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Charlie : London 2012 Games Maker interview

July 27th, 2011 No comments

Today Charlie accompanied me to my London 2012 Games Maker interview at the Excel Centre in London to wish me luck and to have a short trip out of town in advance of my longer trip to The USA and Central America next year which will be his first trip abroad.

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Charlie before the interview

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Charlie made a friend

He even made a friend, Wenlock the London 2012 official mascot who, unlike Charlie, will not be travelling with me but who I am sure will keep Charlie company when they are both at home.

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Charlie : Visiting Atlanta and Guatemala

January 30th, 2012 No comments

Charlie has been enjoying his first foreign trip this week. We are now at the town of Copán Ruinas in Honduras, having spent the last 4 nights in different beds and we will be staying here a couple of nights which should be less tiring.

The places that Charlie has visited so far on this trip include:

  • 3 days ago – London, UK – Travelled to the Travelodge at London Heathrow Airport
  • 2 days ago – Atlanta, GA, USA – Had a good dinner and had a short walk around the city seeing the CNN building, a park and a few other things.
  • Yesterday – Antigua, Guatemala – Travelled from Atlanta to Guatemala City before taking a minibus to Antigua, Guatemala. We spent the day relaxing and looking around.
  • Today – Border crossing from Guatemala into Honduras.

Here are a few photos of Charlie enjoying himself so far on this trip.

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Charlie looking out over the Atlanta skyline

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Charlie at the Guatemala – Honduras border

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Charlie at the Guatemala – Honduras border

He has been making some friends, or at least turning some heads, while on this trip already. There will be an update from each country we travel to on this trip at the very least, or more often if he visits more places.

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Charlie : Honduras

February 5th, 2012 No comments

We are at the Honduras – Nicaragua border now and Charlie enjoyed his time in Honduras. The main place we visited was the beautiful Roatán Island, some distance off of the Caribbean coast, where most of the activities were water based so he didn’t have many photos taken as he preferred to stay in the hotel, but he did come with me to the Dolphin experience on the island.

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Charlie waiting to meet some Dophins

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Charlie meets Dolphins

Before that, however, we stayed for a couple of nights at the Copán Ruinas town, near the Guatemala border, where we visited some Mayan ruins, some hot springs, a bird park and had a look around town.

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Charlie enjoying the Honduran Rainforest

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Charlie makes a new friend

Last night we stayed overnight in Comayagua before catching a chicken bus to Tegucigalpa, the capital of the country, to catch our long distance bus to Nicaragua.

We are both looking forward to our time in Nicagua. On a personal level this is a country that I have wanted to visit for a long time so I am glad to finally be here.

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Charlie at the Honduras – Nicaragua border

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Charlie : Nicaragua

February 9th, 2012 No comments

We have been in Nicaragua for a few days now and unfortunately we are getting ready to leave this lovely country to travel to our final country of the trip, Costa Rica, but we have had a good time here.

Our first stop, after travelling via Managua, was the town of Grenada. While there we had a look around town, saw some lovely colonial buildings, went swimming, had some good food and visited an active volcano. That is one more thing off of my bucket list but the fumes did make my throat and eyes hurt despite wearing gas masks when we were at the edge of the crater.

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Charlie in Granada, Nicaragua

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Charlie in Granada, Nicaragua

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Charlie overlooking an active volcano

After Grenada we travelled to Ometepe Island, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Here we did some kayaking, walking around what we could of a flooded national park, swam in the shark infested lake and enjoyed the lovely scenery. Unfortunately Charlie didn’t feature in any photos from Ometepe as they were mainly water based, and he preferred to stay in the hotel where it was dry.

I wish that me and Charlie could have visited more of this country, after wanting to come here for so long, so we will have to return again at some point.

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Charlie : Costa Rica

February 15th, 2012 No comments

Charlie’s first trip abroad, to The USA, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica has come to an end and today we travel back to The UK via Panama City and Amsterdam. We have had a great time.

Costa Rica was a little more built up and touristy than the other places we visited on this trip, except for Atlanta at the very start, but it was a beautiful country.

After crossing into Costa Rica from Nicaragua we had lunch in Liberia before travelling up to the Monteverde Cloud Forest for a couple of nights. While here I went zip-lining, enjoyed the lovely scenery and saw a lot of frogs. The others from the group also went on a night safari but the line “Tarantula sightings guaranteed” on the leaflet made me and Charlie decide to stay back and enjoy some lovely Costa Rican food with Mena and a couple of others.

Next stop was La Fortuna, next to Lake Arenal and the Arenal volcano. Here we took a boat trip across the lake, visited a National Park and experienced a magnitude 6 earthquake which made us both a little nervous.

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Charlie at Lake Arenal

We ended our trip in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, where we went on a number of walks, visited some museums, enjoyed some great food and I also spent a night out in the city at a karaoke bar and university nightclub while Charlie stayed at the hostel and guarded my bags.

Overall during this trip we have done a lot, so please read the full blog rather than just this summary of the main sights that we saw.

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Charlie : Kigali Airport, Rwanda

February 28th, 2012 No comments

Charlie is currently relaxing on board a Brussels Airlines aircraft at Kigali Airport, Rwanda, during a stopover on the way to Uganda. Unfortunately we will not be visiting Rwanda on this trip, and will not even be leaving the aircraft while they clean it and change some passengers, which is a shame as I enjoyed my visit here a few years ago so it would be good for Charlie to have been able to see it too. However I was keen for Charlie to at least be in a photo on Rwandan soil.

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Charlie at Kigali Airport, Rwanda

Soon we will be leaving Kigali for the short flight to Entebbe, Uganda, where I start my week in the country visiting a friend.

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Charlie : Uganda 2012

March 6th, 2012 No comments

Charlie has just returned from his first visit to Africa and he had a good time. In addition to the short stopover at Rwanda’s Kigali Airport we spent a day in Entebbe before then travelling to the town of Jinja, which I had previously visited with Dragoman a few years ago.

We weren’t in Entebbe long, as this was mainly a rest stop due to arriving in the middle of the night on my flight, so we didn’t do much but we did go work a walk and visit the zoo in order to see some local wildlife and also see Lake Victoria.

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Charlie overlooking Lake Victoria

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Charlie at the Entebbe Zoo

The majority of the trip was spent in Jinja visiting a friend who is currently volunteering at an orphanage there. Charlie stayed hidden for most of the time at the orphanage, so that the children didn’t become too attached to him, but he did come with me into town a couple of times, visited the source of the River Nile. I did manage to get one photo of him with a great kid called Jamil.

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Charlie at the source of the River Nile

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Charlie meets Jamil at Ekisa Orphanage

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Charlie : London 2012 Olympic Games

August 13th, 2012 No comments

Charlie has spent the past few weeks helping me volunteer at the London 2012 Olympic Games. While not foreign travel he did travel all around London, and helped me in my duties driving Park Yong-Sun (The President of the Korean Olympic Committee), so think that a post here is required.

As the person I was driving was extremely busy we visited a lot of places in London including hotels and restaurants in the city itself, the Excel Arena, Wembley Arena and Stadium, Eton Dorney rowing venue, Greenwich, Greenwich Park, North Greenwich Arena (The O2), Lord’s Cricket Ground, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Brunel University, Heathrow Airport, The Olympic Park and the Athlete’s Village. He even had a chance to come with me to the Closing Ceremony after I was given a ticket by the Korean Olympic Committee as a gift to thank me for my work during the games. I didn’t have a chance to take as many photos as I would have like, but here are a selection.

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Charlie in the London 2012 Athlete’s Village

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Charlie at Brunel University

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Charlie at the Olympic Rings in the Residential Zone of the Athlete’s Village

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Charlie in the Olympic Park

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Charlie in the Olympic Park

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Charlie in the Olympic Park

I had a great time during London 2012, and will remember these weeks for a very long time.

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Charlie : Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

June 20th, 2013 No comments

Charlie has spent the past few days exploring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone with me, helping to continue with my theme of visiting places that nobody (or very few) people that I know have visited and which are unique. Pripyat and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone were certainly unique.

Seeing Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, was certainly a moving experience. We were able to get closer than I thought we would but the highlight of the couple of days here was exploring Pripyat, the main town very close to the power plant itself.

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Charlie in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

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Charlie in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

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Charlie in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, at the area with higher radiation

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Charlie overlooking the building housing the Chernobyl reactor which suffered the meltdown.

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Charlie looking at the new structure being built to ensure no radiation escapes as the building collapses.

In Pripyat we were able to explore inside many of the buildings including houses, military accommodation, a restaurant, a hospital, a supermarket, a hotel, a cinema, a school, a sports stadium and much more. I think officially you are not supposed to enter the buildings as some of them are dangerous due to being abandoned in the 1980s but it was amazing to see life just left behind when the evacuation was called. Of course some things were moved during the decontamination sweep but a lot of stuff was just left as it was, such as a test written on a blackboard and names of doctors on duty in the hospital.

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Charlie exploring Pripyat

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Charlie exploring Pripyat

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Charlie exploring Pripyat

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Charlie exploring Pripyat

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Charlie exploring Pripyat

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Charlie exploring Pripyat

Charlie was featured in a lot of photos that I took while in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone but I have posted only the best selection in this post.

Luckily neither me or Charlie became radioactive during our visit, but we did visit an area with higher than average radiation, with our guide demonstrating how the radiation detector would alert us if anything went wrong.

We are back in Kiev now, and I will make another post tomorrow with some photos of Charlie’s experiences in Ukraine outside of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

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Charlie : Ukraine

June 22nd, 2013 No comments

Charlie has returned from his visit with me to Ukraine, to see Kiev and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. I have already posted about Charlie’s experiences in Chernobyl, which was the main part of the trip, but he also travelled around Kiev too.

While in the city he came with me on a tour of the city, on some sightseeing, for some nice meals and to people watch in the main square. I didn’t take too many photos of him in the city but I did take one of him when he came with me to visit a shooting range outside of the city.

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Charlie looking after an AK-47 and another rifle in Ukraine

Overall we both had a good time in Ukraine, especially in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. We learnt a lot and it was a very unique trip.

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