Solbit Finds Fun on Dead Man’s Beach

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Dear Nicalai,

Look at me!  I’m at my sand castle on Dead Man’s Beach on Stewart Island, New Zealand.  Cool, huh?

hiking day from Horseshoe Bay to Oban

Today, Nona and Papa and Susie and Tom took me on a hike.  Susie is Nona’s cousin.  Tom is Susie’s husband.  They’re really nice, and, wow, do they like to travel and hike. We started at Horseshoe Bay.

After about an hour of walking along a beautiful coastline on a sunny day, we came to a sign.  It said, “Dead Man’s Beach.”

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Susie said, “Terrible name, but the guide book says its a great place to stop and rest.  Let’s have lunch here.”  We went right down to the beach.

Tom knows all kinds of things.  When we got to the beach, he taught me to surf.  No kidding.  He searched the beach for a piece of wood that I could use as a surf board.  The first one was too short for me, or I was too tall for it.  Whatever. The second one was longer and worked like a charm.  I surfed all the way up onto the sandy beach and almost right into Nona’s camera.  She took this picture of me surfing and then rolled away just in time to avoid the wave, but the picture is out of focus.  Sorry.

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While Tom taught me to surf, Susie and Nona made that sand castle for me.  When I got back from surfing, they surprised me, and put me up there on the castle wall.  I felt like a queen! Queen of the World!  Tom made the seaweed flag.  Isn’t it something?

But that’s not all.  Papa said that, when people go to the beach, they often bury someone alive just for fun.  So, I asked, “Is that why they call it Dead Man’s Beach? How many people have been buried here?”  Susie said, “No, you don’t have to worry.  You’ll come out of the sand just as alive as you are now.”  Well, that reassured me, and I said, “Bury me on the beach, please.”  They did, and here’s my picture to prove it.

hiking day from Horseshoe Bay to Oban

We hiked the Horseshoe Bay Track, from Horseshoe Bay all the way back to the little town of Oban on Stewart Island.  Papa said that we took 13,520 steps on that hike.  Odd that he keeps track of things like that, isn’t it?

Well, I really, really wish you were here with me.  I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

January 2014

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic Jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Explores a Hidden Garden

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Dear Nicalai,

We’re still in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Nona and Papa scared the pants off me today.  Here’s how it happened:

“You going in there?” I asked Nona and then said, “I don’t think so!”

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The big, dark door to the Hidden Garden frightened Solbit.

Nona asked me,”Why not, Solbit? It’s the hidden garden that we found last night and couldn’t get in, but, now, this morning, we’ve found an open door.  Don’t you want to see what’s in there?”

“No, way. It’s scary looking.  Dragons might be in there,” I protested.

Papa jumped in to the conversation, saying, “We haven’t got all day.  Solbit, even if ‘there be dragons’ in the garden, you’ll be ok.”

I interrupted him, “Yeah, like you’re going to stand between me and a sharp toothed dragon. Ha! I’m not counting on it.” Continue Reading

Solbit’s Fun Day at Wat Muen San

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Dear Nicalai,

How are you guys today?  Having fun I hope.  This morning, Nona and Papa changed their schedule, and, as a result, I had fun.

Here in Chiang Mai, Thailand the mornings and the evenings are warm, but the mid-day is hot and humid.  So, during the day, Nona and Papa like to stay inside with the air conditioning on, or they sit in the shade by the pool reading.

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Being a dinosaur, I don’t mind the hot and humid weather.  Actually, I like it hot and humid.  So, I wish we would go out during the day.  No, they stay in, and that means I’m zipped up in Nona’s purse pocket.

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Today was different.  Papa and Nona came back from breakfast.  I could hear them talking.  “Since the weather is cooler today, maybe we ought to go for a walk this morning.  What do you think?” Nona said. “I’m ready to go,” Papa replied.  Then, I heard Nona say, “Did you put on your sunscreen?”  No answer from Papa, but I heard him getting something out of his backpack.  I bet it was his sunscreen.

I’m a dinosaur, and I don’t need sunscreen, so I was ready to go right away. Nona and Papa walked quite a distance, and I fell asleep on the way. Do you ever fall asleep when you’re on the way to something with your parents?

I woke up with a start.  Someone was pulling me out of Nona’s purse pocket. Then, I realized we must have arrived some place that they wanted me to see.  “Hey, where are we?” I asked.  Papa said, “Solbit, this is really cool. We’re at Wat Muen San!” Continue Reading

Solbit Asks for an Exception

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Dear Nicalai,

Hi, how are you?  We miss you, but we are having a good time traveling with Solbit in Yangshuo, China.  Can you find that city on a map of China?  As we travel from place to place, we have time to talk, and often Solbit asks us to tell her a story.

Papa told Solbit a true story about a time when travel to Cuba was forbidden by the U.S. government, and he got an exception from the government to travel to Cuba.  He wanted to promote peace between the Cuban people and the American people.

Papa’s Cuban hosts asked him, “Would you like to do anything special?” Papa said, “Yes, I would like to have red beans and rice with a Mojito (a special Cuban drink) at the little cafe where the famous American writer, Ernest Hemingway, wrote his name on the wall.”

The very nice Cuban people knew exactly where to take Papa for supper that night.  When he ate his red beans and rice and drank his Mojito, he saw that all the cafe walls had writing (graffiti) on them.  So many words that he couldn’t find Ernest Hemingway’s name, although it was there somewhere.

The Cuban waiter came to Papa’s table.  He handed Papa a felt tipped pen. Then he told Papa, “Señor, please.  Write your name on our wall.”  So, with his permission, Papa wrote his name on the wall, followed by the year, 1987.

Solbit said, “I wish you would take me to a place where I could write my name on the wall.  You know, if you write on someone’s wall, they usually get quite upset.  You are not supposed to write on walls.”

Nona said, “Solbit, you’re right, never — Never! — write on a wall, but sometimes an exception can be made.”  Solbit asked, “What’s an ‘exception?’” Nona explained, “An exception is something unusual or rarely allowed.”  Solbit said, “So, I can never write on the wall, but, if the owner of the wall tells me it’s ok to write on the wall, then I have an exception?”  Papa said, “Right.”

Solbit excitedly asked, “So, where can I get an exception?”  Nona said, “Solbit, I’ve done my research, and I think you are going to like where we’re going for supper tonight here in Yangshuo.”

We took Solbit to a little cafe on the Food Street in Yangshuo. The cafe’s name is “Lucy’s Place.”  Lucy was there.  Solbit looked around.  She was surprised.  “Nona, Papa, look! All the walls have writing.”  Nona said, “Yes, Solbit, and look at the ceiling.”  Solbit looked up.  “The ceiling has writing on it too?! How can anyone get up there?”  Papa said, “Someone either had a long pen or long legs!”

Lucy asked Solbit, “Would you like to have your name on the wall, too?”  Solbit replied with a question, “Do you mean that you would give me an exception?”  Lucy said, “Yes, Solbit, here’s a felt tipped pen.  You may put your name on my wall.”

Solbit was very happy. “Papa, you’ve done this before.  Will you help me, please?”  Papa said, “Yes.” He picked Solbit up, put her on top of a picture frame on the wall, and, with the pen, he traced Solbit’s silhouette on the wall.  Nona scolded Papa, “Be careful!  You better not get ink on Solbit.” (But he did.)

Solbit said, “Ooo. Yuck.  Papa, don’t ink me!”  Papa said, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, give me a break.  There, now I’m writing your name on the wall and making an arrow from it to your silhouette.”  Nona took this photo, so that Solbit could show you that she got her exception.  Here’s the photo:

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And here’s the wall:

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So, that’s the story how Solbit got an exception.  Please remember to never write on the wall at home, at school, or at a restaurant — unless you get an exception, first.

Love,

Nona & Papa

October 2013

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit meets Leo in Guilin

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Dear Nicalai,

“Where are we?” Solbit demanded.  “Let me out of here!”  She wanted out of Nona’s purse.  Nona took her out and showed her where we are now.  “This is different.  This isn’t Shanghai.”

DSC06983 GuilinLake

Nona said, “No, we aren’t in Shanghai any longer, Solbit.  We’re in Guilin, now.” Solbit asked, “Oh, yeah, I was just starting to get used to being in China and now you’ve moved us to another country?”  Nona said, “No, Solbit, we’re still in China. We just moved to another part of China called Guilin.  Guilin has lakes and very old worn down mountains.  A lot of us tourists come here to see the lakes, the old city, the knobby mountains, and the terraced rice paddies.” Continue Reading

Solbit’s Big Scare

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Dear Nicalai,

As you know, we left Japan last week and flew to China. Solbit said she didn’t want to get lost again, so she asked to please stay in a zipper pocket of Nona’s purse on our flight.

After a few days getting used to Shanghai, Solbit became adventurous. She went with us to The City Temple of Shanghai  and was amazed by the many different gods in that Taoist Temple. She also had trouble breathing due to all the burning incense.

DSC06777 City TempleAltar

Then we went to Yu Garden, behind the temple, and, oh, my, she got a surprise there!

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She found a very big dragon. She looked up at it, and said, “Nona, put me back in your purse. Now!”

Nona tried to tell her that it was just a sculpture of a dragon, but she still insisted on going back into the purse.

We think she’ll realize that she had nothing to fear, and that, next time she sees a dragon, she can just enjoy what an artist created and not be afraid.

Love,

Nona & Papa

September 2013

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit & Typhoon Man-yi

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Dear Nicalai,

Have you been watching the news?  Did you see the reports of the typhoon hitting Kyoto?  No?  Well, that’s ok.  We didn’t either, and we’re staying in Kyoto.

When we woke up this morning, the rain had stopped.  The sky was clearing.  We had no idea that 100 mph winds and torrential rains had done terrible damage and forced people to leave their homes.  When Papa looked out the window of our canal-side Airbnb to check on the water level in the canal that runs up against our building and just below our window, he said, “Nona and Solbit, come look at this.  The water is very high and rushing.  Look at the mangled umbrellas floating by.”

Nona told us to get dressed quickly. She grabbed her camera.  Here’s a picture she took of the river after the typhoon hit.

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Nona took this picture of the river the day after the typhoon hit Kyoto.

Continue Reading