the Native Americans.  Here's some popcorn to enjoy!


Posted May 19, 2011, 5:06 pm
We left the American Indian museum and continue on to the next one.  The Smithsonian Institution has a total of 19 museums and a zoo, all free entrance to the public.  Many of the museums are in an area called The Mall: Air and Space Museum, American Art Museum, Natural History Museum, Freer Gallery of Art,  African American History and Culture Museum, as well as American History Museum, which we are visiting next.  At both ends of the Mall you can see the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. 



Continental gunboat Philadelphia is the only surviving gunboat built and manned by American Forces during the Revolutionary War.  It was built and sunk in 1776.


This is a model of how the boat might look like.


Next we visit some exhibits about the children of presidents.  This is a toy house built for one of the children. 


A representation of the streets named after presidents. 


There is an exhibition about the First Ladies' dresses.  This one was worn by Martha Washington, George Washington's wife in the early 1780s.


On the left side is  white silk damask evening gown Julia Grant wore in the early 1870s.  The rose-patterned fabric was a gift from the emperor of China.  Lucy Hayes wore the gold damask and cream satin gown displayed on right to the White House New Year’s reception in 1880.


These are the dresses worn by Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush at their inaugural balls.


And this pretty white one was worn by Michelle Obama, our current First Lady.


Next we visit an exhibit about African American slavery.  It's very sad to read about the cruelty they endured.



American buffalos used to roam the land.  Now they are very reduced in numbers. 


The museum shows how people lived in the past.  It's a lot of work for small tasks, like washing clothes!!


This marble statue was sculpted for the centennial of George Washington's birth.  He is considered the father of the country.  The statue was modeled after Greek God Zeus, but unfortunately when it arrived in Washington, DC in 1841, it generated controversy and criticism. Many found the sight of a half-naked Washington offensive, even ridiculous.  In the end, the people decided to just build an obelisk.

Well, I don't find it so awful, but I imagine at that time people are not used to seeing people not properly dressed.


There's an exhibition about pop up books.  We really like that, the books are so beautifully crafted.


These open up as stars.


In the exhibit about transportation, this depicts the first automobile drive across the country in 1903.


Trains are very important, even today, in transporting goods, as well as people. 


This is how a school bus used to look like.


Finally at the basement level is an exhibit of Julia Childs.  She introduced French cooking to the Americans. 


The moved her kitchen into the museum.


She had many gadgets in her kitchen, from old fashion mortar and pestle to new electric blender. 


Posted May 21, 2011, 8:42 pm
Tonight we have dinner at the hotel for the BookCrossing convention. 

We have the organizers explaining what the future plans are, and an author as guest speaker.  Then some members from Ireland come on stage to tell us about next year's convention in Dublin.  Wish I could be there.


We take a picture with Orange and Wolle, whom we met yesterday.  Orange decides to come with us to visit Florida.  We are so excited! 


Posted May 24, 2011, 2:17 am
Today we go to the National Zoo. 


We release a book about Giant Panda here.


There are lots of pandas here in the gift shop! 


We check out the small mammals.  This one is a monkey with a funny face.


There are lots of little animals like moles, monkeys, porcupines, squirrels and more, but they don't like posting for the camera.

Can you spot the tiger in the cave?  We release a tiger book here too.


I am so especially excited to see my friends.  Hmm, that lion is a lucky guy, with lots of girls around him.  I need to get some girlfriends too.


We also see a cheetah, the fastest animal on earth.  But of course, not as fierce as a lion is.


This is a praire dog, although it doesn't look a bit like a dog to me. 


We release a book at this Praire Dog statue.  The book is titled The Blue Fox, but since that part of the exhibit is closed we release it here.  It has been caught!!


Posted May 28, 2011, 3:23 pm
Such busy days going around sight seeing, it's time to take a break.  Let's sit down for a cup of tea!

We find this tea shop in Georgetown.  Founded in 1751, the city of Georgetown is much older than the establishment of the city of Washington.


We enter the shop. 


The decoration is very traditional Chinese.  I don't feel like I am in America at all!


The shop sells a lot of tea and paraphernalia, like teapots, magazines and more.


On the shelf are many jars of tea with different names: Dragon Well, Jade Cloud, Golden Needle, Monkey King, Oriental Beauty, Silver Needle, Hairy Crab, Chrysanthemum Oolong... What interesting names!!


Wow look at all the different tea pots!!  They are handmade with a special clay from China.  Our host tells us that those made by famous artisans can be worth a lot of money. 


Let's find a place to sit!


We read the menu to select our tea.


Now we wait for the water to boil!


We ordered a tea called Floating Lantern.  I don't see how it looks like a lantern, but my host tells me to be patient.


Look!  After a few minutes, the bud blossoms.  Wow! How beautiful it is! And I have to say it tastes very delicious too!


Posted May 30, 2011, 6:00 pm
Now on to more sight seeing!

The Old Stone House is the oldest standing building in Washington, D.C. and the last Pre-Revolutionary Colonial building on its original foundation.  The lot was purchased in 1764 for one pound, ten shillings.


The original house was only one story high but later owner added two more floors.


The hearth in the kitchen is large enough to heat the whole house.


The family dined in the dining room on the second floor.  The clock was built in the early 19th century by the owner of the house then. There was a dumbwaiter to transport food from the first floor kitchen to the dining room here.


On the same floor is the master bedroom.



We climb up the narrow stairs and reach the third floor, where the children's bedroom is.


Posted May 31, 2011, 2:53 am
Next we visit Georgetown University.  It's a very famous university.  Found in 1791, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States.  Among its alumni are Bill Clinton, King Abdullah II of Jordan, as well as many royalties and head of government from other countries. 

The main campus is just over 104 acres (0.4 km2).  Healy Hall, built in Flemish Romanesque style from 1877 to 1879, is the architectural gem of Georgetown's campus, and is a National Historic Landmark.


In the center of the campus is a bronze statue of John Carroll.  He was appointed by Pope Pius VI as the first head of the Roman Catholic Church in America, and is the founder of the university.


The cherry blossoms on campus are blooming beautifully.


Completed in 1933, the White-Gravenor Building houses several classrooms, the Georgetown College Dean's Office, The Office of the Undergraduate Admissions and the university registrar.


Ignatius of Loyola was s Spanish knight and the founder of  the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).


There is a little pond next to it with some kois inside. 


Let's sit down and play some chess! (yes I am here, just that Mocha is a tad fat... ha ha...)


Posted Jun 7, 2011, 5:07 am
We continue on to walk around town. 


The cherry blossoms are so beautiful.


We walk along Pennsylvania Ave. 


We reach Washington Circle, where you can see a statue of, who else, Washington on a horse.


This is Renwick Gallery, another Smithsonian art museum.


This is LaFayette Park, in the center is a statue is President Andrew Jackson.


In the four corners are statues of foreign Revolutionary War heroes, from France, Poland, and Prussia.


This is the White House Press Center.


Look here's some white cherry blossoms!


This tree looks interesting, like it's growing flowers on the branches!


Across from Lafayette Square, on the other side of Pennsylvania Ave, lives a very important person...


Yes, ... the President of United States!!  Hello Obama!!


Hmm, I guess the secret agents are everywhere.


This is the U.S.Treasury Department. 


And here's the headquarters of the National Geographic Society.


The Democratic donkey and Republican elephant.  These two animals are used to represent the two parties in U.S. government.


We see this beautiful building but now cannot remember what it is!


Posted Jun 14, 2011, 4:16 pm
On the last day of our visit, we go to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. 


It's across the street from the International Spy Museum, which sounds very exciting!  Maybe we will visit next time. 


This cute trolley goes around town.


Downtown Heritage Trail is composed of 21 poster-sized signs that gives interesting facts which link the history of the city to the history of the nation. According to this sign, Abraham Lincoln walked right where we are standing now!  The museum used to be the Grand Hall of the Patent Office, where Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held, and the Office was used as a hospital during civil war.


The first section we visit has American folk arts. 



The giraffe is made with bottle caps. 


Next we visit the protrait museum where different styles of protraits, paintings and sculptures are displayed. 


They are very famous American writers: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and.. mmm... we remember it as Poe but can't say for sure. 


I recognize this one! It's Joan of Arc!


And these two also!  Previous Presidents Clinton and Bush!


Posted Jun 14, 2011, 5:26 pm
After the museum we all feel hungry.  Chinatown is just a few minutes' walk away. 


At this restaurant, a lady is making dumplings.  She is breaking the dough into small pieces which she then roll flat to use as skin for wrapping the stuffing in. 


We go in and order pork dumpling, BBQ with rice, and beef noodle, with a glass of soy milk. 


Mocha and Snuff brag that they have tasted better ones in Hong Kong but for me they are pretty good.

Afterwards, we have to head to the airport.  I don't want to leave yet, but I am sure more adventure awaits me in Florida! 


Posted Jun 22, 2011, 3:39 am
Yippy!!  We are travelling again!  This time we are heading south, to a place called Key West.  The word Key actually comes from Spanish Cayo, which means a small island.  At the southern tip of Florida, there is an archipelago of 4500 islands, and Key West is the westernmost of the inhabited islands.


We drive along the Seven Mile Bridge.  You can see another bridge to our side.  That's the old bridge built in 1909-1912 and destroyed by a hurricane in 1935.  This bridge has been filmed in movies like  True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious and the James Bond film Licence to Kill, as well as in the car show Top Gear.


After 3 hours of driving, we arrive at Key West!


Wow looks like the beach is very busy. What's going on?


Turns out we are here for a event called Key West Paddle Board Classic.  We will paddle 12 miles to circle around the island.


A lot of people have gathered at the starting point at Smathers Beach already.


Everybody looks very fit and sun tanned. 


This is a shop for renting stand up paddleboards.


There are many different types of boats.  These two are kayak and outrigger canoe.


Here are surf ski, kayak, stand up paddle board and stand up kayaks.


This one is kind of like your regular rowboat, called a dory, except that it's open at the end so any water entering the boat can drain away easily, and waves can go through without capsizing the boat.


Our host is very excited about this outrigger canoe, because it looks like the one she has at home. 


Some of her friends are on this 12-men outrigger canoe. 


As for us, we are riding in this, a dragon boat!!  It can sit 20 people.  I am excited!!  I am going to take a boat trip, and in a very unusual type of boat too!


Let's take a picture with the dragon!


Wow, people are leaving the shore to go to the start line!!  How exciting!  It looks like they are standing on water. 


The trip around the island is a lot of fun.  We pass through waves and calm water, we see beaches, mangrove, and hotels.  Sadly we do not take too many photos though, because our host doesn't want to be taking pictures while other people are paddling hard.  We don't want to get thrown out of the boat. 


You can see the finish line behind us.  People stand up there to cheer for the paddlers.  The fastest ones take a little two hours, the slower ones three or even four hours.


Now the race is over we can sit on the beach and relax!!  I must say it's a beautiful day.  I am liking Florida!  Hey where is my margarita?


Posted Jun 22, 2011, 5:10 am
We do a quick tour about Key West before we head home.  Key West is known as the southernmost city in the Continental United States.  A little interesting fact: In 1860 wrecking (salvaging valuables from shipwrecks) made Key West the largest and richest city in Florida and the wealthiest town per capita in the U.S.


We pass by the Southernmost Hotel.


I am here at the southernmost point of Continental U.S.!


Here in Key West is the beginning of US Route 1.  It is a major north–south U.S. Highway that runs the length of the East Coast of the United States and runs 2,377 miles (3,825 km) from Fort Kent, Maine at the Canadian border all the way south to Key West, Florida.  If I drive along this road I will go all the way up to Canada, though it will take a long, long time.


We cross the street, and what do we have?  The end of US 1, ha ha.


We also come by the house of Earnest Hemingway, a very famous author who wrote Old Man and the Sea.  He wrote several of his novels here, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.


Posted Jul 3, 2011, 12:30 am
It's not easy to say goodbye, but Snuff really need to go home now, even if he doesn't want to.  He has stayed here for a year and a half, and has gone to a lot of places.  His mommy is missing him awfully, he has been gone for so long...  Today we go out for a little farewell party.

We come to this Irish restaurant.


It's very beautiful inside, with polished wood everywhere. 


There are some old books and things to add a rustic look to it. 


We order some fish and chips. 


This is an Irish dish called Bangers and Mash.  It's sausages with mashed potatoes.


For dessert we have some bread pudding.  Hmm, all this food makes me a bit homesick.


Cheers to friendship!!  We are too small to drink Irish beer, although I'd love to try that.  Travel home safely, our dear friend, we will miss you!  We hope to see you again!


Posted Jul 27, 2011, 3:41 pm
Today we receive a package!!  Look at the pretty stamps!  I wonder what's inside?  I'd bet it's books for our host who loves to read!


Sure enough, there's a book.  But there's something else too?  A rat?


Turns out Genoveva is a BookCrossing toyvoyager too!    Orange and Mocha are very excited.  We give her a warm welcome.


Very nice of her mommy to send us some wafers!  But I couldn't believe that rat ate half of it!!



Posted Jul 29, 2011, 3:54 am
Today we help our host release a book for the BookCrossing Monopoly game.  Her (and Genoveva's mom's) team landed on "Square", so they have to release a book by a square.  Mommy said that she knows of a very beautiful square for the book. 

This is the book we will release. The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank.


We first visit the website to register the book.


Since weather has been somewhat rainy we put the book in a protective bag.


Off we go!  I thought we are going to a town square, but to my surprise we visit the Holocaust Memorial.

At the entrance there is a statue of a mother with two children.


Behind the statue is a quote from Anne Frank on the wall.


There is a pond and a statue of a big hand.


First we pass by a wall etched with pictures during the war.  It's horrible to look at the pictures and imagine the suffering.


The hand is reflected in the water where there are some lotuses.  It's very beautiful.


Oh here is the square our host talks about!!  There are slits in the wall so sunlight creates squares of light on the wall. 


We leave the book in the tunnel.


We hope someone will find and enjoy this book.


The light also shines through an opening to throw a yellow star on the ground.


We walk through the tunnel. At the end, there is an opening where the big hand statue is.  Up close, we can see that it is formed by many human figures.  They all have very sad and tortured faces.  We feel very emotional looking at them. 



At the end of the memorial is a sculpture similar to the one we saw at the entrance.  Only in this one, the mother and children have died.


Posted Oct 21, 2011, 4:44 pm
Today we go to South Beach, which is a very popular tourist destination. 


We are on Ocean Drive, which is right next to the beach.  It has many restaurants and hotels, many of which are built in the Art Deco style.  Many movies and magazine photos are shot here.




Look, this hotel has a swimming pool on its first floor!  You can lie on the beach chair there and watch the beach.  Weird.


This was the residence of Versace, a world renowned designer who was killed right on the door steps years ago.  Hmm I think I can still see the blood stain.


This is a station where people can rent a bicycle to go around.


So, this is Miami Beach.


It is a bit windy today.


Let's enjoy the sun and the beach a bit.


On the way home, along the causeway, we can see the Port of Miami.  This is where we can get on a cruise ship to the Caribbeans.  Hmmm I hope one day I get to ride in one!


Posted Nov 22, 2011, 3:26 am
Today we are helping our host do a BookCrossing release!

Our host is playing the BookCrossing Monopoly game.  This round they have to do a restaurant release, as her team landed on a square saying "restaurant". 

First, we have to find a book.  Hmmm... I think we find the perfect book


We wrap the book up with a little description of what BookCrossing is.


Now Bally is all ready it's time to make a Bally roll!  We use a white towel and some paper.


Tada!  Bally is ready to roll!


We visit this place called Ozzi Sushi.


This is a kaitenzushi, which means that they have sushi going around the table and you select what you like, instead of ordering with the waitress or chef.


The sushi plates pass by us on little wooden boats.


Yum yum... I am not sure if I am the first lion to eat fish, but they are pretty tasty.


The plates are in different colors, indicating how much each costs.  The waitress does not take away the plates; when you are done, they come by and calculate how many plates you eat and how much you pay.

This is a very pretty pink roll with strawberry inside!


Bally and us enjoyed a farewell dinner together.


Bon voyage!!  Travel well, Bally, hope you find some new friends!



Posted Jan 8, 2012, 5:28 am
Our host apologizes that she hasn't been keeping our journal more up to date.  But finally here's some!

We travel with her to Tampa, which is on the west coast of Central Florida, to watch an international dragon boat race.

Look here are some athletes ready to get on the boats.


And some getting off after a race. 


Here's another team heading to the race.  Good luck!


We visit a friend's VIP guest suite so we can get a full view of the race.



Looks like this is the mascot of the race.


We go inside the athlete area.  There is a kiosk selling smoothies. 


And the souvenir booth is always crowded.


There are some stores too.  This one is selling exercise machine.  I suppose the athletes have to work out a lot on them.  We want to try it but decide that we will look too bad compare to all the national teams here...


This one sells paddles.  Our host explains that while a regular wooden paddle sells for about $40, serious paddlers usually use a carbon fiber one that costs over $200.


There is also an exhibit about the history of dragon boats.


This is an ancient drawing from China, showing a very fancy boat.


There is even a dragon boat magazine.  Wow, Prince Henry and Kate are on the cover.  Kate is into dragon boating too, but she was asked to discontinue it, as it makes security real difficult.  Or so we were told.


We enter the athlete village, where the paddlers rest between races.  Each country has her own room.



Looks like the Brits are stretching out to get ready! Go win some gold!


Hmmm the Germans look strong too.  Genoveva is from Germany so we have some heated argument about who will win.


I wonder which country will go home with all the cups?


We visit the Hong Kong team.  They have won a plaque.


We watch the awards ceremony.  Looks like UK gets a medal.


Trinidad and Tobago has won a few medals for her youth division.  Their fans are proudly waving the country flags.


Here are the Germans and the Canadians receiving their medals.


Posted Feb 9, 2012, 8:27 pm
Today we go to celebrate Oktoberfest with Genoveva who is getting a bit homesick.  The event is organized by the German American Club.


Hey we do feel very much like we are in Germany now!!


There is a band playing... and two German guys dancing...?


Feeling a bit hungry we decide to check out the menu.  Genoveva is very nice in translating for us.


They have samples to show us what the food are like.  Though Genoveva tells us that the food she and her mom make look a lot nicer than this.


And of course we want some beer!


Oh dessert!! There is the German chocolate cake, which turns out is not originated in Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_chocolate_cake), and the Black Forest cake, which is. 


Looks like these are candies from Germany.


Guten Appetit! 


Posted Feb 9, 2012, 9:34 pm
Today my host teaches me to make a Chinese noodle dish.  It's called Dan Dan noodle, with a spicy sesame sauce and very easy to make.

First we minced up the garlic, and preserved mustard stem.  If you don't have that, you can use carrot or turnip.  It lends some crunchiness and flavor.  Normally minced pork is used but we use the vegetarian substitute here.


Next we stir fry the ingredients in the pan.


Now we put the noodle to boil.


While waiting for the noodle, we prepare the sauce.  We use chili sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, sesame paste and sesame oil.


We mix everything into a smooth paste.


The noodle is ready.  We put the stir-fried mix, along with some crushed peanuts and scallion, on top.


We add a little hot water to the paste to make a broth, and add it to the bowl.


Doesn't it look delicious?  This one is made mild, as you can hardly see any red chili oil floating on top.

Posted Mar 2, 2012, 11:38 pm
I arrived in Oklahoma City and it's not really all that cold. My host says that they've only had one day of mild snow that melted in the evening, so it's been a rather warm winter this year. She says they've always had strange weather here.

I was supervised to see so much craft stuff laying around. They make a lot of art in this house. I met her husband Dan and her two cats Gremlin (the first cat photo) and Monster (second car photo). I had a very warm welcome!

My host also sent a bunch of tv's out to their new hosts to make more time for others. So I should be able to post more photos soon. I miss you!

Posted Mar 9, 2012, 2:59 am
I went to work with my host, Michelle, today. It's been warm the last few days, but today it was cold and raining outside.

Michelle drew me a lovely name tag in orange marker. Then I helped make an Easter Bunny! Easter is on Sunday, April 8th this year. My host says that St. Patrick's Day is on March 17th, but she's not sure if she's making anything for it this year.

For lunch I had ravioli in cream sauce and sauted mushrooms. Then after work we got some Chinese take out! That was very yummy! I was being silly on the scale... wow I'm lite weight!

So I have a very nice day with my host. Oh and at the end of this month, if plans go well, we'll be going camping! It's an event called Nightmare Machine and it's going to be in Jefferson, TX -- a haunted town.

Posted Mar 11, 2012, 9:00 am

Posted Mar 18, 2012, 6:46 am
I had fun celebrating Saint Patrick's Day in Bricktown (down town) Oklahoma City. My host says it's an Irish Holiday that they celebrate with getting drunk, listening to Irish music, and lots of green things and Irish flags.

We ate at Jazmo's, a cajun restaraunt - Black Magic Catfish! Oooo weee! It's blackened catfish topped with etouffee on top of dirty rice, and a side of fried ocra. It is SO GOOD! As a treat, we stopped into the Candy Factory. It's not really a factory, but they have a ton of candy there.

Then, we went for a long walk around the different lots where there was live music and green beer. We also enjoyed the wind blowing off the river. The white stuff in the water are petals from the peach trees. The peach trees smell awful, but they are so pretty!

Posted Apr 7, 2012, 10:49 pm
We went to a Steampunk event called Nightmare Machine. It was held in Jefferson Texas, which they say is the most haunted town in Texas. We were sitting in the vistors center with a frame photo on the wall fell and broke, and then a bunch of people walked in saying that the Steam Train derailed and they all had to walk back. Thankfully no one was hurt... unfortunately we didn't get to ride the train.

Still we had a lot of fun. We went camping out by a swamp lake at the Cypress Bayou RV Camp Grounds. We saw a lot of neat things around town. We even visited some of the stores. The town itself was pretty neat because it is one of the oldest towns in Texas.

And it was moth season, because there were a lot of moth caterpillars crawling around. We brought two of them home only to find a third stow away in a bag. One of them already made himself into a cocoon (we named him Jefferson). I can't wait to see what kind of moth he ends up being!

Posted Apr 15, 2012, 9:03 pm
I wanted to let you know that I'm okay!

Sorry about not being in the photos, I just wanted to show you the storm that was moving in. We're in "Tornado Alley" and it's Tornado season right now. There was a very dangerous "super cell" storm that passed through Oklahoma this weekend. It's been all over the news. There were several dangerous tornadoes that killed 5 people (3 were children) and injured 29 others. As exciting and beautiful tornadoes are, they are deadly and very scarey!

Don't worry, we are okay in our area of Oklahoma. The winds got really strong out, but luckily the majority of the storm went Northwest of us. 

Posted Apr 15, 2012, 9:56 pm
I went out to Crabtown for dinner! It was so tasty. We had some spicy fried calamari (octopus), and then had a seafood boil which has onions, potatoes, corn on the cob, sausage, shrimp, and crab. It was messy but fun! We were seated next to this old phone that was mostly broken, but it was vintage and really neat.

Afterwards, we took a walk down Bricktown (downtown Oklahoma City) and took some photos along the way. Me and Chico (the mouse) got a photo on the fountain. It's it lovely? It was starting to rain, so we had to hurry!

We saw the movie Cabin In The Woods which was really good! It was a horror film that was actually both scarey and funny. It's not for young kids though - adults only! Then while waiting for a ride home, we stopped into Sonic for a hotdog and a mocha java chiller.

We had a great day before the storms came in. The sky was so pretty, but it's the beginning of a dangerously stormy weekend. Wish me luck in the storm!

Posted Apr 22, 2012, 6:51 am
We watched the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) event at Buffalo Wild Wings. Jon Jones won the fight!

Posted May 20, 2012, 10:12 pm
I went out shopping with Toki and my hosts today. We didn't do anything terribly special, but we had a good time playing around in the stores!

We went to Hobby Lobby for steampunk supplies and stuff for making toys. There was a lot of cool things in that store! Then we went grocery shopping, which was still fun to run around the store shopping. Then we went to Burlington Coat Factory, which is a clothing store.

A little girl tried to snatch me from the bowl with the rubber bands made to look like lollipops... but my host was very quick to save me! Whooo! The girls sure do love me <3

Posted May 21, 2012, 7:44 pm
Yesterday's Annular (ring) Solar Eclipse had a Ring Of Fire! This doesn't always happen and the next one won't happen again for another decade or more. The Ring Of Fire is when the moon is directly infront of the sun creating a black hole with a thin ring of light (fire) peeking around the edges of the moon. There are also crescent shaped shadows under trees too!

We got to see the very beginning, but that was it. The clouds covered the sun. We had a lot of storms that day. But we still had a lot of fun outside and taking photos. Then when we got back inside, we watched a live stream of the eclipse.

Posted May 25, 2012, 7:44 am
The other TV's and I helped our host write an article about taking photos for toyvoyagers.com and it turned out pretty good! She's hoping this will be useful to other hosts. More than anything, it was just good fun. As part of the project, we had lunch at a diner called Freddy's and then stopped to smell the flowers. Here are the photos we took while getting photos prepared for the article... but only the really good ones. You can see the article here: Article

Posted May 27, 2012, 5:18 am
We took the bus down to Bricktown (downtown Oklahoma city). First we had lunch at La Luna's mexican restaurant. I had yummy Chile Relleno and some chips with queso and salsa. There was a lot of neat decore on the walls, and the staff was really nice. Then we went to the Myriad Botanical Gardens. It was wet and hot and a lot of walking... but it was so pretty there! They had waterfalls, exotic flowers, and some cactus. After that, we took the bus to Hooters, which is a restaraunt that serves wings. We only had the fried pickles for a snack before we took a taxi back home.

I am not in every single photo from the Gardens, because I really wanted you to get a good look at some of the plants and scenery. It was SO BEAUTIFUL in there!

Posted Jun 2, 2012, 10:34 pm
Stormy Weather!

Posted Jun 3, 2012, 8:53 am
The next US Holiday is Independence Day (4th of July). Everyone wears the colors of the American Flag - red, white, and blue. There's fireworks and general festivities. We made me a white tail band with a red and blue star on it.

Do you like it?

Posted Jun 30, 2012, 7:26 pm
I went to Soonercon, which is a local scifi and comic convention here in Oklahoma. I was busy helping my host sell toys at their vending table, but I did take time away to meet Peter Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn!

Posted Jun 30, 2012, 7:29 pm
There's a Vietnamese restaurant across the street from where my host lives. They have a lot of noodle soups and seafoods. It was very tasty.

Posted Jun 30, 2012, 7:32 pm
OKay, so these photos are not that great because of the lighting and fog used for the show. We went to a Ringlings Brothers circus! It was a great show with clowns, acrobatics, tigers, elephants, horses, and more! It was my hosts first circus.

Posted Jul 14, 2012, 11:51 pm
We saw The Avengers! It was a great movie and it was actually pretty funny too.

Posted Jul 22, 2012, 10:37 pm
Today, I arrived at my Hostuncle Philipp in Vienna.
Today we just hang out a lil bit infront of the TV. Philipp has also two little birds. I hope we get friends.
Tomorrow will be a nice day. My Hostuncle told me we gonna drive up to the Kahlenberg. Im so afraid, because he said, there is the most beautiful view over the City.