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Friday 30 November 2018

Alzu Petroport

Elephant Escapes The Gift Shop

Location: Middelburg, South Africa
Address: N4, Alzu Petroport,
Date: October 2018
Website:  www.alzu.co.za

  We left Johannesburg and we were headed towards Kruger National Park.  We were still more than half way to our destination when our tour group stopped for refuelling at Alzu Petroport.  So far we had not seen any large mammals on our trip and did not expect to see any until we were closer to the Kruger boundary.  What awaited for us at the rest stop was very unexpected.

Alzu Waterhole.

  Behind the rest stop was a large watering hole surrounded by animals.

Dehorned Rhinos

  The closest animals to us was a group of southern white rhinoceros.  Sadly all of these rhinos had been dehorned due to the poaching threat.  Don't worry the horns will grow back in a few years.

Their Future Is In Our Hands.

  The Petroport has a small museum set up explaining the plight of the rhino.  In the photo above there is a hippo skull on the left and a rhino skull on the right.

The Best Kind Of Firearm.  Disabled.

  Rhinos are hunted mainly for their horns.  The horns are made of keratin like our toes and fingernails.  Killing a rhino for their horn is like killing a person in order to clip their toenails.

Rhino Sculpture.

  The Petroport also has a lot of artwork around the grounds.  There was a large rhinoceros sculpture outside.

Nando's For Rhino Survival

  On our way to the washrooms there was a beautiful rhino mosaic on the wall.  This mosaic was sponsored by Nando's which was one of the restaurants in the Petroport.

Facing Down The Elephant.

  After visiting the facilities we came outside again onto a balcony.  Below us was a charging elephant bursting forth from the gift shop.  From the balcony we could get a better view of the animals.

  We could see cape buffalo as well as a group of eland (above).

Red Hartebeest.

  Far back along the fence was a group of antelope called red hartebeest. 

G'Day.  Hakuna Matata Mate.

  For some reason there was an emu.  Emu are native to Australia.  Emu are the second largest bird in the world after the African ostrich.

Cape Sparrow.

  We also saw a few smaller birds like this cape sparrow which flew onto the fence.

The Greatest Swallow.

  Greater striped swallow swirled around above our heads.

Who Wants Round Spots When You Can Have Triangle Ones?

  As our tour group prepared to depart we had to leave these animals and the very entertaining Petroport behind.   We spotted a triangular spotted pigeon up in the rafters as we left the balcony.  Soon we would be spotting wildlife in the Greater Kruger area.  We never did see any wild rhinos, but hope that there will still be some to see when we have a chance to return.

Do Not Touch Our Rhinos.

Map of Our World

Post # 234

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Robo Sushi

Robo Sushi

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  865 York Mills Rd #9
Date: September 2018
Website:  www.robosushi.ca

  A new sushi place has arrived in Toronto and offers something a little different.  Robots are nothing new, but we are not yet used to them serving us our food.  Robo Sushi still has human workers, but we went there to see the robotic staff and of course to eat all that we could eat.

Welcome To Robo Sushi.

  As we entered the restaurant we were greeted by a talking mannequin.

Miss Robo Sushi 2018.  Finger Puppeteer Extraordinaire.

  There was another mannequin standing behind us, but despite being plugged in she didn't have anything to say.  We headed through the next set of doors and into the restaurant.

It Would Be My Pleasure To Show You To Your Table ...And To Take Over Your Job.

  Three robots waited for us.  Two of them had cute, smiling bellhop heads and one had a head full of trays.  They stood at attention waiting to serve us.

Please Follow Me. Beep Beep Boop.

  The human being at the counter greeted us and typed something into the tablet on the top of the purple robot's head.  The little guy rolled away and we followed closely behind.  On a screen on top of his head was a video of a person following a robot.  We felt we were doing quite well.

   Our host turned a corner and then stopped at a booth.  He said something but we couldn't hear him over the restaurant noise.  We sat down and then our host turned and rolled off again.

Out Of My Way Or I'll Lose My Head!

  We have visited Robo Sushi twice since it opened.  The first time the robots seemed less sensitive to something in their way.  We witnessed a host and trayhead collision and a few near misses between robot and human staff.  One trayhead robot even went straight into a customer's chair.

More Mango Ice Cream?

  On our second visit we noticed that the human staff often had to push a host or trayhead robot until it felt nothing was blocking its path.  Once the robot was satisfied it would roll away again.  Eventually the programming will be just right.

  When a trayhead robot arrived with your food it would turn and face the table with its blinking eyes.  You could start to offload the food yourself, but usually a human staff member would come to assist.

Thank You.  On Your Way Little Guy.

  When you wanted the trayhead robot to leave again you were supposed to tap it on the head.  This worked sometimes because we were probably doing it incorrectly.  We think you have to just place your hand on top of a little hand symbol on the robot's head.

Rolling Robot.

 To order your food you use a tablet placed at your table and submit your request from there.  Soon it won't be long until a trayhead arrives loaded with your carefully selected items.

A Fully Loaded Trayhead Robot.

  We tend to order quite a lot on our first round so when our robot arrived it was fully loaded.  Soon afterwards our table was filled with tiny trays and dishes.

Just A Little More.

  You could also place a small order and a trayhead would come to drop that off as well.  When it comes to All You Can Eat you need to pace yourself.  At least the robots never gave us a disapproving look based on our food choices or quantities.  They just give the same look all the time.

Really?  Another Order Of Tempura After Ice Cream?

  We enjoyed our food at Robo Sushi and the robots made our meal even more fun.  As we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant we waved good-bye to our robot hosts.  They smiled back at us.

Map of Our World
Robo Sushi

Post # 233

Saturday 10 November 2018

Hammering Man (Frankfurt)

A Silhouette In The Road.

Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Address:  60327 Frankfurt am Main
Date: October 2018
Website:  www.borofsky.com

  As we walked through Frankfurt, a large silhouette appeared in the road.  As we got closer we realized it was moving.  One of its arms was going up and down.  This was Hammering Man.

It's Hammer Time.

  Hammering Man is the work of  Jonathan Borofsky.  It stands 21 meters tall and is made out of painted steel.  He hammers all day long.  He hammers all night long.  He is a symbol for the worker in all of us.

Workiing Eight Days A Week.

  Upon closer inspection we can tell that he is working with steel. He is wearing a protective visor/helmet and holding something in his gloved hand.  He continues to hammer on.

A Thin Hammering Man.

  From a side angle he is very thin and it is hard to tell exactly what these moving pieces of metal are.

Giant Legs In Frankfurt.

  There are several Hammering Men around the world.  The one we visted in Frankfurt has been there since 1990.  There are smaller indoor Hammering Men in many cities.  There are larger outdoor sculptures in places such as Seattle, Washingtion and Seoul, South Korea.  The one in Seoul is the largest and is one meter taller than the German Hammering Man.

  The artist likes the fact that these men are all hammering around the world in unison.  They represent how people work with their hands to build the world around them.  We like that idea too.  Keep up the good work!

Map of Our World
Hammering Man (Frankfurt)

Post # 232