Solbit goes into the wild at a museum

Dear Nicalai,

What do you think of when I say, “Museum.”  Quiet? Orderly? Many rooms?  Yeah, well, we just got back from a museum that’s nothing like that.  When you go to this museum, it’s almost like going into the wild. No kidding.

Uncle Jim, Aunt Pat, cousin Michaela, Nona, Papa, and I went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum here in Tucson.  Tucson is a stop on our 7-month road trip. I’ve never been here.  It’s an interesting town, with old western and modern features.  You should come here sometime.  Oh, but Nona just reminded me to stick to my topic: going into the wild at a museum.

You don’t believe a museum can be wild, a desert-type wild? I met some wild creatures here.  Look at this one.

I got as close as I could to this Mexican Fireleg Tarantula, but I had to stop when my head hit glass. Bonk!

The Mexican Fireleg Tarantula is a type of spider that lives here in the desert. It’s much bigger than this little plastic jurassic.  I’m pretty sure the glass saved me from becoming a spider-snack.  If I were naming this spider, I’d add hairy, the Mexican Hairy Fireleg Tarantula. Guess spiders can’t go to the barbershop.

Among my surprises at the museum was this bird.  I don’t think of water birds living in a desert environment, but let me show you.

I think the heron had my problem. It got as close to Michaela as it could, but then its beak hit glass. Bonk, again!

Look at that beak.  That glass saved Michaela from a hole in the head.  So, it is safe to be at this wild museum.

Ever hear the term, “The Trickster?”  That’s what some Native Americans called a dog-like animal, the coyote.  Nona, Papa, and I have heard coyotes at night when we were camping.  Now, I got to see one running loose in the desert.

No glass between us and this coyote, but we couldn’t get near it, or rather it couldn’t get near us, because of a wall on the desert floor that we stood on top of and looked down from.

Coyotes are related to dogs and wolves.  I’ve seen a lot of dogs, mostly friendly ones, but Papa says to keep my distance from a coyote, if I ever see one.  I guess coyotes are not so cuddly and friendly.

Not all the wild things at this museum are scary.  It’s okay to get close to some of them, as long as we don’t do anything to hurt them.  Here’s my favorite friendly wild thing of today’s visit.

Desert butterflies are beautiful, although they look just a little burnt by the sun, don’t they?

You can see why my favorite museum ever is this desert museum.  I wish more museums could go wild like this one does.  By the way, what’s your favorite museum and where is it?

Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

April 2017

*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 Tricky Art

Dear Nicalai,

We saw some tricky art yesterday. We went for a walk in our neighborhood in Quito.  What could be more boring, right?  Wrong.

Only a few blocks from our hostal, we found a little neighborhood park surrounded by colorful buildings.  Some painters went wild, but just with color, not playing tricks on us.

When we go for walks, we expect to be surprised, and, rarely, are we disappointed.

When we go for walks, we expect to be surprised, and, rarely, are we disappointed.

“Wow, I wonder who lives here?” Papa wondered aloud. I replied, “I don’t know, but they sure love colors.”

All around the little public square the buildings are painted bright colors, some with intricate patterns.

All around the little public square the buildings are painted bright colors, some with intricate patterns.

Then, after a walk around the square, I learned a new word “trompe l’oeil,” when Papa tried to sit down at this table.

Papa walked over to that chair on the left, backed into it to sit down, and -- surprise -- hit his butt into the wall.

Papa walked over to that chair on the left, backed into it to sit down, and — surprise — hit his butt into the wall.

That’s when Nona told me about the painters’ trick. “Trompe l’oeil” refers to a way of painting to “trick the eye,” and Papa’s eyes were definitely tricked by that painting on the wall.  Even Nona — a painter herself — has made these trick paintings.  She painted a floor canvas and made it look like a carpet was crooked.  People who walk on that painting try to straighten the rug!

Oh, hey, this is really cool news.  It’s not just human beings who trick the eye with art.  Nature does it too.  Nona took this photo of a creature with a big eye that got on Papa’s shirt.

On first glance, you might think that's an animal with a big eye, but look again. It's a pattern on a butterfly's wing!

On first glance, you might think that’s an animal with a big eye, but look again. It’s a pattern on a butterfly’s wing!

I wonder if that butterfly knows the word “trompe l’ceil” or speaks French? It sure knows how to make a tricky picture on itself.  Papa says the artist for that butterfly’s wing is “Natural Selection.”  That’s a weird name.  Who wants to be named “Natural Selection?” Maybe some artists would like the name.

I discovered that butterflies and I have something in common. We both like bananas.

I discovered that butterflies and I have something in common. We both like bananas.

Butterflies, Nona, and I — we girls — like bananas, and Papa hates bananas.  I wonder if that’s just Papa or if its all guys who don’t like bananas?  Guys would be missing out on a good thing if they all hated bananas the way Papa hates them.

Now you can see how our ordinary walks get me to thinking about all kinds of interesting questions that I didn’t have when I started my walks.  I have come to the conclusion just now that bananas and walks are good for me and, probably, for you too.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

signature

 

 

 

Solbit

June 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 Visits Butterflies in Zanzibar 

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

Hi.  Papa said something odd on our way to some enviro-eco place here in Zanzibar.  “Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.”

“What?”  I asked him. Craig, in the back of our van said, “That’s a quote from Muhammed Ali, the great American boxer.”

Nona told me, “Solbit, sometimes the mention of one thing will make you remember something else. So, when Papa heard we were going to the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre, he remembered one of his heroes, Muhammed Ali. Muhammed Ali used the word “butterfly” when he described how he boxed. ‘Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.’ He was not only a champion boxer, but he was a champion for civil rights and for peace.”

I asked Nona, “What’s a boxer? Someone who puts things into boxes or what?”  Nona said, “Ooops, we’re here; I’ll have to tell you later.” We went right into the Butterfly Centre.  A smart, friendly man and a beautiful little girl, his neighbor, welcomed us, and taught us so much about butterflies that I’m not sure I can remember it all correctly.

Here are some pictures.  (I’m just a little plastic jurassic, so, if I make a mistake telling you what they are, please let me know. You can make a comment back to my blog, OK?)

Well, the main thing about a butterfly that got my attention is how very different it looks from its “baby” stage to its “adult” form.  It goes through several stages to get from these teeny weeny eggs

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(Hey, these don’t look anything like the eggs Papa has for breakfast, do they?) to this worm-like form, called a “caterpillar”

Butterfly Center Tour of Jozani Chwaka Bay NP and Butterfly Garden

then to this green bean looking thing called “pupa”

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and then the pupa changes into this, a “chrysalis”

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(doesn’t this one look like metal?) and then, a completely different looking insect breaks out of its chrysalis and floats up to a sitting place to dry its wings.  It’s a butterfly!

Butterfly Center Tour of Jozani Chwaka Bay NP and Butterfly Garden

Amazing!  We got to see a lot of different butterflies in a butterfly garden. The garden had flowering plants that the butterflies like, because they provide their “food,” which is something called nectar.  I guess nectar is a sweet tasting liquid.

If you come to Zanzibar, you definitely want to make a trip to the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre.  I got to be good friends with the little girl, Neema.  Mentioning “friends” reminds me of another Muhammed Ali quote that Papa told me:  “Friendship … is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

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.”