Tuesday 17 February 2015

The City by the Sea

Guess which country I'm in now?  The answer is ... Australia!

I took this picture in Sydney, which is right beside the sea.  I'm standing in front of a very famous building, called Sydney Opera House.  It's the white building with lots of different shaped pieces, with curved tops, on my right.

You can go and watch a concert or a ballet inside the opera house.  You wouldn't know this building was a concert hall from the outside though, would you?  The opera house was actually designed to look like a ship with lots of white sails.  Don't you think that's cool?!

Australia is nearer to the equator than Britain, so it's normally warm and sunny.  You can see lots of blue sky in my photo.  Grace, Robin and Adam were probably sleeping when I took this picture though.  That's because Australia is almost at the other side of the world from Birmingham and the sun gets there at different times from in Britain.  So, the day and night are at different times.  

When it's time for school to start for Robin, Grace and Adam, at 9 o' clock in the morning, it's already 8 o' clock at night in Sydney!  The school children in Australia have already come home from school and had their tea, and they're probably getting ready for bed.  

Then, when children in Sydney are getting up to go to school, Adam, Robin and Grace are on their way to bed!

Sydney is also famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Here it is!

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are quite close together so I could almost fit them both in the same photo.

There are quite a lot of beaches near Sydney.  I went for a walk along this one, called Coogee Beach. I had fish and chips there.  I don't think you'd have fish and chips on the beach in Britain in January or February as you'd get a bit cold.  The seasons are different in Australia though.  When it's winter in Britain, it's summer in Australia, so it's the middle of summer right now.  That means it's a good time to eat fish and chips on the beach!

When I got back to Sydney, after my day on the beach, I took a boat ride.  I got a great view of the city from the boat.  It has lots of skyscrapers.

Here's one more picture of me with Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House in the background.  I think I like Sydney!

Thursday 12 February 2015

Climbing the Petronas towers

Hello.  I've just been to visit a very very tall building.  Look at these towers.  Aren't they enormous?

The towers are called the Petronas Towers and they are in a city called Kuala Lumpur.  Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia.  It's quite near the equator so the weather is very hot.

The towers are 452m high and there are 88 floors.  Adam, Robin and Grace's house only has two floors.  Do you know how many times you'd have to stack houses like Adam, Robin and Grace's house on top of each other to get a building as big as the Petronas towers?  You'd have to put 44 of them on top of each other. Wow.

I went right to the very top of the towers.  (Luckily there was a lift so I didn't have to get tired walking up lots and lots of steps.)  There was a very good view of Kuala Lumpur from the top.

I also went to visit this square in the centre of the city, called Merdeka Square.  Once upon a time, Malaysia was owned by Britain but now Malaysia has its own government.  The prime minister of Malaysia made a speech in this square to announce that Malaysia was going to be a separate country.

Here's one more picture of the towers.  I'm still amazed at how big they are!  I wonder what is the tallest building that Adam, Robin and Grace have ever visited?

Monday 9 February 2015

Wenlock the Weaver!

Hello from Laos!  Lots of people in Laos make silk cloth on weaving looms.  This is their job and they make money by selling the cloth in the shops.  

I went to a museum to look at how cloth is made. Here you can see me in front of a loom where the weavers are making blue cloth.  

To make the cloth, they put some blue thread into a boat-shaped piece of wood called a shuttle.

Then they send the shuttle backwards and forwards through the weaving loom.  Each time it goes backwards or forwards, it adds a new strand to the cloth.

Uncle Guy had a go and discovered that you need quite a bit of practise to be really good at weaving!

At the museum, the weavers were making some very complicated pieces of cloth with pretty patterns.  This pink silk cloth is for somebody's wedding.  They'd better make sure it's ready on time!

I was very surprised to find out how blue thread gets its colour.  The colour comes from this plant ...

They pick the leaves and mix them up in a bowl to get a kind of blue syrup or blue dye.

Then they put the thread in the blue dye until it is the right colour.  Once it has dried, they can start weaving new pieces of cloth with it.

It was interesting to see how cloth is made.  I think the people who make it are very clever.

I don't know if Robin, Adam and Grace have any clothes that were made in Laos but they might have some clothes that were made in Vietnam and China, which are the countries next door to Laos.  Perhaps they could look at the labels in some of their t-shirts and find out.

Monday 2 February 2015

The Temples in the Jungle

Hi.  I've just been to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  Angkor Wat is a massive temple and it was built over a thousand years ago.  It's very impressive.  How do you like my picture of it, reflected in the lake?

Angkor Wat was a Buddhist temple for a while and it was also a Hindu temple for a while.  Now there are lots of tourists visiting it because it's such a beautiful place.  Over 2 million people came here last year (and probably a few stuffed travellers)!

I liked it so much that I went up a hill nearby to get a good view...

Angkor Wat isn't the only temple in the jungle near here.  There are whole ruined cities as well.  One of them is called Angkor Thom and it used to be the capital city.  London is the capital city of the UK where Adam, Robin and Grace live.  I wonder what London will look like in a thousand years' time?!

Some of the temples are so old that there are massive trees growing on top of them.

It's hard to know what to do when trees start growing on a temple.  Normally it's good to encourage trees to grow as it's good for the environment.  The problem is that the trees are so big and heavy that they might crush the temples and make them fall down.

Sometimes, the people who look after the temples have to cut down a few trees to stop this from happening.

I cycled around the jungle to see Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom and the other ruins (actually, Auntie Susan did most of the pedalling).  Whenever I saw something interesting I parked my bike so I could have a look.  It was lots of fun.

It's hot and sunny every day in Cambodia at this time of year so I didn't have to worry about getting caught in a rain shower.  I had to buy lots of pieces of pineapple on sticks when I got too hot though.  Luckily there are lots of stalls selling pineapples on sticks here.

Here's a last look at Angkor Wat at sunset.

I've had a nice time in Cambodia looking at the ruins and eating fish amok (a kind of creamy coconut and fish curry), which is the main food here.  Next time you hear from me, I'll be in Laos!

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Market On The River

Where do Adam, Robin and Grace go to buy fruit, I wonder?  They probably go to the supermarket or to a greengrocer's shop.  I'm pretty sure they buy their fruit from inside a building.

But in Thailand and Vietnam, some people go to the river to buy fruit.  Each boat is a shop!  It isn't difficult to guess what this one's selling - it's the banana shop!  I saw it at the floating market in Thailand.

In case you get hungry when you're doing your shopping, this boat is selling noodles and curry.

When I was in Vietnam I went to an even bigger floating market.  It was on a river about five times as wide as the Bristol Road.  There were lots of big boats selling fruit and vegetables.  Each one had a pole sticking out of the top of the boat with a type of fruit hanging from it, to let everyone know what you can buy there.  For example, a banana shop had a bunch of bananas hanging from the pole.

Lots of people rowed around the river in smaller boats and visited the shop boats so they could buy their fruit and vegetables.   Here is someone out shopping ...

I went to the pineapple boat-shop.  The shop owner cut up the pineapple so it was ready to eat.  Yum.

At the floating market in Thailand there was a big snake.  You could pay money to have a go at holding it.  I decided not to!  I don't very much like snakes as they're a lot bigger than stuffed travellers and they can be quite scary!

Saturday 17 January 2015

The Old Capital of Thailand

Hello from the old capital of Thailand, called Ayutthaya.  It was the capital from 1351 to 1767.  And what's the capital today?  I'm sure Adam knows.  I'll give him a second ... and a bit more thinking time ... yes, it's Bangkok!

Nowadays you can visit the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya.  There were lots and lots of things to see.

The picture above shows part of the old Royal Palace.  The Kings of Ayutthaya were buried in the three big monuments.

(You can't see me very clearly in the picture because I'm a similar colour to the monuments.  Oh dear, I might have to ask Auntie Susan to give me a bath!)

Thailand is a Buddhist country so I saw lots of statues of Buddhas while I was in Ayutthaya, like the ones in the picture above.  Buddhist monks wear yellow-orange robes so the statues are wearing colourful robes too!

When I'd finished exploring Ayutthaya, I went back to Bangkok.  There are lots more impressive Buddhist temples to see there.  Here is one of them.

It has a giant Buddha statue.  Look at it!  Can you make out the head at the left hand side of the picture?  The statue is so enormous that the eyes look a very long way away when you're standing by the feet!  (And I didn't even go all the way to the feet to take this photo!)

One of the temples had quite a tall tower so I climbed to the top and looked at the view of Bangkok.  There is a massive river running through the city and sometimes the best way to travel around is by boat.  It's very pretty, isn't it?

I have some more exciting river photos to show you but I think I might save them for my next blog post.  Bye for now!

Thursday 15 January 2015

A Helicopter Ride!

I've been on a helicopter ride!  Here's a picture of me in the front seat of the helicopter, next to the pilot.

It was quite a small helicopter.  It could only hold eight people plus stuffed travellers.  Here is the helicopter.

We were flying over the east of Nepal.  It's very hilly because it's near the Himalayas (the biggest mountains in the world).

Through the helicopter windows, we could see lots of paddy fields on the hillsides where people were growing rice.  Lots of people in Nepal are farmers.  The view was amazing!

I had to take a helicopter because I was supposed to fly by aeroplane but my flight was cancelled.  I got stuck in a place called Lukla for days and days!  I kept asking at the airport if it was my turn to go on the aeroplane, but it never was.  In the end, I got very tired of waiting for a plane.  I would have missed my flight to Thailand if I had waited any longer - oh dear!

If I had flown by aeroplane instead of helicopter, it might have been quite scary.  Here's a picture of the runway at Lukla airport.  It's very short so they can only fly tiny planes there.  (The runway in Birmingham is MUCH longer!)

I went on my helicopter ride after my trek in Nepal where I saw Everest and lots of other mountains.  I forgot to tell you about it as I was busy travelling to Thailand and Vietnam and other places.  It was very exciting though.  I rather like riding on helicopters but I don't know if I'll ever have another go as they are rather expensive!