Solbit’s Sleepy Question, “Where have you taken me?”

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

Have you ever been sound asleep to wake up in a strange place? Have you felt the little jolt of adrenalin go through your body the moment you realize, “Holy Mackerel, I don’t know where I am!”  Yeah, well, that didn’t happen to me, because I’m plastic and don’t have adrenalin.  Still,  when I awoke to take a peak out of Nona’s pocket, you could say “startled” described my feelings.

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We had landed in Funchal, Madeira, only yesterday, and, now, I woke up in China surrounded by ancient Chinese warriors. What?!  How did we get back to China? We haven’t been there since October!

“Where have you taken me?” I yelled out of Nona’s pocket.  Nona answered, “Shhh.  Not so loud. You’ll disturb people.  We just went for a little walk up the hill.”  I retorted (cool word, huh?), “A ‘little walk’ from Portugal all the way back to China?”

Papa and Nona laughed. “What’s so funny, you two?”  Papa explained, “Solbit, we’re still in Portugal on the island of Madeira, but you could say that we have walked back to China, because we’re in an oriental garden here in Monte Garden.”

Nona said, “See, they have set Chinese sculpture in these lovely garden settings.”  She took me out of her pocket, and I got to sit on some of them.  By then, I was wide awake, and I had fun pretending to be back in China.”

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This little boy gave me an idea, though.

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I said, “Nona, you’ve taken me to too many gardens.  Please put me back in your pocket. I’m going to take another nap. You can wake me when we get back to our apartment in Funchal.”

Girl, I had a long nap.  Those two can wander in a garden for hours, and, then, I heard one of them say, “What do you want to do now?”  The other one said, “Let’s go for a walk.”  They did, and I could tell that they were walking down steep hills, until I dozed off again and dreamed my way back to China.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

August 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 says, “When in Rome, Take My Picture, Please!”

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Dear Nicalai,

Well, I’m so mad that I could spit!  If only plastic Jurassics had spit.  We don’t.  Nona and Papa took me to Rome.  Guess what?  Not one picture of me in Rome!  Not one!  I’ll probably never get to Rome again.  (Rome is a big city in a country called Italy.)  Nona and Papa are so old, they certainly won’t take me again. Do you think?

We walked all over Rome with Nona’s Sony RX100 camera and with Papa’s iPhone4S camera.  They took one photo after another.  Look at this.

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Papa took this one of a famous, historic building, the Pantheon.  It has the world’s largest unsupported, concrete dome. Did he think to put me in the picture?  No. I say, “When in Rome, take my picture, please!”

We went to the Vatican. Know what that is?  It’s a Roman Catholic City State inside the city of Rome.  St. Peter’s Basilica is there, right next door to  where the Pope lives.

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Could they take the trouble to photograph me here. No.  Don’t you think the Pope would have given a Plastic Jurassic an audience (and a photo op)?  I hear he’s a real regular fella.  Guess what, he’s called “Il Papa,”  just like our Papa, only our Papa isn’t a Pope.

The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church.  Papa said, “He’s infallible on church matters.”  I asked, “What’s infallible?”  Nona said, “Never makes a mistake or always right.”  “Oh,” I said, “Just like Nona!”  She said, “That’s right, Solbit, and don’t you forget it.”

We found this person stuck in a wall, and sometimes water came out of her mouth.

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Nona told me it’s not a real person, it’s what they call a sculpture, and this sculpture is called a fountain, because it squirts water.  I’m learning so much on our travel!

Nona and Papa were talking about something called a “lemon cello.”  I had already learned what a lemon is, and we watched a movie, “A Late Quartet,” in which I saw a musical instrument called a cello.  So, I was really surprised to hear them say that Papa was going to try a lemon cello.  He’s not very musical, but, also, I don’t see how you could make a cello out of a lemon. Do you?

Turns out it’s “limoncello,” an Italian liqueur made with lemons and alcohol.  He was going to taste it.  These words can be very confusing for a plastic Jurassic.  I’m not “infallable,” am I?

OK.  We’re packing already to leave Rome.  Yep, next stop is someplace way out in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa.  It’s called Madeira. I can’t believe I don’t have even one picture of me in Rome to send you.  I’ll send photos of me in Madeira to you, though.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

August 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 Finds the First Mariners

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Dear Nicalai,

You know Nona and Papa.  They go for a walk every evening. Have done for, they claim, 44 years.  So, here in Chania, we walk around the old Venetian harbor at least once a day.  Sometimes, we go in the  morning too.  You know what we see.  Right, a lot of boats. Boats of all kinds too.  I thought I’d show some to you.

Here are some working boats.  They’re “working” because they’re used to go catch fish for the market.

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You can see some of their fishing nets piled up there in the center of the photo. Sometimes when we walk by those boats, oh girl, you wouldn’t like the smell!

Papa said that whoever owns this boat is a “clever adapter.”  A what?

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I said, “Papa, please speak words that I can understand. OK?”  He tried, “Well, I mean the captain of that little boat is smart.  He took a cover for a pick up truck, put it on top of his boat, and he made a captain’s wheelhouse. He “adapted” that pickup top to a boat top.”  I said, “I get it. Hey, I think I’d like to be a “clever adapter.”  I’m going to look for something to adapt.”

Nona said that she did a “double take” when she saw this boat being paddled into the harbor by all these people.  It’s really a raft.

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The group on this raft had made it with their own hands out of reeds and with stone age type tools, and then they sailed it for 48 hours from a town on the mainland of Greece to Chania, Crete.  They called themselves “The First Mariners,” but, of course, they weren’t.

Something about a boat cruising by an old light house tower has a calming effect on me.

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I could sit and watch that kind of thing all day. Actually, I tried to do that, but Papa insisted, “Come on the day is still young.  We have more walking to do. Have to get in our 10,000 steps!”  I got an idea.  “OK, let’s go over their to the lighthouse tower.  You hold me up so I can sit on it for the view, and, Nona, you stay here and take my picture.”  To my surprise, they did it!

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Wow, on a clear day, I could see forever, maybe all the way to the Greek mainland.

Here’s my favorite photo of that lighthouse tower.  Nona took it when we went walking at sunset.

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I really wish you were here to go for walks with us.  You’d like seeing all the boats, but, in some places, you might have to hold your nose…just for a little bit.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

July 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 Becomes a Time Traveler

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

I have a new word. Archeology.  Know what that is?  It’s this kind of thing.

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Remains of a Minoan town on Kastelli Hill, Chania, Crete

That’s a “dig” where scientists found what is left of a Minoan town here in Chania on Kastelli Hill.  They say this Minoan town goes way back to 4000 BC.  Let’s see, that would be about 6000 years ago, right? Look they had stone side walks and town squares.

Nona and Papa showed me an artist’s drawing of what this Minoan town would have looked like.  It looked very modern and comfortable.  I don’t think Nona would have liked it:  no Replica Edition of The New York Times on her iPad.  Also, no motor-scooters for me to get over those cobblestones. Still, I thought the town plan looked really people-friendly.  Of course, I’m not “people,” but I like to think the Minoans would like me, too.

My new word, archeology, if I got it right, is the study of human activity in the past by looking at what ancient people left behind. They left a lot of stuff behind, let me tell you. At the archeology museum we saw stones and bones and pottery and jewelry and even environment remains like seeds and salts.

I guess if you look deep under ground in some places, you’ll be surprised to find remains of places where people lived a long time ago.  Chania seems to  have a lot of that.  What do you think you’ll leave behind to be found by people thousands of years from now?

Hey, I didn’t even have to look underground to see the remains of the old Venetian town here in Chania. Here’s a really big wall that they left behind, maybe 600 years ago.

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Can you see the guy up top who is fishing?

That wall is holding up pretty well don’t you think.  Can you see that guy up on top fishing in the harbor from the wall?  I can tell you he’s a big guy, but the wall is so much bigger that the guy looks tiny.

Speaking of looking tiny.  Look at me.

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I played “Hide & Seek” on this old Venetian wall.

I’m so tiny and the wall is so huge that I nearly disappear in the space between the stone blocks!  I had fun running along those seams in the wall and hiding from Nona and Papa.  Papa said that we were playing a game.  It’s called “hide and seek.”  You can play that almost anywhere.  Fun.

The thing I’m going to remember from our archeology walk in old town Chania is what Nona told me, “Solbit, we’re not just traveling around the world today.  Thanks to archeology, we also get to travel back in time.  Imagine that we got to travel back 6000 years on our little walk around town today.  Isn’t that amazing?”

I said, “Yes, that’s amazing, but, also, don’t forget that I got to learn a new word today: archeology, and maybe I’ll learn to say that word too before we leave Chania. It’s really long and hard to say right.”

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

July 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’s Hazardous Walk in Chania

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Dear Nicalai,

Hi.  Let me ask you a question:  how many giants have you seen in your life time, and how tall were they?  Now, see if my answer beats yours.  Here I am getting a “soleful” view.

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An eyeful of sole or a soleful view, whichever.

So, now, I’ve seen one giant, and that’s enough for me. Yeah, that’s my soleful view. Know what I mean? Now, just imagine how big that guy wearing that shoe is. He must be a few hundred times bigger than I am.

“Hey, little fella, good thing you moved in time. I didn’t see you and could have flattened you,” the giant said. He was so big that his voice nearly knocked me over.  “Sorry, about that,” he said and took a step right over me and disappeared down the cobblestone alley.

I yelled back, “That’s OK, but I’m not a fella.  I’m a girl, and an iguanodon! Know what that is?” but he just disappeared.

I think his ears are so high up and my voice is so tiny that he just didn’t hear me.  I told Papa, “He seemed like a nice enough giant, but he’s so big that he can do a lot of damage and not even notice.”  Papa replied, “Solbit, a lot of giants are like that.”

You know what else can do a lot of damage?  Cobblestones.  I’m racing to keep up with Nona and Papa on these cobblestone streets of Chania.  Look at these cobblestones, would you?

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Solbit lost among Chania’s cobblestones

Nona and Papa think the cobblestones are pretty, but I just see them as obstacles to a good walk.  I get lost in the maze of crevices between the stones.  Then they have to come back to look for me.  So far they’ve always found me, but we’re worried that one day, I’ll just disappear in a cobblestone maze.  That’s a problem with being little like me.

Hey, problem solved!  We were walking by a souvenir shop here in Old Town Chania, and Nona saw something on display.  She said, “Solbit, I think we found what you need, and it’ll fit in my purse with you, too!”  What is it?

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Will a motor-scooter be the answer to her problem?

A motor-scooter just my size!  It gets me up high enough to see where I’m going, and it’s fast enough that I can scoot (that’s why they call it a scooter, right?) between the cobblestones fast enough to keep up with Nona and Papa.  Papa said he once had a motorcycle, and he knows I’ll enjoy driving this motor scooter.

Just one thing holding us up, now.  They have to find me a helmet.  I think they said it has to be a size xxxxxxxxxx small, and those can be hard to find.  Also, I have to practice driving it, because balancing on two wheels is tricky at first.  Can you ride on two wheels?

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

July 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 Is Tickled to be in Crete

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Dear Nicalai,

Remember my last email to you?  I had told Nona and Papa that I didn’t want to go to Crete.  Well, we didn’t go to Crete.  You might think that means we’re staying in Tanzania.  You’d be wrong.  Oh, no, they decided to stop in one of their favorite cities, Istanbul … on our way to Crete.

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Nona at a roof top cafe and behind her the Aya Sofia, at sunset.

I miss Tanzania, but — and this is good — Istanbul is really neat. Look at our neighborhood, Sultanhamet, in that picture. Wow, don’t you love it!

By the way, Istanbul is in a country called Turkey.  I thought turkey was a bird, but it’s also a whole country! Who knew?

Well, we stayed there for four days, and then, you guessed it, we flew to Crete. Not to concrete but to Crete.  By the way, Crete is in a country called Greece. Sounds like grease, but it’s not; it’s a country, too! (Too many “by the ways” in that paragraph, huh?)

So far, I have to admit that our little place in the Old Town of Chania is comfortable.  You might say I’m tickled to be in Crete.  Look.

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My harvester ant friends loved to climb on me. Their little feet tickled me.

That was taken when we were walking around old walls. Papa put me down on the ground, and these harvester ants came up to welcome me, and they walked all over me, but it wasn’t bad.  Their little feet tickled.  I was giggling. (Don’t try this at home. You might get bitten.)

Also, their other animals seem to be more friendly — Papa says “tamer” — than the ones in Tanzania.  See what I mean?

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I decided to let a sleeping dog lie, and it ignored me, too.

That dog and this cat even sleep next to each other on our street.

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My neighbor, the cat, stared at me a lot. Guess it doesn’t see a dinosaur very often.

We went walking in some ruins of the Old Venetian fort. Yeah, way back a few hundred years ago people from Venice ran this place. They left behind some beautiful stone buildings.

When we walked by the old Venetian harbor, I looked down in the water to see a big animal I’d never seen before.  Nona said, “Solbit, look it’s a tortoise.”  I said, “Hi, Ms Tortoise.”

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Harry the Loggerhead Sea Turtle taught me a thing or two, after I apologized.

Right away, it took offense.  “I’m no Ms, and I’m certainly not a tortoise. My name is Harry the Loggerhead Sea Turtle!”

“Oops! Sorry,” I said. “I don’t know how to tell a Ms from a Mr Tortoise; I mean Turtle.” I apologized.  He was nice, accepted my apology, and then made me feel better by saying, “That’s OK, almost nobody can tell the difference, except us turtles.”

Then, a little further on our walk, we saw a bird that I’ve seen before. I was careful not to say Ms or Mr Goose.  I just yelled, “Hello, Goose!” It flew away then.

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Guess I yelled too loud or maybe it was just me being a dinosaur. This goose flew away.

I guess I scared it.  It probably had a fear of dinosaurs, and my yelling didn’t help.  It probably didn’t know that we iguanodons are vegetarian and wouldn’t hurt a goose.

So, in just one little walk around town, I got tickled by ants, ignored by a dog and a cat, offended a tortoise, and scared a goose.  Pretty full day, right?

I wonder what’s worse, offending someone or scaring someone?  I promise to always try not to do either.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

July 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 Complains, “But I don’t Want to Go To Crete; Let’s Stay in Tanzania.”

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

I’ve changed my mind about Tanzania.  As Nona says, “You just have to give it time and get used to it.”  Well, I did give it some time — not like I had a choice.  Now that I want to stay here, Nona and Papa are starting to pack for some island called Crete.  Who wants to go to Crete?  Not me.

Look at the great things I’ve gotten to do here in Tanzania.  Our friend Jo had been pointing out a board game at shops in Dar and Zanzibar.  It’s called Mankala, fun counting game.  She said she’d teach me to play. Then, one day on our walking safari, we came to this big stone in the ground.

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It’s an ancient Mankala board with the stone pieces!  Right there and then, Jo started teaching me how to play Mankala!  You don’t get to do that every day back home, right?

Then, on another day walking, we came to a really big ant hill.  It was so big compared to me that I almost bumped into it.

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The ants asked me if I could help them work. Nona and Papa said that was OK for a few minutes.  So, I made friends with the ants and helped them build their ant pile.  Those ants worked hard, but I was having fun.  I guess work can be fun, if you like what you’re doing.

Because Nona and Papa are such penny pinchers and always “on a budget,” they sure surprised me when we stopped overnight at a tented lodge, Maramboi Tented Camp Lodge, by Lake Manyara.

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Wow, we had it nice.  We could look out the screened window of our tent to see wildebeest and warthogs grazing nearby.  Our tent even had a name, Mbuni. I think that means “coffee berry” in Swahili.  Well there’s another thing:  I saw coffee berries for the first time here in Tanzania. The berry can be green or red and is round like a cherry.  I just thought it would always be a coffee color, wouldn’t you?

Speaking of coffee, Papa and I had “quality time” together many times over a cup of coffee.

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I got to rest on the rim of his cup, and he got to sip freshly made coffee over a campfire.

We’d just talk about our day.  He’d say, “Well, Solbit, how are you feeling about our time in Tanzania now?” Early on our trip, I’d say how nervous it made me feel.  Then I started talking about things we did that made me happy. Like playing Mankala on that big stone board with Jo.  Now, I tell  him that I feel like I don’t want to go to Crete.  Why can’t we just settle down and live here in Tanzania where it’s nice?

Papa said, “Solbit, you’ve had a real change of heart about Tanzania, haven’t you?” I said yes, and then he asked me, “What made you change?”  I said that, by staying here long enough with friends like Chagamba and Mika, I discovered what the park sign said.

“What was that? I don’t remember a park sign,” Papa replied. Then Nona said, “Solbit, I think I know just the one.  I even took a photo of it.  Look here on my computer.  I’ll find it for you.”  “Yeah, that was the sign,” I said.

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I discovered that Tanzania gave me “Nourishment for the soul. Consolation for the heart. (and) Inspiration for the mind.”  So, I feel sad to leave.  Now we have to go to some place called Crete.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

June 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.”