R.A.T. Your Rodent Around-the-World Traveler (a.k.a. Raz)

Hi, My name is R.A.T., which stands for Rodent Around-the-World Traveler (I like to think it stands for Rodent Adventure Traveler), but everyone here calls me Raz for short. I would love to share my adventures with you. I left my rat family in early January to seek adventure. Everyone said "head west young rat," so that is what I did. I headed west to San Diego, California where I ran out of land and had to hop on a ship to continue my journey. It turns out that the ship I found was going west around the world--a dream come true! The MV Explorer is home to the famous Semester at Sea study abroad program. My shipmates include 629 college students and about 150 faculty, staff, lifelong learners, and family members. Things are really busy here on the ship and even busier when we are in port. Come follow me vicariously as I take this incredible journey. Yours, R.A.T.

P.S. I had such a great time on the voyage that the adventure continues!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Albuquerque - Balloons and More Balloons! - Part 3

Some of the balloons go up before the sun comes up--really early in the morning! Balloonists refer to this as Dawn Patrol.
Aren't the balloons pretty all lit up in the dark?
I needed to take a closer look.
Here they go up into the air.
They look just like Christmas ornaments.
Another balloon ride!!!
Here we go!!!
We're up in the wild blue yonder!
What goes up must come down--time to land.
Landing (Can you find me?)
Here I am!
Now it's time to pack up!
All of the fabric of the envelope fits into the red bag!
With a bit of stuffing.
And stuffing!
Time to pack the burners and basket on to the truck.
Here comes all of the balloons that took off after sunrise--WOW!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Albuquerque - Balloons and More Balloons! - Part 2

Here's how they inflate a balloon.
First lay the basket over on its side and fill the envelope (the fabric part of the balloon) with lots of air using a fan (it's just out of view).
It's so pretty inside!!!
Then heat the air with fire. Feels good on a cold New Mexico morning!
The hot air makes the envelope rise up off the ground and the basket is placed upright. Next, in goes the passengers (including me!).
The pilot is also in the basket checking all of his instruments to make sure it will be safe to fly.
Other people put their weight on the basket so that the balloon doesn't take off until it is safe to do so.
Then it's off we go!!! Can you find me?
Up, up and away!!!
There we go!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Albuquerque - Balloons and More Balloons! - Part 1

My next stop was Albuquerque and Balloon Fiesta!
There were 100s of balloons in lots of colors!
Here are some inflating.
Some were in fun shapes like these guys!
I like the bees. They're one happy family.
There they go on their own.
This looks like an interesting balloon.


Nice kitty.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tucson - A Trip to the Zoo - Part 2

I also saw friends of other animals I met on my way around the world, like Tortoise, whose cousin I met in Mauritius.

He came over for a nice chat.
I had to tell Mr. Tiger that we missed seeing his relative in India.
...tigers and bears. Oh my! The lion was just lying around sleeping when I visited. (They don't call him lion for nothing--get it?)
I saw a number of exotic birds. Mr. Peacock was a bit snooty. He likes showing off his beautiful colors.
This poor gal looks like she was bleached! Her babies were very cute.
This guy, not so much.
Or this guy.

These guys were a lot of fun.
Here's his playmate.
Another kitty.

Nice kitty, nice kitty--uh oh! I guess it's now time to look for the exit!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tucson - A Trip to the Zoo - Part 1

Made it all the way to Tucson, Arizona! Went to visit some friends at the zoo.
Saw some of the relatives of my friends from Kapama in South Africa.
This guy came over to say "hi"!
We had a nice chat. I told him news of his family in the old country.
He liked my joke.
(What's worse than a giraffe with a sore throat? A centipede with athlete's foot!)
He gave me a good neck nuzzle before I said goodbye.
I then said "hi" to other relatives of animals I saw in South Africa, including the zebra . . .
and the lazy rhino . . .
and the elephants.
Baby Nandi came over to play.
The elephants then decided to head to the mud wallow.
Everyone in!
It was fun for all!
Time to dry off and take a siesta. It is Arizona after all!