Mellow Yellow – Weekly Photo Challenge – Yellow

Dear Friends,

Yellow is one of the most beautiful colours in the world. In nature, it is the most easily seen of all the colours and is found in every form – animal, vegetable and mineral.

Yellow is the colour of delicate blooms,

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wild dogs,

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and even stripy, layered cliffs of sand.

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At sunset the sky glows golden-yellow.

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All of these natural wonders are gloriously yellow it’s true, but none can trump this – an amazing yellow fruit.

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It’s enormous and it’s yellow! It’s the Big Banana.

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Yellow

Too Much Monkey Business – The Sequel

Dear Friends,

Last week I was busy hunting for monkeys and this week a monkey was hunting me! Not just any monkey either. It was the monster monkey of all time – King Kong!

I had the misfortune to come across a pack of fearsome beasts and it seemed like they were all out to get me. I have never seen so many sets of deadly dentures. These creatures all had one thing on their minds – yodelling beaver for lunch!

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Even though this lion was behind bars I didn’t hang around long enough to become his next meal.

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No matter where I went I didn’t feel safe. I nearly ended up flat out when this elephant passed by. He just missed me. Phew!

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Finally I found a quiet place to rest for a few minutes and gather my wits.

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I thought I was safe – but no! I was about to become King Kong’s afternoon tea. Could this day be any more disastrous?

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At the last second I was saved by the bell. The Trick Art Museum was closing and I had to leave.

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So long, King Kong!

Justin.

 

Too Much Monkey Business

Dear Friends,

Sometimes other people’s travel stories can influence the choices we make when travelling. For example, my personal assistant The Eternal Traveller told me once, in graphic detail, about the time she saw a tourist being chased by a monkey in Thailand. I have a mental image of this aggressive animal stalking the poor lady simply because she still had peanuts in her hand and I’ve been scarred for life.

While I was visiting Tokyo I spent a day out of the city at the Meiji Memorial Forest at Mt Takao and guess what’s there. A monkey park! When I first saw the sign for the park I was filled with trepidation. Would these monkeys have a built-in attack instinct like the ones in Thailand?

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My curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out for myself so I followed the trail. I’ve heard that monkeys like to spend most of their time swinging through the trees and although I scanned the treetops I couldn’t see any. I began to get the feeling they were avoiding me.

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Then, after hours of searching, I finally came face to face with a real live monkey. He was sitting very still and I think he was hoping I hadn’t noticed him. He looked harmless enough but I wasn’t game to get too close. I wondered if he was as wary of me as I was of him because we just sat and stared at each other for ages.

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My only close encounter was at the souvenir shop at the end of the day. I found this very cute, very cuddly baby monkey and he was happy to pose for a friendly photo. Isn’t he gorgeous! Thank goodness he didn’t want to chase me.

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Maybe he doesn’t like peanuts.

Justin.

Ain’t She Sweet

Dear Friends,

Did you celebrate World Teachers’ Day on 31st October? My personal assistant The Eternal Traveller did. She says the best part of the day was the decorated cake shared by the staff at her school. Luckily it tasted better than it looked. (Mrs ET assured me it wasn’t made by a teacher.)

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As you know, I’m already an expert on the art of cake consumption and this decorating disaster inspired me to add to my skills by learning more about cake decorating. So I enrolled in a weekend course, Cake Decorating 101, led by Master Cake Creator Lynne.

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First I learned how to prepare my cake and cover it with fondant. Then I practised the skills needed to create the trimmings for the cake.

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I decided to make a Christmas cake so green, red and gold were the colours I chose. Eventually, after hours of colouring, rolling, cutting, moulding, shaping, painting and taste-testing the fondant, I had assembled an artistic collection of bits and pieces.

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I had no idea how all these parts would come together in an attractive  way but with Lynne’s skilful guidance and endless patience my cake was finally completed.

Isn’t it beautiful!

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Who would like a piece?

Justin.

Triple Treat – Weekly Photo Challenge – Achievement

Dear Friends,
Meet my new friend – Caitlin of Caitlin’s Happy Heart.

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Not only is Caitlin a wonderful writer and speaker, she is mother to five lovely children, including three year old triplets!

Three times three – now that’s an achievement!

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Achievement

Long Way Down – Weekly Photo Challenge – Descent

Dear Friends,

I know I’m an alpine beaver and not usually bothered by heights but I met my match at the Diamond Tree near Manjimup in Western Australia.

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This enormous karri tree hosts one of a series of tree towers built by foresters in the 1930s. They were used as lookouts to spot fires in the dense karri forests and the cabins at the top of the trees provided accommodation for the spotters during their long, lonely shifts.

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For me, the problem wasn’t going up. The ladder is pegged securely into the trunk of the tree and there is a safety net to keep climbers from plunging to their deaths. The hut at the top is 52 metres above the ground and the viewing platform is 46 metres, high enough to give a spectacular view over the forest.

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Unfortunately I have no photos of the view to show you, because I didn’t make it! I was so worried about going down again I had to stop at the halfway mark. My mind was playing havoc with my legs and I kept imagining myself slipping and sliding back down to earth. It was ghastly.

The trees are no longer used for fire-spotting and have been replaced by spotter planes. Now they tempt those who are brave (or foolhardy) enough to climb to the summit to enjoy the view before making the spinechilling descent to the ground.

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My knees are still quaking at the thought.

Justin.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Descent

Dressin’ Up

Dear Friends,

When visiting somewhere special it’s important to dress appropriately for the occasion, and there could be no occasion more special than spending a day at Disneyland.

This week I went to Tokyo Disneyland! The rides were fantastic and the parades were spectacular but what I enjoyed most was the people-watching. Disney dress-ups were very popular. There were all sorts of character copies, from monsters to mice, and they all looked amazing.

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If you want to have fun and look fabulous at the same time dressing up is the way to go. Here is my list of essential wardrobe items for a day at Tokyo Disneyland.

1. Mickey Mouse Gloves – These come in pairs but can be worn separately. You might find it difficult to eat your lunch while wearing them, but who needs lunch when you’re going for the Mickey look.

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2. Hat – There are too many styles of Disney hat to choose just one favourite. I fancied myself in a Mickey hat but couldn’t find one in my size.

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3. T-shirt – The Mouse theme continues with these colourful shirts. Wear one with a co-ordinated bow, bag or bonnet and you’ll fit right in.

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4. Popcorn holder – Carry enough popcorn to last the whole day in one of these over-the-shoulder popcorn holders. My favourite was Mr Potato Head.

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5. Ears – The ultimate must-have for any Disney fan, these ears come complete with a glamorous red polka dot bow and glitzy earrings.

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Put all these dress-up pieces together and you’ll achieve the definitive Disney look, just like these three young Minnie lookalikes.

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Aren’t they delightful?

Justin.

 

Around the World – Weekly Photo Challenge – Cover Art

Dear Friends,

I’ve started writing a book.

As you know, one of my favourite pastimes while travelling is eating and I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to being passionate about food. With my handy gourmet guide, food fanatics will be able to find a delicious feast no matter where they travel.

It’s a work in progress. Here are the front and back covers.

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I hope it’s a runaway success.

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Cover Art

This Little Light of Mine

Dear Friends,

One of my favourite things to do as a world traveller is work experience –  I love stepping into other people’s shoes for a day. This week my work experience reached lofty heights.

The lighthouse at Cape Naturaliste has been operating for 110 years, guiding ships along the treacherous coast of south west Western Australia.

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Until 1996 it was manned by three lighthouse keepers, and even though the light is now automated, I got to be the keeper of the light and resident tour guide for just a day.

Come with me and I’ll show you around.

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Before we begin our tour you need to know the rules of visiting a working lighthouse.

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The lighthouse was built in 1903. There was a big celebration when it was turned on for the first time in 1904.

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Here is the control room. Before electricity, this tiny kerosene light bulb was all that was needed to power the lighthouse. Giant mirrors magnify the light so it can be seen for miles.

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It’s worth climbing the 59 steps to the balcony because the views of the rocky coast and the Indian Ocean are wonderful.

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Hold onto your hat please – it’s windy up here!

Justin.

 

All That Glitters – Weekly Photo Challenge – Dreamy

Dear Friends,

Have you ever spent time daydreaming about how you would spend your winnings when your lucky numbers come up? Or making plans for when Fortune unexpectedly comes knocking on your door?

I thought Lady Luck had smiled on me the day I found this enormous gold nugget just lying around in the grounds of the Royal Perth Mint.

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My imaginings turned to First Class Travel with all the trimmings…

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…until I found out it was gold-coloured plastic! How cruel – all my dreams faded away as quickly as they had come.

Back to Economy Class for me!

Justin.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Dreamy

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