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May 28, 2014

Hank: Thailand

Barf bags and beaches
Thailand was pretty amazing. We stayed on an island called Koh Lanta which is west of Krabi in southwest Thailand. I actually did not pay much attention to much of the stuff there because I was sick but the stuff I did see looked cool. I now have a beach on an island in Thailand to add to my list of prime puking locations. My mom found us a great room that looked off of a mountain to the ocean. The only down side of it was the monkeys that lived outside our room and used our balcony as a play ground. You would think that this would be cute but I have seen lots of monkeys and after awhile they all start to look the same. One also tried to steal my water bottle but I saw the little guy sitting outside my room with it and I got it back. Although, that bottle had been chewed on quite a bit by the thief and his pals. Thailand seemed to be mostly tropical jungles and mountains on the inside with either pristine beaches or tall cliffs making up the coastline.
Beaches are an important part of vacation destinations for most people and not many can compare with the beaches of Koh Lanta. Another big attraction is the elephant rides. You see elephants every where. Walking down the road, eating next to people houses, and lounging in crop fields. The Blue Moon Cafe was one place without elephants although it did have one of the best beaches I have ever been to. Soft sand, big waves, and a drop off that was perfect to push Nadine off of. It was owned by a 50 or 60 year old lady. The food was delicious but, unfortunately I did not have much of an appetite. I would highly recommend Thailand and hopefully I will be coming back.
May 26, 2014

Nadine: Cambodia

Cambodia From Fire to Flips
Sea saws, and fire, and summer salts, oh my! When we were in Cambodia we went to the Cambodian circus. There was a big storm during the circus so it was really loud the whole time. My favorite part was when they brought out the giant sea saw and two guys would jump onto one side and one guy would jump of the other and do summer salts in the air. It was awesome! When the guy doing the flips dropped down four guys would hold up a giant pad and drop it when the guy hit. They also chased each other with burning sticks and climbed poles like coconut trees. I loved it.
May 9, 2014

Nadine: Tree of Life Children’s Village, Zambia

“Tree of Life”, it does not tell you what it is, though personally I think that it is a fitting name for the orphanage. A place where children brake out of their buds and blossom. The Tree of Life is a large property made up of a valley and a large hill located outside of Lusaka, Zambia. There are 35 houses right now and five more in the making. The unique part about Tree of Life is that the Houses are not separated by age. Each house has an assortment of ages and two women who go by the name of house mom. The different houses act as families while every body acts like friends.
The children at Tree of Life were so caring. Each kid seemed to have an older kid that cared for them and that the younger kid looked up to. Every child seemed to be interested in what we know and where we’re from. Every child was unique. One would be amazing at building sand castles and an other would be able to run extremely fast. Every kid was nice, unique, and interesting.
There were many children, though one girl seemed to always be able to find us. Her name was Faith. We always bumped into her some how. She loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There was just something about her that was comforting and warm. She was fast and graceful in her movements. She was always laughing. It seemed like she did not care where she was as long as there were other people to play with.
Tree of Life was an amazing experience that taught me how lucky I am. Some of the kids there were just sad looking. One girl had burns all over one side of her face where her mom would pour hot water on her. An other had knife scars on the backs of her legs from where her dad’s girlfriend would throw hot knifes at her. All of the kids had sad stories though they all seemed happy to be there and I was too.
April 26, 2014

Hank: South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, Zambia

  I FOUND MY NEW HOME WHEN I AM A MILLIONAIRE.  I am going to live in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia where I will serve as an apprentice to our guide, Manda. I can be the guy who walks around carrying the tea and cookies for the guests when they go on walks and driving safaris. We stayed at Mfwue Lodge, which is located inside the park. You could actually see many different kinds of animals from the cabin.
        We had the coolest guides ever! The first guide’s name was Kelvin. But we only had him for the first day. The rest of the time our guide was named Manda. He was great. He knew all of the scientific and normal person names for the animals that we saw. He had been guiding for 16 years. He showed me how to identify many different kinds of tracks and let me shine the spot light around from the land rover at night. I was the spotter and I spotted lots of animals.
        Next we went to a lodge called Sausage Tree in Lower Zambezi National Park. We saw a lot of lions there. We also went fishing for tiger fish. The biggest one we caught was 8 pounds but we also caught a 7 pounder and some smaller ones. They fight really hard! It was way harder than any 8 pound fish you could catch in Texas except for maybe a tarpon. Of course I have never caught a tarpon so I don’t really know. If any body reads this who has caught a tarpon and a tiger fish then please comment on this blog and tell me which one fights harder. This is the 8 pounder.
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 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.