Vicky Mouseham, Rocklin, California, USA


Posted Jun 19, 2008, 3:16 pm
I'm Vicky Mouseham and I'm a shopping mouse. I would like to visit fashion shops all over the world. My mentor loves rodents so I would like to collect souvenirs showing mice or rats from my further host's countries.

Of course a shopping mouse needs a lot of money so I would ask every host to give me a coin. As chlothes for such a small mouse are not too expensive, the smallest coin would do.

I'm carrying my shopping bag whereever I go to be prepared if I should see the nicest dress on earth.

Unfortunately I have flatfeet so I cannot wear high heels.

I will visit:
Apperveilchen - Germany
Michele one L - USA
minnihiiru - Estonia

Vicky M.


Posted Jul 3, 2008, 11:27 am
before visiting Michele one L I will have summer vacations on the Seychelles.

I'm already off with Aquila.


Posted Jul 10, 2008, 2:35 pm
It's good that the box Aquila and I shared was so roomy, because we were stuck on a shelf at the postoffice for a few days. Today our new host finally decided to come and collect us. About time. She says they'd been having bad weather, though and that we haven't missed anything. Therefore we were directly taken out of the box at the postoffice and I got to do a little shopping. We went through the pedestrian zone and visited the bakery, a Weltbild shtore (usually they sell by mailorder but also have books, DVDs, CDs, deco stuff etc. in stores), Esprit and Vero Moda. Now let me go and meet the other tvs here. I want to pick my room mate for our vacation.

Posted Jul 18, 2008, 11:07 am
I am now in Essen and we're busy packing the suitcases and buying some small stuff we still need. Bye for now! I'll update again when we're back in Germany!

Posted Aug 10, 2008, 11:38 am
Today we took the bus to Mont Plaisir, which is a place in the mountains where there's only a few houses. At the last bus stop we followed a dirt road further up the mountains. There were little springs by the road that supply the tap and bottled water for Praslin and some of the surrounding islands.
We had a wonderful view of Aride in the distance when we climbed down again on the other side.

Posted Aug 11, 2008, 10:29 am
Our first flight was from Düsseldorf to Dubai. We could watch the plane being made ready for us.
Sebastiaan, Lucky Duck and I grabbed the window seats on the way there. Here we settled in nicely.
Out the window I could see the cloud formations and wave good-bye to Germany.
I regularly checked our progress on the monitors,
but it got boring after a while and we all went to sleep.

Posted Aug 11, 2008, 10:35 am
We landed in Dubai in the middle of the night but I had soem shopping to do! We didn't have all that much time until we had to report to the gate and wait for boarding.
I wanted to have a look at the night time activity at the airport.
We found our places and go wedged in tightly for take off.
The monitor changed between maps in English and in Arabic. Maybe I can get a necklace with my name in Arabic some day, it's so pretty.
A tired little shopping mouse:


Posted Aug 12, 2008, 6:25 pm
Dinner on Seychelles is something different. There's not a lot on offer in the little shops: Milk only as instant milk, fresh fruit, fish and the little meat are usually bought directly from aquaintances or at the road, flour for bread has been rationed to the bakeries because there's a problem with import, so one can only get it around midday every day.

We had coconut (those are lying around everywhere),

breadfruit (instead of potatoes),

bananas and jambose.

Posted Aug 12, 2008, 6:29 pm
We spend the day at the beach. This is the beach belonging to our house:

Posted Aug 13, 2008, 12:01 pm
Today the weather is warm but not so sunny that we'd want to spend all day at the beach. We are going to explore the island a bit and drive to the west coast.
Here we are still on the east coast, doing our very own version of 'drive-by shootings'.
Here's one of the few roadsigns. You can't really get lost with so few streets.

There are abount 5-7, depending on which size you count, different mountain roads that allow you to traverse the island. They are very narrow and esp. the bus drivers drive them very fast and not only on their side of the road, either, so it was a bit scary because on the one side there are the huge granite rocks and on the other it goes down without guard rail or even a tiny side-strip.

The mountains go up to around 900m and have a real rain forest.

We're through! This is Anse Boileau.

Posted Aug 13, 2008, 12:16 pm
We wanted to get to a marine national park at Port Launay so we took the coastal (not that there is any other) road north.

Grand Anse and Île aux Vaches:

Port Glaud:
the Sundown restaurant:
Finally, a boutique. I had to go and have a look! It's small, but that seems to be the case with all the shops here.
a very nice garden
In front of Port Glaud there's Thérèse Island and the smaller L'Islette.

Posted Aug 13, 2008, 6:58 pm
The road led through some mangrove areas.

We drove up until Cap Mantoopa where the road ends at a youth village that borders on Baie Ternay, a nature reserve, on the other side. The children of the island all spend some time here in the summer.

We turned back a bit to find the best place to go to the beach at Port Launay Marine National Park.

We looked for a dry and not too sandy place in the shade to relax a bit. These roads are very curvy and narrow in places.

Then we made your way back. Days are relatively short this close to the equator. At 5 p.m. it already starts to get dark.
Back to the east coast.

We wanted to do some more shopping. Fresh fruit and also fish are often sold in small amouts (extras from the garden or the day's catch).

North again to the capital: Victoria

Posted Aug 13, 2008, 7:16 pm
Victoria is the capital of Seychelles. It has ca. 60 000 inhabitants, the only traffic light on Mahé (Praslin has one at the airport that warns cars when a plane is landing, I rather doubt that there are any others), no parking garage and most shops close at 5 p.m.

This is the clock tower in the modern center of Victoria. It was erected in 1903, the year when Seychelles became a colony of the UK, instead of just a province of the colony Mauritius. It's a smaller copy of a clock tower that was built in London a few years earlier.
It has become the symbol of Victoria. It strikes the hour twice, with one minute in between.

the postoffice:

palace of justice, also called Victoria house, it was built as the New Oriental bank in the late 19th century:

Seychelles emblem in front of the ministry of finance:

There are a number of shops for clothes and a big supermarket (for these islands) but all in all the choice is very limited. 2 or 3 different kinds of instant milk, 3 different kinds of rice, 2 different types of pasta, 3 different kinds of totmato sauce, 2 different juices... Not a single dress in my size. For shopping I'll have to go elsewhere.

Posted Aug 22, 2008, 7:38 pm
I am on my way now to the USA. I got my coin in my bag (it'S 25 cents from Seychelles) and pictures with a ten rupees note from Seychelles. 

Posted Aug 26, 2008, 6:13 pm
We watched the fruit bats today. In German they are called 'Flughunde' (flying dogs) because they aren't actually closely related to bats. They live in all the tress here and make holes into the fruit to eat them and leave the rind/nut.... They are very loud and seem to fight among themselves for the best places to sleep. They are most active at dusk.

Posted Aug 26, 2008, 6:31 pm
Today we had dinner at the Carefree Restaurant. We were the only guests, but we had great service and food.
We had the nice lady show us which fish she had to offer today.
A 3 D map of the island Mahé:
We are here:
Lot's of money, the official certificates and private photos.
The food:
fresh lobster
fish kebab
caramelized bananas and vanilla ice-cream
We're full!

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 7:30 pm
We got some yellow-fin tuna tonight. It was really big! The man who takes care of us in the house also bought it for us and is taking it apart expertly. So nice!
First the fins came off.
In Germany we say that 'dinner has been saved'.

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 10:38 pm
We decided to spend the day at the beach.

Posted Aug 28, 2008, 2:02 pm
Not far from the house there's this craft village.
They paint pareos, make bags and hats from palm leaves and other souvenirs.
We drove on to Anse à la mouche
and to Anse Boileau.

When we got back home there was a big swarm of common mynahs in the garden.

Posted Aug 30, 2008, 12:47 pm
We wanted to visit the tea plantation up in the mountains today.
This is the view going up the road above Victoria.
Here we are at the ruins of a boys' school run by monks. When there are no clouds one has a beautiful view but the mountains were hanging int he clouds once again giving the ruins a haunted atmosphere.
We walked around a little way through the forest. Sometimes I could see only outlines in the fog. I got so scared that I had to be blindfolded and led some of the way.

Next we drove to the tea factory. We could already see the tea fields passing by.
We wanted to have some tea. It was 3:30 and they were supposed to be open until 4, but...time is relative here and the ladies were closing up the tea room already and the truck with the workers from the tea factory left when we arrived.
We just had a quick look around and then drove on.
A few people were still working at planting new fields.
We found a great point for a view of the next bay and the small islands before it. It was sunny but the light was filtered by the trees and then by the camera.

We drove up to Port Claud. Here's the church. They'd just had a funeral and we saw the procession. People weren't dressed darkly but in their sunday best with hats and flower prints.
Cows seem to be held with a halfter and a long chain here, so they can move a bit without needing a fence.

Posted Aug 30, 2008, 4:12 pm
Our last day on Mahé was spent near the house. We went to the beach when the water was at its lowest point.
The rocks are great for sunbathing or for watching teh small fish that live around them.
The coastal road runs directly along here, but there's never that much traffic so it doesn't matter.
The trees give more shade than the palms.
You can see the waves breaking at the coral reef. We walked some way out towards that to see what we could find hidden now that a lot of the sand was swept away.
a sea-cucumber
many small deeper pools
corals are always good for a surprise...
A little sea star with heagehog-like spikes was hiding in this one.
Who wants to touch her?
Look how far away from the beach we are.

We also took photos around the area...
... and after the bags were packed we could relax in the sun.


Posted Aug 30, 2008, 4:20 pm
Hello fellow shoppers! I arrived in New York this afternoon and I'm happy to be here. I heard that my host likes to shop (shhh....don't tell her husband) so we should get along just fine.

I'll update again soon!


Posted Sep 2, 2008, 8:09 pm
Today we took a little island-hopper, a propellor plane that flies between the different islands of Seychelles, one like this but not as brightly colored.
It has place for only 20 passengers. We sat all the way in the back and could still see into the cockpit.
On the runway:
We had a great view at the smaller islands.

On Praslin everything seems much calmer. We got settled in our house for the week.
Then we visited the beach closest to us, Grand Anse. At this time of the year the wind brings a lot of seagrass to this side of the island. For swimming we'll have to go to the other side but we knew that.

Here you can see Cousin and Cousine, two islands that are privately owned. Couosin is a nature reserve for birds. We'll go there next week. Cousine is a hotel island and has 4 villas for 2 person's each. The guests are flown in by helicopter and pay 1200€/night, minimum length of stay is 3 nights. Part of the money is used for the renaturalization of the island and bird and turtle protection. Each guest can plant a native tree (otherwise it is planted for him) to replace the introduced ones. Other people have to get the permission of the hotel management before they can come on the island.
This is on the beach, directly at the airport. Black Pearl brings up pearls from the ocean. They have a tiny aquarium of native, partly hurt sea animals that are occasionally cared for before they get released again you can see the open tanks from the beach.
Behind the sign is the runway of the small airport.
It nearly ends at the road and the beach, so here's the only stop light on the island.
The holes the crabs make directly next to the road.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 8:49 pm
Today we found this funny bug on our patio.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 8:53 pm
We chartered a boat to take us to Cousin Island this morning. It collected us at the beach and we had fun on the short way.
Coiusin is dedicated to the preservation of endemic and other native bird specias and also a place for sea turtles to lay their eggs at the beach. To keep rats and other carnivores off the island, the boats need to anchor a few hundred meters off-shore and visitors have to get on a tiny island boat that runs up on the shore.
The first birds we saw nisting were these noddies.
Here are two native lizards. Can you find them?
Some Aldabra Giant Tortoises were brought here and still live here, but now freely on the island instead of in a walled area.
We left the way we came: first the island boat from the beach, then changing boats on sea and back to Praslin at high speed:

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 8:55 pm
Anse Lazio and Curieuse Island
A small farm we still had to walk down there and then climb a bit  to reach the beach.
Finally there, isn't it beautiful?

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 8:57 pm
A few last pictures of our house and garden before we have to leave for the airport:
We had a jambose rouge tree in the garden. The birds seemed to like it a lot.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 9:01 pm
After lots of delays we finally arrived on mahé late at night. Now we are waiting for our flight to Dubai.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 9:04 pm
We spent some time being carried around the airport before we flew on to Düsseldorf.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 9:09 pm
We're back in Germany. Here our trip ends. I said good-bye to everybody.

Posted Sep 2, 2008, 11:43 pm
Awaiting my arrival in Rome, NY was Cool Jules, Sussy Greenfeet, Moley, Hinz + Kunz and Jimbo Elephant. They are all very nice, I can't wait to get to know them more.

Posted Sep 3, 2008, 12:10 am
This evening we took a ride to Syracuse, NY. Our host was having an item held at the Yankee Candle in the mall so she had to go pick it up. But first we had to go to the gas station, then we hit the road. Syracuse is about 45 minutes to an hour from Rome so the ride was a little long and boring. We had to pay the toll before we could get off the Interstate.

Posted Sep 3, 2008, 12:25 am
Today another TV arrived! We were excited to see a new face. Everyone tried to guess as to who it might one got it right.  :rolleyes: It was none other than Crocs!

Posted Sep 5, 2008, 2:50 pm
This evening we went to the drive in. Michele said that the drive in was closing for the season on Monday, September 1st and that we had better go before then. Tonight it was a tripe feature although we only stayed for two movies. First we saw Kung Fu Panda then we saw Wall E. It was so much fun!!!

Posted Sep 5, 2008, 3:04 pm
Today we said goodbye to Jimbo Elephant. He had to continue his journey on the USA TVT. We gathered around his travel envelope to say our goodbyes.

Posted Sep 5, 2008, 3:17 pm
Also leaving today was Hinz + Kunz. We wished them both a safe and happy journey.

Posted Sep 5, 2008, 3:31 pm
Oh my another TV friend is leaving today... Moley is ready to continue traveling around the world. We wished him well and told him to have a safe trip.

Posted Sep 5, 2008, 3:42 pm
As if having 3 of your friends leave in one day, try having 4 of your friends leave on the same day. Cool Jules also left us today. He said that he's ready to go home, but that he has one more stop before that can happen. Good Luck Jules! Stay Cool!

Posted Sep 5, 2008, 3:57 pm
To our biggest surprise a new TV arrived today! We were all so excited since 4 of our friends had to leave. We had no idea who was inside......It turned out to be MisterRight.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 8:44 pm
Today we headed for Target in New Hartford, NY. Our host is still looking for a job so she thought she'd try applying at Target. We were also there looking for a cookbook. After Target we are going somewhere special. No one knows where it is but we're all pretty excited.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 9:03 pm
It was a pretty boring ride from Target to our next destination. We did the best we could not to fall asleep.

We arrived at our destination and we had no idea what it was. Michele told us that we were at the Turning Stone casino. We asked "who takes TV's to the casino?" She explained to us that we were not there to gamble. Humm...We wonder what she has up her sleeve.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 9:16 pm
The casino was having it's annual Feast of San Gennaro. This year the celebrity chef was Guy Fieri from the Food Network. He is Michele and her husband's favorite chef (besides Paula Deen). Unfortunately by the time we arrived (an hour before the show started) all the seating was full so we had to go sit in the balcony. And that was almost full as well.

After the show Michele waited in line to meet Guy and get his autograph. She asked if we could have our picture taken with him as well but the usher guy told us that there wasn't enough time.  :( We had a good time anyway.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 9:31 pm
Today we went with our host and her dog Riley to the vet. Riley needed a shot and to be checked for fleas. We were scared that we all might need a shot or something.  :thinking: Michele promised that we were just along for the ride.

It wasn't so bad at the vet. We all hopped up on the scale to see how much we weighed but the scale didn't seem to be on. Riley didn't seem to mind being there. He loves all the attention he gets from everyone.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 9:42 pm
A box arrived from Germany today...our host said she didn't order anything from Germany so that means only one thing....a new TV! We couldn't wait to see who it was... Michele opened the box and it was Fester.

Posted Oct 6, 2008, 2:47 pm
Today we went to Target with our host. She had a job interview there. She allowed us to ride in her bag, but she said that we had to be very quiet.

Posted Oct 6, 2008, 2:56 pm
At dinner tonight our host told us that she got the job at Target. She seemed excited but we had no idea what it meant. For dinner we shared a big salad. It was delicious!  :p We were all able to try something new with this salad. Yummm.....

Posted Oct 6, 2008, 3:10 pm
We jumped into our hosts bag this morning as we were told we would be going on a short road trip. Our first stop was at Rite Aid. Michele needed a drink and some gum then we were on our way.... We had no idea where we were going, but anywhere was better than no where.

Posted Oct 6, 2008, 3:17 pm
Our next stop was in Syracuse, NY. We were at the Christmas Tree Shop. We all said "Christmas in September?" Our host explained to us that even though the name of the store is the Christmas Tree Shop, that they sell other things. Michele's husband wasn't feeling well so we didn't get to shop for too long.

Posted Oct 6, 2008, 3:42 pm
Tonight we wanted to help cook dinner. Michele said that she had a new recipe that she wanted to try. The recipe is for mini meat loafs.  We weren't sure what meat loafs were but we said we would give it a try. Here's the recipe;

1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 6oz package of Stove Top Stuffing Mix
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup Barbecue Sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix meat, stuffing mix, water and garlic powder. Press mixture into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Make an indentation in center of each meat loaf with spoon. Fill with barbecue sauce. Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through (160 degrees). Top with cheese; continue baking for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Posted Oct 6, 2008, 3:53 pm
This afternoon we helped make an apple pie. Michele has promised her next door neighbor that she would make one for her so we helped her keep her promise. It was a lot of work but once you get the pie in the oven it smells so good.

Posted Nov 3, 2008, 2:55 pm
I arrived today and I saw a big bunny there:D
We went out to look things in Rakvere,such has sculpture "tarvas",castle and also we walked in the highest place in Rakvere.It is called Rakvere vallimägi.
We ate and drank with Bunny also:D


Posted Dec 6, 2008, 8:58 pm
We went to the biggest shopping centre.In recent time here are lots of snow;)We bought something to eat and enjoyed great time and looked around what we can buy for christmas  :rolleyes:

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 5:11 pm
X-mas time here with Mari's family,Benjie Bunny,Odette was great.
We ate typical Estonian Christmas food like sauerkraut,black sausage,potatoes and meat,meat jelly.We watched from TV christmas programme,sang x-mas songs and was just together and enjoyed time : )

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 5:34 pm
Some days ago we went to walk around Rakvere.In outside was quite dark and later we went to artschool and Mari drew there.
Today we just great time with Odette outside.
Later we were like a snowman's.
We had fun and now its time to say goodbye for Mari and go and continue my journey.


Posted Feb 3, 2009, 8:03 pm
Hi,mummy !
Today I start going to Florida.I hope I can arrive safetly :)

Posted Feb 12, 2009, 3:23 am
Yay!  I arrived in Florida! 
I am a bit tired after the trip so I will rest up a bit and then go exploring the city!

Posted Mar 13, 2009, 3:56 pm
Today we ride around in the car.  We pass by the port of Miami.  There are a lot of big cruise ships going to the Bahamas.  I wonder if I will get a chance to go on one?

These are some of the houses along the causeway.

Posted Mar 13, 2009, 4:04 pm
Today we go wine tasting!

South Florida is too warm for grapes but this winery uses local tropical fruits instead.

Like avocado.


Passion fruit which has a very nice bouquet.

And lychee, my favorite.

Hmmm, what wine should we taste?

We are given a tasting note o we can rate the wine we taste.

Hey it's my turn!

Posted Apr 3, 2009, 10:04 pm
Today we go to a beach on an island.  It's called Hobie Beach and is on Virginia Key, a little island that is about 5 miles long by 1.5 miles wide near downtown Miami.  The word Key comes from Spanish Cay, meaning an island.  Many of the islands here are named Key, like Key Biscayne, Key West, Marathon Key, and so on.

You can see the city of Miami as well as the bridge behind me.

There are people out there on kayaks on this beautiful day.

Families come out here.  The adults read or sleep while the children play with the sand or water.

This family even bring their tent!

And their guard dog!! Ugh, let's get going...

Let's sit and relax a bit, like everybody else.

We start collecting the shells.

My host helps me put a shell in my bag.  She says that I have collected an American coin already, but as shells are used in the ancient times as currency, it would be a nice addition.  I am very happy to keep the pretty shell with me.

Looks like someone forgot her sunglasses!

Wow the wind must be really strong during a hurricane!

We are getting thirsty.  I wonder if we can get some coconut juice?

We try climbing the tree but it's too tall.  No coconut but we are rewarded with a beautiful view!

Posted Apr 4, 2009, 3:19 am
Today we head to Tarpon Springs, a little town on the west coast of Florida.

First we have to drive frm the east coast to the west, through the Everglades National Park.  It may look just like any roadside grass but this is a subtropical marshland designated by UNESCO to be of vital global ecological importance.

This is at the rest area where we stop by for a quick break.

Now we are on the west coast we see the sea again.

We arrive in Tarpon Springs.  This used to be the train station.

The town used to be a sponge fishing village and has the highest percentage of Greek American population in the country.  There is a heavy Greek influence.

This is the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in downtown.

We also visit this Greek bakery across the street.  They make their own Greek yogurt too.

You can tell you are in Greek territory! Greek Chow Mein anyone?

We sit down for a while ouside this watersports store.

Posted Apr 5, 2009, 6:04 am
Today we visit Craig Park.

Behind us is a bayou.  During winter time there are manatees but we look and look and can't find any.

This is a cute little palm tree.

And a big palm tree.

Around the bayou there are a lot of old houses like this one.

The trees all have mustache.  My host tells us that they are Spanish moss.  Hanging from the trees, they make the scenery very romantic... but I think it is very spooky.

Our host wants to gather some moss so we help her.

Oh help me I am all tangled up!

In the park is the Heritage Museum.

Looks like there are people living here from a long, long time ago.

The ancient people used this conch shell to make an axe.  Hmm... looks quite lethal.

This picture show the sponge dock at its heydays.

Wow I didn't know that sponges are animals.  However, nowadays most sponges are synthetic.

This is a sponge press used to pack sponges into bags like the one on the right.

Posted Apr 7, 2009, 7:27 pm
Tonight we go to the Sponge Docks.  We saw a picture of it in the old days at the museum.  But now there is hardly any commercial harvest due to cost and water pollution, and the place is more a tourist attraction.

The street is lined with souvenir shops and Greek restaurants, with names like Hellas, Zorba, Mykonos and Santorini.

Naturally there are a lot of sponges for sale.

And pretty shells too.

We stop by another Greek bakery.  This one has lots of sweet pastries.

We buy this Greek pastry called diple.  It is a big rolled up sheet of fried dough with honey drizzled over it.  Very delicious we finish it in no time, even though it looks big.

Posted Apr 7, 2009, 7:36 pm
Today we go to the U Pick farm to get some fruit and vegetables.

There are a lot of green tomatoes but we find some nice red ones too.

And these two red peppers look delicious!

Wow look at all these strawberries hiding!

Posted May 3, 2009, 4:35 am
My host knows that I love shopping so today she takes me to a really nice shopping mall called the Village of Merrick Park, in Coral Gables.  It looks like a very nice place indeed.

There are some nice statues in the garden area.

Wow my eyes pop out when I see all the name brands!  Jimmy Choo!  I want a pair of Jimmy Choo!

This pink dress looks really pretty too.

Hmmm... maybe a sports shirt for when I play tennis?

A Burberry coat for colder days sounds good too.

Here's a friendly doggie.

Hmm, it's getting late.  It's easy to lose track of time when you shop, isn't it?

Okay now let's go upstairs and see what they have.

Ah, I sure could use a crystal bracelet!

Or should I get a silver one from Tiffany?

Maybe there is a sale at Neiman Marcus?

Or should I try Nordstrom instead?

Wow it's really shop till you drop at this place here.  I think I better go rest up a bit in the cafe.  It's so much fun shopping although I have yet to find a dress my size.  But I will keep looking!

Posted May 3, 2009, 4:46 am
Today we go to out to the backyard.

Look, there are some papayas on the tree.

Here's a green one that has fallen.  Maybe we can make green papaya salad with it.

We also find that some of the Surinam cherries are ripe already.

A lot are still green but we pick the red, plump ones.  They are delicious but as they bruise very easily it's not available in the stores.

Hmm... not very bountiful but at least it's something.

Posted May 4, 2009, 6:24 pm
Today we visit the Crandon Park on the island of Key Biscayne.  It's a nice breezy day and we see some people flying kites.

What is that flying up in the sky?

Let's get closer to take a look!

Oh it's called Kiteboarding.

There's a lot of kites on the beach.

This guy is pumping air to fill the frame of the kite.

Looks like this one is ready to go!

The kiteboarder goes into the water while a friend holds the kite ready.

Now he lets go and the wind will carry the kiteboarder into the ocean.

This is the board.  Hmm, I don't think our feet fit in.

Posted May 17, 2009, 4:58 pm
Today we help our host cook an Indian dish, stir fried green beans with coconut.

First, we put the coconut shreds on a pan to toast in the toaster oven.

Now we wash the beans.

I chop off the ends and cut the bean into 1" long sticks.

Now we prepare the spices.  We put in chili pepper, tumeric power, garlic, coriander seeds, and more.

We ground the spices with a mortar and pestle.

Now we stir fry the beans with the spices.

We add in the coconut shreds and the dish is ready!  It's spicy but very delicious.

Posted May 22, 2009, 7:13 pm
We go to a dragon boat race today at the Miami Rowing Club.

This is how the boat looks like.  It is about 45 feet long and seats 20 paddlers in 10 rows.

Well, good luck, Puff team!

The team gets into the boat and is now leaving the dock to head to the start line.

It's nice weather today at the beach and people are coming out to watch the races.

I can't tell who is winning!  They are so close.

We wander around and watch the taiko drummers as they perform on stage.  I really like the powerful drum beats.

We spot the lion and drum for the lion dance.

Look there are a lot of tents over there.  Let's see what they have.

Starbucks is out here giving samples.  I want one!

And at this tent they are cooking paella, Spanish fried rice, on a big paella pan.

Hmmm this hammock hand made in Nicaragua looks very pretty an I am sure is comfy too.

Oh dresses pretty dresses!!  I want one!  But they don't have my size. What luck. sigh!

We also see some skateboarders.

The dragon dance is here!

Kyaa!  These are scary!

Some monkeys made from coconut.

We are happy that the Puff team did very good.  Look at all the awards!

Posted May 23, 2009, 3:59 am
Today is Free Comic Day so we go to the comic store to pick up our free comics.

We line up here so we can pick from the comics that are hanging on the wall.

They have a lot of posters and DVDs too.

Beware, Batman is here!

They have a lot of cute toys.  We invite them to join us to travel.

Wow a lot of mushrooms!

Oh looks like we wander into Star Wars zone!  I don't think they welcome us.

There are a lot of beautiful artbooks too.

Erm, the dogs here don't look too friendly either.

These Japanese snacks sure looks yummy!  Lavender chocolate?  I want to try that!

We thought they are just cute plush toys, but turn out they are giant microbes!  We meet chicken pox, mad cow disease, algae, flu and more.  Yuck, they may look cute but I sure am staying away.

The store is also having an exhibition of self portraits by artists.  They are all very beautiful.

Posted May 26, 2009, 6:13 pm
We visit Tampa today, on the west coast of Florida.

We can see a cruise ship near downtown.  It's dawn so the rising sun gives the sky a beautiful glow.

Here we can see the buildings in downtown Tampa.

They are trying to set up the outrigger canoe.

Oh we see this guy stand-up paddling.  Looks so cool as he drifts by!

Posted May 26, 2009, 6:49 pm
We are heading to the beach again!  Okay, so I have been to quite a few beaches in Florida, which is what the state is famous for, but this one we are visiting, the Siesta Key in Sarasota, is not just any ordinary beach.  It was named the “Best Sand Beach in America 2008” by the Travel Channel.

Looks like it's a popular day to be out on the beach!

They have a sand sculpture contest today.

This one is my favorite.

What a beautiful beach!  I can see the Gulf of Mexico.

The sand is so fine, the water so clear, this is a fine beach indeed.  Harvard University's geology department found the sand of Siesta Beach was 99% pure quartz. Unlike most beaches that are composed of crushed shells, rocks or lava, this sand is pure white and finer in texture than most refined sugar.

Well, I may say that such a grand destination is a nice conclusion to my visit to Florida.  My host told me that I will be boarding a plane soon to travel to a new country.  I wonder where that would be?  I am so excited but also a bit sad to leave. 

Posted Jun 4, 2009, 7:35 am
Hi Mom, I have arrived at Abby's house in Canada!

Posted Jun 5, 2009, 4:35 am
Today I am helping Abby make a flourless chocolate cake for her dad's birthday.

First, I melted chocolate and butter in a pot.

I helped Erin mix sugar, cocoa power and eggs

The chocolate is ready...

Now mix it all together...

And, into the oven!

Mmm, that looks good already.  Since we were in a hurry we put the cake in the fridge to cool.

Next, I worked on the ganache.

Mmmmm, doesn`t that look amazing?


Posted Jun 8, 2009, 8:41 pm
Today I am visiting heritage houses on the Vancouver Heritage House Tour.  Here's a map of all of the houses on the tour this year:

Each house on the tour has a write-up in the booklet everyone is given.

Abby was not allowed to take photos inside of the houses, as they are all private residences, but I will show you the outside of the house and tell you a little about it.

This is the first house we went to, Number 4 on the map.

It was built in 1910 and has a twin house directly across the street that was built at the same time.  The area at the front on the second floor used to be a porch, but it was closed in sometime during the 1920s or 30s.  There is an infill house in the backyard that is nearly as pretty as the house itself.  The current owners have built a rather nice wine cellar in the basement.

The next house we went to was Number 1 on the map.

This house was built in 1905.  The front part of the house used to be a candy store called the Georgia Confectionary, hence the boxy shape with the large windows.  The current owner is Bill Richardson, who is a broadcaster on CBC Radio Two.  He encouraged everybody to write on his walls in the front room.

The next house we went to was Number 2 on the map.

This house is a designated heritage building.

It was built in 1903 and was a rental house to many people over the years.  One group was the family of a ship captain, James John Bartlett; when the current homeowners were renovating they found a postcard from him dated November 1914 and they now have it framed in their dining room.

Abby completely forgot to take photos me me at the next house, Number 3 on the map, so here is the photo from the program:

It is a yellow house built in 1908.  When the area (called Grandview) was first opened up for development, this would have been a rather working-class lot.  The current owners kept a lot of the original elements of the house, but opened the area up a lot more.

The next house was Number 8 on the map.

It was built in 1930 and the first owners were a dentist and his family; his practice was at the back of the house.  It was a rather grand house at the time it was built; only those of a high class would have been able to afford to live there.  The current owners kept the same basic layout of the house.

The last house we went to was Number 7 on the map.

It was built in 1912.  Most of the original documents regarding this house were destroyed, so not much is known about its early years.  The current owners were not around, but I noticed based on the pictures around the house that one of the owners is a former Olympian.

Abby's parents got to see the rest of the houses on the tour, but Abby and Erin had something else planned...

Posted Jun 8, 2009, 8:42 pm
I went with Abby and Erin to their audition to be in the 2010 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies.  Abby was rather busy during the audition (they looked like they were working very hard), so she really couldn't get any pictures.

This is Abby's audition number.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive (there were aobut 45 people at this particular tap dancing audition), we watched the opening ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Afterwards Abby and Erin were very tired, so we cooled down at Starbucks.

Posted Jun 8, 2009, 8:44 pm
Next, it was time for some sight-seeing downtown.

This is Victory Square, Vancouver's war memorial.  It used to be overrun with homeless people (being on the infamous Downtown East Side), but the area has cleaned up somewhat in recent years.

This is the Dominion Building.  When it was built it was the tallest building in Canada.  Apparently it is haunted by the architect, who died falling down the big spiral staircase in the centre of the building becore it was completed.  The building is trangular.

That tall building you can see in the background is the new Woodwards building.  Woodwards was a department store that went bankrupt in 1993.  It was vacant until it was purchased by Simon Fraser University a few years ago to become part of its Vancouver campus.  The building will be the new home of all of the fine arts programs, as well as a community centre for the Downtown East Side, student residences and low-income housing.  Part of the original facade was kept, and once construction is complete they will restore the old, neon Woodwards 'W' that sat atop the old building.

This is the Gastown Steamclock, the first clock of its kind to run solely on steam power.  It is a huge tourist attraction.  It chimes every quarter hour and releases a lot of steam in the process.  Unfortunately we just missed one of those moments, as it would have made a good photo.

This is not a great photo, but down the street you can see the district of Gastown, the oldest business district in Vancouver.

In the distance you can see Canada Place.  It has many large halls and is used for conventions and parties.  The sails are lit up at night.

This is Waterfront Station, which is the terminus station for many different modes of transportation.  The commuter train West Coast Express stops here, as well as the Skytrain, Seabus and many buses.

This is the Marine Building.  It is the best example of art deco architecture on the West Coast of North America.  The interior was used in the Fantastic Four movies.  It was built right at the beginning of the Depression, and because the contractors went bankrupt, the interiors were not completed as they were originally meant to be until recently.

Here is a close up of some of the detailing.

Posted Jun 14, 2009, 9:08 am
The power went out unexpectedly, so Abby decided to show me her family's gardens.

I met a bunch of these gnomes in the front garden.  This one said that Abby's mom named every single one of them 'Smedvik.'

We climbed the maple tree.

The Canadian and British Columbian flags.

This is where the family bees live.

I played in the grape vines.

These rhubarb leaves are huge!

They also grow lots of vegetables.  This is the lettuce garden.

Posted Jun 16, 2009, 4:22 am
Today is the public opening of the new Goldenears Bridge.  No cars yet, just people.

These eagles (at the top of the towers) are in a few different places on the bridge.

There was a show of vintage cars.

Look!  We cut the ribbon! (or, rather, a bumper sticker off a line of bumper stickers)

On the North stage was a group called Kutapira, who describe themselves as a percussion marimba band.

Some people from a local First Nations group were performing.

The bridge crosses the Fraser River.  This is the view down-river.  The, ahem, suicide guard was decigned to look like fish traps.

We had to get our picture taken with Mounties.

On the South stage was the Langley Ukulele Ensemble, who are a bunch of very talented youth if I do say so myself.

Along the length of the bridge were passport stations, where you could get your 'passport' stamped.  When you visited all six stations you could enter to win a prize.  All of ours are stamped!

I hope these cables hold...

This is the view up-river.

Back on the North stage, a group called Aché Brasil, who were performing Capoeira, a form of martial arts started by Afro-Brazilian slaves.

After this the crowds were too much and they had to stop letting people onto the bridge so that we could get off, so we decided to leave.

Posted Jun 16, 2009, 5:22 am
Today we went for a picnic at Belcarra Regional Park.

The view is lovely from here.

For our picnic Abby prepared tuna sandwiches, potato salad and lots of fruit.  Yum!

For dessert there was condensed milk candy, straight out of Russia.

Posted Jun 19, 2009, 1:49 pm
Today Pepita and Noelle are leaving.  We all gathered tgether for a goodbye, then it was off to the post office for them.

Posted Jun 22, 2009, 10:20 pm
This morning we got up very early and travelled to Vancouver for breakfast.

Posted Jun 22, 2009, 10:21 pm
Abby says we are going to fly on a float plane.  We arrived a bit early, so We decided to have a look around.

This is our boarding pass.

From here you can see the planes; you can't really see the one we will take because it is hidden behind another

one, but it is identical to the one in the centre with the yellow on the tail.  It holds fourteen passengers. 

Behind the docks you can see part of Stanley Park.

This is the 'green roof' part of the new convention centre, which will be the media centre during the Olympics.

Now we are inside the plane!  This is the view so far from the window.

Here is the view from the inside.  Everyone else on the plane seemed to be a Norwegian tourist.

We are starting to move now!

On the right you can see the convention centre, next to it is where all of the cruise ships leave near Canada

Place, and next to that is the Vancouver shipyards.

Taking off!

That city over there is North Vancouver.

This is a map of the flight plan.  We are going from Vancouver to Victoria, about a 35 minute trip (it takes

about two hours, plus an hour's drive if you go by ferry).

In the distance you can see a barge.  The red ship to the right of it is called a pilot ship, which must be

present if the large ship does not have a Canadian pilot.

During our flight we read The Peak, which is Abby's and Erin's school newspaper.

This is Galliano Island

This narrow waterway is called Active Pass, named after the USS Active, which was the first ship to travel

through is (as opposed to the HMCS Plumper, which travelled through shortly after).  It is fairly narrow and

curvy, so boats have to be careful travelling through it.  You can see a ferry on its way to Vancouver right


This is Saltspring Island.  Rock legend Randy Bachman live here.

Now we are over the Saanich Peninsula, part of Vancouver Island.  Nearly there!

Look, we are right under the clouds.

Coming into Victoria Harbour now...

Posted Jun 22, 2009, 10:23 pm
We are staying at the Robin Hood Motel.  Pop singer Nelly Furtado used to work here.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 1:25 am
This is Hatley Castle, the former home of one of the first premiers of British Columbia.

This plaque says: This superb example of an Edwardian park was laid out for James and Laura Dunsmuir in the early 20th century.  At its centre stands a Tudor Revival mansion whose picturesque design is enhanced by a rich array of decoration and fine cranftsmanship.  The grounds, featuring a variety of native and exotic vegetation, unfold from formal gardens to recreational spaces, farmlands and forests.  Acquired by the Canadian armed forces in 1940, Hatley Park evolved to meet the needs of Royal Roads Military College in a manner that has preserved its essential Edwardian character.

Heehee, I'm a statue!

This is the view out toward the ocean.

Today we were allowed to go inside the castle.

This is the dining room

The main hall

The front hall

Then we went out to the gardens.

Behind the castle is Grant Hall, built by the Canadian armed forces in the 1940s and used by Royal Roads University today.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 1:26 am
We are actually at Royal Roads because Abby's Mom was receiving her Graduate Certificate of Executive Coaching.  This is where the convocation was to take place.

In here is where the reception will be held.

The program

This page has information about the Coat of Arms.  It was adopted when Royal Roads Military College became Royal Roads University in 1997.

This page is about the history of convocations.

Here is a blurry photo of Abby's mom walking across the stage

Afterwards there was some great food at the reception.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 3:40 am
In Beacon Hill Park, I saw a peacock.

Than I saw a heron in a tree.

Here it is close up.

I heard some music, and found some dancers on a stage in the park.

Apparently it was Heritage Day and for seven hours there would be all sorts of performances put on by various cultural groups in Victoria.  The group that we watched was a Hungarian cultural group.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 3:43 am
I saw this exhibit at the Royal BC Museum.  It was really interesting.  Unfortunately, Abby was not allowed to take photos inside and there were lots of security guards around.

There were lots of interesting sites near the museum, so we decided to have a look around.

This clock tower was a gift from the Netherlands.

This is the Legislative Building, where the BC government is situated.

This is Victoria's war memorial.

This statue of Queen Victoria (who the city is named after) is in front of the Legislative Building.

No trip to the West Coast is complete without seeing a totem pole.

This harbour is where the float plane landed yesterday.

On the wharf, people sell arts and crafts.

This is the Empress Hotel, which is very grand.

This is a statue of James Cook, who was an explorer.

This elementary school is famous for its name.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 3:45 am
I saw a little bit of Victoria's Chinatown.

This is fan Tan Alley, which holds the world record for the narrowest street in the world.  I would have walked through, but it was closed for the evening.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 3:49 am
Knockan Hill Park is a garry oak preserve.  Garry oaks are an engangered tree that are only found in this area.

The view from here is rather good.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 4:54 am
Chemainus is world famous for its murals.

In the park was a statue of H.R. MacMillan, who owned fooresty companies in BC.

The view is nice here.

Posted Jun 23, 2009, 4:56 am
We arrived a little early for our ferry in Nanaimo, so I decided to have a look at the view.

On the ferry now, we sat at the back and I was able to see the terminal.

Etwas and I shared tea and a cinnamon bun.

Off we go!

Posted Jun 26, 2009, 5:52 pm
There is not much to see in the town where Abby lives, even though it is the sixth largest in British Columbia, but she decided to show us the most interesting thing.

This is the theatre.  It is fairly new; less than ten years old.  Lots of local theatre and dance groups use it for performances.

This eagle was sitting outside of the theatre.  It is one of many, and many orca whales, that were each painted by a different artist and auctioned off.  They can now be seen all over the lower mainland.  This particular one is called 'Sea To Sky', which is the name of the highway to Whistler, and incorporates an orca and a spirit bear.

This is Spirit Square, recently renamed due to the Olympics.  Community events are held here, with the gazebo being used as a stage.

These hydrangeas were near the theatre.  Aren't they pretty?

This is city hall.  The four flags around the balcony, from left to right are: an Olympic spirit flag, the flag of the city, the flag of BC and a flag of the coat of arms, which you can also see over the balcony.

Lastly, this is the infamous 'Beast' of Maple Ridge.  The horse symbolizes the protector of the valley.  It represents a beast that fought for Mother Nature against those who were hurting the environment, but was gravely hurt in the process.  Mother Nature set up the clock as a reminder to not hurt the environment.

Posted Jun 26, 2009, 9:36 pm
Today we are trying out a cake recipe that Olgamaus gave to Abby.

First, we had to harvest some rubarb.

Wow, that was hard work.  Those stalks are HUGE!

Then, we chopped up the rhubarb.

Next, we mixed together butter, sugar and vanilla.  Everybody took a turn.

Then eggs were added.

Then flour and baking powder.

Now the cream

There, that looks about finished.

Into the pan

Put the rhubarb on top

And into the oven!

While that was baking, we whipped up some meringue.

Mmm, that's looking really good.

Put the meringue on top, and then back into the oven.

Oh wow, this looks delicious!

Then, with the leftover egg yolks (the whites were used in the meringue), Abby made everyone a ToyVoyager-sized scrambled eggs!

Unfortunately we can't try the cake until everybody gets home from work.  Stay tuned!

Posted Jun 27, 2009, 6:07 am
An update on the cake:

IT WAS DELICIOUS!  Thank you for the recipe, Olgamaus!

Posted Jun 29, 2009, 6:40 am
Currently in Vancouver there is this huge Jazz festival held at many different places in the city.  I visited the Gastown location, which is one of the free venues.  We were just killing time in the morning and couldn't stick around for any of the actual performances, but I had a look around as they were setting up.

This is the main stage.  A few blocks away was a smaller stage.

Gastown is the oldest business district in Vancouver, thanks to "Gassy Jack"

Posted Jun 29, 2009, 6:41 am
I got to see a Shakespearean play at Bard on the Beach!

Today's play is Othello.

They have photos of all the actors (two plays each on two stages) on display

This is a quick photo of the main stage before the show.  Abby isn't even supposed to take photos inside the tent, so shhh!  Don't tell!

The play was very good :)

Posted Jul 2, 2009, 1:35 am
Happy Canada Day!  Unfortunately Abby was working and unable to take us to any festivities, but here's a patriotic photo.

Posted Jul 3, 2009, 6:28 am
Vicky was sent to her next host today.  Abby apologizes for the very cramped quarters and hopes she has a speedy trip.  Before she left, Abby slipped a Canadian dime into her shopping bag, just in case she feels the need to shop in Canada again sometime.

Posted Jul 6, 2009, 8:46 pm
I've finally arrived after a bit of a long trip from Canada! My home mum, Kendra took me out of my travel-case and I immediately got greeted by a few of her animals! They were quite nice but I think one might have been afraid of me! its a good thing my host mum brought me inside because it was starting to get VERY hot outside! Air conditioners are wonderful!

Here are a few of the pets I visited with! This on is called Bella. She was very nice, and a bit sleepy it seems! Perhaps I should take a nap with her. My travels were quite tiresome!

This one was called Maxx. he was scared of me at first! Kendra says that he is still a puppy, so maybe thats why!

Tomorrow Kendra says we are going on an adventure, but she wont tell me exactly where! I'm so excited. What could it be?