“I know most cats don’t like to get into water, but you have to try our famous thermal springs. You will feel like you have been to a luxurious spa” said my friend Bas, a purebred Van Kedisi cat. A native of Turkey, he is pure white but has the unusual trait of two different colored eyes. He invited me back to Turkey after we had so much fun on my previous visit. This time we went to southwest part of Turkey to Pamukkale which means Cotton Castle. Legend has it that the limestone formations are solidified cotton that giants left out to dry. Everyone had to go barefoot to prevent damage to the pools; it was a slippery trip to the 17 pools to enjoy the naturally heated water just like Romans did thousands of years ago. The minerals in the pools, formed by underground hot water sources, are said to help with all sorts of illnesses, especially digestive and circulation problems. The ancient city of Hierapolis was a large city built nearby, there plenty of well-preserved ruins we explored including a restored amphitheater. Nearby, there’s also an archaeological museum for those that are interested in the history of the area. Bas was right, soaking in the warm pools felt good after hiking around the ruins. Purrs, Gulliver
Mom and I flew to California for a family visit and rented a car. When cars were first built about 100 years ago they were very simple. Now they have computers and all kinds of buttons on the dashboard. Each car seems to have a different set up, so this car had the gearshift on the floor instead of the steering column. Every time mom tried to put the car in reverse, she set off the windshield wipers! Next she started the wiper in the rear and couldn’t get it turned off. We put a glove on it and drove down the freeway waving at the cars behind us every 30 seconds! We could have used that wiper when we were running late through the airport on the way home. Wave hi/bye to the baggage drop off, hi/bye to the security clearance team, hi/bye to the postcard seller. Whew, we made it to the gate and onto the plane. Time to go home! Purrs, Gulliver.
What is this thing called gravity? When I am in the airplane it floats in the clouds as if it is a feather, but when I leap off a table, I land on the ground with a thump! My friend Jackie is learning how to fly airplanes. Flying a plane is very different from driving a car. There are no stop signs and traffic lanes are not marked in the air. Even the controls are different. The yoke works like a steering wheel in a car. Push the yoke to go down, pull to go up, and use left and right to roll. Most pilots don’t want to roll the airplane upside down, but it is important to know how to straighten the plane if winds are strong. One of the hardest things about flying a plane is putting it on the ground again. The day you fly solo is like getting your driver’s license. There is custom when you pass your test to cut the back of your shirt off and write the date and plane identification on the shirt. With no instructor to guide you it is a scary experience so the shirt if often soaked in sweat. Still, it is a treasure to those who earn it. “Better to be on the ground wanting to be in the air than in the air wanting to be on the ground” is the motto of experienced pilots. Purrs, Gulliver
What would it be like to be a quarter, a dollar, or even $5.00? We might sit in a piggy bank for a long time, waiting to be spent. Then one day, we jump into a pocket, go out for a walk and stop in at a store to buy a book or a piece of fruit. In the cash register we could meet new friends, and before long we join someone new as change for a larger bill. Off to the laundromat where we are put in machines, and out come clean clothes. It is crowded in that little box, and it is a sigh of relief when we are taken out and deposited at the bank. There are many coins and bills there, and it is wonderful to see many like us. It is quite a reunion, and we even get to meet money from other nations. Maybe our next trip will be to another state, or even another country! Purrs, Gulliver
Have you ever heard of the Seven Wonders of the World? They are sights that ancient Greeks wrote about as they explored their world. In 2007 a new list was made, which includes The Taj Mahal. In the 1600’s, one ruler in India loved his wife so much he built a memorial to her after she died. The Taj Majal means The Crown of the Palace and is the burial site of both the ruler and his wife. The Taj Mahal has beautiful gardens, a reflection pool and mosque (place of prayer). The buildings are made of marble stone from many different countries, and depending on the time of day, the buildings reflect different colors in addition to white. It is said 1,000 elephants carried the building materials to the site. It took over 20 years to build, and there are rare and semi-precious stones such as jade, sapphires, turquoise and lapis lazuli used in decoration of the buildings. Over 2 million people from all over the world visit every year, and I spent a lot of time just watching them as they explored the palace.
For spring break my sister Sasha and I are going to Washington, DC. This is the capital of the United States, so we will have a tour of the White House and the Senate building. There is a lot of history here, so we are going to visit the Washington and Lincoln monuments and the Smithsonian, affectionately known as “the nation’s attic” because it has so many old treasures. There are actually 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo as part of the Smithsonian. They collect everything from dinosaur bones to airplanes. Why keep a hundred year old octopus? So we can use it to compare to what an octopus looks like today and measure changes in size, diet and . It will take me more than one spring break to explore everything in the District of Columbia! Purrs, Gulliver
What a wonderful description, now I want to plan a trip to South Africa to taste the yummy food! Purrs, Gulliver
The Elephant Seal is the largest seal in the world, and are named after elephants because the male’s snout looks like an elephant’s trunk. They spend 80 percent of their life in the water, but come ashore to mate in the winter. They look very peaceful from outside, but are great fighters when it comes down to protecting their space. Despite their big size, elephant seals aren’t slow. In fact, they are really good swimmers and they can move faster than humans on sand dunes. Elephant seals are great divers and can hold their breaths for a long time. They can stay under water for more than one and a half hours. And I can barely “dog paddle”
Mount Shasta is a volcanic mountain with 4 overlapping cones where eruptions of lava have come up at different periods of times. The mountain is not connected to any other nearby mountain, but stands alone in majestic beauty. Mount Shasta, like many amazing places, is the center of many stories, myths and legends including the story that a lost civilization lives in the center of the mountain. The dictionary says that a legend is a collection of stories which may be partly true, but also have some imaginary parts to it. They say I am a legend, what do you think?
I invited Sasha and our cousin Gaby to join me on a trip to Seattle,Washington. Gee, those girls can talk! They loved flying, and we scampered down to Pike’s Market as soon as we landed. Sasha and Gaby went shopping for postcards while I hung around the fish market and gobbled down the bits of fish that landed on the floor. Seattle has an interesting history. In its early years, the entire downtown burned in a huge fire. The city fathers decided to raise the street level 15 feet higher than the previous street. It must have been funny to watch ladies in long skirts climb up and down ladders to get to the entrance of the stores! Eventually the stores put entrances on their second floors to solve the problem, and the first floors became basements. There is even a tour of underground Seattle now. Purrs, Gulliver