Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chatham Island

On Sunday, we went crab fishing. After dropping the crab traps, we spent some time on Chatham Island and a big highlight for the kids was finding two nests with eggs.


We had a phenomenal day until Léah took a bad spill on the rocks and fractured her arm.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Expelliarmus! Stupefy!

If you knew that the title of this post referred to magic spells from the fictional world of Harry Potter, you are likely one of the millions of fans of the series of books and movies.

Léah has been completely engrossed in the world of Harry Potter for the last few months. In order for our Muggle-brains to comprehend what she is talking about, we have even had to start reading the books and watching the movies.

Less than a week after Léah finished reading the last book in the Harry Potter series, we had the honour of entering that fictional universe with her at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida.

The passageways and corridors of the reproduction of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry contains Dumbledore’s office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement and more. It also contains an amazing ride that literally transports you inside the movies. The ride is scary and not for small children; Gabriel found it to be a bit too much. This attraction has proven to be so popular that people spend hours waiting in line for it.

Walking through the park feels like you are really on the High Street of Hogsmeade, the only all-wizarding village in Britain. All of the wizarding world’s best-known establishments are there including Ollivanders, Zonko’s, and Honeydukes.

We enjoyed Butterbeer at the Hog's Head inn and pub which (like in the books and movies) comprises one small, very dirty, and dingy room that has bay windows that are so encrusted with filth that you can barely see through them.

For lunch, we had fish and chips at The Three Broomsticks Inn.

Spell limits are the maximum spell-casting intensity allowed by law in certain all-wizard locations.

Our underage wizard and witches (less than 17-years old), adhered to the rules of not performing magic outside of school, especially in front of Muggles.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Olympic Mountains

A clear view of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State, USA from our neighbourhood yesterday morning.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

St-Martin / St Maarten

Saint Martin (French: Saint-Martin; Dutch: Sint Maarten) is an island in the northeast Caribbean. It is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations, a division dating back to 1648. The island is divided roughly 60/40 between France and the Netherlands.

Folklore surrounds the history of the once ever-changing border division between St. Martin and Sint Maarten, and a popular story among locals narrates that "to divide the island in two sections, [in 1648] the inhabitants were told to choose two walkers, one chosen by the French-dominated community and the other one by the Dutch-dominated community, who were put back to back in one extreme of the island, making them walk in opposite directions while stuck to the littoral line, and not allowing them to run. The point where they eventually met was set as the other extreme of the island, and the subsequently created line was chosen as the frontier, dividing Saint-Martin from Sint Maarten. Seemingly, the French walker had walked more than his Dutch counterpart (each one earned his land, respectively, 54 km² and 32 km²). As the first man chose wine as his stimulant prior to the race, while the latter chose Jenever (Dutch Gin), the difference between such beverages' lightness was said to be the cause of the territorial differences by French locals, while Dutch locals tended to blame the French walker for running.


We spent time at Ile Pinel, a tiny island on the north end of St. Martin. You need to take a taxi-boat ride on pristine and shallow waters to get to the island.

The water at Ile Pinel is calm and crystal clear, with white sand beaches.

Before leaving the island, Gabriel inspected the lobster cages.

Saturday, April 2, 2011