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To meet other ToyVoyager big cats

To go ski-ing

To go on a train

To go to a vineyard, brewery or distillery (or all three!)

To have my photo taken with royalty

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Travelog for: Lenny Lion

Georgetown, D.C., United States - 18th April 2011

By: tarepanda

Such busy days going around sight seeing, it's time to take a break.  Let's sit down for a cup of tea!

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


We enter the shop. 


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


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


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


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


Let's find a place to sit!


We read the menu to select our tea.


Now we wait for the water to boil!


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


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


* Posted May 28, 2011, 3:23 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Georgetown, D.C., United States - 18th April 2011

By: tarepanda

Now on to more sight seeing!

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


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


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


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


On the same floor is the master bedroom.



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


* Posted May 30, 2011, 6:00 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Georgetown, D.C., United States - 18th April 2011

By: tarepanda

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

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


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


The cherry blossoms on campus are blooming beautifully.


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


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


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


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


* Posted May 31, 2011, 2:53 am Last edited May 31, 2011, 2:54 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Washington DC, United States - 18th April 2011

By: tarepanda

We continue on to walk around town. 


The cherry blossoms are so beautiful.


We walk along Pennsylvania Ave. 


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


This is Renwick Gallery, another Smithsonian art museum.


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


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


This is the White House Press Center.


Look here's some white cherry blossoms!


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


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


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


Hmm, I guess the secret agents are everywhere.


This is the U.S.Treasury Department. 


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


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


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


* Posted Jun 7, 2011, 5:07 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Washington DC, United States - 19th April 2011

By: tarepanda

On the last day of our visit, we go to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. 


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


This cute trolley goes around town.


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


The first section we visit has American folk arts. 



The giraffe is made with bottle caps. 


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


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


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


And these two also!  Previous Presidents Clinton and Bush!


* Posted Jun 14, 2011, 4:16 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Washington DC, United States - 19th April 2011

By: tarepanda

After the museum we all feel hungry.  Chinatown is just a few minutes' walk away. 


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


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


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

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


* Posted Jun 14, 2011, 5:26 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Key West, Florida, United States - 14th May 2011

By: tarepanda

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


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


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


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


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


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


Everybody looks very fit and sun tanned. 


This is a shop for renting stand up paddleboards.


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


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


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


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


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


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


Let's take a picture with the dragon!


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


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


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


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


* Posted Jun 22, 2011, 3:39 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Key West, Florida, United States - 15th May 2011

By: tarepanda

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


We pass by the Southernmost Hotel.


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


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


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


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


* Posted Jun 22, 2011, 5:10 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Ft Lauderalde, Florida, United States - 21st May 2011

By: tarepanda

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

We come to this Irish restaurant.


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


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


We order some fish and chips. 


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


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


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


* Posted Jul 3, 2011, 12:30 am Last edited Jul 3, 2011, 12:31 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Miami, Florida, United States - 26th May 2011

By: tarepanda

Today we receive a package!!  Look at the pretty stamps!  I wonder what's inside?  I'd bet it's books for our host who loves to read!


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


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


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



* Posted Jul 27, 2011, 3:41 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Miami Beach, Florida, United States - 19th June 2011

By: tarepanda

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

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


We first visit the website to register the book.


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


We leave the book in the tunnel.


We hope someone will find and enjoy this book.


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


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



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


* Posted Jul 29, 2011, 3:54 am Last edited Jul 29, 2011, 4:05 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Miami Beach, Florida, United States - 30th July 2011

By: tarepanda

Today we go to South Beach, which is a very popular tourist destination. 


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




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


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


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


So, this is Miami Beach.


It is a bit windy today.


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


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


* Posted Oct 21, 2011, 4:44 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Miami, Florida, United States - 25th August 2011

By: tarepanda

Today we are helping our host do a BookCrossing release!

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

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


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


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


Tada!  Bally is ready to roll!


We visit this place called Ozzi Sushi.


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


The sushi plates pass by us on little wooden boats.


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


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

This is a very pretty pink roll with strawberry inside!


Bally and us enjoyed a farewell dinner together.


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


* Posted Nov 22, 2011, 3:26 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Tampa, Florida, United States - 18th September 2011

By: tarepanda

Our host apologizes that she hasn't been keeping our journal more up to date.  But finally here's some!

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

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


And some getting off after a race. 


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


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



Looks like this is the mascot of the race.


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


And the souvenir booth is always crowded.


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


Here are the Germans and the Canadians receiving their medals.


* Posted Jan 8, 2012, 5:28 am Last edited Feb 9, 2012, 9:33 pm by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Miami, Florida, United States - 23rd October 2011

By: tarepanda

Today we go to celebrate Oktoberfest with Genoveva who is getting a bit homesick.  The event is organized by the German American Club.


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


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


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


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


And of course we want some beer!


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


Looks like these are candies from Germany.


Guten Appetit! 


* Posted Feb 9, 2012, 8:27 pm Last edited Feb 9, 2012, 9:33 pm by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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