I walk into the room and hear “Mrowl! Miao, Miao”. It is my sister’s voice, but I don’t see her. “Wowl”, she whimpers plaintively. I look some more, then realize the lump under the bedspread is moving. Sasha has crawled all the way under the covers to the foot of the bedspread. “I’m so cold, even with my fur coat my teeth were chattering. It must be only 10 degrees Celsius in here.” said Sasha. “Wow that is cold!” I thought. Then I realized that she meant it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cool, but nowhere near freezing. Most of the world uses the Celsius scale to measure temperature, but the United States kept the use of Fahrenheit which was developed in the 1700’s. I wonder how they measured temperatures before then? Purrs, Gulliver
Manchu Picchu is often called the “lost city of the Incas” and is the best known symbol of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu means ‘Old Peak’ or ‘Old Mountain’ in the Quechua Indian Language. Machu Picchu includes of around 140 structures with terraced fields nearby. It was thought to be an estate of the emperor. It is believed that the Incas were some of the best masons in the world. Legend has it, that when an Inca placed two stones together, no one would have even been able to place a knife between the stones due to their precision and accuracy in carving. Purrs, Gulliver
Sprechen sie deutsche? Do you speak German? Germany has 16 states instead of 50; its capital and largest city is Berlin. It has borders with nine other countries: It also has coastline on the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. There are many castles there. King Ludwig had three, including Neuschwanstein which was the inspiration of Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle.
I love to eat German food. Traditional foods include Wurst (sausage) Schnitzle (breaded pork or veal) Spaetzle (noodles or dumplings), Stollen (fruit cake) and Strudle (a layered pastry). I finish each meal with Marzipan, a sweet made with almonds and sugar. Purrs, Gulliver
The City by the Bay is one of my favorite cities, and I get to visit often because my cousin Gabby lives there. San Francisco was founded by Spaniards in 1776 – the same year as the start of the American Revolution. Last time I was there we scampered down to Fisherman’s Wharf to beg for fish, then rode the cable car up the hill. We got off at Lombard Street and watched the people drive down the crookedest street in the world. Gabby wanted to go to Alcatraz Island and see the old prison, but I was afraid they would lock us up and throw away the key! So we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge instead, which runs north to south, and has the Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Francisco Bay on the other. Purrs, Gulliver
Hello! I am Sasha, Gulliver’s little sister. He asked me to write to you because he has been grounded and not traveling. He apologizes for not sending postcards. Look at today’s postcard. The address is always on the right, under the stamp. First the name, then the street address, next line is city and state, and finally, a postal or ZIP code. Some countries use a different order where the city is listed before the street name. Each piece of mail requires a stamp which is postmarked from the area it was mailed from, along with the date it was mailed. What would you write on a postcard? Meow, Sasha.
Oohhh, I ate too much Feijoada, it was so good! Brazil’s national dish is a stew made of black beans, pork (including earns, knuckles, chops and sausage) and dried beef. It is served with rice, decorated with collard greens and sliced oranges. It is a hearty dish; restaurants regularly serve it on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Brazil is the only Latin American nation whose language and culture come from Portugal. The early explorers brought back a wood that produced a red dye, “pau-brasil”, from which the land received its name. Brazilians are one of the most welcoming people in the world; foreigners are treated with respect and often with admiration.
Woo hoo! I am going on a safari! When I look at the roots of the word, it means journey, and I have had many of those. But this one is to see the wild animals on the continent of Africa! The earliest safaris were trading journeys which had caravans traveling long distances to bring supplies from one city to the next. Then the word changed to mean the journey for people who identified different kinds of animals not seen at home, and hunters who shot them for sport. Now, safaris are usually to take pictures of wild animals in their own area and learn more about how they live. Lions, tigers, zebras, hippos – all kinds of animals I don’t see in my neighborhood. Do you have wild animals where you live? Purrs , Gulliver
Here is a story I heard from a ranger while visiting Yosemite National Park.
Many, many years ago, a Native American couple live in the desert around Mono Lake. Learning about the beautiful Valley of Ahwahnee, they decided to go there and make it their home. Along the way, the couple began to argue. The wife wanted to go back, the husband refused. They argued so loudly, the Creator grew angry and turned the two into stone. The husband became North Dome and the wife became Half Dome. The wife felt bad about the quarrel and the rock she became began to cry, creating Mirror Lake. In Paiute language she is known as T’ssikakka. And that is the story of how part of Yosemite came to be. Purrs, Gulliver
Remember the Governor of California who had to go to his inauguration in a rowboat, and when he came home he had to climb through a second story window to get into his house? This is the house in Sacramento! He had a much bigger one in San Francisco called the Palace which burned down in 1906, and a horse farm in Palo A lot where he later developed a university named after his son – Leland Stanford Jr. University. After her husband died, Mrs. Stanford donated this house to a charity which ran an orphanage for many years. Now owned by the State of California, it is used as a museum and parties and meetings hosted by the current Governor. Purrs, Gulliver
Norway’s name means “the northward route” or the north way. Its nickname is the land of the Midnight Sun because they have long summer days. There are many islands and fjords along Norway’s coast, and the only way to get around is by boat. Norway has 16 ships that deliver mail, supplies and people to remote towns and villages. The Vikings were from Norway and did a lot of exploring in their long boats. There is even a cat breed called the Norwegian Forest cat. Hmm, maybe I have some Viking blood – I like to explore! Purrs, Gulliver