Have you ever seen something that is larger than life and been a little disappointed? Do you remember when I went to the Big Banana hoping to find the biggest banana split on record, only to have my dreams dashed?
It was a sad day.
Thankfully my belief in bananas has been restored – by none other than Choco Narnars, the friendliest banana in the world.
Mr Narnars, or Choco to his friends, lives in Port Douglas in far north Queensland. He has a stall at the markets every Sunday at Anzac Park where he sells scrumptious, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. One of his bananas is the perfect treat in the tropical climate of the north.
His curvy yellow treats are not only delicious, they are also very good for you. They are organic and with their crunchy choc topping you get your daily serve of fruit and dairy all in one.
What more could you ask for?
A banana dance…that’s what!
Did you feel the earth move last week? If you live on the mid north coast of Queensland you might have, because there have been eight earthquakes in the last week, with the strongest at magnitude-5.7. Luckily they were well off the coast so there’s been little damage.
Where I live we didn’t feel the earthquakes at all, but in case we do have one I’m prepared!
I’ve been to earthquake training at the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Centre in Tokyo. The centre, run by the Tokyo Fire Department, offers free training sessions on what to do if an earthquake strikes.
I had to memorise all these instructions before receiving my certificate from the teacher.
The earthquake simulator left me feeling very shaky and the post-earthquake display was a little too realistic for my liking.
I hope I never have to put my knowledge into practice.
After reading my last letter, my good friend Yvonne commented that I should reconnect with my extended Castor family. This week I was invited to a family reunion and, with Yvonne’s comment on my mind, I was happy to accept.
The love of travel and adventure must run in the family because my distant relatives, the Beaver Brothers, make their living taking tourists on thrilling canoe adventures.
I’d like you to meet them all.
This is Uncle Beaver. He is the boss of the family business and in his spare time he loves fishing. I’m guessing by the look of him that he loves eating too!
And here are my cousins. They all work in the family business.
Cousin 1 keeps watch in case anyone falls out of the canoe.
Cousin 2 is charged with checking for holes in the canoe. With those teeth, he could easily create a few holes.
As for Cousin 3, please don’t ask me what he is doing. This is all I saw of him the whole time I was there! How rude!
Uncle Beaver asked if I’d like to join the family business but I’ve decided to stick with what I know best.
Yodelling and eating cake are where my talents lie!
Can you see this sign almost hidden behind the Mr Twirly Ice Cream van at Brown Lake?
When I first saw it from a distance, I was sure it said “Beavers Only”. I was quite excited, because I’ve never been anywhere exclusive before and I thought I was the only beaver in Australia. Perhaps I was about to meet some kindred spirits.
What a shock I got when I went down to the water’s edge. There were no beavers, only people – swimming, fishing and playing beach volleyball, and being very loud about it too.
Didn’t they see the sign?
Lucky I went back to check before I asked them to leave.
Perhaps I need to visit the optometrist.
You know how much I enjoy doing work experience. It’s great fun to spend a day in someone else’s shoes. But sometimes it’s good to sit back and let that person just get on with it. That’s what Manny and I thought when we sailed from Bruges to Damme on the paddle boat Lamme Goedzak.
We had seats with a first class view of the tree lined Damse Vaart.
We couldn’t help ourselves though and decided to help the captain just a little, by keeping watch in case anyone fell overboard.
When he noticed how helpful we were, the captain invited us onto the bridge. We figured he needed someone to watch out for other vessels on the canal.
Now I can add ship’s captain to my CV!
Does your heart sing when you hear the tinkly music of the Mr Whippy van coming up the road? Where I live, he comes not just in summer but all year round. He drives past my house around 2 o’clock every Sunday afternoon and there’s nothing like a choc-top soft serve to round off the weekend.
This week I had the best work experience ever. I learned how to be Mr Whippy!
The real Mr Whippy himself gave me a lesson in how to create the perfect ice cream. It’s important to be swift and sure because soft serve can become sloppy serve if you’re not quick enough.
First, fill the cone with ice cream, taking care to gently twist to achieve a nice peak.
Then, upend the cone and quickly dip the ice cream into the molten chocolate. Don’t leave it hanging too long, or your carefully constructed ice cream will fall off into the chocolate, which can be very messy. (I found this out the hard way!)
And that’s all there is to it; minimum effort = maximum gain!
PS Don’t ask me why Mr Whippy’s van said Mr Twirly on the side! Maybe they are related.
My favourite ride at Tokyo Disneyland was Space Mountain.
Even with my Fast Pass it took some time to get to the front of the queue, but I whiled away the time by watching as each car full of daring riders came to a screeching halt.
It took no more than a few seconds for those people to exit and the new group to climb aboard, buckle up and off they went. I counted – four cars came in and out again every minute.
That’s a lot of people hurtling through Space.
The ride itself was so much fun, but it was super-speedy and over in a flash.
As soon as I got out I went straight round and joined the queue again.
I’m the fastest beaver in the world!
You’ve probably heard the saying “The early bird catches the worm.” Believe me, it’s not just an old wives’ tale. I was watching this morning as a kookaburra, out and about just as the sun rose, was looking for a tasty treat for his breakfast.
And it’s not just worms he was after. The campers down the road were cooking sausages, eggs and bacon on the barbecue and Mr Kookaburra was keeping his beady eye on them – the sausages that is, not the campers.
Luckily for the hungry campers Kookie was distracted when he spied something delicious moving in the grass.
I’ll have that leftover sausage thanks!
This week I went for a ride on the Shinkansen, more commonly known as the Bullet Train, from Hakone to Tokyo.
The Shinkansen is able to reach a maximum speed of 320 kilometres per hour. I don’t know if we actually travelled that fast but once we started everything was a blur.
My personal assistant Mrs ET says these terrible photos she took are blurry because we were travelling so fast.
I’m not so sure about that. She’s had this problem before…
Every café, restaurant and food stall in Tokyo has its display of plastic food in the window, designed to tempt and tease us. Like everyone else in Harajuku, I was drawn to the spectacular array of sweet treats at Santa Monica Crepes. It was as though an irresistible magnetic force was drawing me in and I just had to have one.
Deciding to have a crepe was the easy part; choosing which crepe was not so easy. There are 60 different fillings on the menu and they all sound divine!
These delectable desserts are made fresh to order. The batter is poured onto a hot plate and the cook skilfully pours, shapes and folds the crepe in a matter of seconds. My crepe was filled with scoops of sweet vanilla and raspberry ice cream, topped with glistening berries and finished off with a tangy berry coulis. Oh my…it looked deeeelicious!
I was so eager to tuck into my crepe I took a bite before my personal assistant, Mrs ET, could get the camera ready, and once she had her photo I polished it off in no time.
Only 59 crepes to go!