Argoyle, Post Office, Home


Posted Dec 9, 2008, 9:11 am
Hello! I have arrived in Australia - there's a few other toyvoyagers with me here... there all international except one... but I'll take some photos and put them in my journal soon... for now it's time for me to get some rest... it'd be 3am in Texas right now.. crazy! Miss you mom! <3

Posted Dec 14, 2008, 6:35 am
Today we decided to take our first trip... we hadn't been anywhere recently since Sara's been busy going to the gym and everything so I haven't been able to see much yet... but Sara's going to try to change that for me so I can see this area... anyways, today it was really hot outside but we all packed ourselves into the car and headed out to Bathurst... Bathurst is a 45 minute drive away with little to nothing in between Orange and Bathurst but I'll show you the "sights" anyways... :-)
This is just exiting Orange.. it's still got a lot of farmland just outside of the trees... but it does create an illusion of a lot of trees doesn't it?
Maybe 5-10 minutes outside of Orange are a couple vineyards. Orange is famous for it's vineyards. There are two huge ones outside of Orange, and there's a whole heap of smaller ones near Mount Canobolas which we'll see a bit later on... :-)
Just outside of all land which has all the vineyards on it is the tiniest town ever... it's called Lucknow, it's literally a one road town, this is it.. what you see is what you get... with lots of farmland... but there's a coffee shop, some kind of strange antique shop, and some huge gold mines that have been abandoned for years... I'll go into that a little bit later though... another day - another thing to see. :-)
You'll find a lot of the road to Bathurst looks a lot like this... not really that interesting, but sure are a lot of sheep and cows... thing that's very Australian - the famous red dirt - the dirt that's got a LOT of iron in it... one of Australia's big export to other countries... we've got a lot of it...
...another thing you see, lots of kangaroo signs, and occasionally the kangaroo road kill as well... which is pretty sad but I guess it happens everywhere with native wildlife... we didn't see any kangaroos this time, even though we did go searching... :-( Maybe next time...
We're almost there now... don't know if you'd know it though - still looks a lot like farmland to me...
...Welcome to Bathurst...

Posted Dec 14, 2008, 6:48 am
Well, now that were finally in Bathurst we saw one of Bathurst main things to see... usually Sara takes all toyvoyagers onto the Mount Panorama race track... but for some reason it was closed... we had a bit of a look around and they were having a race today... not the HUGE Bathurst 1000 but some smaller race... we couldn't do much but stand back and watch...
The famous Mount Panorama sign, this is right in front of the starting gate... and then we saw some of the race cars...

I'm not in these photos because Sara was so zoomed in that I wouldn't have looked like anything but a blur... sorry about that! But I can promise, if I'm still with Sara next month we'll be going back to Bathurst and hopefully this time we can see some kangaroos too! :-)

We also got to see the newly famous Peter Brock Statue he died a day or something after Steve Irwin died in 2006, he died in a race but he was known as "king of the mountain"... so they made him a statue an put it up for this years races in the beginning of October...

...just as we were leaving we saw another race car coming in... it means this must not have been anything but qualifying but it was still cool to watch for a while...

I hope you enjoyed my time in Bathurst... hopefully I'll go back again soon! Write again soon mom! Miss you!

Posted Dec 14, 2008, 7:19 am
The weather has been really crazy the last few days... when we went to Bathurst it was really warm out - cloudy but very very warm... the last few days it's been really rainy and cold... with very high winds... the weather changes here are so crazy sometimes... but hey, I'm enjoying the cooler weather while it lasts... :-)

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 7:26 am
Today we took a very unexpected trip... Sara had to plan quickly as they only realized they were going yesterday... but we had a lot to see this time... I won't tell you where were heading as it was a big trip but our first stop was Bathurst... this time Sara actually saw some kangaroos...
...the kangaroos were a LOT farther than normal this time... the first photo the photo was taken with a 12x zoom, the other photos it was 48x zoom... if that also would explain why I'm not in the photo... I would say I'll never get enough of seeing these little (or not so little) guys. :-)

More to come...

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 7:36 am
Maybe you have an idea of where were going now? You look at the map and you probably already know... but next stop was Lithgow, we stopped to see the huge mining lantern again while we got our bearings before moving back onto the road... here I am in front of the mining lantern... if you can see where there used to be a "flame" is now a Christmas tree... :-)

We had to go to the bank as well to pull out a bit of money so we had to go and search for the bank down the main street of Lithgow, this is what the rest of the town looks like...
...looks not much different from Orange and Bathurst... nor does the middle of Sydney - lots of older buildings... with Lithgow, even though it's much closer to Sydney than Orange and Bathurst a lot of the business have gone out of business... it's very empty... kind of strange isn't it? Hold tight there's still way more to come! :-)

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 7:49 am
Welcome to Sydney! We're here... well... not quite yet... were currently in the outskirts of Sydney in the towns of Penrith and Paramatta... pretty large cities though... here are some of the photos from Paramatta as we were going through... sorry were not in them it's hard to take photos so quickly as your going through the towns... wouldn't know from these photos but navigating through even the outskirts of Sydney is very hard sometimes - one wrong turn and your in another suburb and totally lost... lol there's another little while before were there - but first we have a stop off to make...

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 7:59 am
We were going to Sydney to look at a car - our current car needs a lot of fixing up so were getting another one that uses LPG (propane) for fuel, so fuel is half the price... so were going to see a 2000 Ford AU Falcon, the newest car we've ever had... where we were seeing the car was in Riverside but we decided to check out a bay called Tambourine Bay right down the street... it was quite beautiful! :-)

Here are some trees around the bay, these ones are interesting looking aren't they?
...but what's cool are these trees...
...these are called Morton Bay Fig Trees... they're native only to Sydney and one of the original trees that Sydney was full of before it became really civilized.. aren't they cool looking?

As we were going a small walk down to the bay here's what we saw above the trees...

and of course here I am in front of the bay... isn't it pretty? the water was also very very warm... it's amazing to think the ocean could be so warm...

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 8:12 am
This wasn't just our first time going through Sydney like this - this was also Sara's... we had just gotten our GPS navigator so Sara and Daniel cruised through Sydney and were able to see somethings they never thought they see - and places they never thought existed... so next stop was Cockatoo Island... when they were driving through they realized one thing... it's a very rich area, there were HUGE houses and they all looked very expensive... Sara made her way down the hill with us and almost jumped out of her skin when she saw what was there...
...Sara hasn't ever had a chance to show some toyvoyagers the Sydney Harbor Bridge like this, and it was a beautiful view point of the bridge - it would be an awesome place to sit if you were going to see the fireworks on New Years Eve...

The other photo is of the AMP tower and the Sydney skyline... sadly you can't see the opera house from here... but there's more to see... how exciting is that? After we went to Cockatoo Island and saw the awesome harbor bridge and the AMP tower we went to a point called Onion Point... there wasn't much to see - we had to walk along a dock to see anything and this was the view...

As we were heading back to the car we saw these really strange flowers? Aren't they pretty though?

...there's more coming... :-) Write again soon!

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 8:20 am
We just happened to be going right through the central business district of Sydney... which is to put it lightly very scary to go through... lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of roads... people don't usually like to drive through it... you walk or you taxi or bus it since it's so confusing... but the GPS put us directly in the centre of the CBD of Sydney so Sara got a few shots before going back out of the CBD heading towards our next stop... here are some of the shots in the middle of the city...
...we were getting a bit lost and we only had a little bit longer to spend at our next stop... plus we kind of got lost... but there's more to come! :-)

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 8:29 am
Well next stop was Balls Head... sounds like a funny name... really quite actually but Sara was amazed by the sights she saw when we were up at the "peak"... there was a lot of steep hills around where we were driving and then bang! We were there... these are some of the things we saw...'s the Anzac Bridge... Sara's never been on it but it's one of the other more famous bridges in Sydney....

...we also got to see a much closer shot of the AMP tower... you can see there is a lot of cargo ships going in and out of the harbor as well, here's one of them...

It was a really clear and hot day despite the darkness of the photos (we were in a lot of trees) as you can see there were a lot of people on boats and at the beaches today...

...and as we were driving back down... we saw something that made us pull over... I only had a very short time to take photos or I would have gotten all of us out of the car for a photo but this shows how close we were to the harbor bridge and the opera house...
Isn't that just gorgeous? Too bad we couldn't see the whole opera house as was planned for today... but this isn't it? Sara took us to see something a bit more exciting (she thought anyways)... back on the road...

Posted Dec 18, 2008, 8:42 am
Last stop today was Manly Beach, one of the most popular Sydney beaches... it was very beautiful... one of Sydney's most famous beaches is called Bondi beach, but it's usually so packed that we don't even bother... there was sadly not much to do for us little toyvoyagers so we got a photo and then we went back to the car so we weren't taken or hurt by being left on the beach... here I am in front of the beach... isn't it gorgeous?

...before we went back to the safety of the car one of the seagulls decided to come and check us out - I think he thought we were food... are some other shots of the beach... isn't the water so pretty? It was also very very warm as well... sadly Sara and everyone wasn't ready for the beach so they couldn't go very deep in the water... but Sara enjoyed taking photos...

...and just as we were about to leave a whole bunch of people came in from what seemed like out of no where... there was maybe 20-30 kayakers... some professional, some more or less beginner but it was quite fun to see them coming in and out. Sara thinks they were practicing for a triathlon... they had a lot of fun playing in the waves...

We had spent over an hour at the beach, it was time to head home... it was going on 7pm and it was a 3 and a bit hour drive home... it's been a long LONG day I hope you enjoyed seeing Sydney through my eyes... we hope to go back again next month! If I'm still here I'll get to see a bit more of the Sydney beaches! Write again soon mom, we have another big trip coming up at the end of this month! Miss you!

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 5:37 am
Today we took another trip to Bathurst and boy it was a REALLY hot day... it got up to 34'c with absolutely no wind... I couldn't believe it! Just sitting around everyone was sweating. Thankfully Sara's new car has air conditioning so we had the windows up all the way to Bathurst while she was listening to music. Because we were in a rush we got a few errands done first but then we went and saw some kangaroos... Sara says she has never seen kangaroos this close before (while in Bathurst)... so we all were in the car looking out since they were... RIGHT there... here I am... that gives you an indication of how close to the car they are when I'm in the shot... are a few other photos Sara took of the kangaroos... mostly while in the car but the moment she got out... well you can see what happens... she actually got a few feet closer to them before they all bounced off... how cool... :-)
Sara told us a story about her around 2.5 years ago she went down to the South coast and was actually able to pat some kangaroos... wild kangaroos... their were around 5 kangaroos, one adult, and 4 babies or juvenile joey's and she just walked right up to them and fed them and rubbed their head. It was amazing. :-) So this was awesome as well for her and us...

Well, remember when we went to the race track last time and we couldn't get on it? Well... this time we could... as you can see it was open this time... :-P here I am on the way to the race track and the view showing us the track is open to tourists today...

...So we decided it was time to go around the track... sadly I couldn't sit on the dashboard like Sara usually puts the toyvoyagers but this time it's a new car and their dashboard we easily slip around and the window was open. Sara didn't want any of us to be lost... so here's some pictures from around the track...
Well that was mainly our day in Bathurst. We didn't want to spend long outside we could feel our skin burning even under all our fur. It was kind of surprising how hot it was! :-/ Crazy! Sara doesn't like the heat much either lol...

Also as you can see on the track there's houses and everything on the inside of the track. People rent those houses out during the famous Mount Panorama Super Cheap Auto 1000 Races and they go on holiday. People will rent them out for heaps of money each October... there's vineyards and even wildlife sometimes in there. Kangaroos are commonly seen on the race track which can end in disaster as I'm sure you can see why... people walk the track all the time as well (when races aren't on obviously). Also the view from the top of the mountain is amazing isn't it? Well I hope you enjoyed my trip to Bathurst.

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 7:33 am
It's just before Christmas and it's time to take a trip... me and my toyvoyager friends are unsure about where were are going but Sara insists we are going to have a lot of fun... here I am as we are driving through Molong. you can tell it's very dark and rainy... but through these photos I insist you'll see how random the weather can be in this part of Australia...

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 7:41 am
Next stop was Wellington, a larger town than Molong... I guess around the same size as Orange (with 38,000 people). There's sadly not much to see or do here but here I am...

...and here are some photos as we are driving through the main street of Wellington as you can see there's not much to see.
Although we had no time to stop we were already running a little late.... so moving on...

Posted Jan 10, 2009, 8:12 am
First off, sorry I'm not really in any of the photos next... Sara had a hard time getting in and out of the car with a 2 year old let alone with all of the toyvoyagers... we saw most of it - but the pictures really tell the story. :-) Enjoy!
Well... we have arrived in Dubbo... after a 2.5 hour drive were finally here... we've been through rain and sun and it's already pretty hot here. Dubbo has temperatures that are very similar to Africa. So they have a major breeding program with the African animals. They successfully breed a lot of endangered animals so the heat is normal but quite uncomfortable... :-)

Well we've arrived at the zoo...

In these photos you can see the entrance to the zoo... it kind of looks a lot like the entrance to Jurassic Park doesn't it? Also the little cars you can rent to drive around the zoo. Since the zoo is so huge you can either drive, walk or bike around the zoo...

Well now that were at the zoo, it's started to rain... the wild dogs were underneath a tree keeping dry... not many animals were moving much since it was raining so much...

Well we decided to move on anyways... we can't stop the rain... but then it REALLY started to come down... we were standing near the camels and Arabian sheep when we ran to an enclosed area (at least the top of us was covered).

...the animals didn't really enjoy it so grouped together... and then it started to hail... so they all ran in every direction. You could barely see them even though they were right in front of you... crazy...

...and then we decided to deal with the rain (after the hail) and ran down to see the black rhino. Which is one of the babies that were successfully bred in the zoo... obviously he's not a baby anymore...

Within 5 minutes... it was done raining, the sun was out and it was heating up. Within 5 minutes the rhino went from soaking to totally bone dry (as the photos show)... so we decided to go and visit the Arabian sheep and camels again...

Then the giraffes... Sara was going to feed the giraffes today but was 30 seconds (literally) too late for signing up... so she was a bit sad about that since last time they missed feeding the giraffes as well... but they did come pretty close anyways...

This next photo shows you what the zoo looks like with the less dangerous animals. So the giraffes, zebras, any "safe" animals (more or less) you could get quite close... you could stand on this hill and then the fence was below... it's quite an amazing experience... but this shows you how close the giraffes can get to you (they've gotten even closer)...

Sara then went and saw a talk on the hippos... the females are separated from the bull hippos which are extremely territorial. The zoo keeper told them about how the hippo population in the Democratic Republic of Congo went from 29,000 hippos in the 70's and 80's to 700 hippos last year when they checked. It's kind of sad really... they sprayed some water in their mouth since they really enjoy that it's almost like a massage for their mouth. Also shows off their amazing teeth... this picture is one of the bulls...

Next stop was the less endangered white rhino... he was all alone but the group of the others was in some shade... not sure why he didn't want to be there... but obviously he did because he walked over there a few minutes later...

Next stop was the cheetah's... now where's the mom? Sadly the mom died during complications while giving birth to one of the two cheetahs... via emergency c-section... so they had doubts the babies would survive. So they had someone stay there 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take care and feed the babies every hour on the hour... thankfully they made it... even without a mom they're very happy little cats...

...and then we got to see the African elephants. They were doing a talk on them at the time I took these photos so you can see all the people and the zoo keeper and everything feeding them. I love elephants they're very beautiful creatures... stop was the Siberian tiger. Sara hasn't ever been able to see him before... he's always been hiding and sadly it didn't take long before he went and laid down in the shade where he all but disappeared. You can tell how hot it is when the tiger is panting... :-P

Near the tiger are the bongo's... the baby was there - who wasn't there the last time I visited in October... isn't he adorable?

The first time Sara visited in February 2007... she saw the African Water Buffalo in the water. It was so hot all of them were packed into the water to keep warm. You could barely see them. Obviously it wasn't that hot... but they weren't moving much...

Next section was the "Australian Animals" section. There's this big "walk" where you walk through where there used to be kangaroos on the ground and koala's in the tree. But for whatever reason it's only koalas now. You have to walk up pretty high and you can see some koala's sitting in the tree... sleeping of course... :-)

Next stop was the emu's... they were also quite close to the edge. Sara was only a few feet from one of them (obviously not the one pictured)... Sara loves emu's they're so graceful for such a huge bird...

...and then next to the emu's were the kangaroos... they weren't very active at all either... but now you can see the grey kangaroo (which are the ones I've seen in the wild) and the larger kangaroo, the red kangaroo. Which are native to Dubbo and more of the 'outback'... :-)

One of the last stops was the galapagos tortoises... they're HUGE and they have breeding program here too... we got to see 4 different tortoises while we were in this section... you can see two videos here and here... they're both quite short but it shows all four of the tortoises, two of which are in the photos below...

Well... obviously we didn't take photos of all the animals... they have like 3x more animals than are currently pictured... but I had fun it was very warm but it was very informative as well... I hope you enjoyed the photos! :-) Write again soon! :-)

Posted Jan 15, 2009, 4:41 am
Hi mom! Well my journey around this area has ended and I'm off to the next host along with Resi she's very friendly so I cannot wait to see where I'm going next. Sara says I'm off to an American military base and will be hosted by JaymeC in Okinawa, Japan. I hope the trip won't take too long! Write again soon mom! Miss you! :-)

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 5:26 am
We decided we should take a trip to Sydney. It was Daniel and Sara's 4th year wedding anniversary (tomorrow) but she decided to go a bit early since they could get some baby sitting. So we left early and got to Sydney around 11am (lots of traffic) and as we started to get into Sydney we got to see two famous landmarks in the distance, the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge and the less famous Anzac Bridge.

...and before we knew it, we were going over the Anzac Bridge. Sara had never had the chance to go over it before so it was exciting... here we are about to go under the bridge...

After the Anzac Bridge we were thrown right into the middle of the Sydney CBD... there are lots of HUGE buildings, it's amazing really... here are some photos of the Sydney CBD from the freeway going through it...
In the distance you can see something that looks like a tower, that is the Sydney Tower or also known as the AMP tower. You walk around the edge of it - some of which has a clear walkway so you can see straight down, it's called the Sydney Skywalk.
This picture shows Darling Harbor...
...and this is going right through the middle of all the huge buidlings. It's amazing the height of them when your right next to them isn't it?

...and then we did a quick turn and after a few signs Sara realized we were almost about to head under the Sydney Harbor Bridge as well... Sara quickly rolled up her window for our safety and put us on the dashboard so we could get pictures of us going over the famous bridge... Sara hasn't ever been on the Harbor Bridge (on purpose anyways) because it's always the "scary" part of Sydney where it is very easy to get lost. Thanks to the GPS navigator though it's made it simple (more or less) to get through the CBD of Sydney...
...almost there...
...almost there...
...and there we are... we've now traveled the Sydney Harbor Bridge! How awesome is that!...

Well now we're almost at our destination... it's time we get a park and get our way to the ferry... we're not done yet! Write again soon! :-)

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 6:04 am
Well after what seemed like forever driving around we finally found a park. It was a kilometre away from where we needed to be... thankfully it was mostly down hill but the uphills were massive when they were... I'm sure glad we were in a bag because the heat was just shocking and the walk felt like it took a while but we got there JUST in time... we are now getting ready to board the Manly Ferry... last time we went to Sydney we wanted to do this but for some reason couldn't see what was right in front of our eyes... haha... well here we are, top deck, front row center...
Isn't the beach front and the water there just gorgeous? It was more amazing than that even... it was such a beautiful blue!...
Off we go time to set sail... I wonder where we are going?

Here are some of the photos taken throughout the trip... there was a lot of cliffsides and open ocean, and sailboats, and buoys, and lots more to see it was an amazing trip... you can even see one of the ferry's coming back from where we were going to pick up and drop off more people...

...and then suddenly were getting ready to dock... it's suddenly apparent that were going to be visiting the famous Circular Quay... what's amazing to me, is that there is a military base right there near the Quay... I didn't know that!

...and as we begin to dock Sara takes a few more photos of the quay from the boat... there was a HUGE cruise ship right next to the harbor bridge... it was amazingly big... Sara said she thinks that's the cruise ship we saw in the photos when we were at Manly last time... she thinks it's the Pacific liner that visits all the smaller Pacific islands including places like Vanuatu. How awesome...

...Sara also got a couple photos of the bridge... in the first photo it's obviously the bridge. The second photo is the reminents of the fireworks on Sydney Harbor on New Years. You can see where the sun would have been... if you didn't see it you can see it in this video if you can't tell it's the thing spinning in the middle, which was a sun this year... it was quite beautiful... and the last photo is the close up on the top of the bridge. You can see two teams of people walking up the bridge on another famous touristy thing to do in Sydney... the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb...

You can't be at this dock without getting a picture of the beautiful Sydney Opera House though can you?

Well now that we are finally docked it's time to get off the boat... the seagull said goodbye to us as we deboarded - time to spend a bit of time here before heading back...

Write again soon! :-)

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 6:16 am
Well now that we are in the CBD of Sydney again, and more specifically Circular Quay it's time to visit some of the shops and see what Circular Quay has to offer us... we got some ice cream from Baskin Robbins and then headed out towards the Opera House... this is how far we were from the Opera House from the boat dock... not that far but on a hot day you feel every step of it...

...once we finally got there I got a picture of myself with the opera house and the sydney harbor bridge... here I am...

...we decided to see a few of the shops... and we saw a few entertainers... these ones were the most interesting to me... they're aboriginal people and one of them is playing the digeridoo a lot of the time aboriginal people hate their picture taken because they believe it's like a gate way to the souls - I'm not really sure... but these ones didn't mind getting their picture taken so Sara took one for us...

We also got to see some famous stuff around the harbor... one of them being Luna Park which is located right below the Sydney Harbor Bridge...

We also got to see some water taxi's... Sara has never been on one but would really like to one day... they look quite fun don't they? We also got to see some of Sydney's other tourist attractions, the Jet boat ride where they take people around the harbor in a speed boat with lots of twists and turns... looks quite fun... :-)

We decided it was too hot to go searching the tourists shops for something for Sara's family instead they decided they'll come back again soon and do that - on a less hot day... so Sara got some videos... one of the Sydney Harbor seen from the ferry (on the way back) and Sara also got a video on the ferry ride back to Manly... you can see that video here it was VERY windy on the ride back to Manly... we even got splashed a few times... it really kind of felt good though on the hot day that it was...

But on the way out of the ferry we saw something pretty cool... we got to see a real pirate ship! How cool is that? :-)

Well have a check out of those videos (they're pretty short) and you can see more of our trip to the CBD... more to come though... we're on our way back to Manly now... write again soon!

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 6:31 am
Now we are safely back on land in Manly... Manly is a very beautiful beach but instead of having all of us run back to the car (95% up hill) we had Sara's husband do that while we waited near the ferry dock and got a few photos of us at the ferry dock and the pretty calm side of the Manly beach (the other side is about 1/4 of a mile straight the opposite direction)... here I am in front of the ferry dock area..

...while we were waiting there was a few seagulls, and one of the seagulls kept staring at us but you could only see  his head... it was kind of funny...

Here is a photo from the beach front as we were coming back into dock. You can see the beach we are currently standing on in these photos... amazing isn't it? We were standing under one of the trees though trying to get some shade while we could...

Finally Daniel arrived and we drove a short distance and thankfully found a park pretty quickly got 2 hours of parking and got some photos... first was the chance for photos of the beach and a small panoramic video of the beach... you can see that video here... it became very windy on this side of the beach... but it felt nice especially when they got in the water they told us. They didn't want us to get lost so after the photos and the videos the camera and the three of us were put in the car to stay safe... here I am in front of the Manly beach...

Here are a few panoramic shots showing from left to right what the beach looks like from where we were standing... as you can see it was pretty busy that day...
As you can see in the last shot Sara managed to get a seagull in there... that wasn't on purpose and Sara actually think the seagull really adds something to the shot. Very beautiful sights anyways... and the water is so dang pretty isn't it? It was very warm as well... :-)

...and here are a couple more shots from the beach before we got put away to safety so we didn't get lost or blown away (when Sara and Daniel were in the water)...

...well that was our trip to Sydney and the beaches. I saw some amazing sights and I'm glad I got to see more of this stuff before traveling onto my next host... tomorrow I'll be off to Japan! :-) I hope to see some more fun stuff there and maybe even some beaches... :-)

Posted Feb 1, 2009, 5:43 am
Dear Mommy,
I arrived with Resi and Chipper in Okinawa, Japan! We were greeted by Bally who was excited to have some more company.
Jayme told us first off we needed to do some work in the children's room while they were asleep. We were going to rearrange some shelves and put up a toy net for the stuffed animals. Look at these poor pitiful stuffed animals, they need a better home!
First we moved one of the beds and the shelves over next to it. Jayme moved the furniture, but we took care of the cars.
Then Jayme put up the toy net. We got to rest and relax in it for awhile.
Then we tried to hurry the toys into the net.
Wait a second! The little ones are going to get squished. Big ones first!
Okay now little ones! Whoa, we almost ran out of room.
Hiding in the toys we found a toyvoyager! She explained her name was ChiChi and she was supposed to be released into the wild ages ago, but Jayme's son had hid her in the other toys and she'd been patiently waiting. Hopefully we can help her get released.
After setting up the toy net we were very hungry so we went to make dinner. First we got the meet cooking with onions, garlic, and teriyaki sauce.
In the mean time we got some beans, brocolli and lettuce chopped up in and in a bowl.
Then we combined it all and let it cook.
Served with brown rice it was very yummy!
Jayme said we'd need the energy, hope we have some more updates soon!

More later,

Posted Feb 1, 2009, 10:49 am
I know I'm in Japan, but today we visited a Chinese garden. It was quite pretty. First we had to stop for just a quick lunch since we were all hungry.
They had this very pretty building where we walked in.
And aren't these dragons neat?
There were LOTS of little ponds.
Of course we had to stop and feed the fish, Jayme's children wouldn't calm down until we did!
Isn't this view pretty?
They had lots of little statues around as well.
Here's another pond...
They had this statue here, we're not sure of who it is though.
We stopped to take a break for awhile...
And they even had a waterfall!
We had a great time! More soon,

Posted Feb 1, 2009, 8:40 pm
Dear Mommy,
Today we went to Shurijo Castle. We were going to try to see the cherry blossoms, but unfortunately the weather had been too bad this week and knocked the blossoms down. Fortunately they had other flowers to see.
And of course there was the castle itself to see. Here's the main entrance to the walls of the castle.
We were going to go up the stairs to the top, but Jayme said the stairs get dangerous when its wet and since she had two young children we didn't want anyone slipping. So instead we walked to the back entrance, but the stairs up are still pretty
Here's a marker at the back entrance
And here's the back gate with even more flowers!
This is the outside of Shurijo Castle. We didn't go in because they're doin repainting and restoring, so there's lots of not-very-photogenic scaffolding. We also wanted to get inside before it rained!
We did have to make a quick stop in the bathroom, and found some surprising faucets.
Then we headed back to the guest center and our car. Outside the center was a pair of shisa.  Shisa are the protector lion/dogs of Okinawa. They are a tradition taken from China, and can be found on most homes. They're always found in male/female pairs. You can tell this one is a female because her mouth is open to let the good spirits through. The males have closed mouths to catch the bad spirits.
Write more soon,

Posted Feb 5, 2009, 5:19 am
Dear mommy,
We got to watch the American Superbowl. Since Jayme is American and lives on a military base she gets to watch it here. Unfortunately it comes without commercials. Also unfortunately, it started at 8am, yikes! Since it was too early in the day for 'real' food we had cinnamon rolls.
Jayme had jerseys she got at burger king that fit Resi and Chipper, don't they look cute?
And then it was time for the game! We watched the opening ceremonies.
The coin toss
And there they go!
And the Steelers won! Afterwards we had some more appropriate superbowl food.
Chipper was a little sad that 'his' team lost so we went for a walk at the park to cheer him up. We found a funny bear.
I hung out in a tree for awhile while the children played.
See all those buildings? They hold lots of sporting events here.
We took a break for a bit on this bench.
And we found a pretty statue. Jayme's not sure, but she thinks it's a phoenix.
More soon,

Posted Feb 13, 2009, 6:02 am
Dear Mommy,
I'm sorry I didn't write sooner, but Jayme's been very busy! We decided to try to help her and she instructed us while we cooked. We were going to make what Jayme called Jayme-enchiladas since its not a "real" enchilada recipe. First we browned the meat. Then we added enchilada sauce (from a can), and a little cheese.
We put this mixture onto some tortillas
And rolled them and put them in a pan.
We a little more sauce on top and more cheese and then put them in the oven to crisp
In the mean time we made some simple cheese quesadillas for the kids since they don't like spicy sauces. We put some cheese on more tortillas
And put them in a little oil on the oven to cook.
And the enchiladas finished as well. Don't they look yummy?

Jayme said we'll be taking a special trip next. I hope its fun!

Posted Feb 13, 2009, 7:19 am
Jayme said today we're headed to the Churaumi Aquarium. Apparently its very famous, and one of the largest attractions on Okinawa. It was a very long drive up north but we made it! Here is the view from the aquarium entrance to the ocean below, isn't it beautiful?
We went in to find the largest coral tank in the world that is lit by sunlight. Wow! Here it is.
And here's some more.
These are clown fish, but they must be just babies because they weren't longer than half a pinky.
Finally we got to the main show piece, the whale shark tank. It was the largest in the world until the one in Atlanta was completed, now its the second largest. However, it still has the largest viewing glass in the world. We were sitting way up high in the seats available, do you see the whale shark?
Here's a better picture, and you can see the people below looking at it. They're right up next to the glass.
While we were there there were diver's in the tank cleaning, you can see how big they are compared to the mantas in the tank.
After watching for awhile at the viewing area, we went into the cafe. Here they have seats right next to the tank and you can sit and eat lunch or enjoy some icecream. I know its dark (the flash would ruin the view of the tank!) but here I am having icecream.
Even after we finished the icecream we just sat and watched the fish for awhile.
After seeing the whale sharks we headed outside. They had sea turtles you could see out here!
There is a drop off behind us that is the sea turtle nesting area. Isn't it beautiful here? The water was so clear, and the sun so bright!
Then we went to the dolphin show! Here I am at it.
Jayme had to zoom in to take these pictures of the show, aren't the dolphins cool? They had a few different types, unforutnately Jayme doesn't know their names since she doesn't understand much Japanese.
We took a walk along the grounds then. Here's a pretty spot we found with a little pond.
We also found a gate into the Okinawan Village, but Jayme's sons were getting very tired then so it was time to head home.
On the way we got to see some of the flowers made up to be sea creatures! Here's a manta ray.
And a turtle.
And isn't this a cool shisa?

I'm sure we'll have more adventures soon!

Posted Feb 21, 2009, 8:36 pm
Dear Mommy,
I'm sorry I didn't write you sooner! It's been very busy here. First I'll start with telling you about Valentine's Day. We were sitting around reading more about Okinawa
Then Jayme asked us for some help! She had to get valentine's ready for Jacob's class. So we went to work. What a mess..
There are six children in the class, so we split everything up into groups of six
Then we bagged them up and tied them and attached the card! Do you notice something?
The hearts didn't fit so we got a bit of a snack! Yum!
And look, isn't that cute? Chipper got Resi flowers for Valentine's Day!
We had lots more adventures, so I'll write more soon!

Posted Feb 21, 2009, 8:43 pm
Dear Mommy,
Jayme and her husband said we could go out on their Valentine's Date with them! They were supposed to go snorkeling, but because the weather wasn't nice they decided to go ice skating instead. First we had to read the rules
Then we had to wait, we got there just as they were cleaning the ice.
Wow! Look at all those people! It was very busy because of the rain, but Jayme and her husband had lots of fun.
We rode with Jayme for a bit, but she got tired first so we all sat down to wait for her husband.
Then we went out for a late lunch. This is called Taco Rice. Its one of the odd foods Okinawans came up with to pull in American service members to eat. Its white rice on the bottom with taco meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was very yummy!
Write more soon,

Posted Feb 21, 2009, 8:58 pm
Dear Mommy,
The weather has been very icky! We got a brief period of just gloom today and decided we needed to get out of the house a bit. We went to a place called Ryukyu Mura. Here I am at the entrance.
And here is a pretty building on a raft in the water, I know you can't see the water and stuff too well
The biggest part of Ryukyu Mura is the parade showcasing small bits of typical Okinawan parades. First the emperor and emperess come out to sit down to watch the show.
Then this karate dude came out. Did you know karate was invented on Okinawa?
Next came the old man and the dragon. They made the dragon do tricks catching a ball!
Then came the Eisa Dancers. Eisa is a drum dance done on Okinawa, its very pretty.
Finally some people came out and did another dance, Jayme wasn't sure who they were. And they got the crowd to join in! It was such fun.
After that we went up a path to a place where we got to learn about Habus. Unfortunately it was very dark and the pictures didn't really come out. We did get to watch a 3D show of a Habu fighting a mongoose though.
We walked back through a small version of an Okinawan village where they were selling Okinawan crafts, but we had to hurry it looked like rain!
We ducked into one building near the exit to find out it was where they made Okinawan pottery. Look at all those tables and clay!
Here are some Shisa on the outside that were made inside.
There was also a man outside pushing an water buffalo around, but we're not quite sure why.
I hope you enjoyed learning about our visit! I'll write again soon,

Posted Mar 1, 2009, 11:46 pm
Dear Mommy,
Jayme has been busy so we decided to help her around the house some. We helped with the laundry.
Then we did some dusting, we found this neat Capital building. Jayme says its a puzzle she got her husband for their anniversary. They would take it apart, but now the kids use it as a parking garage for their cars.
We snuck some cookies to help out Jayme with her diet
Then we had to do the vacuuming! Jayme doesn't have a regular vacuum, she has a roomba. Have you seen one? It goes around and cleans up like a little UFO. We took a ride on it.
Jayme says we'll be headed to the park next since we got all the cleaning done!

Posted Mar 1, 2009, 11:54 pm
We took a nice long walk at this place called Comprehensive Park. Do you remember our last visit there? Can you find all 4 toyvoyagers in the tree?
This walkway leads down to a rock beach, but we didn't go down that way today because we were following one of the trails. If you look, you can see the ocean though.
We kept walking and came along this little fish pond. Usually Jayme says they stop to feed the fish here, but they forgot the fish food today. Guess the fish will have to wait awhile for their next meal. It had some very pretty bridges though.
We took a break here and all sat on a chair for awhile.
While we were walking past the fish pond, there was a building with this neat gate. Jayme says its called a torii gate and they're found all over the island. Sometimes on the ancient castles, and sometimes at the entrance to homes.
We sat and took another break near some flowers. It was a very long walk!
Finally we made it back to the car! I'll write more soon,

Posted Mar 2, 2009, 12:29 am
Today when we came home we came home ot a surprise. First, Bobbie had arrived! Jayme had been quite worried about her. She had also found two little pandas. Jayme explained to them that was going to have a big mass release and she would be glad to send them out as travelers. They were very excited!
But since they were in the free pile in Jayme's apartment (a place where people leave things when they're moving or just cleaning out) they needed a bath first. In they went!
And out they came nice and clean!
After that it was also time to say goodbye to Resi. She'll be continuing on in her travels. I hope she has fun!
More soon,

Posted Mar 2, 2009, 12:52 am
Dear Mommy,
Jayme explained it has been very rainy lately, but its a good thing. The island did not get enough rain last year and they almost went into water rationing! But we were able to go to a playground during a break in the rain. It was very neat. Here's the playground up top.
And then look at this slide! Its huge! Very steep too. Jayme went down it with the children, but I hid in her purse because I was scared!
They also had a neat rope thing to climb on.
And us toyvoyagers played on the teeter totter.
What a nice break out of the house! I hope it doesn't rain so we can do another update soon.

Posted Mar 5, 2009, 5:06 am
Dear Mommy,
Jayme says she's trying to get in shape and exercise more. She's got up at 4:30am to go swimming and she's been trying to walk on the days she doesn't swim. I think she's a bit nuts. Swimming at 5am? Yikes! Anyway, we got to benefit from her fitness kick. We took a very long walk (45 minutes each way!) to a place called Futenma Shrine. Shrine's are very important in Japanese culture. People come to them to ask for luck for the upcoming year on New Year's and they are VERY crowded! They also come on other special days. We got there very early today (around 8am) and no one was there besides the people who tend to the shrine. Futenma Shrine is one of Okinawa's 7 Sacred Shrines.

Here's the view of it from the street.
There was a very pretty small fountain type area.
And here is the shrine's shisa. Did I tell you about shisa before? They are traditional Okinawan culture (actually taken from Chinese culture).  Shisa protect a place against spirits and are found on almost all homes and businesses on Okinawa. In fact, Jayme's apartment building even has one! She says the thing she'll miss most about Okinawa is probably the Shisa. Some of them are very cute. This one is rather intimidating. You can tell its a female shisa because its mouth is open. Shisa always come in pairs, male and female. A female has its mouth open to allow the good spirits through. A male has its mouth closed to capture the evil spirits.
And here is a closer up view of the shrine
What a lovely walk! I hope we'll have more to update about soon!

Posted Mar 10, 2009, 8:20 pm
Dear Mommy,
The weather has been horrible here! All rainy and icky. Jayme says she's starting to miss the sun, but it is the rainy season and they really need the rain. Last year they didn't get enough rain and almost had to go to water rationing. Since the rain didn't let up we decided to head to an indoor area for the kids to run and play a bit. Jayme said she may go a bit nuts if we didn't get some time out of the house. This area was very neat. It's called the Wonder Museum and has lots of hands on stuff for kids. Here you can see the staircase and the size of the museum. Those ball things go up and down and contract then get big again.
Downstairs they had things like these stepping stones where you went from one log to the next and learned to count.
We also got to see a very cool bug exhibit.
There was an area where we got to learn about water and planets and things.
And us TVs got in on the playing fun with this little pin thing. You push on one side and the imprint comes out on the other!
We had lots of fun, hopefully the weather gets better soon!

Posted Mar 13, 2009, 8:47 pm
Today we went to a place called Camp Zanpa.  The weather stopped raining for about an hour so we could go for a walk. We took a long, long walk. There are many memorials here for the people who perished during World War II
And here is the coastline we walked along.
We played some on the rocks here, they're all volcanic rocks as many of the rocks on Okinawa are.
And finally at the end of our walk we walked by the largest Shisa on the island. Can you see us tvs at all by the foot of us?
Here's a close up of me and the shisa.
I hope the rain lets up soon mommy!

Posted Mar 20, 2009, 6:07 am
Dear mommy,
I'm all packed up for my trip home! I should be there soon!

Posted Mar 29, 2010, 10:53 pm
Argoyle was mailed home