Pino the Polar Bear and Kid’s Corner


Quinn Panda’s Story

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The Dujiangyan Panda Base is a great place the Panda to live. When we were there we cleaned up the panda pens which involved picking up panda poo and the old bamboo. Jaxon left a broom in the pen and You You ate it. 

We hand fed the panda delicious Panda Cake, carrots, and bamboo shoots. The Panda has 6 fingers and holds the bread and bamboo. The Panda will also eat food one side and then the other.  You can see how pandas eat in the below video.  You can also see it in Kung Fu Panda. We ate at the cafeteria, Dad got sick from food. We also watched a documentary that we saw 3 times already. We made Panda’s Cake too. I made mine in the shape of a Panda Poo.

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Nathan’s Great Wall of China Story

It felt like ages driving to the Great Wall of China and when we got there we still had 1500 stairs to climb to get to the wall. Walking up the stairs was fairly easy because the stairs were not steep. When we got to the top Tony, our tour guide, gave us some information about the wall. 

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He said all the bricks were held together with glistening rice flour.  He also said it is the world’s longest graveyard.   If someone died building the wall they would use them as building materials.  Another interesting fact is if you measure how long the wall was with all the branches and rebuilds it would be as long as the equator.

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While we were climbing on the wall it was mostly down hill. When there was stairs it was easy to walk, but when it was sloped it was harder to walk.


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On the wall they would have hole every 1 meter for soldiers during wars. And how they would signal if enemies were coming is they would make smoke. 1 smoke meant 100 people were coming. 2 smokes meant 500 people were coming. 3 smokes meant 1000 people were coming. 4 smokes meant 5000. 5 smokes meant that there are too many people. 

Tony told us many interesting facts about the Great Wall of China as we walked 6 km along the wall.  We had a great day.



Jaxon’s Panda Story

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Hi my name is You You, it is pronounced Yo Yo. I am a giant panda; I have 39 of my friends here. Here is a story about my life.


Crunch, I was eating the bamboo and I heard a group coming. I was so excited I almost peed myself. I was in my cage so they could clean my habitat.

After they cleaned my habitat I talked to my friend until his cage got clean. We talked again until it was time to eat. The food was good, I had panda bread and Bamboo shoots. I think that the bamboo shoots are the best. After the people cleaned my cage and fed me, they were looking at me and taking photos of me. I felt like they were the paparazzi. They left so I was having a chat. I think they were looking for the red pandas. I got fed again. Then they probably watched the video of my cousin. So I ate and slept for the rest of the day. I hope tomorrow will be as good as today.  


Nathan Sticky Waterfall story

The Sticky Waterfalls sounds awesome so did the Umbrella-Making Center. We only had one day left and we had to make a decision.  We decided to go to the Sticky Waterfalls because they had better reviews and it sounded really fun.  We asked the receptionist at our hotel to call us a red truck (a red truck is like a taxi but you sit in the back). It took one hour to get to the Sticky Waterfalls but it was worth it.

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There were three stories we went down to the first story. When we got to the bottom, it was 300 m of waterfall to climb to the top.


When we started to climb the waterfall, Jaxon and Quinn went far ahead but we forgot the shoes at the bottom. So we stopped on the second floor and had to go back down to get the shoes. Climbing was much harder carrying the shoes.


The reason they call them Sticky Waterfalls is because they are sticky. Our bare feet could grip in the stones but the closer we got to the top they started to get slippery. When we were getting closer to the top, some bugs started to swarm, so my dad said, "Go by quickly." Therefore, I went super fast so the bugs would not get me.  At the very top, it was super slippery. I almost slipped and fell down to the bottom. 


After that we saw some catfish, there was 35. The space for the fish was 5 by 10 meters and 3 feet deep. Some of the catfish were about two feet long. We fed them some Pringles and Quinn got some pictures with his GoPro.


This was an experience that I’ll never forget.  It was worth the hour ride there and the hour ride back.


Jaxon’s Cooking Class Story

Stomp, I got into the back of the truck. I was so excited. We finally got to the cooking class. The food smelled delightful. We met our tour guide, Apple. The first thing we did was pick out our food.


We started to cook our food. It smelled really good. I cooked chicken coconut curry, fried big noodles, yellow curry, and sticky coconut mango rice. I first cooked chicken coconut curry.


When I was cooking my food I said, “mm that smells good”. After I cooked my food, I would eat it. My dad said, “That looks good Jaxon”.


Now it is time to cook yellow curry. Smash, smash, I was pounding the curry paste. It was really hard and took a long time.  My instructor told me not to touch my eyes and to wash my hands because it was spicy.


On our cooking class, this lady picked a really spicy curry. When she was cooking her dish, Quinn couldn’t breath it was soo spicy. And when I was cooking I was so hot I was boiling.  (Standing in front of the fire).  Here is a video of me cooking.

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My curry looked really good but we couldn’t eat it because we had to cook dessert first.   Cooking dessert was easy. Now I could eat. It was really good and dessert was even better.


I said, “I hope tomorrow is as good as today”.



Don’t Ride the Elephant

Just imagine how incredible it would be to touch massive 9 foot tall, 4 ton beautiful creatures. Some people come to Thailand to ride the elephants, which seems cool and fun. However there’s a dark side to elephant touristic activities that many people just don’t seem to know of. 

Wild elephants won’t let humans ride on top of them. So in order to tame a wild elephant, it is tortured as a baby to completely break its spirit. The process is called Phajaan, or “the crush”. 

It involves ripping baby elephants away from their mothers and tying them up so that they’re unable to move. Some baby elephants are born into the circus by forced breeding. 

The baby elephants are beaten with clubs, sharp hooks and have no food and little sleep for many days.

A small group is trying to stop them. Elephant Nature Park (ENP) is a natural sanctuary about a one-hour away from Chiang Mai. Their mission is to protect & care for mistreated elephants rescued from tourism activities like riding and street begging, they also rescue elephants from logging and circus industries. They usually buy the elephants and take care of them. 

There are 63 elephants right now that call Elephant Nature Park their friendly home. They all have stories.

Not all elephants came to ENP because they are mistreated.  In 2011, ENP was called to Pornsawan’s rescue. An elephant had been terribly injured by a land mine explosive. The poor elephant was only 18 and elephants can live to 80. She was walking in the deep jungle while doing her work. (She was trained with treats not torture.) The land mine blew her foot apart. 

This poor elephant was in the hospital for more then two years but it paid off. Pornsawn today has mostly healed from her injury. She is now a super nanny for another elephant’s baby. She did this all her own. 

If you want to come and volunteer at this lovely place, you can for only $400 US for 7 days.

By Quinn


Mekong River

Jaxon Mekong River Story


Splash, my feet snuck into the mud. I thought I was in goo. Snatch! Quinn caught something slimy, something gooey. It was a fish! "Yeah" the parents yelled. Our Tour Guide said, “There are prawns in the water.”  Max caught the first prawn!

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Then we caught 12 more prawns and five more fish. We cooked the prawns and fish on the BBQ for dinner.



 After we made spring rolls. The parents drank happy water and the kids had a sugar rush. I hope tomorrow will be as good as today.



By Jaxon 


Ho Chi Minh City


I jumped into the elevator. I pressed level 6 where the pool was. The giant metal box ascended to the correct floor. Then the box jolted down and stopped in place. The elevator wouldn't budge. I started to press all of the buttons but couldn't find the alarm button. My heart was racing and sweat was dripping from my face. Quickly, I was coming to conclusions. Will I be here forever?  Am I going to die? 

I snapped out of it and tried to get myself out. I stepped to the doors and used all my might to pry them open. I was wrong.  The first door was very light and easy to open but there was a second door. Sigh. I realized that only the top part of the lift was on the sixth floor but high enough that I could get out.  The second door looked easy to open. Wrong again, the top of the door was locked, no matter how much muscle you used the door would never open. I grabbed my shoe and jammed it in between the doors and yelled HELP! HELP! HELP! 

People would look around and then kept on walking because they didn’t see me. Or maybe they didn’t understand what I was saying.  One woman finally saw me. She started to talk and her radio and then walked away. I started to get really hot and thought I was going to pass out. Then I saw the stupid alarm button, I thought if they tell me to press it I will. I was about to fall asleep. My eyes were heavy but then I heard a clicking noise. They were unlocking the door. The doors quickly opened. I hopped out. It felt like 1000 kg was lifted off of my shoulders. It was a good feeling. I jumped right into the pool. 

I didn't use that elevator again.


Halong Bay

Quinn Halong Bay story

The captain squeezed between two steep limestone bluffs. The ship floated on deep blue water. I have only imagined a place like this. I have heard about the beautiful Halong Bay islands and seen many pictures but nothing can compare it to the real thing.

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The islands of Halong Bay are over 150 m tall. Our cruise ship parked with all the others. We just stared and admired the magnificent islands. We got on a little boat and headed to the biggest cave. The outside is as amazing as the inside. Columns of grey bumpy rock come from the tops of the roof. In the rocks there were little rock animals formed by the water and rock, Monkeys, snakes, and elephants.

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Our little boat parked beside the cruise ship. After the amazing cave, we took a kayak out onto the bay and got up close with the limestone bluffs, giving me an even better view of the wonderful bay. The little boat took us back to the cruise ship. We sat down to a delicious seafood dinner and admired the view. It’s impossible for me to explain the amazing bay in words, so as the quote says a picture is worth 1000 words.

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Nathan’s Halong Bay Story

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I could not wait to go to Halong Bay. I heard there are1,969 islands. From our hotel it was a four-hour bus ride to Halong Bay. At two and a half hours, we stopped to look at or buy sewn art. (Sewn art is when someone sews a copy of a picture and sews it on a piece of paper.) My mom bought one piece of art of Halong Bay and I bought a smaller one of the bay as well. Then we drove to our boat. 


After, we took a small boat to a big boat. We were going to sleep for one night on the big boat.  The people on the boat greeted us with a weird type of juice. The boat had two stories and a sun deck. After exploring the boat, we had lunch. I never knew when the food was going to stop coming. After eating all that food, we went up to the sun deck and tried to get a tan but it was cloudy.  The kids played around on the sun deck and the parents were downstairs doing boring stuff like talking. When we got closer to a big cave we could not take the big boat so we had to take a smaller boat.

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The caves were super cool. There was a huge column. There was a formation that looked like a turtle and one that looked like a canon. After looking at the caves, we went back to the big boat, changed our shoes and then headed off to go kayaking.


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When we got to the kayaks, Quinn and I went together. I went in the front and Quinn went in the back. We kept going in circles but after a while we started to go. It took awhile to get the turning. Then we were racing other people in our group. After that we headed back to the boat to eat dinner.


For dinner the chef made the plates very fancy with flowers made of fruits and vegetables. One of the dishes was B.B.Q. prawns and oysters. Another one was fish with a carrot net. We asked Dat, our tour guide, how does the chef do that. Dat said that he would show us tomorrow. After dinner, we went to bed and slept on the boat. I hope we have another great day like this one.


Fraser Island - Australia

Quinn Fraser island story

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"Let's go we need to beat the tide." Mom said 

We hopped in to the 4x4 and drove along the beach. We went right through the waves and one got all over Jaxon. We pulled into a trail and the sand was soft and loose. Dad put it in low and gunned it. We made it. We were in the forest.

Dad slowed down and whispered "look at the lizard."

I pulled out my Gopro and pressed record. It was 20 inchs long and looked like the lizards that stretch out their necks and make it look like a neck collar. 

We got to Platypus Bay and I had a funny feeling like someone or something was watching me. We went to the beach. Mom laid down the towels and we hit the water. In the distance I saw a splash in the water. I thought it must have to be a stingray or a rock.  We got over the deep part to see the stingray swim away. I turned on my Go pro and started to record a big one that was about six meters away. I tried to get closer. When I was 5.5 meters away, it was not moving and I notice it was in the shape of a T. I then realized it was a hammerhead shark! I got about 4 meters close to it and dad said that I was too close and I should go back. We got out of there super quick. Dad was so scared I think he peed. I sadly did not get it on video but it was an amazing experience.

Nathan Fraser island story

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I was wide-awake at 6:30 because we were on Fraser Island. Today we were going to drive on 75 Mile Beach! We had to beat high tide and the tide comes up at 12:00. They recommend not driving on the beach within 2 hours of high tide because there might be no place to drive. So we were going to leave at 8:30 because we were on one side and we were going to the Champagne Pool, which were on the other side. It was really hot that day … it was like 35 degrees. 

My dad was driving and some times he would drive through the water and my mom did not like it. On the way when saw how someone was stuck in the soft sand. So my dad ask him "do you need a tow" he said "yes please." So we started to pull but we could not pull him because the sand was soft and we were going up hill so someone else came and we both pulled him out.  It was about ten km after that when we got to the Champagne Pools.

The champagne pools were cool and waves were splashing over the rocks that protected it from sharks and jellyfish but fish still got in. After that we went to Platypus Bay because the tide was out and we could not drive back yet.


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At Platypus Bay we were going to go swimming then eat lunch so when we got down there we saw sting rays in the water so we wanted to get a closer look. At first it was shallow then it was a little deeper then shallow again and the stingrays were in the shallow part. When we got closer and closer we realized that's not a stingray that's a hammerhead shark! So we got out of the water right away. After that we were going to eat lunch but there was to many flies so we looked at the time and the tide was down so we ate at our apartment. Then we swam in the pool.


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The next day we were going to a lake that had a giant sand dune going into it! When we parked the car a sign said 3 km down hill to the lake. So that means 3 km up hill so we did it and we brought the boogie boards to ride down the hill but Quinn did not want to bring his. Once we got there it was very windy.   When we got down to the lake we saw people had built a jump but then they left so we used it. The sand dune was 30 feet tall and I was the first one to ride down it. I did not make it to the lake because the sand dune was not flat.   I had to go down the dune a few times to make it flat. After that I was able to hit the jump with all that speed I went flying into the lake  It was lots of fun so I asked Quinn "do you want to try?" He said "yes please." Quinn went faster and higher then me.  After that, we tried to make it bigger but when I tried it I did face plant.  I hope we never leave Fraser Island.

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Jaxon Fraser island story

Finally, we got off the ferry.  “Hello, Fraser Island”, I said. My heart was racing and I was jumping up and down. I was on Fraser Island!  Did you know that Fraser Island is 120 km long and we went 100 km. The roads were bumpy it was like quading in Canada.  


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We went to Lake McKenzie.  We parked our car and grabbed the food bag. I had a mustard and ham sandwich (I have never had mustard before). After we ate, we went swimming in Lake McKenzie. It was very warm but it was deep. We swam to a little island. I played with the sand there. Fraser Island is all made from sand.


We went to find the place we were staying at. The drive was long and very bumpy. We found our apartment and unpacked.  Then we went swimming. I was tired after we went swimming so I went to bed. I hope tomorrow will be as good as today.


Australia - Surfing

Nathan’s surfing story

Crash! "Those sound like good surfing waves", I said to myself.

"Grab your boards and head to the beach" Phil said. Phil is our instructor. I was so excited because we were going surfing. I was also scared because it looked hard.

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When we got to the beach Phil told us where to stand,  how to paddle and which waves to catch. After our dry land lesson, we hit the water. We got to the water and we put our leg strap on.. For the first three times we caught the wave using the push up position and I thought it was so cool how the boards glided. Once we had that mastered we tried standing up.


Once we tried to stand up we could ride the waves most of the way. Phil would always say "look at the coconuts" which means keep your head up.

He'd also say "keep your hands up!"

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But we did not catch any waves by ourselves. Phil would usually give us a push. Most of the times he pushed us we would catch the wave. The first time I stood up I did not think I was surfing and I rode the wave all the way back to the shore. But if you lean too far back on the board you would flip and if you lean too far forward you would nose dive. I learned that the hard way.  


After our hour was done because we liked surfing so much we booked another lesson. Phil asked "is Saturday good" we said "yep!"

We were so excited on Saturday we headed back to the beach.  Phil said, " We are going to practice turning and catching your own waves." "Yes, my two favorite things" I said to myself.  We used smaller boards because it easier to turn but it is a bit harder to stand up. Then we hit the water.



Within ten seconds, Phil saw a huge wave and he said “paddle!” Phil helped Jaxon while Quinn and I tried to catch it ourselves. We all caught the same wave and rode it all the way to the beach.  Some of the waves we made and some of them we did not. I hope our next surfing instructor will be as good as this one.   

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Quinn's surfing story

It was our second surfing lesson and it was early in the morning. My eyes were still heavy when we got to Nelson's beach. Nathan, on the other hand, had a big smile on his face and was showing excitement. I was excited too but still sleepy. I grabbed the surfboard and carried it to the beach. Phil, our instructor, gave us a quick refresher of what we learned the other day.


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"Remember to scoop the water when paddling" Phil said. "And to hold the board when going over a wave. Look at the coconuts when you’re standing which means to look at the top of the trees. You also need to know that your feet should be in the middle of the board when standing and get up fast. Remember surfing about looking cool.”

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 Phil came with us as we jumped over the waves. I jumped on my board and started to paddle. Phil told me to turn around and paddle hard. My heart rushed as I paddled super hard. Then I was riding on the wave. In a heartbeat I stood up. I made sure that my feet were in place and I started to turn myself left, and right. When I got to the sand I hopped off my board and went back out. This time Phil helped Jaxon get a wave. Nathan and I got it by ourselves. It was awesome to all get the same wave. Phil would help us once in awhile. I got about 10 waves when Phil said it was time to go. We said our goodbyes and drove off. Jaxon was the best out of all of us at surfing but he always forgot to paddle so he couldn't get the waves by himself.


Jaxon's surfing story

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"Beep" the car locked I was so excited. We were going surfing! I grabbed the surf board and I ran to the beach. We had to know what to do. Like, standing up right, to get down and to hold the board. I was so excited. I thought my heart was going to shoot out. We got out and I saw a wave.

Phil our instructor said " Paddle, paddle, JaxO.

He gave me a push and I took the wave.  I was so happy to stand on a surf board. I was going to cry. I was proud, mom, dad , Quinn, Nathan, and phill said I did so good. 

I love it. I saw my brothers they were very good at surfing. I think am a little better than them. Maybe I will become a professional surfer. 

"Later, dude"

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Australia - Great Barrier Reef

GBR - Quinn

I had two things on my mind going to sleep and catching the boat. My brother, my dad and I hopped in the car and drove to the harbor. Dad paid for parking as Nathan and I went to catch the boat.


"Tom VanKosh" an employee on the boat said.


"Yes, Quinn and Nathan VanKosh too" Dad said


The skipper and the crew greeted us and we sat down. The boat was medium size with two floors. The first floor had the snorkel gear and scuba gear. It also had a small kitchen. We got to the first reef. The diving instructor came up to me and said you will be second so you can go snorkeling for a bit.  I was thrilled that I was going diving for my birthday but I was nervous because dad told me how hard and dangerous it was. I grabbed my snorkel stuff and jumped into the water. A jellyfish came right in front of my face and stung me. But it didn’t hurt. It just felt like a bee sting. Just lasts a lot longer.


I sat there worried I wouldn’t go scuba diving. The diving instructor came and told me it was my turn. I told myself that I did not get stung and somehow it worked. The small pain went away. I sat on a step and the diving instructor gave me the gear. I checked my regulator and my gauge.


"Listen carefully" the instructor said.


He told me to stand up and I almost fell backwards.


"Hold your mask and take a big step in" the instructor said.


"A small step for Quinn, a big step for VanKosh" I said told myself and took the step in.


The gear felt a lot lighter in the water. The instructor signaled me to go down. I looked down to see fish swimming by and the coral getting closer. I popped my ears and kneeled on the sandy sea floor. My instructor made the ok signal. And I made the same back. We went over reefs and under reefs. The two of us got to an open spot. A giant clam sat at the sea floor. I reached my hand in the clam and the monster clam snapped closed. I pulled my hand out easily because of the slimy lips of the clam.


Together we went on swimming with the fish. Then I saw a clown fish.


"Nemo" I said to myself.


We watched as the small clown fish kept poking his head out. It became comfortable with me and came out to say hello. We left the nemos there.


We slid on the seafloor until a stingray came one meter in front of me. It was covered in sand. Only the eyes of the stingray were visible. A fish came by and scared the stingray. We came across another stingray. This one was spotted with little blue spots. We made our way up. I sat down and got out of the gear.


"Now, you’re going to want to go on the second dive, right?" dad said.


"You bet" I said.


I went to eat and I talked about my dive.



GBR - Nathan

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Vroom! The car went we were heading to the boating area. We were going to take a boat to see the Great Barrier Reef. We took Reef Magic. At the snorkeling area they have a wrasse fish. It was one meter long and its name is Wally. Wally comes so close to you that you can touch him or her. When we got out to the platform we got some lycra suits just in case of jelly fish. The jellyfish can sting you and they can hurt or kill you. After that we got our snorkel gear and hit the water.


When I first saw the reef it was amazing. I could not believe how many fish there were. We saw tons and tons fish. Do you know why some fish have big black dots near the tail? They have them because it makes itlook like they have two faces that scares or confuses predators. Within ten minutes we saw a school of unicorn fish swim by. We saw 3 out of the 7 species of clams. I did not know that parrot fish poop up to 200 kg of sand a year. I also did not know there is over 600 different species of coral and the oldest type of coral is bolder coral.


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 After that we saw the type of coral that Nemo lives in but no other fish were swimming in it. Even though the coral is harmful to most fish, the clown fish can swim in it the coral because they put their saliva on themselves so they can swim in it. After seeing the Nemo we went to dock, ate lunch and headed back to Cairns. I hope our next trip will be as good as this one.





GBR - Jaxon

Hi I'm a butterfly fish named Butter I live in the coral.


Did you know that there are 2000 species of fish and 600 species of coral?

There are two types of clown fish. Parrotfish eat the coral and poop out sand.


Then I saw a boat and I know that people are on it and I love people. I saw this family they looked like they were having a great day. I followed them through the whole day. I love it. I saw one; he was the best, and shortest. One was very good looking. I thought he got called Jaxon. There were 5 people in the family. I saw a reef shark so I left. I hope that a new family like today will come to my home.


Australia - Uluru

Uluru Quinn

Uluru is a very popular destination for tourists. Over 100,000 people visit a year.


Uluru is a massive rock in the middle of Australia. This rock stands 300 m over the desert floor and is 9 km all the way around. An aboriginal tribe called Anangu owns the rock. The giant rock is made up of arkosic sandstone and has vegetation growing on it and some around it. According to the Anangu tribe the seasons around Uluru are not your normal seasons. The names are not hot, hot, quite hot, and extremely hot.

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Uluru’s layers are on side like a book. This is because Uluru was once surrounded by water and sat with its layers up and down. The water pushed it over. Leaving only a small one third of in out and made it on its side.


Uluru Jaxon

Yawn, I had a good sleep. We were in Australia.  My heart was racing.  I was going to Uluru or Ayers rock today. It was a 6-hour to get there. I was looking out of the car and the soil was red. When I was walking outside there was so many flies. We rented a motor home. It was so shocking that there are still green trees. I noticed that Uluru changes colours. Only a small bit of Uluru is above the ground.  Most of it is underground.

How big is Uluru?


   -  is 348 metres (1141 feet) high

   rises 863 metres (2,831 ft) above sea level

   is 3.6 km long (2.2 miles)

   is 1.9 km wide (1.2 miles)

   is 9.4 km or 5.8 miles around the base

   covers 3.33 km2 (1.29 miles2)

   extends about several km/miles into the ground (no-one knows exactly how far)


FACT: Uluru is better known as Ayers Rock; it named by William Gosse in 1873 after Sir Henry Ayers. Uluru is the Aboriginal and the official name.


FACT: The rock was created over some 600 million years, and the Aborigines have been in the area for the last 10,000 years. It originally sat at the bottom of a sea, but today stands 348m above ground. One of the most startling Uluru facts however, is that some 2.5kms of its bulk is underground.


Made by Jaxon


Uluru Nathan

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Whoosh! That's the sound of me wiping the sweat off my forehead. The heat blazed down on me. Going on a hike in 40 degrees is not the best idea. We are hiking around Kata Tjuta. But the walk was worth it because the view was amazing. The difference between Uluru and Kata Tjuta is Uluru is one rock and Kata Tjuta is lots of rocks that are not connected. You could hear the wind blowing throw the cracks. The next day we woke up at 5:30 am to see the sunrise.  Uluru was beautiful as it changed lots of different colors. Purple to orange to lots of different shades of red but there was so many people. Soon after, we saw wallabies (like a kangaroo) jump across Uluru while we waited for our tour guide. In some parts of Uluru you were not allowed to take pictures. Then we headed to Alice Springs returned the motorhome and headed to Cairns.

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Tanzania, Africa

Nathan’s Leopard Story

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I could see my prey in the distance, strolling through the grass.  The gazelle would be lots of food for my cub and I for lunch. I climbed out of my tree and said to my cub, “I will have lunch when I come back.”  So I slowly went down the tree and I crept through the grass so the gazelle would not see me. When I was within 15 feet of the gazelle, I jumped at the gazelle. Snatch! I caught it.

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  It felt like ages carrying that gazelle back to the tree. Taking the gazelle up the tree was the hardest part (Leopards take their food up the tree because I don’t want other animals getting my food). I put the gazelle close to the top then called my son, “lunch is ready.” My cub slithered through the grass. He finally got to the tree, climbed up the tree and started to eat the gazelle. I would eat his leftovers. When he was eating, he dropped it on the ground.   


All that had work for nothing. So I had to go back down and then take it all the way back up the tree.  After I ate what my cub did not. He left my favorite part of the gazelle, the ribs.

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Quinn’s Stories

Fred the WartHog story

"A tree", I said to myself,  "and tree equals shade."  Three cars were watching me.

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I was so proud of myself because, today, I already outran a hyena. So I headed for the tree. I was so exhausted when I ran with my pal, Tony, earlierbut I pushed myself forward in hope that under that tree was a tasty snack.  But that backfired. I almost became the tasty snack!!  I snapped into a full on sprint. Two female lions stole my shade! I was so sad but scared too. I stopped about 100 feet from them to make sure they were real or not and they were!! Once again, I went on a full on sprint not checking if they were behind me. I ran home to tell the others. I hope tomorrow will not be such a crazy day because a beautiful warthog like me. Needs his beauty sleep.



Lion story

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Jessica and I sat under the tree, exhausted from the heat. Jessica spotted a lunch earlier today. It was tasty. But now my tummy purred. I was hungry. Then strangely enough a warthog ran by us. I blinked a couple times but by then it was too far. Jess and I closed our eyes and had a nap. Let's hope another stupid warthog comes running by.


Jaxon’s Story

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"Bump, bump!" We finally got to the hippo pool! We ate lunch but that is a whole other story. I thought there was going to be six hippos but there were about 300 hippos! They looked like a bridge. They splashed water on themselves to stay cool.

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The hippo's laid in their poop. It was gross!! The hippo's yawn was humongous. I did reporter work and then we left the hippo pool.



The Vatican

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Today, I was jumping up and down. My heart raced. We were going to the Vatican! I was so excited because I wanted to see all of the amazing and cool things that my mom and dad told me about. We were waiting for our tour guide and to my surprise it was a nun.

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First, we went to the Raphael Rooms.  Then we went to the Sistine Chapel. 

Did you know, that the two fingers on the ceiling between God and Adam are 1 meter apart! 

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I learned that the Vatican is it’s own country. I also learned that Michelangelo put himself in a painting at the Sistine chapel.  And that St Peter was crucified upside down and that St Peter was buried at the St Peters Basilica.


The Pope

I woke up out of bed this morning. There were bags under my eyes but my heart raced. I was going to see the Pope. The walk to the Vatican felt like years. The line to the seating area felt like decades. Nathan and Tom ran to get seats. And they got the best seats in the house. I waited by the gate of the seating area. To get a better look at the Pope. While the boys played on their IPads.  My mom, my dad and I talked to some people from the USA.


There was I toddler sitting beside me. My mom whispered

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“Stand beside that boy because the Pope loves babies.”

Then the moment of truth. The guards shut the gate. And the Pope was coming. The Pope came right in front of me. I was able to reach out and touch his hand. I was shocked. For the first time in my life I was speechless. Absolutely, speechless! My hands were shaking, my jaw dropped. In a quiet whisper I said.


“He touched my hand.”

 The crowd around me seemed to fall silent, but only for a few seconds. People were asking me if the Pope really did touch my hand. 

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The crowds stopped talking once again because the Pope began to talk in Italian.  He talked about all the people from different churches that were there. Then the French Cardinal said it in French. The English Cardinal said it. There were people from all over the world to see the Pope. USA, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Morocco, Argentina, Peru, Nigeria and much more. We said the Our Father. Then the Pope blessed all of us. And I still was speechless on the walk home.  








The Colosseum

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My heart raced when we got to the metro station. It took 6 stops to get to Termini, our first stop. Then we got off that metro and got on another metro. When we got on this metro, they were closing the metro because the metro drivers went on strike.  Luckily, we just made it to the Colosseum.


When we got out of the metro station we looked for our tour guide.  We found her holding an orange flag. We first went to ruins of Ancient Rome from 353 BC.  Lots of it was worn away from flooding. 


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After Ancient Rome we headed to the Colosseum. We had a different tour guide for the Colosseum. First, we went to the center where the gladiators fought. Did you know what the sand is used for in the Colosseum? I did not know, but now I know that the sand is used on the arena floor for grip because of the blood from the animals that died in earlier fights. 


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Second, we went underground where they kept the animals. I did not know that the animals were lifted up by a manual lift (elevator). I also did not know that water always runs under the Colosseum. I also learned that most of the gladiators did not live under the Colosseum but most of the animals did..


Third, we went to the very top of the Colosseum. It was very beautiful. I learned that the poor people would get the higher seating because the staircase was steeper than the others. I did not know that that more than one group of gladiators fought at once.  They had up to 20 fights happening at one time.


After we went down and we had to find our way back to our apartment. Because of the strike we could not take the metro or the buses so we walked the 5 kms. While we were walking we saw a place to eat lunch so we stopped, grabbed some lunch and a drink and walked all the way home.

Written By Nathan


Jaxon’s Story

Hello I am Sam the scorpion.  Today I saw 3 blonde boys, a dad and mom riding camels.  I liked the camels, once I hugged a camel but then it died because of my poison. This time I'm going to stay in the sand, I am going to follow on the camels.

All they really talked about was the camels farting. Then they arrived at the camp they saw a sand dune and they were amazed. They went straight to the sand dunes.



Quinn’s Desert Trip

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“Ohh, Nathan was that you," Jaxon exclaimed, “No it was my Camel, Ben.” That was the conservation that Nathan and Jaxon had on our camel trip. Oh sorry, I forgot to introduce myself; my name is Carl the camel. My best friend’s name is Ben. I take about 3 to 4 people on a camel trip a month. Right now, Quinn is on my back.


Up and down and up and down the sand dunes. That’s lots work for a camel. All Kim could talk about was the different colors of the sand dunes and how cool it was. Sure, it was amazing for foreigners especially Canadians.

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We got to the camp, the Berber camp; the family sat down and enjoyed some delicious Berber tea.


One Berber man gave Nathan a snowboard. “Here you go.” He walked the boys up the tallest sand dune in sight. They finally got to the top. I watched Quinn, Jaxon, and Nathan go sand sledding. They went down a couple times.  It looked like so much fun. I wish I could go down but I'm a simple camel and I can't do that.  While Quinn and Nathan were going to the top, Jaxon ran down the hill, at top speed and then did a face plant. It was pretty funny. Quinn didn't feel so good his stomach was upset. He went back down and sat at the table. The Berber people gave the family some tea and supper. Jaxon and Nathan shot their laser in the great desert sky. (Same laser as Max Gillespie.) They looked at the sky. It was just so beautiful. Some Berber men set up the beds for Jaxon, Nathan, and Tom to sleep outside.  Quinn thought his bed was the most comfortable bed in all of Morocco.

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The next day, Quinn was wearing a funny looking thing on his head. He called it a Gopro. It would take videos of the Sahara desert.  It was pretty cool. We got back to the Kasbah (Is a mud area like a very small village). They said goodbye. Quinn gave me some food. I was sad that the VanKoshes had to leave but it was probably the best camel trip they will ever have. And it was. 

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Nathans desert story.

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Today was my first camel ride in a desert.  I was so excited when I put my orange scarf on. The orange scarf was so I wouldn’t get sand in my face.  When I saw the white camel I knew I wanted that one. My mom got the brown one.  Quinn got the black one.  I got the white one.  Jaxon got a white one as well and my dad got a brown one. Jaxon’s camel had to carry the food on his because he was the lightest. When we got out to the sand dunes they looked beautiful.  When the sun shone on different parts they were all different colors. It smelled a lot like a beach. When we got to the tents we put down all of our bags and started to climb up the Sand dunes and slid down it on a sled. We ran back up then ran down it and jumped on our knees. One time Jaxon did a face plant, it was funny. After, Quinn and I went to the very top of the Sand dune and slid down. Quinn got sick so we had to stop. After we had some tea and then we had dinner. After dinner we shot the lazer (we bought it in Spain) in the air. Then Jaxon Mohamed and I climbed all the way to the top of the sand dune in pitch black darkness. When we were at the top we saw what looked like a huge ant so we ran down the hillside and then would try to stop on our knees but then we would face plant. When we got to the bottom we went to bed. Quinn and mom slept in a tent.  Jaxon, dad and I slept outside. There were so many stars I think it would take two years to count them all.

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Aventura Amazonia

So today, we where going to a ZIPLINE AND ROPES COURSE! I was so excited.  It looked fun. It looked like trees. It smelled like trees. There was rope that swang circle to circle. We also walked on logs.

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Long ziplines zooming. Walking on nets. It is so cool. You don’t just go. you take lessons. You have to be a certain height for certain courses. My favourite is the highest one I can go on.  The above video is Jaxon on the zipline.  He wasn’t scared at all.

Good bye see in the next Pino story.

Written by Jaxon 


                                                              Sagrada Familia

"Yawn" I said as I woke up with over 1000 people talking below me. I tried to yell but I realized that they could not hear me. I loved were I lived, right in the center of the Sagrada Familia. I flew down and let that old lady feed me but she wasn't there. I looked back at my home and could see many stories of Jesus, represented by statutes. There were other statutes of nature like mountains, animals, and trees it was amazing. Right then, I saw a family with cookies and I love cookies. I flew over to them and hoped they would drop a cookie. I kept following them but they went into the Sagrada Familia.

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So I went in too. It was so beautiful an Sagrada Familia d ginormous. It was so bright and colourful. There was blue, red, yellow, and orange lights coming everywhere.


I flew to the top and watched everyone. There was a TV playing a video. The video was talking about the architect for the church and how he died.  The architect was Antoni Gaudí  but sadly tram hit him.


I had to move because a security guard saw me.  I flew to the other side and there was the “Our Father”.  In Spanish it said,

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Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, 

santificado sea tu nombre,

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venga tu reyno, 

hágase tu voluntad,

así en la tierra como en el cielo.

Danos hoy nuestro pan cotidiano,

Y perdónanos nuestras deudas,

así como nosotros perdonamos á nuestros deudores.

Y no nos metas en tentación,

mas líbranos de mal.



The Sagrada Familia was amazing. I was scared out of the passion side of the church. The death of Jesus was sad though. This was the most amazing church ever.

By: Quinn in a random pigeons shoes. 


Draculas Caves

I went on the big bus to the caves under a castle with the VanKoshs. We went down and it started to get a lot cooler that was refreshing. First, we saw a bunch of wax statutes. They were all statues of opera singers back in the 19th century. We went down a place where it was super-duper dark. I could not see my white paw in front of my face. Nathan had to hold a hose to know where he was going. I sat in the bag with my head peeking out. It smelled like stinky feet but I think they were Nathan’s feet. Sometimes, you would step in water. Once it got all over my fur. I saw a bunch of rocks from the old castle that was above the caves.

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Next, we went DrDrDrDrDracula's prison. Jaxon got somewhat scared; he did not really like it. There were stories about Dracula and a cage where he was imprisoned. His room was small. I cannot believe the real Dracula or Vlad was a prisoner in there for 7 to 14 years. No one really knows. Did you know that Dracul mean Devil in Romanian. 

Spooky story, when Mr. VanKosh took a picture of the coffin the picture turned red no filters nothing! Well that is what he said (I think he is lying.)  

A story written by: Quinn and Jaxon in Pino's eyes

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Palatinus Bath (Waterpark)

It was a super hot day for a polar bear and I could not wait to ride my little tube down the water slide. It was finally my turn to go down the water slide. The lifeguard spun my tube. I went in about 10 circles. After going from side to side, I finally got straight. There was so many turns, it was so fun but what I didn't like about the slide was my fur got wet. I did not want to wait in the long line again so I went down this slow blue slide. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the bottom. After that, I went down the tube slide about three more times, one of the times I fell out and I could not get back into my tube. Next time I went on double tube with Quinn because if I fell out Quinn could help me. Then Nathan convinces me to go down the yellow drop slide. It dropped about 80 feet and it was very scary. I got really wet when I went on that slide.

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The park also had a wave pool and it l had a lot of people. It was hard for me to even stand in the pool. I had to stand closer to the back. It was hard for me to jump most of the time. I jumped over some the waves. The waves kept pushing me back, it was very scary.


After that, we saw a place to exercise. There were lots of people there. We met a friend his name was too hard for me to pronounce. He went to go ask his mom and dad if he could go on the water slides. His parents said no. So we played in the pools we played tag. Sometimes he cheated and went into the other pool. Then we moved to another pool, It had a fountain. Our new friend would usually spray us with the fountain when we were it.  We could not get to him, but it was very fun.

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If I were to rate this aqua park over the one in Krakow, I would say that it was a tie because this one had a lot more pools and the water slides were very fun. The one in Krakow had just water slides and just one pool. Nathan and Quinn got Sun burned, but I think Nathan got the sun burned the most.


The Weird House of Legends

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We arrived at a place called the House of Legends.  I could not wait to throw my money into the goblin’s hat. There was a chimney on the roof of the house.  I got to go up the chimney where you could stand on a little platform for you to throw the coins. They had special umbrellas under the goblin because it would rain coins sometimes. Then we saw the flying car thing; no one knows how the car got on the roof. After we got to the bottom of the building, we saw a model of a tram. The person there said, “the tram would move at 9:15.” After we came back at 9:15 and watched, the tram moved very slowly. The tram went to one station and then to the next station.  There was a dragon above the tram.  There were lots of people watching.  Everyone started to count down from ten in Ukrainian. Then the dragon started to breathe fire!

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Written by Nathan

The Quest around Lviv

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We went on an amazing tour in Lviv, Ukraine. Let me tell you about it. We got to the tour's office and a lady came out. She had broken English but we could still understand her.

The boys did a quest. They had to look on buildings to find hidden objects that matched the picture they had with them or something like that. I didn't really understand, that's too complicated for a little polar bear mind like mine. We saw a movie being made; it was in 80’s style. We went to a dungeon and it was spooky. We went to a place where they think the first people of Lviv settled in the 13th century. It was coolest thing Mrs. VanKosh has ever seen. Quinn and Nathan went on segways. Nathan said I could come along because they had no small segways for me.

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Written by Quinn through the eyes of Pino


Somewhere in the middle of Germany

We stopped at an amusement park where we went up on a mountain using something that looked like a ski lift. (I am going to go ask Quinn. Quinn said that it was a gondola). I saw a parkour thing and we ask the person who runs it how long it was going to be.  She said it was going to be for two hours and I would get too sore. We realized that there were chips to go on the rides so we bought 12 chips. We saw trampolines with bungee cords and it costs three chips for one person. It was for about 10 minutes and stuffies were free. That is where Quinn, Nathan, Jaxon and I learned how to do our first backflip. It took us about three tries each to do a front flip.  A front flip was much harder because the bungee cords did not want to flip forward but backwards was easier. Nathan could do ten backflips in a row, Quinn could do ten, Jaxon could do seven, and I could do three. After, we saw this weird boat thing and it would pull you up a little hill then let you go down the hill into water. It was very fun. It only cost one chip. Jaxon thought he was going to throw up when he went on it. I was glad that I did not get wet because my fur is hard to dry. We were going to buy ice cream but it was too expensive.

Written by Nathan

Krakow, Poland

Weilickza Salt Mine

Today we went to the salt mines. I was too scared go down. But Jaxon cheered me up. He said that I could wear a little hard hat so that no sharp salt hit my little head. We had to walk down so many stairs. The first thing I saw was walls and walls and walls of salt.  

Quinn licked the walls of salt. Ewwww!!  

We saw the many sculptures and carvings but the coolest one was Pope John Paul II.  There was a room that took 63 years to build and it had a replica of the Last Supper carved into salt.  We did so much more but I can't remember it. So, that's all folks. 


Written by Jaxon


Eiffel Tower

When we got to the Eiffel Tower, we waited in line for about 30 minutes and then we bought our tickets. We started to climb the Eiffel Tower when we got to the first floor we looked around and learned a bit about the Eiffel Tower.  The Eiffel Tower took two years to build and they used over 2 million spikes. It started to rain so my mom said let’s get to the top before it starts to rain a lot harder. We got to the second floor but we did not look around that much. We just got in line to go up the elevator because you could not climb to the very top on the stairs. When we got to the top, it was very beautiful. You could see the whole city from up there. We used the binoculars to find our apartment. We also saw the Notre Dame, the airport, and the lock bridge from the Eiffel Tower.

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Pino did not want to get out of the bag because he is afraid of heights. When we got to the bottom we showed Pino how tall it was, he said that that is excessively tall for me. Then we went to go look around the city and came back at around 9 o'clock. We waited there for an hour until the Eiffel Tower lit up. It started to turn on a bunch of lights. Then they turned them off and we waited for about another hour. Nathan, Jaxon, and Quinn were all racing each other every single time they tied. Then the Eiffel Tower started to glow again and we left. It was a short walk to the subway station to go home. On the subway some people started to rap and dance, it was very cool.

Written by Nathan

Notre Dame

Hi, my name is Pino and I saw a statue that was 9000 years old. I was very scared.  He had black eyes, no arms, and no butt. The rest of his body was white. I thought he was going to jump out of the cage and steal my butt and eat the rest of my body.  It was the coolest thing and the oldest thing in the Louvre.



DSC_7343DSC_7352I went to Notre Dame Cathedral for mass with the boys. I am at church and it is very hard to hear because there are so many people talking. I cannot understand the priest because he is speaking French. Nathan saw some people kneeling so he started to kneel but then he realized only black people were kneeling so he stood right back up. There was a huge organ in the back of the church. It was a very beautiful organ and played very good music. The church is very beautiful, I thought the statues in the church were very cool.

When we got out of the mass, we saw a guy doing a jump over a stick on roller blades. He held on to a bus to get more speed.  It was awesome. After we saw a our first street show, the people at the show were very cool. They could do the moonwalk, spin on their heads and do back-handsprings then a backflip.


DSC_7419I got to the Louvre; I saw something in a glass box.  “What could it be?”, I thought. A painting, a statue, or something that I did not know. It was a mummy! It scared me. It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. The mummy looked like some dead guy wrapped in toilet paper. His hands were crossed. He had a hat laying on his stomach and it kind of looked like a Chinese hat. I do not know why it has not decomposed yet, so I'm going to do a little bit of research to find out why. Just kidding I am going to make Jaxon do the research because my fingers are too small for the keyboard. Jaxon told me that it has not decomposed yet because they put a special glue like chemical to make it not decompose. The mummy was the freakiest but most scary thing I saw in the Louvre. 




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Hi, my name is Ben and I live in Ypres, Belgium. Let me tell you a story about what happened to me. It all started after the WW1 ended. I got to back to my farm and I started to plant my potatoes, 48 Rows by 24 plants. When I was planting my potatoes, I saw what looked like an old potato and when I picked it up it was a hand grenade so I called the military. The military told me that they would be at my house in two days to pick it up. During the two days, I finished planting my potatoes.

When the military came they asked me how did I find the grenade, I said “I was planting my potatoes when saw it on the ground”. I thought it was an old potato but it wasn’t. That was all the information that they needed.  My farmer friends find five to six things from WW1 a day. They even find them 21st century. 

Story - Written by Nathan

During our visit to Ypres, we learned many things on a tour it would take forever to tell you everything but here are some things we learned.

From 1914 to 1918 WW1 was taking place. One of the tricks the Allies used was to take down large tree stumps just outside the trenches at night and by morning, there would be an exact replica of the stump made from metal.  This was used to see the Germans coming. Also in WW1, some soldiers had to be in their trenches for four year because of snipers. The snipers only need 3 seconds and you are dead.

Did you know the poem made by John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields”, is on the Canadian $10 paper bill? And, that he wrote it because his best friend died. John McCrae, a Canadian, wrote “In Flanders Fields” on May 2. Which is Nathans Birthday.

Written by Quinn

Belgium Ypres
Belgium Ypres

© VanKosh Family 2015