Solbit Bumps Into Her Pleistocene Cousins

Dear Nicalai,

As promised, I’m writing from Ecuador!  Hey, you know that line around the middle of our planet — the one called “the equator” or “Zero Latitude?” Well, we’re on it now. Nona and Papa suffer the heat and humidity here, but I kind of like it. So does my distant cousin.

What a beautiful creature! I just love her skin tones! Don’t you?

What a beautiful creature! I just love her skin tones! Don’t you?

She has a family tree going all the way back to the Pleistocene Era, and her family outlived us dinosaurs.  We dinosaurs are extinct, except for me that is. She’s a land iguana and lives in an iguana park across the street from our hotel, the UniPark Hotel, here in Guayaquil.  (Nona and Papa really like the hotel. The staff are really nice to us.) Oh, speaking of family trees reminds me. I want to show you this picture.

I’ve seen iguanas sleeping on high tree limbs, hanging on the side of tree trunks, and haven’t seen one fall yet.

I’ve seen iguanas sleeping on high tree limbs, hanging on the side of tree trunks, and haven’t seen one fall yet.

These iguanas like to climb trees.  Like me, they eat a lot of vegetables.  They enjoy eating leaves. I think the park gardeners like that, because they have fewer leaves to rake up. Also, iguanas seem to like each other a lot. I see the iguanas pile on top of each other. Very social, huh?

Birds enjoy standing on iguanas, and, for some strange reason, the iguanas don’t mind being walked on.

Birds enjoy standing on iguanas, and, for some strange reason, the iguanas don’t mind being walked on.

I wanted to stay in the park and get to know my distant cousins better, but Nona and Papa just couldn’t stand the heat and humidity any longer.  So we went up to our 10th floor hotel room with a view.

The view from our room gave me a good perspective on the iguana park.

The view from our room gave me a good perspective on the iguana park, Parque de las Iguanas.

I noticed that a lot of people enjoy visiting the iguanas and feeding them lettuce, grapes, and other fruit.  The iguanas seem to like the company, too.

Well, that’s my first letter to you from Ecuador, and I had no idea that I’d be writing about iguanas.  Gee whiz, I didn’t even know iguanas existed until we got here or that we are distant relatives.  I wonder what new and strange things I’ll see next. Nona and Papa said that we will go to Galapagos. They said Galapagos is a group of volcanic islands out in the Pacific Ocean, and somebody named Darwin made them famous.  What do you do to make islands famous?  I’m going to find out.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

April 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • 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 Sees the Extraordinary as Ordinary

Dear Nicalai,

“So, are you going to just keep smiling like a bump on a log and not answer me,” I asked in an annoyed tone of voice.  After all, I had introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Solbit. What’s your name?”  He just smiled and said nothing.  That bothered me…

…and then I realized, hey, that’s what he is: a bump in the log that someone had carved into the wood.  Fooled me! Just wood with a familiar pattern.

…and then I realized, hey, that’s what he is: a bump in the log that someone had carved into the wood.  Fooled me! Just wood with a familiar pattern.

We were walking in Moorten Botanical Garden when I saw another piece of wood with an interesting but unfamiliar pattern, and I enjoyed that, too.

If I were a sculptor, I would try to make a beautiful pattern in something — maybe a rock — that looked just like this piece of wood, and then watch to see if I fooled anyone into thinking the rock was wood.  Fun, huh?

If I were a sculptor, I would try to make a beautiful pattern in something — maybe a rock — that looked just like this piece of wood, and then watch to see if I fooled anyone into thinking the rock was wood.  Fun, huh?

Speaking of beautiful patterns, they don’t have to be complicated, you know.  Sometimes simple is best.

I just love the simplicity of this natural pattern in the rock.

I just love the simplicity of this natural pattern in the rock.

We saw the boulder at Joshua Tree National Park.

Maybe you can go to these places one day, and write me about the ordinary things you see that turn out to extraordinary, if you notice them as I did. I’m going to boast that no one appreciates what’s in view more than I do.

(Nona says that I shouldn’t boast, but, then, she also says I should always tell the truth.  In this case, how can I tell the truth about myself without boasting? I asked Papa about that, and he said, “Solbit, you’re on the horns of a dilemma.”  I pointed out that, actually, I was in his hand, not on any horns of any kind.  He just giggled.)

Hey, by the time you get this letter, we should already be in South America!  I’ll try to write you from Ecuador.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • 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 Dragged Along In Search of Desert Greenery

Dear Nicalai,

Nona and Papa went hiking to see greenery in the desert here, but I knew that deserts aren’t green, so my goal was just to see the trees that are named for Uncle Joshua and find out what a Palm Oasis looks like.

Papa drove us to a place called Joshua Tree National Park. It is big. You can drive miles and miles in there. We stopped to hike at Barker Dam. That’s where I got up close to a Joshua Tree for the first time.

I have to disappoint you. The tree was named long before Uncle Joshua was even born, so they’re not named for him.

I have to disappoint you. The tree was named long before Uncle Joshua was even born, so they’re not named for him.

Well, even if Joshua trees came before Uncle Joshua, they do have the stubble look just like him. They’re kind of skinny like him too, don’t you think?

One of the reasons to like Joshua Trees is that they make really interesting shadows.

One of the reasons to like Joshua Trees is that they make really interesting shadows.

On another day, Papa drove us to the Coachella Valley Preserve.  Not preserve as in jam or jelly but a place to protect and preserve wildlife and plants. It has 20,000 acres!  They say that, if you come here, you can see what “The Old West” looked like.

The desert is so dry but right there in the middle of all that dry is a green patch, that’s the Oasis.

The desert is so dry but right there in the middle of all that dry is a green patch, that’s the Oasis.

The Oasis gets water mostly from underground. That’s where the California Fan Palms gather to drink water.  Looks like they’ve been drinking a lot.

Nona takes her camera everywhere we go, and she never has trouble finding something interesting for a picture.  I’m trying to learn from her.  She says I’m a good student.

Nona takes her camera everywhere we go, and she never has trouble finding something interesting for a picture.  I’m trying to learn from her.  She says I’m a good student.

Speaking of things to take pictures of reminds me, next time I’m going to show you some of my wood photos.  Sounds boring, huh?  Wait and see.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • 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 Out Just What Papa Did On That “Bike Tour”

Dear Nicalai,

Aren’t bike tours a lot of hard, sweaty exercise?  I found out the truth about the bike tour Papa and his friend, Dale, took from looking at the photos of their 2012 ride in Northern California.  They started in Sacramento, cycled through Napa Valley, headed to Sea Ranch on the coast, then south all the way to Davenport.   Almost right away, I noticed a big problem with their bike ride.

No problem here. Early in their 500 mile California trip, they stopped to see this Wild West sculpture. Notice where the bike is: under the bike rider.

No problem here. Early in their 500 mile California trip, they stopped to see this Wild West sculpture. Notice where the bike is: under the bike rider.

 

Now, notice where the bike is: hanging on the inside of a Caltrain car next to the bike rider.

Now, notice where the bike is: hanging on the inside of a Caltrain car next to the bike rider.

 

When I saw this picture, I asked Papa, “Did you remember to bring your seasickness pills?

When I saw this picture, I asked Papa, “Did you remember to bring your seasickness pills?”

 

My first thought was,well, they just took the street car to get out of traffic and then ride, but then I see in this photo that they’re still sitting … on a ferry boat now

My first thought was,well, they just took the street car to get out of traffic and then ride, but then I see in this photo that they’re still sitting … on a ferry boat now.

Did you notice that the sign said, “Ryde,” but they weren’t riding; they were floating across the river.  I asked Papa about that.  He said, “Solbit, the ‘ride’ that you mean is spelled with an ‘i,’ and this ‘Ryde’ has a ‘y’ and is the name of a town.”  Ok, but someone needs to tell them both to ride the bikes. I think the sign was a sign, if you know what I mean.

You know what I think?  I think that, as Papa and Dale get older, they plan bike rides that call for more transportation than pedaling.  Don’t tell them that I said so, please, but, really, I don’t think they’re setting any mileage records these days.

However, Papa may be setting a record for most flat tires on a bike tour.  I saw a lot of photos like this one.

However, Papa may be setting a record for most flat tires on a bike tour.  I saw a lot of photos like this one.

OK, that’s it for bike tour pictures. The sun is out, Nona and Papa are taking me for a couple of hikes to a place where they have trees named after Uncle Joshua and another place with something they call a “Palm Oasis.”  I can’t wait to see what that is!

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

January 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • 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.”