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Big Al recommends the web journal of Little Henry

America: San Juan Capistrano | Laguna Beach | Doll Museum | Disneyland | Hollywood | Britney's star
Pacific Aquarium | Disney's Californian Adventure | Pacific Coast Road | San Francisco | Gold country
Continue to France | Italy | France 2 | England & Germany | Cambodia

Little Henry calls me Big Al, so that's who I am.
Little Henry is a stuffed sheep, but he thinks he is someone important.
I found a space to put him in my bag, along with Patch the dog for our trip to California.
I hope he enjoyed the trip to Los Angeles from Sydney, because I didn't.
The plane kept rocking about because of air turbulence. It was a long and boring 13 hours in a small seat. I couldn't see the movie screen because the seat in front was too high. There was not enough space to sleep comfortably.
And Dad kept hogging the ailse seat.

Enlarge small photos with a click

Los Angeles is cool. Lots of freeway and lots of cars.

This is Marla, my cousin, and I trying to figure out from the maps where we are in the Mission San Juan Capistrano. The mission is in a little town in Southern California called San Juan Capistrano. Just south of Los Angeles.
Little Henry seems to think we should be going to the right. What would he know?
(Turns out he was right again)
That's one of the native Indian shelters in the background. And yes, that is a cannon that Little Henry is using as a pointer. A little rusty but still a cannon.

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Map readers

This is a big hello from Laguna Beach.
Laguna Beach is on the Pacific Ocean south of Los Angeles and apart from being a good surfing beach in summer (it is now only early Spring here, so too cool for swimming), it is a popular place for artists who first came here to paint the sea.
It seems strange here because the sea is on the western side, whereas in NSW we are used to the sea being on the eastern side. If we look hard enough to the southwest across the Pacific we should be able to see Sydney!

Hello from Laguna Beach

This is us at the Anaheim Doll Museum.
They had dolls from all over the world, including Australia, Thailand and Japan, most of them very old. Especially the beeswax dolls made in England.
We are standing in front of the Barbie doll collection with more than 500 Barbies in it. Whew!

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Barbie dolls

This is me at Disneyland. But why is my visor so heavy?
I went with my cousins and we went on loads of rides, including Splash Mountain which was wet, and The Haunted Mansion, which was spooky.
We stayed there all day and did not get home until 10pm. It was fun, but we were very tired and fell asleep on the way home in the car.

Al in Fantasyland
This is a huge granite ball that is so smooth, it revolves on a special cusp-shape stand with running water as a lubricant. It was cool. We could turn it ourselves but it took all of us working together. This is in Tomorrowland.

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Al & granite marble
This is the photo of us on the Splash Mountain ride where we drop down 15 metres into a pool which makes a big splash. That is me in blue and my cousins in front and one behind. That big drop was scary.
Splash Mountain
This is the Mark Twain paddlesteamer which took us on a tour around an island in Frontierland. There were Indian camps and pioneer villages along the edges and beavers and birds. The paddlesteamer was using real steam to drive the big paddle wheel at the back of the boat, just like the real ones in history.

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This is the Indian camp that we could see from the paddlesteamer. Is showed the life of the indians, their tents, canoes and clothes. It really showed the other side to native Indian life that you do not see in the movies.
Indian camp

We went one day to Hollywood, where most of the American movies are made. We started on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is on Hollywood Boulevard West. That's me (or part of me) walking east along Hollywood Boulevard.
Each star on the footpath has a name in it of someone who made a contribution to either film, radio or music.
There were hundreds of them and we never got to the end.

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Walk of fame

They even had a star for Big Al!.

Of course!

Big Al star

Then we found a very famous star. Britney Spear's!.
This is my cousin Michelle, my cousin Marla and me.

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Britney star

A few days ago we went to the Pacific Aquarium at Long Beach. The aquarium has some really big tanks and has fish habitats from different parts of the Pacific Ocean, including fish types found in the waters of Australia.
The seals were good, and they had a big shark tank and a small one. In the small one you can pat the small sharks (less than a metre long) and the stingrays. The sharks have a rough skin.
This is a groper in the background of the picture of Marla and I.
The aquarium also had shrimp, big lobsters, turtles, eels and all sorts of starfishes and anemones.
We also saw Nemo, Dory, Crush, Bubbles, Gil and Bruce!

Pacific aquarium

Disneyland now has two parts, with the second called Californina Adventure. We were lucky enought to get tickets to both for the price of one, so we went back for another day of activities and rides.
Californina Adventure is based on the features and industries of California. Our first stop was the film backlot where the movie industry is represented.
There is me, then all my American cousins, Amiry, Michelle, Bory and Marla - who seems to have sprouted extra ears.
Trust Little Henry to get in there too!

Backlot at Cal Adventure

This is the 'Beauty and the Beast' room where we have to answer questions about our personality to see which character we are most like.
Turns out I am most like Cinderella! Can you believe that?

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Beauty & beast

Clearly, I am not like that other Alice.
She's very two-dimensional compared to me!

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Alice and Alice

This Marla, Chili, and me on the Big Zephyr ride. Chili is a new acquaintance won by my dad on the 'Knock 'em downs.'
Isn't he clever?

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On the big zephyr

And if you are wondering what the Big Zephyr ride looks like, it is this long silver bullet shape ship that spins around with about twelve people in it, getting higher and higher the faster it goes.
My dad says that this is because of something called centrifugal force.

Big zephyr

PT Flea had his dodgem car rides in the "Bug's Life' area. We all got in and had a go.
This is Marla chasing me.

Flea circus ride

And this where she caught me!

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Flea circus rider

No comment.

Bug eyes

This is the Flik ride, which lifted us off the ground and spun us around - failrly slowly.
Little Henry was brave enough to come on this one too.

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Flik ride

After that we left Los Angeles.
With me mum on Refugia Beach, north of Los Angeles off Califonia Highway 1 on the road to San Francisco.
The coast here is very foggy - it is still officially winter - and you can see it in the background.

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Refugia Beach

There is a very good museum at Morro Bay where there is a big volcanic plug on the beach (you can see it on the sign). The museum has lots of hands-on activities for kids, like me, to learn about the estuary of Morro Bay where the salt water and fresh water mix together.
I am pointing to the Blue Heron rookery, which is where the birds nest high in the trees. Little Henry went too.

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Morro Museum

Say cheese!

The American ground squirrel. Inquisitive little dudes.

Smile, please!

This is Bubblegum Alley in a little town called San Luis Obispo. The alley had old bubblegum stuck all over it! And it had this sweet, sickly smell too. I had to hold Little Henry's nose for him (he couldn't do it himself).

Hold my nose!

This is my mum (mom, over here) and I at a very famous bridge concealed by a very famous fog.
But if you look very closely, you can see the bridge - a bit.
Yes, we have arrived in San Francisco!
Have a look on Little Henry's page to see what the bridge really looks like.

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Is that a bridge?

Driving around San Francisco there are a lot of long cars known as stretch limousines. These are for the very rich, not for people with very long legs.

Stretch limo

The west coast of California is famous for having the tallest tree in the world. It is the redwood tree.
There is a nice little forest of them just north of San Francisco at Muir Woods.
These are seriously tall trees.

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Redwoods at Muir Woods

A place to have a rest in the redwood forest!

Sitting in a redwood

When you're walking along the trails in the redwood forest, you have to push the trees apart in some places, it is so narrow!

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Redwood tree vice

On the way out of San Francisco we went across the Bay Bridge to Oakland and we found my street!

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Alice street

Leaving San Francisco, we headed inland and east towards the mountains. Besides the mountains and trees, this area is known as 'gold country,' as this is where gold was discovered during the Californina gold rush of the 1800s.
On our first day there, though, we went to see some more big trees in the Calaveras State Park at over 5,000 feet above sea level (about 1,550 metres). This bear and cub have been carved from wood by chainsaw!

Wooden bear at Calaveras

Calaveras and other areas around it are famous for the sequoia tree. This tree isn't the world's tallest, but is the biggest in volume because it does grow very tall and is very big around the base.
Here we are standing on the stump of one! It is about 20 feet (7 metres) in diameter.
That's big!

Calaveras big stump

And to give you a better idea of the height of the sequoia tree, have a look for me at the bottom of these two specimens at the Calaveras state park.

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Bloody big tree

The town of Columbia has a restored gold mining town and this is me with one of the old horse-drawn wagons.

Wagoneer at Columbia

The gold prospecting area of Columbia had some narrow trails too!
Those rocks came in too close sometimes!

Heavy rock

We knew we were getting close to Yosemite naional park when we saw all the water in the rivers from the melting snow.
For a good look at what we saw at Yosemite, check out Little Henry's site - he has some good pictures.

Yosemite rapids

Well, someone has to stop the tree falling into the river.

Tree leaning

The trees at Yosemite can grow to be very big. And to get as big as they do, they are old.
This one was over one thousand years old when it fell over. A lot of things happen in a thousand years.

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Tree rings

The Indian museum at Yosemite included a teepee structure.
I don't know that I would want to live in one.

Teepee living

Just so you know that it is not all galivanting around over here, I have my homework to do too. This is maths.

Al's homework

Oh well, looks like it's off to France! Au revoir!

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Plane boarding

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