Solbit’s Around the World Trip in Four Photos

Dear Nicalai,

I’m just not fair to myself.  I’ve given myself only four (that’s 1, 2, 3, 4) photos to give you a look back at our 14-month around the world trip.  It’s just not fair.  I need to give myself at least one photo a month (that’s 14 photos), but you’d go off to play soccer or read a book before you got to my number 5. So, four photos it is.

Remember this one from our time in New Zealand?  Here’s my scariest moment …

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If I weren’t plastic, I would have wet my pants when I ran into this Maori Warrior. [Photo from: Kiwi Vista Scenic Collection; http://www.kiwivista.co.nz]

Fortunately, his scary face was only a pose, and he turned out to be a wonderful man with a jolly sense of humor.  Papa says, “Solbit, there’s a lesson in that, if you take time to think about it.”  Maybe, but I’m too busy right now and don’t have the time to think about it.

Oh, here’s a really good one.  Remember my special shower at our Tokyo AirBnB?

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Girl, this toilet had every gizmo. Look at that control panel!

That shower was THE perfect size for me, right there on the toilet top!  We’ve never seen one like that since Tokyo.

Now, think about the color orange.  That’s me and the Buddhist monk in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Remember that, when Nick and Luke and our aunts and uncles came to visit us in December?

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Don’t you think that our color, orange, invites a calm and yet strong presence?

Oh, no, I’m down to my last photo, and I’ve only just gotten started!  I just have to close my eyes and pick one photo.  OK, here it is …

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As co-pilot, I knew absolutely nothing about airplanes or flying — other than that both scared me. Fortunately, our pilot knew exactly what he was doing.

Remember when I didn’t want to get into that little airplane in Zanzibar? I said it looked like a toy and refused to get in it.  Then I overcame my fear and had the thrill of a lifetime helping to fly the plane all the way to Arusha.  Uncle Ian is a pilot, so he knows what I mean.

Well, that’s my four photos for our 14 month around the world trip.  If you ever want to see more, just ask me, because I have thousands of photos.  (Nona helps me to keep them in our iPhoto library.  She’s really organized.  Papa, not so much.)

Nona and Papa told me that our traveling days are not over.  They say that we’ll spend 8 months traveling in South America in 2016.  I’ve never been to South America, so I have something to look forward to, and I’ll write to you about that trip too.  For now, I’ll just tell you about our upcoming travels in the US and Canada.  Yeah, we’re already off on another trip.  Gotta go.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

November 2014

*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 & 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.

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Solbit Tells Papa, “Take the Wax Out of Your Ears.”

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Dear Nicalai,

We were walking home from Inoda’s Coffee Shop where we had the Black Forest Chocolate Cake to celebrate Ainsley’s 7th birthday, when Solbit yelled, “Stop! Go back to that shop.”

We stopped, turned around, walked a few feet back.  Solbit said, “See, there …”

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Solbit discovered Japanese Birthday Donuts.

“Those are Japanese Birthday Donuts.” Papa asked, “Birthday what?”

Solbit said, “Clean the wax out of your ears, Papa. I said donuts, birthday donuts. Too bad we can’t send some to Ainsley today.”

Then she said, “OK, put me back in your purse, Nona. It looks like rain. Let’s get back to our airbnb.”  We walked home and got inside just before the rain started up again.

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 Gets Excited About A Birthday

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Dear Nicalai,

“Come on! Wake up!” Sparkle Orangie Luku Breakit (Solbit for short) said from inside Nona’s purse. “Get me out of here. It’s Sunday. Remember what that is?”

Papa said, “Yes, Solbit, we know it’s our granddaughter Ainsley’s birthday. She’ll be seven years old today.”

“Yes, and I want to celebrate. Take me to that nice coffee house where you saw the fancy things.  What did you call them?”  “Cake,” Nona answered. “Right, I want cake!” Solbit said. “Just because she’s thousands of miles away doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy birthday cake with her on her birthday.! Right?”  Nona agreed, “Right.”  Solbit again, “Nona, remember to bring your camera.  You can take photos of me with the cake and send it to Ainsley, so she knows we remembered her on her special day.”

Nona and Papa got dressed. They got out their umbrellas. Kyoto had rain. Nona popped Solbit back into her purse. “Solbit, you’ll stay dry in there, and, when we get to the coffee shop, we’ll take you out. OK?” Nona asked.  “OK,” Solbit replied nestling into her dry purse pocket.  Nona zipped it closed, giving Papa that look again that says, “You nearly lost Solbit, because you forgot to zip your pocket.”

We walked to Inoda’s Coffee House <http://www.inoda-coffee.co.jp>, and we knew we had found it when we saw the antique, big, red coffee grinding machine from Philadelphia in front of the shop. It’s on a quaint little street in Kyoto near other interesting Japanese shops.

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Antique Red Philadelphia Coffee Grinder Sits In Front of Inoda’s in Kyoto, Japan

Nona and Solbit looked at all the cakes at Inoda’s Coffee House. They agreed on the Black Forest Cake topped with cherries.  Papa doesn’t do well with sugary things, so he let them choose by themselves.

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Dwarfed by the cake, Solbit didn’t know where to begin.

Papa watched as they tucked into that delicious birthday cake. He said, “Let’s all send Ainsley a birthday greeting.”

Happy Birthday, Ainsley!

Love,

Nona, Papa, and Solbit

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 Has A Complaint

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Dear Nicalai,

One day in Kyoto, Papa says that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  Do you know what that means, “woke up on the wrong side of the bed?”  How can you wake up on the wrong side of a bed? I didn’t know beds have a wrong side. Did you?

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Which is the wrong side of this bed?

Anyway, I told Papa that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, because I’m a plastic jurassic, and, therefore, I don’t sleep.  If I don’t sleep, then I can’t wake up.  Right?  Right.  So, no, I did not wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

And another thing, if I did sleep, it wouldn’t be in a bed, would it?  No, I’m zipped into the Nona’s purse all the time.  If I slept, which I can’t do, I would sleep in the comfort of my own little pocket deep inside Nona’s purse.  Ha!

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If I did sleep, it would be in this pocket of Nona’s travel purse, not in a bed.

So, Papa asks me, “Sparkle Orangie Lulu Breakit, do you have a complaint?”  He always says all four of my names when I have annoyed him.  You know what I mean?  Well, I said, “Yes, I have a complaint, and I’ll tell you what it is.  I think the title you gave my blog stinks!  ‘Tails of a Plastic Jurassic’ makes me sound like a three-tailed monster, a freak of nature.” Continue Reading

Solbit Asks, “Can We Go Back to Tokyo, Please?”

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Dear Nicalai,

Nona and Papa said I could write my own letter to you today.  They think I’m learning how to write, but my spelling is not too good. They said they would “edit” my letter.  “Edit” means that they read what I write.  They try to find my mistakes.  Then, when they find a mistake, they fix it, but I have to read it again to make sure they didn’t make me say something I didn’t want to say. It’s a lot of work, but I don’t mind, because I’m excited to tell you about my trip with Nona & Papa.  Here goes!

Well, first, I’ll give you the bad news.  You know we’ve been in Kyoto, and I got lost.  Well, that’s not the bad news.  We had been in Tokyo, where I had a good time, and now we’re in Kyoto, and it’s different.  The bad news is that I miss Tokyo. I want to go back there.

Why? Look at this.  Here’s me in Kōrakuen Garden in Tokyo:

Image 1 Solbit Rocks Garden

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Solbit: She’s Missing. Can We Find Her?

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Dear Nicalai,

Do you know that soy sauce comes in different kinds? Nona and Papa thought soy sauce was soy sauce. Not so.  A friend of ours told us, but we’re getting ahead of our story. We still have to find Solbit.

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Solbit is missing. Can we find her?

We paid our bill for lunch at the restaurant where Solbit went missing. We remembered that the Samurai asked Solbit to come back soon. We thought maybe she left without telling us to go back to see her fierce friend.

We walked several blocks back in the hot and humid air to where the Samurai Warrior stood guard. He looked so fierce that we hesitated to bother him, but we did anyway.

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Fierce Samurai told Papa, “Find Her.”

“Did Solbit come back to see you?” we asked. “No,” he growled, “Where is she?”  Nona said, “I’m afraid she’s lost.”  The fierce Samurai’s face softened.  He actually showed concern.  “No, you have to find her,” the Samurai declared. “I would help you look for her, but I’m not allowed to leave my guard post.  I have to stay here.  Go, hurry, find her, please!”

“We’ll try,” said Papa, “but I doubt we’ll ever see her again.”  The Samurai didn’t accept that from Papa.  He told Papa, “I said find her, and I mean find my little dinosaur friend now! She’s irreplaceable.”

Papa thought, yeah, she can easily be replaced.  We just have to contact Photojojo for another one, but he didn’t say that to the Samuarai.  Why start a confrontation with a guy who has a sword in his hand? Right?

Still, Nona and Papa searched the streets. No Solbit. They decide to go to see the Imperial Castle and gardens. They walked back on the same route they had taken to the restaurant, always looking down at the sidewalk for Solbit.  No Solbit. They passed their lunch restaurant on the way. Papa said, “I’m going in to ask them to keep an eye out for Solbit.”

Papa went back into the restaurant and said to the nice young man, “We’ve lost our traveling companion. Have you seen her?”  No he had not. An older man who worked there asked, “What does she look like?”  Papa showed him a photo of Solbit.

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The Old Man Recognized Solbit’s Picture!

The man looked at the photo, and his face lit up with a smile. He took Nona and Papa to a shelf by the kitchen. Solbit was on the shelf overlooking the cook at work! “She saw how much you liked our food. She came over to ask to learn about Japanese cooking. She’s been here the whole time watching and learning,” the old man said.

Nona exclaimed, “Solbit, we found you! You gave us such a scare. We worried that we’d never see you again. Please don’t disappear on us ever again.  You have to tell us when you’re going away somewhere.”

Solbit said, “I’m sorry, Nona, but I was so excited to see the chef at work that I didn’t think.  I won’t do that again.  I promise.”  Then Solbit hopped into Nona’s purse. Nona zipped it closed. Solbit wouldn’t get lost again, if Nona had control of her.

Papa knew that he should have kept his pocket zipped closed with Solbit inside.  Then she wouldn’t have gotten away.  Nona gave that look at Papa that said, “You know it was your fault don’t you.”  Papa gave back a neutral look.  He was neither confirming nor denying.

Although Solbit shouldn’t have left without telling them where she was going, in fact, Solbit had learned a lot about Japanese food. The next day at another lunch  place called Ootoya, Solbit told Nona and Papa which of these soy sauces

IMG_6580 Solbit & Soy Sauces

Solbit Selects the Right Soy Sauce

to use for homemade tofu and which to use for steamed scallops on rice with seaweed. Who knew that soy sauce comes in different types?

So, our good news is that Solbit is back!

Happily,

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.”