Swamp Monkey

There’s nothing quite like a great swamp. Luckily, there’s a very swampy swamp only  few minutes from Kongo’s son’s house in Tampa, Florida named Lettuce Lake.  It’s named for the lettuce looking plants that grow all over the shallow waters. Giant cypress trees line the water and help support abundant wildlife that ranges from stink bugs to tropical birds to alligators. Now Kongo didn’t see any gators on this visit but he saw plenty of other wildlife. At Lettuce Lake there is a long boardwalk elevated above the swamp so visitors can explore in relative safety and not worry about…

Mountain Monkey

There’s nothing quite like a sacred mountain by the sea to get the monkey’s juices flowing. Yesterday he spent the day hiking around Mt. Daisen in the southwestern part of the island of Honshu. Soaring about 5,400 feet above the Sea of Japan this is another volcanic mountain created over hundreds of thousands of years by several eruptions. Since about 70% of Japan is mountainous, it’s inevitable that you’re going to spend some time with them and every town seems to have its own sacred mountain. At one time there were at least 30 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines scattered…

Cherry Blossom Monkey

It was the end of an era. Literally. On Tuesday Emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne in favor of his son, 59-year old son, Naruhito. The new era, dedicated to peace and harmony, is cause for quite a celebration across Japan and pretty much the entire country is on a 10-day vacation. So getting into the spirit, Kongo joined tens of thousands on Tuesday to view the cherry blossoms at Hirosaki Castle located in the northern part of Honshu Island. The original castle and grounds date back to the early 1600s. It is one of a dozen remaining castles from…

March to the Sea

This week Kongo marched to the sea.  Literally.  From his house to the ocean is an 8-mile trek through Point Mugu State Park in the Santa Monica mountains.  Now maybe “march to the sea” is a too exuberant an expression.  This isn’t much like General Sherman’s historic March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah during the Civil War.  This hike is almost exclusively downhill, which is pretty cool for old monkeys.  It’s still a good hike and not nearly as destructive or controversial as the burning of a 60-mile wide swath through the heart of Georgia. The route passes…


This week’s Photo Challenge at WordPress is Chaos.  Here hundreds of blue-footed boobies and pelicans attack a bait ball in the Galapagos Islands.  There birds were diving constantly, splashing, screeching, and gorging.  Pelicans got so full of fish they were unable to take off again. See more depictions of CHAOS at the WordPress challenge site. Travel safe.  Have fun.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Inviting

This inviting spot at San Diego’s Safari Park is located in the World Gardens section of the zoo.  It’s far away from the crowds and tourist monkeys scampering all over the more popular attractions and Kongo likes to sit on a little bench under a big pine tree there and listen to the birds.  He thinks this is a good image to add to Ailsa’s “Inviting” travel theme this week.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Wherever there is three, one is always BETWEEN, which is the theme for this week’s photo challenge from WordPress.  Here these three blue-footed boobies (Kongo calls this image Tres Amigos) perch on a rock in the Galapagos Islands.  The two on the ends look at the one between.  See more of Kongo’s Galapagos images here.