Tree Tuesday

I’ve had the Monkey Puzzle Tree on my list of trees to share with you so I was delighted to receive these photos in our mail this week. It comes from Lofty and it’s a splendid specimen.

An interesting tree that was planted in a local park over 100 years ago, a South American “Monkey Puzzle” tree.

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

The tree was given the name “Monkey Puzzle” in about 1850 by a British Barrister named Charles Austin who remarked upon seeing the tree in an English garden “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” The tree had no common name at the time and so monkey puzzle stuck. The tree is a long-lived conifer and is now cultivated in temperate zones world-wide. Unfortunately, in its home range of South America the tree is on the Endangered list because of logging and fires. – source: Wikipedia

Thanks Lofty. Your timing was spot on.

The Reptarium

Bella, a very friendly Rhino Iguana, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Sorry to be absent the past few days. My adventure to Michigan put me into a crash cycle and it’s been slow climbing out. I’m feeling closer to normal today, but the brain fog is being stubborn and persistent. I hope I can string together a few sentences that make sense to tell you all about my amazing experience.

Content Warning – There are photos of snakes ahead.  [Read more…]

Let’s Play 9: Goodbye!

This concludes our series with some more animals from the wait line for the wild water ride, in which #1 learned an important lesson about agency, autonomy, consent and respect.

On our second day we went straight for that attraction since it tends to have the longest waiting times. We still needed almost an hour, which #1 used for bickering about how it was a stupid ride and she didn’t want to go anyway. We told her that of course she didn’t have to, but we wouldn’t leave the line since the rest of the family wanted to go on the ride, so she decided to come along.

When we were all seated, properly belted in and the boat started to move she said “I don’t want to!”. Mr yelled for them to stop the boat, they let her out and we took the ride without her, which was exactly not what she wanted as evidenced by the 2 hours that she kept complaining about how it had been unnecessary for us to stop the ride and that she would have been OK to go with us.

Well, kid, no means no, and if you actually mean “yes”, you need to say that.

Her little sister, who is usually the kindest person on earth and too often the target of her older sister’s cruelties, frustration and meanness, couldn’t keep herself from talking about how that was the coolest ride in the whole park for two straight days and we only had half a heart to stop her…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

My absolute favourite, as hippos are my favourites. Mr. wants to email Lego about whether this can be bought as a set and put it inthe front yard (so it can become a Pokestop. Yes. he’s serious).

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Anyway, the design of that ride is mean. What you can see from the outside is the boats disappear around the corner, emerge at the top and then go down the steep ride. What you cannot see is that they first haul you up and then you don’t go forward to the steep ride but are turned 90° and go down a different ride backwards. You then travel the hidden dinosaur valley (obviously no pics here) before you go up again for the final ride.

It was fun.

All in all, the whole trip was fun even though it was exhausting. We were absolutely lucky with the weather as t was summer temperatures, making all the water attractions enjoyable. Now we have some arctic air with snowfall on Saturday…

Let’s Play 8. Nighttime

Our trip was two days with one overnight stay in the holiday village and we’d chosen an ancient Egypt themed “cottage”. The rooms were clean and more than enough for an overnight stay, and I adored their attention to detail. This fellow hung over our bed.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved
We’re well protected from any Lego mosquitos.

©Giliell, all rights reserved
But maybe we should have a word with their pest control?

Let’s Play: At Legoland 6

My favourite part is probably the mini world, where they rebuild cities and places in Lego. I could have spent hours there.

Also a whiptail found that a balcony in Venice is the perfect place for its nest.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved
The huge dinosaurs are the best thing anyway.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Roo

A stately specimen from Lofty.

This picture is of a well built male kangaroo that I saw out of the window right on dusk, complete with a “Wot U Lookin At?” expression on its face. It’s still very dry hereabouts and the slight runoff from our driveway grew a little green grass for it to munch. Fortunately it paused just long enough for me to reach around and fire off this shot. A few seconds later it bounded out of sight.

Roo, ©Lofty, all rights reserved

Let’s Play: At the Legoland 5

No, really, I don’t like rollercoasters. Maybe it’s an acquired taste or one you need to learn young, but it’s not my fun part. I rode my first one last summer and before even considering this one I researched whether it was faster (no way!) or slower than the one in Spain. I don’t like the sudden movements, though I was not fighting unconsciousness this time as I did in Spain. It’s not like I don’t like speed as such, there’s some fast stuff i really like, just not this. So enjoy the pics from the “harbour trip” in small boats at slower than  walking pace.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Tree Tuesday

Trees in the News:

A massive yellow meranti found in the Dunam Valley area of Malaysia has been confirmed to be the world’s tallest tropical tree at 330 ft. (100.5 meters). Originally seen from the air, the tree was climbed by a daring local man with a tape measure to confirm it’s status. Logging is prohibited in the area and it is thought that there may be even larger trees as yet undiscovered in the same area. The video has some very nice aerial photography.

 

From The Smithsonian Magazine

Let’s Play: At Legoland 4, or capitalism sucks

Theme parks will always try to milk you for more money. From the entrance fee to overpriced food to games where you can “win” overpriced toys at every corner, it’s an all out assault on your budget. I don’t know if other theme parks “offer” a similar “service”, but at Legoland you can buy “express passes”. In their most basic version (just 20 bucks per person per day!) you can reserve you place in line and then wander off to eat some overpriced food and then return at your scheduled time to take your place in the line. This goes up to the premium version (almost no waiting time for only 70 € per person per day!) and of course you are simply not making any friends when you walk past people who’ve been waiting for an hour and take “their place”.

Now, it would be perfectly easy to integrate the basic version into an app for all customers and thereby eliminate those fucking waiting lines altogether, but that might lose them some money (maybe it would make them some money because people would have more time to hang around the food courts instead of eating home made sandwiches while standing in line?), therefore it’s inconceivable!

On the other hand I mentioned to Mr: “Imagine we’d spent some 600 bucks on those express passes and could ride one of those things every 15 minutes. Wouldn’t that be horrible?”

I still don’t know what I find worse: waiting in line for the rolercoaster or riding it, but I’m tending towards the latter. Before you think I’m all grumpy, enjoy some images from the “Atlantis” aquarium.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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