Thursday, February 28, 2013


Three Things I Love About Paris

Here's more of the images from the Oldies' 2007 trip to Paris. Of course they left me behind that time but they will definitely have to take me next time. Going through their photos I have found 3 things that I just have to visit and explore. First off, there's the Eye-full Tower. Just look at that maze of steel girders and imagine how much fun a small bear could have climbing among that lot. Mind you, the Oldies had different reactions when they went up to the viewing decks. Mum loved it and got Dad to take lots of photos of her with Paris in the background. Dad doesn't like heights and always had one hand clinging to a frame while he was taking the photos. Then there's Napoleon's tomb. I am a bit uncertain about Uncle Nap (as my Grandad used to call him) because I don't really like people who cause wars. However, I am fascinated by military machinery and Napoleon's tomb is part of the French Army Museum so I will have to visit the place. It certainly looks great at night, all lit up. The thing that I have to check out most are the Gargoyles! The Oldies bought me back a small one and he's kind of cute, but he doesn't know much about the big ones on the Parisian cathedrals and museums. Are they really as gruesome as they look? What do they think about while they sit up there on the gutter? Do they aim the streams of water onto unsuspecting tourists? I've just got to climb up to the roofs of Paris and interview some of them.

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Tauranga, Terrific!!

My favourite port in New Zealand is the harbour for the city of Tauranga. I had never heard of Tauranga before our cruise on "Voyager of the Seas" and it was a pleasant surprise. It is a very pretty town on a peninsula on the Bay of Plenty on the North Island of NZ. The first people to live there were the Maori, who tradition says arrived there in 2 voyaging canoes called "Takitimu" and "Mataatua" in the 12th century. Europeans arrived in the 1830s. Tauranga is the 6th largest city in NZ and is the centre of a region of orchards growing kiwi fruit, avocados and grapes. The big hill at the entry to the port is called Mt Maunganui - it is an extinct volcano. "Voyager of the Seas" is the largest cruise ship to call at the port. Just look at how it towers above the wharf and the tug and pilot boat in the foreground. Love that ship!!!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sea Tree

How about this for a Christmas tree? It was on the main concourse of "Voyager of the Seas" and it is nearly 4 decks high. I've never seen one so big and so covered in ornaments. You can get an idea of the size of the ornaments by comparing the bigger baubles to me in the second photo; remember that I am 18cm from top of head to stub of tail. That's a great tree. I wanted to see how Santa would manage to find the ship and deliver the right presents, but our cruise finished 2 days too early. As far as the Oldies were concerned, they would have loved Santa to give them the Morgan sports car, but that didn't happen either.

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Inside Voyager

When you are inside "Voyager of the Seas" it is hard to remember that you are actually on a ship. It is so huge. Here are a couple of photos of things that impressed me. The big stairs link the "business" decks; the ones with the pursers desk, the tour desk, the shopping mall, the theatres, the casino, the ice rink and some of the cafes and bars. On formal nights it seems like everybody wants their photos taken on the stairs, so it is a good spot for small bears to do some people-watching. I particularly like seeing the way that the girls have trouble balancing on their ridiculously high heels :) The other photo is the view up one of the lift wells. See the glass elevators? They go up 12 decks and give great views of the main concourse, the library and the pool deck as they go. Some kids caused a bit of angst by getting in the glass lifts, pushing every button and riding up and down for ages so that you sometimes had a long wait for the lift. Of course I never did that (not much anyhow).

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Robot Buddy

I was just reminded that I hadn't introduced you to my robot buddy, R2D2_B. He has actually been living with us for nearly 6 months, but I totally forgot to post a photo of him until he whistled and beeped a strong message to me that it was time he was introduced to the world. So here he is. Beside talking in the typical R2 way he can project images onto walls, just like the one in the movies. At present he only projects the time, but Dad is trying to figure out a way to get him to project other stuff. What's the _B after the R2D2? It stands for "Bart".


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Magnetic Beach Bears

There is no better place for small bears to rest than in a comfortable tree near a beautiful beach. You can see lots of photos of Scruffy and I resting at some of the best beaches in Australia if you look back through the blog. This beach is at Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island, near Townsville in Queensland. We visited there while on our way up to Cairns for the eclipse last November. Magnetic Island was named by Captain Cook back in 1770. His compass had problems while he was sailing past and he thought the rocks on the island must be magnetic. They aren't, and nobody knows what was upsetting the compass. As far as I am concerned Maggie Is is most memorable for the small rock wallabies that I met there (see the photos earlier on the blog).

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Steep and Deadly

According to the Guiness Book of Records, this is the steepest street in the world. It is Baldwin St in Dunedin, New Zealand. Dunedin is one of the places that we visited on our cruise on "Voyager of the Seas". OK, I can hear lots of you thinking that the one in San Francisco where all the movies are made is the steepest, but this is the steepest continuously sloping street. The one in Frisco has several flat bits on it where other streets cross it. No, the Oldies wouldn't take me up it because the only way allowed if you don't live there is to walk. Actually, there were some Uni students killed on the street a few weeks before we were there. They decided to race down the street in wheely-bins. They crashed into cars and fences near the bottom of the hill and were really mangled. No wonder I am not allowed to try some things like that even if they look interesting.


Monday, February 04, 2013


Bear Boating on the Voyager

"Voyager of the Seas" has everything, including a great area for kids to play in. There is a special shallow pool and lots of games, but the best thing is this pirate ship. Scruffy and I found out that the best time to go to the play area was on days when the ship was in port and the kids were off on day trips with their Oldies. We had the whole area to ourselves some days. There is a great Burger place called "Johnny Rockets" nearby, so the Oldies could feed their faces and watch us and make sure we didn't sneak into the pool. The pirate ship is just the right size for small bears and we had loads of fun playing Blackbear the Terrible and his faithful first mate Sinbear the Scrufulous. I can't wait to go cruising again, it is the best thing for Oldies, kids and small bears.

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It's Like Alladin's Cave

There is nothing quite as interesting as digging around in the shops in an Arabian souk. The best one that I know of in Dubai is Sindbad Antiques in the Souk Mina a'Salaam. We checked it out both times we were in Dubai. This shop is a real treasure cave for small bears. It is full of old guns, knives, swords and other strange weaponry. There are all sizes of ships wheels; evidently Sindbad had lots of boats. There are old brass instruments that keep the Oldies fascinated for hours. Some they can identify straight away, sometimes they can even tell the shop owner what the strange brass contraption actually is. There are telescopes, sextants, compasses and measuring instruments of all sorts. Strange glass bottles and vases are there, packed in so tight that Dad gets real nervous walking past them. But the best thing that I found was a camel just the right size for me to ride. Naturally, the Oldies didn't buy it for me. Dad did buy a brass camel horn. It is probably a dud because although it makes a very loud noise when I blow it, there hasn't been a single camel come when I do.

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