Manny's Blog

a blog for kids and kids at heart


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Eyeing the Needle by Mrs. Eternal Traveler

Note from Me:  I loved this trip. Mom and Dad finally brought be on a trip, AND I got to spend time with my friends Mr. and Mrs. ET, and my really good friend, Justin Beaver. I’m posting this because I couldn’t have done a better job of describing this wonderful location myself.

My friend Justin Beaver and I lounging on the patio.

My friend Justin Beaver and I lounging on the patio.

Feb28

Holiday in Hawaii #7

The rugged West Maui Mountains form a dramatic backdrop to the never-ending beaches and tropical gardens of Maui.

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To get a closer view of the grandeur of the mountains, we venture inland to ʻIao Valley State Park, where ʻIao Stream has carved a deep valley between the densely forested slopes.

Most people come to the park to see Kuka‘emoku, a volcanic ridge which ends in a sharp bluff rising 370 metres from the valley floor. Also known as ʻIao Needle, this volcanic formation, sacred to Hawaiians, is best viewed from a lookout at the end of a 300 metre walking track.

We begin our ascent to the lookout up a staircase cut into the mountainside before crossing ʻIao Stream. Icy water tumbles down the steep slope over large volcanic boulders and, although there are signs warning of the dangers of flash floods, daring swimmers try their luck.

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We continue upwards, stopping along the way to read about the historic Battle of Kepaniwai, which took place here in 1790 when the invading forces of King Kamehameha I defeated the army of Maui.

ʻIao Needle and the surrounding mountain peaks are often enveloped by cloud; ʻIao means “cloud supreme” in Hawaiian. Today is no exception; when we reach the lookout the needle is clear while the mountains are obscured. But as we admire the scenery the cloud lifts, and we have a perfect view of the needle and the mountains set against the deepening blue of the afternoon sky.

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On our return journey, a detour off the main path leads us on a circuit into the rainforest, along the bank of ʻIao stream and up the side of the mountain again. Looking down we spot the bright orange flowers of African Tulip Trees high in the canopy.

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Another detour takes us further down the valley to the Ethnobotanical Garden, featuring plants brought by the native Hawaiians when they first settled these islands. Just as they would have been 1700 years ago, banana trees and taro plants are watered by ʻIao Stream.

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It’s the heart of the valley, giving life and creating the spectacular scenery we’ve enjoyed on our walk today.

 

ʻIao Valley State Park is open daily. Entry costs $1 for walk-ins and $5 per car. There is no fee for Hawaiian residents.


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Manny and Justin Are Brave

Mom turned in my story for her writing class.  Her teacher gave her some ideas.

“A good idea, but I wonder if there is not too much dialogue here. The theme is strong, and the characters solve their own problems. It’s good to see Justin gradually unfold and become a little more confident. I imagine this story may be more successful if the emotions were more intense — a greater contrast between the fear and the joy. It’s an idea worth polishing, and it may have potential.”

This is our third draft.  You will have to imagine that the park is full of kids.

The sun warmed the spring air.  Justin and Manny hadn’t played at the park for six months.  They ran ten blocks to the park without stopping. Sounds of children laughing and squeaky swings filled their ears.

On one side of the park parents watched little ones play in the sand. Toddlers climbed the big steps up the little slide while parents held them as they scooted down slowly.   Justin got in a swing.  It felt tight.   No one pushed them higher than the sky.

“This swing doesn’t go very high anymore,” complained Justin.

“This horse tips all the way to the ground,” complained Manny.

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Bigger kids lined up to go down the slippery slide.  They played on the big teeter-totter, and climbed on the huge ship, and swung on the tall swings that reached up to the tips of the trees.

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“Let’s go on the slide, Justin.” Manny said.

“It’s a long way up there.”  Justin remembered he didn’t like going on the baby slide by himself.  He saw how fast this kids slid down the big slide.  On the baby slide he could hold on to the sides and go slow.

“Look other kids are going on it.  You’re not afraid are you?”

“I don’t,” Justin started to say he didn’t want to go on the slide.

“Let’s just climb to the top and look,” Manny persuaded his friend.

Justin and Manny waited in line. Soon it was Justin’s turn to climb the steps. Justin stood on the fifth step and looked down.

“This is high,” he turned around and told Manny.

“We’re almost there.  Keep going.  I’m behind you.”

Kids shouted, “Hurry up little boy.”

“Come one!  We want to slide.”

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Justin got to the top.  He turned around and asked Manny to go first.  Manny sat at the top with him.  Justin wanted to cry.  Manny reached out and took his hand.  Justin pulled it away and turned away.  His cap blew off and landed in the sand.

“My cap!  I want to go back down on the steps.  It’s too high and slippery.  I will go too fast.”

“Push him!” the bigger kids shouted.

“Don’t be such a baby!  Go on the baby slide, baby!”

Two kids climbed up to the top step.  Manny reached his arm behind Justin to keep the boys from pushing Justin down the slide.

“Let’s go back down, Justin.  I’ll go first.”

Manny stood up, turned around and squeezed down one step at a time. Justin followed him.  The two big kids on the top step shoved past Justin and went down before Justin could get down one step.  Kids crowded past him rushing to take their turn to slide. Finally they got to the bottom, and jumped off. They picked up Justin’s cap and tried different toys.  They tipped on the teeter-totter. Justin hung on tight.  Manny fell off.

“Are you hurt, Manny?”  Justin still felt shaky, but he didn’t feel like crying any more.

Manny laughed.  ”Sand is made for falling, Justin.  It’s fun.”

Justin went up and let go.  He fell off.

“Did it hurt, Justin?”

Justin laughed.  ”Sand is made for falling, Manny.”

Next they climbed on a ship pretending to sail around the park.  They turned wheels. They shouted into their loudspeaker fists.

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“Land ahoy!”

Manny jumped overboard and pretended to swim in the sand.  Justin worried.  Manny’s hat came off and filled with sand.  Justin saw Manny jump and laugh.  He remembered the cool sand when he fell off the teeter-totter. Justin jumped off the front of the boat and landed in the soft sand.  He pretended to swim to the beach and play in the waves, too.  His hat came off and filled with sand.

“Were you scared, Justin?” Manny asked.

”Nope!” Justin answered.

Moms headed home with their toddlers.  Older kids left, too. Justin looked at the slide.

“Do you want to try?” Manny asked.

“Maybe,” Justin answered.

Manny and Justin climbed to the top of the slide.  No kids came up behind them.  They sat a long time looking down.  The chilly wind blew Manny’s cap blew off.

“I’m scared, Manny.”

“Me too.  Remember the teeter-totter? asked Manny.

“Yes.”

“Remember the ship?” asked Manny.

“Yes.  OK, I’m going first.  Don’t push me.”

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Justin slid down the slide. He landed in the soft, cool sand. He laughed so hard he couldn’t move.

“Come on down, Manny.  It’s so fun!”

Manny landed face down in the sand.

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They laughed and laughed.

“Let’s do it again, Manny!”

So Manny and Justin went up the stairs and down the slippery slide until almost dark.

“I will not be afraid now,” said Justin as they walked home.

“We both are braver.” Manny agreed.

“Maybe we will sky dive tomorrow,” said Justin.

“Maybe,” Manny answered.


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Manny’s Writing Challenge: Slats

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Justin and I found slats everywhere we looked in Würzburg, Germany.  Maybe you’d like to write a picture about the slats we found, or maybe you have some slats of your own.  Here is a writing contest with no rules.  What can you do with slats?  Here are some more pictures of Justin and me in Würzburg.   Mr. and Mrs. ET took these pictures this summer.  The temperature today is 40 degrees F, 7 degrees C.  It is partly cloudy today.  It sounds just like home.

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“Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia, Northern Bavaria, Germany. Located on the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian.”  Franconian sounds kind of like Draconian to me.  It makes me think of Dracula.    What do you think of Wuerzburg?  Notice I spell it with an e instead of two dots over the u.  Sometimes it is spelled with an o as in Worzburg.

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Now you know exactly here we are.  Würzburg is now known as the “City of Knowledge.”  In 1042 the sixth institute of higher learning started in Wuerzburg.  I read about it on Wikipedia. Other things happened there, too, that weren’t so smart.  Between 1626 and 1631 Bishop Phillip Adolf burnt between six and nine hundred witches.  Würzburg is only 75 miles away from Nuremberg.   I also learned that in Nuremberg Allied Forces  held a series of military tribunals to prosecute the Nazis who murdered over six million Jews during World War II.  Adolf Hitler headed the Nazi regime from 1933 until he killed himself in 1945.   I will study more about this in school.  I’m glad my mom didn’t name me Adolf.   Here is my favorite slat picture.

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This next picture is cool because I see a ghost in it.  I bet it’s one of the witches that died in 1630.  She’s wearing a witch’s hat.  Can you see it?

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So what do you think?  Can you write something about my slats pictures?  Do whatever you want.  Tell your friends and have them write me a story or a poem.  I love to read what you write.  🙂