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April 22, 2014

Zambia pictures

Zambia: South Luangwa National Park

Zambia: Lower Zambezi National Park

Zambia: Tree of Life Children’s Village

Zambia: Lusaka, Choma, Victoria Falls

April 21, 2014

Nadine: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Tents, no. Rough, no. Tents and rough is what I thought when my parents said we were going to a bush camp. But when we got there we had giant cabins and two pools. One of the coolest things was fishing for tiger fish. It was so fun and the people were extremely nice. For the first day I was having a great time. Then they introduced me to the scorpions and milipeads. After that I did not like it as much, but I still thought it was amazing. Our guide’s name was Prisly. He took us fishing almost every day. First he would take his to a spot to catch bait fish with little worms he had trapped the day before. Then he would cut the bate into filets and we would move to a spot to catch tiger fish. It was so cool. There were elephants all around us. There was even a hippo that really liked the camp and his name was Dexter. There were more hippos in the water and all around the camp. We also saw an awesome pride of lions. There were a lot of little lions that would play with each other while the mothers would hunt. We had an amazing time looking at all of the animals and talking to the staff. One of the staff members taught me how to set a table with all of the things in the right place. We had a really good time and I can’t wait to go back.

April 20, 2014

Nadine: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Elephants, and crocodiles, and leopards, oh my! That is what I thought while we were in South Luangua. We stayed at a lodge called Mfuwe Lodge. It was extremely cool and our guide was awesome. The guide’s name was Manda. He kind of resembled a nature book; he knew all of the scientific names for the animals that we saw from the baboons to the birds. The food at the lodge was also great. My favorite was the BBQ chicken that we had the first day. Some days we would be driving around and the lodge would set up a giant picnic with tables and fires that they make the food on. Our joke about the food was that we would leave looking like a warthog. The two animals we saw the most of were impala and puku. They were kind of like deer. The impala were white, tan, and black, whereas the puku were tan and white. Manda said there were a lot of crocodiles in the water that would drag other things into the water to eat. We saw 27 elephants next to a salt block once. We also saw a pride of twelve lions. Both things were kind of scary, but really exciting. We went to a bush camp for two nights and it was amazing because we were the only ones there. They had tasty drinks and I emptied the stock of ginger beer single handedly. The safari rides were fun and we saw a lot of baboons. We also saw a leopard with two of its cubs. It was great and I can’t wait to go back.

April 15, 2014

Spain pictures

Spain: Mallorca

April 13, 2014

Hank: Mallorca, Spain

We went to an island south east of Spain called Mallorca. Oddly, they speak Spanish there! Can you believe it? The land is SO beautiful there. Most of it is dry – stack walls terracing the hillsides with olive and fruit trees all around you. Nice beaches make up much of the coastline and where they don’t, cliffs dropping straight to the water from hundreds of feet up make for unbelievable ocean view and picture taking sights. Tall Mountains and low valleys like a giant’s cereal bowl make up the center of the island. These beautiful peaks and bowls boast amazing hiking trails and breath taking lookout points.
        This island is not a volcanic island Unlike Hawaii.
        We stayed in Palma (the capital of Mallorca) for the first couple of days. We were supposed to leave after that but the Lufthansa air line pilots went on strike that day which turned out to be a pretty good thing in my opinion because when that happened we went and stayed in a small mountain town on Mallorca called Soller. In Soller we went hiking twice on two absurdly beautiful hiking trails. The first was probably my favorite because at the top there was a restaurant and hotel that looked out over the whole valley. The second was awesome also because we hiked through the mountains to Soller’s port which is a completely different town on the coast but has the same name.
        In Soller the home that we stayed at was so pretty that I may not find one quite so cool again. I thought that the best part was the fact that it had a ping pong table but I think that every one else thinks that the wisteria hanging above the ping pong table was great. There was also the fact that you could reach through the fence and pick an orange at any time and that was pretty cool. How weird. My mom’s best friend from elementary school lives on Mallorca so we spent a lot of time with her. Her name was Alice and she was an artist. I would recommend this place to any one then tell them to recommend it to any one they know.
April 12, 2014

Nadine: Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca was a very fun place. There were a lot of beaches and cafés. We stayed in two cities while we were there. The first city we stayed in was called Palma and the second one was called Soller.

Palma was a walled city. It had this giant cathedral in the center of town. The cathedral had a pond in the front that had swans in it. The architecture of the cathedral was absolutely amazing. Palma and New York were both artistic. New York was bigger, but I think Palma had a larger span of personalities, though I do not know which one I liked better. There were a lot of really nice beaches in Palma. There were bike paths that went along the water. You could rent bikes and ride down the whole path, which is fifteen kilometers. My mom met one of her friends from elementary school there. We spent a lot of time with her. Her name was Alice. She was really nice. She was also an amazing artist. We had a little apartment that had no windows and the bedrooms were kind of small, but other than that it was really nice. Mallorca was first settled by prehistoric peoples who built stone structures that included the Great Wall of Palma which other conquerors of Mallorca, such as Romans and Moors, kept in later years.

Soller was a cute beach town. It had an amazing port, and there was a really nice beach there. There were a lot of little cafés along the water. My favorite place was a little ice cream shop with really creamy ice cream. Personally, I think my favorite flavor was strawberry. In Soller proper there were a lot of really cool hikes. The first one was my favorite because it had a canopy of trees that made a tunnel. There was also a train that went from the port to Soller proper. A different train went from the port to Palma, and yet another went from Soller proper to Palma and back. Mallorca was really fun and I can’t wait to go back on another trip.

March 27, 2014

Nadine: Going to see Matilda on Broadway

We started this trip by visiting our cousins Noel and Lily in New Jersey for two days. While we were there, mom and I went to see the broadway play Matilda. Going into a broadway theater surprised me. My expectations were a large theater with a couple of stories of seats. It was completely different. It was a small theater with only two stories of seats. The bottom story must have sat about five hundred, while the top probably sat about the same amount of people. The theme of the set was Scrabble pieces. Most of the theater was covered in fake Scrabble pieces of different fonts and sizes. Some of them spelled words, while others were just random letters, and other had music notes on them instead of letters. The children in the musical were absolutely amazing! It seemed like each of them were unique, which I guess they were. It must have been hard to cast the children, but who ever did it was amazing at their job. The children were very good, but my favorite character was ms. Trunchbull. She was played by a man, who was amazing at playing her. He wore a short skirt the whole time. He did some very funny things during the musical that mostly had to do with the fact that he was playing a girl. He sang some really good songs. The children also sang some really good songs, in fact my favorite song from the whole musical was sang by the children. My favorite song was the very first song, Myricle, though I absolutely loved the whole musical!

March 22, 2014

Hank: Differences between countries

All of the places we went so far were much different from each other. I would say that the three biggest differences were:
1. The food
2. The money
3. The restrooms
The food was much different. Tastes and diets would change drastically depending on the landscape and crops and what was available. The money was pretty obvious and easy to see. The bathrooms changed dramatically depending on the country.
The food was much different. For example in Nicaragua we ate a lot of rice and beans and plantains. In Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands we ate a lot of fish and meat. When we were in Europe the food changed all the time. Unless you were in a big city like Paris :(  in which case you could get just about anything. In Sweden the food was really bland and in Greece the food was great.
The money was pretty obvious. Europe was pretty well off every where we went. However in South and Central America people seemed to be doing really great or terribly. Some people lived in small huts made out of sheet metal and sticks but some people literally owned there own island. It was a bit crazy how much it differentiated between people. Even Nicaragua vs. Ecuador, which are pretty close to each other, Nicaragua was much poorer than Ecuador.
Restrooms were so different depending on the the wealth and country. Toilets could change dramatically depending on the part of the country that you choose to submerge yourself in. For example when we went to China the year before last you could either be in a normal Chinese place where they have squat toilets which looked like porcelain pit latrines that flushed, or you could be in one of those five star hotels where they have toilets that are smarter than my sister. For example one toilet had a seat warmer and a little thing that would squirt your butt for you. This was all controlled by a remote control.
March 16, 2014

Nadine: Differences between countries

The three main differences in all the places I have been are the toilets, the wealth, and the food. The toilets were different in two main ways, where they are and if you can throw toilet paper in them. How the wealth was different is pretty obvious. The food was mostly different in the diet but it was also different in the taste and texture. Many other things were different, but those are the three main things.

Toilets
Not many people think of toilets when they think of other countries, but that is one of the biggest things that I think of. Most people think of toilets as something in your wall that you do your business in. Some people think of a toilet as a hole in the ground. Others think of it as having to go outside and pour water in the back of the toilet and then having to find more water to wash your hands with. I have witnessed all of these kinds of toilets and have a feeling that I will witness even more types of toilets.

Wealth
When someone says the word “Wealth” the first thing most people would think is money. The question is how do you know how much money someone has without asking? In Europe most people have running water and cupboards to put food in. In Central and South America it is sometimes the same and sometimes different. In Central and South America you are either wealthy or poor. The pore people do not have such luxuries. Another way to tell is how large and managed the houses are. These are good ways to tell how wealthy countries really are.

Food
Food is different in every city. Because of that, food is even more different when it comes to different countries and continents. China had the weirdest food in my opinion. The weirdest thing was probably that you got puffer fish before every meal. They even left the teeth in. The other countries had weird food too. In Nicaragua you might only eat dry cereal and a banana for breakfast. In Africa they have surprisingly good Asian food. That has been one of the biggest surprises yet. All of the places I have been so far have had different food and now I will get to try even more.

These are my three main differences in all the places I have been and I can’t wait to witness even more.

March 3, 2014

Hank: Galapagos Islands

The Finch Bay hotel on Isla Santa Cruz is like paradise for the average American tourist which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. In our case it was a very good thing. It had a pool and a nice beach. You can go on excursions every day snorkeling and hiking or you can just choose to relax. We chose to work our selves ragged by riding to other islands each day on a big motor yacht with a bunch of other tourists. Boy it was just exhausting.

The food was delicious. The last night we had fresh tuna that I  caught and for any one who knows tuna they know it tastes the best when it is just barely cooked. They made it perfect!!! I would recommend the Finch bay hotel to any one and every one who comes to the Galápagos Islands. It is a great way to see all the wonderful wild life around here.

We saw a lot of wild life. There were sea lions every where and we saw blue footed boobies. Yes you heard me right. I said blue footed boobies. Their feet were really really blue!!! There were also these cool crabs that were bright orange and yellow and red and they sort of looked like a little bitty sun scuttling around on the rocks. We saw lots of cool looking fish. They were all colors and all sizes and all shapes while snorkeling and some times the sea lions wanted to play but at that point you were supposed to get out of the water because they were really big and supposedly kind of  dangerous to play with but to me they all just looked like really big dogs with fins. We also saw some iguanas that would happily mingle with the birds and not tear them to shreds. Kind of disappointing in that regard but it was still cool I guess.

We saw some turtles that were swimming because turtles swim and tortoises walk on land. The biggest tortoises that we saw were 500 pounds. We even learned some science. It was mostly about Darwin and evolution and all that stuff so that is what I shall tell you about. Evolution on large scale does take hundreds and thousands of years but evolution on a small scale takes just one baby organism. For example if there is a family of tortoises who in habit an island in the Galapagos and all the trees were one yard off the ground and the tortoises could only reach 9/10 0f a yard off the ground then what would happen? If you are thinking that they would be forced to eat second hand grass off of the filthy and un sanitized ground then you are absolutely correct. Now say a tortoise is born with a neck that is 1/10 of a yard longer than its peers and is able to eat more delicious first class tree leaves than its little tortoise buddies. So now you hopefully understand that small scale evolution can happen at any random time as long as babies are still being produced. This process all has one big fancy name and that name is NATURAL SELECTION!!!!!