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  `-bruxelles_07 (8)
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  `-hongkong_09 (13)
  `-iceland_10 (14)
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  `-japan_13 (22)
  `-paris_06 (1)
  `-poland_10 (3)
  `-russia_10 (12)
  `-scotland_15 (11)
  `-sweden_09 (10)
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  `-tokyo_08 (14)
  `-usa_09 (10)
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08(01), 07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
12(02), 11(01), 10(08), 09(03), 07(17), 06(01), 05(04), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(06)
12(05), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(02), 07(04), 06(01), 05(02), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(02), 09(09), 08(16), 07(02), 06(03), 05(04), 04(03), 02(03), 01(02)
12(03), 11(01), 10(02), 09(01), 08(23), 07(03), 06(02), 05(01), 04(02), 03(02)
12(03), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(23), 05(02)
09(04), 08(01), 06(01), 05(02), 04(02), 03(01), 02(01)
11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
12(05), 11(01), 10(06), 09(12), 08(02), 07(02), 06(01), 05(01), 04(10), 02(01), 01(05)
12(02), 08(01), 07(15), 06(02), 05(03), 02(02), 01(03)
12(05), 11(01), 07(24), 06(06), 05(03), 04(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(01), 10(07), 09(01), 08(04), 07(05), 06(04), 05(06), 04(01), 03(04), 02(06), 01(04)
12(04), 11(02), 10(03), 09(04), 08(03), 07(04), 04(01)
07(01), 05(01)
08(01)
10(01)

Thu, 31 Dec 2009
sweden, day 04 (0 comments)
day 04 of our sweden trip - new year's eve. we started it by going to a nearby lake. the lack of daylight is really hard to get used to. there's a little daylight from 09:00 to around 13:00, then it starts to get dark again. the surface of the lake was totally frozen and there were some people ice-skating or walking on the ice in the distance. so we dared to step on the ice too and walked around a little. sonja did some drawings in the snow too.
next we tried to find the tourist information in abisko but at first we found some exhibition centre (or whatever it was, we're still not sure) providing us with an exhibition about wild life in north sweden and some multimedia show about the stars and the galaxy. due to that the local people put up some telescopes and people were invited to participate in watching the stars. so we did participate and had a nice view on some stars and the moon. after getting back to our hostel we enjoyed the sauna there. sauna at this hostel means that the old man running this place tells you a certain time when you have to be at the sauna with the maximum of other eight people. so, the group of people go in there and get instructions from the old man. going to the sauna here also doubles as taking a shower (they are very keen on saving warm water here, i don't know why). once you were given water to shower and had taken your seat in the sauna, the old man leaves again and comes back 1.5 hours later. during this time you are free to do as you - and the other people - like in the sauna. in the evening we gathered with lots of people of the hostel at the local helicopter landing place around a fire they lit there. there was also a friend of the people who run the hostel from norway here. he had absolutely delicious salmon with him which he gave away to all the people in the hostel that wanted to taste it. this guy turned out to be quite fun actually so we ended up with him and some other guys in the kitchen of the hostel being a little drunk and having fun. also one of the two sons who run this place together with their father was at the celebration. he will be our guide for tomorrow's dog sledge tour and he's quite fun too.

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Wed, 30 Dec 2009
sweden, day 03 (0 comments)
the night on day 03 in our art-suite was awesome. i slept very good, the girls unfortunately did not that well. inside the room it had 5 degrees below zero, outside less than 30 degrees below zero. our suite had some howling wolves and moon theme, but the wolves resembled cats actually, at least they did to me.
after having a really great breakfast we had a look at the rest of the hotel rooms. then we went on to some local sami museum.
there we had a delicious reindeer soup and coffee. next to the museum is a very old wooden church. after a final visit to the ice hotel and a visit to the sauna there we went on to abisko to get to our hostel. there we saw the first cat on our trip. ulli won a beer, since i said i pay a beer to the first one who sees a living cat. meow. at least a cat, but no northern lights so far. too bad.

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Tue, 29 Dec 2009
sweden, day 02 (0 comments)
we left stockholm[001-003] quite early in the morning today, heading back again to the airport. our plane then left on time bringing us up northwards to kiruna[013-053]. loads of snow, a nice sun- set in the early afternoon and a really small airport is what we were facing after landing. then we got our car, a ford focus. it was preheated, a thing pretty common here in sweden. you plug your car to some power-outlet and the engine gets warmed up and so does the cabin if you have some heating device in there. pretty weird but at least we didn't have to get on to a totally freezing cold car. additionally the windows are not frozen or covered with ice or snow. so we started driving to kiruna city to get some supplies (as in alcohol from a system-bolagen, a liquor-store with a monopoly on selling alcohol) and a little food. later we had some strange food at some fast-food restaurant[047-050] (as we guessed), namely a cut sausage with mashed potatoes and sauces. pretty weird and not as tasty as we had one in stockholm.
after doing some PEBKAC on the tomtom GPS (really totally my fault) and thus having two hours additional driving to the wrong village we finally arrived at the ice-hotel[054-165] in kiruna. a totally awesome place. the hotel offers warm and cold rooms. cold rooms are totally made of snow and ice, with reindeer fur and lights and some ice furniture as chairs and tables. additionally there are carved sculptures and other artworks all around the places. each room also has its own theme. there is also a bar totally made out of snow and ice selling "absolute vodka" exclusively in ice glasses - very environment friendly.
i then took a walk outside alone with my camera to take some pictures while the girls were enjoying some hot berry juices they offered at the reception. it had around 32 degrees below zero but it was absolutely great outside. after around 60 minutes outside my camera froze and stopped working properly. focus adjusting, zooming and the battery pack stopped working. additionally my tripod was getting very very hard to adjust the position of the head. so i decided to go in again. very interesting experience - man and machine versus nature, 0:1.

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Mon, 28 Dec 2009
sweden, day 01 (0 comments)
so, first day for us - ulli, sonja, nostromo - in sweden on the hunt for polar lights. first step to get there was taking the train[01-08] where sonja was cutting (some of) her hair[03-06], then the bus[09-11] to the airport[12-16] in vienna and the airport in stockholm[17-24]. at the airport we decided to leave our big luggage pieces at the airport since we have to get back to the airport tomorrow again anyway to get our flight to kiruna. so we locked it away[21-24] at the airport. then we walked around in stockholm[25-52] seeing various buildings and "gamla stan" (old town). we had hot chocolate at a very nice cafe[43-47]. afterwards we went to our couchsurfer-host named per-marten (thanks once more to him for hosting).
tomorrow we will get back to the airport and take our plane to kiruna. there we get our car. hopefully.

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Wed, 09 Dec 2009
ayria (0 comments)
^C: (the cruxshadows) ayria, posthof
ayria: bad list analog trash six seconds disease blue alice cutting 1000 transmissions the gun song girl on the floor my revenge on the world the cruxshadows: and i believe quicksilver immortal tears solus ariadne sophia foreverlast memorare dragonfly avalanche winter born (this sacrifice) birthday monsters deception marilyn, my bitterness

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Tue, 24 Nov 2009
uncle! (0 comments)

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Mon, 26 Oct 2009
zoo altenfelden (0 comments)
seems it's becoming some kind of tradition to go to some zoo around the 26th of october every year. this year it was with jake, andrea, and sonja, going to altenfelden.
as usual loads of cute animals like leopards, deer, zebras, ermine, and loads of totally cute racoons. so cute!

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Mon, 05 Oct 2009
hongkong, day 13 (0 comments)
last full day for me in hong kong, tomorrow at about 13:00 i will fly back home. did not really do much today, i was just wandering around, window shopping, drinking coffee, watching people, sitting in parks, etc. - so all those "doing nothing" things, since i did not really have a plan for today. no sight, no tour, just enjoying my environment. i spotted two cats today. one i already saw on day 08[17], and another cat that was staying with humans in a pharmacy.
funny thing i didn't mention yet: people tried to avoid me all the time during my stay here. whenever i sat in a cafe, restaurant or tram, bus, etc. people were trying to sit somewhere else rather than next to me. and even if a seat next to me was the only choice to sit down or eat at a restaurant, they either waited until some other seat got free, or they left the locality. well, i'm sure they had their reason, i'm fine with that, maybe it's also just a wrong impression i got. another thing is that people always assumed i prefer fork and knife when eating. well, i did not, so i always had to explicitly ask for chopsticks. oh, btw. Monique and Derrick (which i met on day 04) said that my way of using the chopsticks was way more better than theirs (due to laziness on their side). that actually made me laugh. another thing i noticed is that people in hong kong are very loud. they are way louder than in japan and they do telephon calls on the metro, tram, or bus. some even burp quite loud and for some the table manners are horrible. most of them look very angry but once you talk to them, they turn out to be very friendly (as actually all people i talked to were).
in hong kong there's also the tendency to tell people what to do and what not to do on ads, signs, and tv screens (as in stations or on trains). a lot of regulations everywhere - just as in japan. and warnings about swine and bird flu everywhere. they put up alcohol disinfectant dispensers in many public locations (especially where a lot of birds are around). McDonald's has them in every restaurant. and you can find them in all public toilets. and a pretty dangerous habit is absolutely common here: pedestrians have to give way. cars (especially public buses or taxis) do not stop, even on the most crowded streets, even if there's a zebra crossing. combined with the fact that they drive on the left side of the street, and the fact that it is often hard to tell if the street is a one-way street or not, it's getting quite dangerous from time to time. at most crossings they painted "look left" or "look right" on the ground. this makes it a little easier, but again shows, that cars are taking a higher precedence over pedestrians. my things are packed, i'm ready for tomorrow. i will use the in-town check-in which is located only three MTR stations away from here. so way better to have my luggage transported there than carrying it myself. additionally there's a "starbucks" cafe right next to it. been there today to check it out.

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Sun, 04 Oct 2009
hongkong, day 12 (0 comments)
today i decided to do a "nature" day. so i went to "HK wetland park"[002-111], a huge conservation facility open to visitors. it's a huge area full of plants and animals. you sometimes walk on wooden ways[005,007,039-044,054,060,066] through swamps or to special ornithology hides[076-077]. additionally they added some information[010] on various animals and plants nearby. very educative and fun. cute crayfish[029-034,038], dragonflies[022,045-046,072], big butterflies[047] (though the one i took a picture of was pretty small. the bigger ones were very cautious and one couldn't get very close to them), and of course all kind of birds[026-028,055-056]. in every hide there are telescopes (by swarovski) and people from the park that setup the telescopes for you, so you get a nice view on the birds very fast and easily. they also give you all the facts about the bird you're seeing (if you want to), and they are all enthusiastic bird watchers it seemed to me. and of course i found some wedding photography[043-044] going on again. seems they are everywhere.
then there's also a huge visitor centre with all kind of exhibitions[081-108] and also some living animals[091-093,099-105]. although it was very hot again (around 35C again) this was a total nice day in nature.
although to get there one has to pass by hundreds of skyscrapers. and i really mean hundreds. well, maybe not that much, but i think you get the idea. oh, and not to mention that i was the only caucasian again there. seems tourists only stick to touristy places? strange and sad, since they really miss a lot. ok, not the skyscrapers, but the people, the lifestyle, and such. on my way home i came by another lantern carnival[112-117] installation again. again loads of pandas. people seem to like them here a lot. also cute red pandas were there. so cute!
back at the hotel again i wanted to check out some udon restaurant i found a few days before (see day 09, [124]). unfortunately the queue at the entrance was quite long, so i decided to go somewhere else. then i found a small restaurant with a menu card in chinese and english, and some pictures. here's a short (and by far not complete) list of stuff they offered: fried fish skin, beef/pork brisket/cheek/knuckle/reticulum/cartilage/viscus/hastle, etc. i chose the safe side and ordered "baked pork chop with rice". boring, but delicious. today the chinese people celebrate "mid-autumn festival". seems it's the most important holiday here. it takes place when the moon is the fullest, thus they eat cake that is called "moon cake". it consists mainly of sugar, but i haven't tried one yet. maybe i get one. they have all kind of fruity flavours, but there are also (exotic and non-traditional) ones with salty or sour flavours. the festival also is for family reunions, so maybe comparable to the european christmas celebration when the whole family joins to be shiny happy and eat together. oh, and i still did not give up thinking that one day all those people on "jordan road" might stop asking me if i want a rolex, suits, or hashish. but since it's the mostly always the same guys the annoyance got less. i think they know me by now.

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Sat, 03 Oct 2009
hongkong, day 11 (0 comments)
today i went to "tsuen wan", a district a little outside of the core of hong kong. at the usual mall at the MTR station[001-002,005-009] i found a pet shop that had cats[004,006-007] in the shopping window. maunz, they did not seem very happy though, or maybe they were just lazy. who knows. first sight i found was the "sam tung uk"[011-024] museum, which houses an exhibition of the daily life in this area from a few hundred years ago until today. it describes the farmer's and factory worker's life. additionally the museum building itself is an relict from around 1786. next thing i wanted see was the "chuk lam temple". while walking there i saw three wild cats[025-026]. at least it seemed to me they were wild ones, since they were very shy. the one in [025] sits on the tree in the middle of the picture. good luck on finding the little cutey on the picture. unfortunately my book guide is a little inaccurate when it comes to the map of this area, furthermore it lacks street names of important streets to get to the temple, and thirdly it seems a little outdated too, although my edition is from 2007. so i ended up a little lost in some streets that did not resemble anything i found on the drawn map. so i asked some locals, a group of three young guys. they said i could join them on part of my way to the temple since their home is located along this route. great! we had a nice little chat and then they almost brought me right to the entrance of the temple and the included monastery. the temple[027-059] was totally nice and it had loads of cats[047-059] (in numbers: around ten cats, ranging from cute little curious, but yet very cautious kitties, to old grumpy cats giving me an angry look). they were all very very shy so no petting, unfortunately. it was even hard to get pictures of them. but i managed to take some (although, sadly, they're all out of focus). "wee, you're a kitty!". the monks and employees there gave me strange looks since i was so happy seeing so many cats. again i almost got locked in, but this time an old lady escorted me to the exit. she was only speaking chinese and she said a lot of things to me (maybe that i'm a stupid tourist or such?) but she was totally friendly and waved at the exit as i left while she stayed. very kind and friendly.
ah, yeah, of course i was the only caucasian again since nearly half of the MTR ride to "tsuen wan" station. this changed rapidly when i got back to the centre to see two main "mid autumn" festival highlights. first one was the "tai hang fire dragon dance"[061-103]. it started with a parade of cute young girls and kids having lanterns. some pipe bag dudes (no idea what they represented though) and some drummers. and then came the fire dragon. a 67 meter long dragon, made of hay and studded with thousands of burning joss sticks. the dragon is hunting to big spheres, again made up of incense sticks. the carriers turn and wave the spheres and the guy holding the dragon's head also spins and waves the dragon around. the guys holding the body and head of the dragon often changed, so i guess this thing is quite heavy. also the heat of the incense sticks makes this job even more straining. very impressive spectacle actually.
next i headed on to the "lantern carnivals"[105-167], situated in the huge park i've already crossed on day 04[027-028], this time in the dark and lanterns all over the place. additionally all kind of activities went on there, like some old fashioned games[108,167], theatres[113-114,162-166] and live performances like jugglers[116-120], or dancers[150-156], and winners of some lantern creating contest[131-132,138-144,146-149] of course loads of people there (including many caucasian tourists).
what a nice day and evening!

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Fri, 02 Oct 2009
hongkong, day 10 (0 comments)
today i wanted to see some outer districts of hong kong. so i got on the double-decker bus and started my journey[001-003] out of the core of the city. first stop was "repulse bay". although my pocket guide says there's only a nice beach for swimming and sun bathing i wanted to have a look at it. so after a wild ride on the bus over several steep hills and along the coast i arrived at the bay[004-009]. to my surprise i found some strange temple [010-032] like complex there right at the beach. i still don't know what to think of that since it was so totally untypical from all the sacral things i've seen so far.
next i got on a mini bus[033] and drove on to "stanley". there's a big street market[034-036], a wonderful beach[037-048], and a military cemetery[049-072] with a nice (as i guess) lolita photo shooting[059]. then i took a walk along the coast[074-075] back to the center of "stanley", along the beach[076-086] again with all kind of american-style bars and restaurants. sights there are "blake pier"[087-088,098], the "murray house"[089-106] one of the oldest surviving public buildings in hong kong from 1846, and quite popular for couples[092,094-097,099-100,103-104,106,114-115] to marry there as it seems. all in all i think i saw about eight different couples there having photo shootings with hired professionals. of course a temple, namely "tin hau" [107-113] is there too.
to get back to "tsim sha tsui" i took again a bus, but this time the trip took over an hour due to the heavy traffic. still quite nice to watch the traffic chaos. this was a nice day with a lot of sunshine. although there were loads of rainy days predicted only two days ago, the typhoon has vanished (or moved on). so now it's hot again (35C), but at least i finally can now use my sun tan creme.

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Thu, 01 Oct 2009
hongkong, day 09 (0 comments)
this day i wanted to go for "the peak", the well known spot in hong kong where you get the most beautiful view of the town, at least according to the brochure that you get when you buy the ticket). the ride with the peak tram[002,004,015,046] is very nice. totally steep up the hill, it's really scary from time to time, especially since i got no seat but was standing all the time. once arrived at the station, i found the usual thing one finds when they get off some transport thingie: a mall. a huge shopping mall[029-031,035,049,053-061,071-072] up there with all kind of different shops. from luxury good shops to furniture and the usual souvenir shops. actually malls are everywhere it seems to me. additionally one can find a "madame tussaud's" wax museum [006-007] up there. a huge observation deck is put right on top of the mall. it's called "sky terrace"[012,019,027-028, 066-067,098] and to get there extra entry has to be paid.
i really have a tendency to end up all alone here in hong kong. and so i managed to do so today again. i wanted to walk further up the hill to see "peak garden" and take the "governor's walk". so while walking the "mt. austin road"[076-097] i came by a small unnamed (at least i think so) garden[073-075] to finally come to "peak garden"[083-084]. it was crowded with participants of a baptists convention, who were dancing and singing, and 99% female. after listening to some of their songs i went on to take the "governor's walk"[087-092], a circle walking path.
so, after walking back to "the peak", taking the tram to get back to the MTR station again, driving home, taking a shower after this exhausting hiking day ("mt. austin road" and the "governor's walk" were quite straining), just to get back on the street again to witness the 60th anniversary celebration of the people's republic of china. a huge firework was planned which of course i wanted to see. while being in my room and changing i was watching tv and they showed live streams from beijing. quite impressive ceremony although it was a weapon show all the time. quite impressive and quite disturbing at the same time. to get to "victoria harbour" was not an easy task it turns out. the streets were closed by the police, and so everyone was walking on nathan road[110], a street that usually is full of cars and buses. was strange to walk there where one would actually get killed within a few seconds during normal operation. so i en joyed walking with the crowd to end up in some unknown street [111-112]. though i somehow knew where i was it was quite unclear to me where exactly the fireworks will take place. but i was in the middle of a crowd so i thought that must be a good viewing point[113-119]. well, it turned out all of us were wrong. the view was not that good, but it was ok. the people were really shouting "aaaw" a lot, especially when very bright explosions took place. was really nice, as they did it until the very end of the fireworks. people in austria would do that for maybe a few minutes. they had nice rockets with all kind of shapes like a heart and a smiley. also they had nice effects i have not seen before. all in all a nice spectacle and a good atmosphere in the crowd. i watched the fireworks later on tv when i got back to my hotel room. i really missed some cool stuff. hehe.

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Wed, 30 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 08 (0 comments)
my trip for day 08 brought me from "central" to "sheun wan", starting at the "statue square"[02-03]. there they have huge drums (like the one they have in every temple) put up as part of the 60th anniversary of the people's republic of china, which will be celebrated on the 1st of october. then i was heading down to the harbour[06-09] where several ferry peers are located. right next is the "International Finance Center Two"[10-14] ("IFC II"), which is the second highest building in hong kong. since it was again raining all day long i tried to get through malls from sight to sight. thus i ended up in malls for staying dry rather than for cooling down as in the last few days. on an entry to a subway i found this little cat[17] that was resting on this chair while loads of people were walking by. cute kitty. i finally reached my next stop, namely the "bank of china"[23] building, which has an observatory on the 47th floor. but it was closed today. too bad, i really wanted to get an overview in a building that close to the harbour.
next thing i actually found by accident was "st. paul's cathedral"[29-31] where a piano convert was just about to end when i entered the church. again, too bad. a few hundred metres away i spotted another church[32], but i don't know the name since it was not listed in the guide book. since hong kong is built on hills and islands, i had another steep way to the "HK zoological and botanical garden" ("hkzbg"). in the zoo they have lemurs, apes, turtles, two crocodiles[47] and one snake. additionally loads of plants spread all over the park. also they had a stuffed tiger[43], that was a donation from a zoo in germany, and bred two offspring. sadly the kitty died last year. since all the animals were in cages i did not take pictures of them but rather took a picture of some wooden animals[48-49] that are also spread all over the park. also they had nice benches with all kind of animals like cats[41-42] or apes[55-57]. lovely zoo in the huge city of hong kong.
next stop was an old stone stair[62] and the four last gas lanterns[63] in hongkong. then the weather got really very very bad, and i was hasting to "man mo" temple. next stop was "lok ku road", via the "hollywood road"[64-70]. usually at "lok ku road" there should be the "cat street market" (meow!), but due to the really heavy rain no market stalls were opened. additionally i was soaked to the bone and decided that this is not fun anymore and was fighting my way to the next MTR station. when i arrived the station i really felt like i had just taken a bath with my clothes on. good thing about the rain: it's a little cooling down. the intensity of the rain showers is called "amber" - in formation sheets were put up in the hotel elevators. looks like the weather wont change soon...

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Tue, 29 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 07 (0 comments)
went to McDonald's to have my breakfast on day day 07. inside the restaurant sat an very old woman who soon started to talk to me (in perfect british english, though she was asian). we were talking a while, then she started palm-reading of my hand (of course not for free, but less than a "professional" one would charge). actually what she told me was all kind of stuff she could have guessed by just observing me and talking to me for a few minutes (which she actually did). but a little pushing for the ego is never a bad idea. so i enjoyed listening to all the stuff like i'm intelligent, wise (she might be assuming this by our previous conversation we had), i'm artistically gifted (though i wonder how she found out this one. maybe because of my huge camera bag?), and i will marry at an old age (well i am travelling alone and i'm not 20 anymore), i have a well going career in my job (yes, at least i can afford a stay in hong kong for a longer time), and i'm rather observing and introverted than extroverted (well, yop, she was talking most of the time), i'm friendly and open minded (yop, again, that's why i want to visit "exotic" countries and have dread locks). and so on... but all in all this was a very nice chat with the old lady, who unfortunately refused my plea to take a picture of her. when i left McDonald's it had surprisingly stopped raining. so i changed my plans, and instead of walking through malls or museums, i went to see the "po fuk shan" cemetery and the "man fat sze" temple (aka "the temple of ten thousand buddhas"). to get there i took the MTR and got of at "sha tin". right above the station is a huge mall[013-018]. outside the mall there's a small "snoopy's world"[001-012] park for kids. due to the rain it was actually empty and most of the fair-things were closed anyway. cute to see all the peanuts in 3D and this size.
then i headed on to the "po fuk shan" cemetery[019-063]. the cemetery is huge and has several levels[056,060] that spread all over the hill. at the main hall there was some ceremony[045] going on, but i have no idea what it was for. then i found the usual stuff like golden statues[046,051-052,058-059,061-062] in temples or outside. all those buildings (that could be closed like garages or shops) contained loads of marble plates[055], and there were thousand of them. each of them for one or more relatives.
going back downhill all the cemetery to the main entrance again to get to the next sight, namely "the temple of the ten thousand buddhas", or "man fat sze"[067-175]. although a steep climb up to the monastery it was totally worth it. what you get is really several thousand buddhas. be it life-sized ones on the trail up/down to/from the monastery[067-092,134-142,173], or miniatures [121-131] inside the main temple. this was my first real WTF? experience in hong kong. the temple is really awesome. three walls all filled up with tiny buddha-statues. then there's a smaller glass case[130] again with several hundred buddhas inside. and then there are those three cones[129] with small buddhas inside too. so adding up all those buddhas that might really make it to ten thousand. totally impressive and fascinating. please note that all the life sized buddhas were unique. also most of the ones placed in the walls and in the cone were unique. i wish someone would have made such a temple with cats. wooooo, ten thousand cats - i would die in aweness instantly.
the trail is not finished yet at the main temple. instead again a steep walk up to another temple (or whatever it is/was) again with life sized and coloured statues to each side of the path [135-142].
at the end i found some abandoned buildings[145-153] again (yuhu!) and it seems i found the place where they repair the broken statues. at least some of the ones standing up there were (partially) damaged or disassembled. i'm still not sure if this was really meant for the public or if i took a wrong turn somewhere. the place was a mess, but i totally liked it. but, you might have guessed it, this was still not the end of the path. again up the hill i ended at a statue garden[161] and a huge white statue[162-163] with a lovely dragon[164] in front of a waterfall. totally impressive and nice. but this time, this was really the highest point one could go.
since i left the main temple i was totally alone (and on the way up to the courtyard i saw only about five people all in all). i explored the abandoned houses again on my way down, when i noticed it was only 15 minutes left until the temple closes. i saw gates along the way up. so i hurried to not end up locked in this place. but... ahm... too late. all gates were already closed. the only being here besides me was a barking dog. but it ran some other way (actually i was quite glad about that). so i was locked in, totally alone, and it got darker every minute. great. since i've seen a way i have not walked yet when i was wandering the courtyard i decided to exit there so that at least i would not miss something important just because i was locked in. it turned out to be a good choice because the barbwire at exactly this exit was pretty lose, so i could partially remove it, and then hop over the fence to land safely about two metres lower. puh, lucky me. down the way were another few hundred buddhas[173]. once more totally nice. oh, and i saw another cat [176].
i wanted to go home since i really was tired now from all the climbing. but the day was not over yet. i got on a MTR train and thought "oh, this train cabin looks so different. so few people and... hm... what does this sign say? first class'? aha, interesting.". so i thought i'm wrong here, and wanted to get off again when suddenly three MTR-employees were going to each passenger asking them to put their octopus-card on some card reader. so did i. then the guy told me i did not pay for first class. ahm... yop, i never intended to go on first class. well, we got off the next station and he explained to me that i have to enable my octopus card for a first class ride before i get on the train. fines may be up to 500HKD (~50EUR) if you don't do so. damn. then he asked for an ID. but i had none, since my wallet got wet the day before so i left it at home so it could get dry. also this was illegal. fines here could rise even higher he told me. well... guess i looked so totally exhausted and tired that this really nice and kind MTR guy said i get a warning and do not have to pay. guess my apologies and surprised looks were convincing him that i really did not know better. so he showed me where to charge my card so i could go on first class. pretty expensive actually, but i was very willing to pay only the extra charge instead of the fines. as a sign of good will on my side (though no one noticed that since the MTR guys already left the station for some other trains) i travelled the rest of my way home in second class trains (though it was charged for first one for this trip). quite exciting day... if only the fortune teller lady would have told me that in the morning...

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Mon, 28 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 06 (0 comments)
well, who would have guessed... yesterday i bought sun cream for my face, since i had a sunburn, and today there's a typhoon warning T1. this means no sun, a lot of rain, high humidity, and, and that's the good side of it, falling temperatures. so today it had about 26 degrees celsius, which is - compared to the average 30 to 35 degrees so far - very acceptable to me. but... no need for sun cream anymore. but unaware of the typhoon warning T1 is started my trip to "lan tau" island, thinking the rain would go away soon (as known it from austria). but it turned out i was wrong. so this day was ok for me, but a huge threat to my poor camera. my lenses grew damped, the body was exposed to a lot of water. but it seems it survived this day. bad thing is... it looks like the typhoon will stay for a few days. so maybe tomorrow i will make it easier for my camera and go to a few museums. we'll see... at the MTR station there's the entrance to the cable car system called "ngong ping 360"[002-026,161-170], that takes one right to the "po lin" monastery, the biggest (sitting) bronze buddha statue in the world, and a bone relict of buddha.
when i left the cable car cabin it was raining quite a lot, and an australian told me this will not change for today. so i started my tour to the buddha statue[031-033,045-049,053-054,061-063]. 200 steps[028-031,055-056] lead up to the big statue and the museum[042-044] inside the statue.
inside the museum of course no photography was allowed. and the bone relic would have only been visible through a magnifying glass, but it was locked away in a glass case anyway. so the closest i could get to it, was about four metres. i didn't see the piece of the bone. too sad. next to the statue there's a monastery[067-109] with the monks taking care of the complex. they had vegetarian food[103,107] only offered at the canteen. so i had some sweet-sour, some "pork"-flavoured, and some unknown flavoured tofu pieces. totally delicious and very cheap.
next thing i wanted to go to was "the path of wisdom". but i soon found out i was the only one willing to go this path. so i was walking through a dark and foggy forest, while it was raining heavily down on me. but what i found was worth it. no, not the path of wisdom yet, but an abandoned house[111-132], surrounded by scarecrows[111-113]. pretty spooky scary, but awesome for taking pictures. i just love abandoned buildings.
after exploring the ground floor of the ruin (the stairways to the first floor and basement unfortunately were obstructed) i went on with the seek for my wisdom. "the path of wisdom"[135-142] turns out to be about 38 wood beams, each of them several metres of height. quite impressive in the fog. but again, a little spooky, as i was still all alone. so what does this tell me? i'm all alone in the fog and rain on my path of wisdom? i have no idea.
on my way back[143-146] from enlightenment and wisdom i came by another few abandoned houses[147-158]. again very beautiful, but unfortunately inaccessible. when going back again to the MTR station via the cable car it was really foggy and windy. the cabin[161-170] was shaking and sometimes visibility was limited to about 15 metres. another spooky event, since once more i was alone, this time in the cabin. but... i found a McDonald's near my hotel. so, tomorrow i will have breakfast there. yippieh!

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Sun, 27 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 05 (0 comments)
i think i had a sunstroke yesterday. i really felt miserable today in the morning. so i spent all day resting, sleeping, and drinking gallons of water (as every day). in the evening i felt much better again, so i decided to watch the "symphony of light". it's a light show that is the largest permanent light show in the world and thus is listed in the guinness book of records. 44 buildings on both sides of victoria harbour are included in this multimedia spectacle. additionally there's sound involved which can be heard either via radio or at the area around the "HK cultural centre" (cf. day 02, [047-066]). impressive light show since all lasers and (search)lights are coordinated with the music.
independent of this event, a lot of buildings have animated light fronts. really amazing to watch. i really love the sea-front in victoria harbour. be it day or night. good night.

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Sat, 26 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 04 (0 comments)
today, day 04, i went to "wan chai"/"causeway bay". they nice old trams there[001-002], and the area is not plain. instead all the skyscrapers are built all over the hills, and quite often there's also unused green wood areas. right next to the MTR (the metro) is the "tin hau" temple[008-023]. there were no "no photography" signs, and since there was another tourist in there taking pictures i thought that's a good chance of finally getting pictures of the inside of a temple. this one was quite typical and (for my eyes) looked exactly the same as the other ones i have already visited. the only difference is size.
my guide book said there should be another temple near "tin hau" temple, but actually i didn't find it. too bad. so i went on to "victoria park"[027-035], a big park with loads of green areas, a separate jogging lane, and other stuff like a model boat area[043]. after taking the exit on "gloucester street"[044-051] and walking around some side streets i was searching for the "noon day gun". the gun is located right on the seaside, but between me and the gun there was "gloucester street" and no pedestrian crossing. since my guide said there's a subway somewhere i was searching for the usual subway signs. but this subway was very different. the entrance was totally hidden (i had to ask twice where it is, since i didn't find it, though i was standing only a few metres away when i asked the second time). so first step is to go partially through the underground car park[052], then following long hallways with sea-water pipes[053-054] until you finally reach the other side. quite strange, but i did it. the gun[056] itself was a little disappointing then actually (for all the effort i had to take).
next thing i wanted to see was the "HK convention and exhibition centre" (aka "HKCEC"), the huge building i saw on day 02 ([067]) from the other side of the harbour. on my way there i came by the "chinese resource centre" that has some nice dragon things like a fountain[070-072,078-080] and a wall[081-084] on the ground floor. very impressive and totally nice.
and so finally i arrived at the "HKCEC"[086-107] that somehow reminded me of the opera house in sidney. at the centre there was still the jewellery and gems fair that is now ongoing for days. i often see people running around with access passes and jewellery related catalogues or shopping bags.
to get back to "tsim sha tsui" i took the ferry[108-110]. it took me about eight minutes to get back there. quite fast, quite cheap, and definitely nice. so i went home, took a shower, changed cloths and was heading for "mongkok" (been already there on day 03) to meet with Monique and a friend of hers, Winnie. Monique is a pen friend of jake's girlfriend Andrea. Andrea wrote her an email and asked if i could get a guide for one day, and she agreed. later Monique's husband Derrick joined us. we were strolling around went to a soya restaurant. they had all kind of tofu stuff there. like a sweet soya bean thing that reminded me of pudding somehow. then some deep-fried tofu, and some other deep-fried tofu thing with a fish paste layer on top of it. all very delicious and very healthy i guess.
next thing they showed me was "temple street"[115-126]. though i've already been there, this time all the shops were opened and the market was full of life. they had all kind of stuff there. from clothes to electronic things and hello kitty stuff for the kids. strange, yet fascinating mixture. oh, and here i saw the first cat on hongkong! actually i saw four all in all.
then we decided to go to the "HK jockey arts club"[127-128,138-143], a place that houses studios of loads of artists. one of them was specialised in glass production[129-137]. and we had the chance to watch him doing his art. it was time for dinner. so my very friendly asian guides asked me where i want to go, and i decided (of course) for traditional local restaurant. so they brought me to some area where there was no other caucasian being besides me. at the restaurant[144-145] Derrick ordered something for all of us. they brought goose with sweet-sour sauce[147], rice mixed with dried shrimps[148], vegetables with garlic sauce[149], chicken with onions[150], and this pot[153] full of weird things. in there was pig liver, pig hind gut, and frog-legs. though i knew how liver tastes the rest was new to me. the hind gut was not my thing, but the frog-legs were quite delicious.
after we finished eating and drinking we drove back to "nathan street", once more passed by the "temple street market"[152-168] and finally split up at "nathan road". this was a very nice and enlightening evening with three inhabitants of hong kong. thanks very much to them.

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Fri, 25 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 03 (0 comments)
day 03 of my trip to an exceptional city of china. on my plan: "kowloon park" (which i didn't visit yesterday although it's just around the corner of my hotel), "yau ma tei" and "mong kok", and "wong tai sin". good thing: i found a MacDonald's in kowloon park. bad thing: they don't have croissants. just "choco-pies". oh well... one day i will find my perfect breakfast here in hongkong. i hope. kowloon park was full of life. it was full of old people doing all kind of activities, such as "qi gong", "tai ji quan", or... honestly, i have no idea what they actually did. but it's the cliche of china: old people doing exercises in parks. that's exactly what i got. and it was fun watching them. some where really elegant, smooth, and such[019], others where... quite the opposite. but, everybody was physically active, and that's what counts i guess. some in groups[022-023], some alone[044], but everyone with total devotion. some even had swords[024-026], some had fans[028-029,032-033]. others played instruments[005-006] and/or sang[009] (both can be weapons too).
besides old and/or active people there are loads of birds and turtles (and other animals such as dragonflies and parrots and pigeons in cages) in and around the ponds.
quite close to the park was "tin hau" temple[056-065], a very small temple, where taking pictures was prohibited (as usual inside the temples). the way back[066-067] to the closest underground station brought me through the skyscraper valleys back to the main street of "tsim sha tsui", namely "nathan road". i will from now on try to reduce skyscraper photography as you might, by now, have already found out that they are... huge. and everywhere. and ugly. most of them. some are nice[049] and modern[050] though.
the metro brought me straight to "wong tai sin" station, where one can find the "sik sik yuen wong tai sin" temple[072-140] - a huge temple complex. since japan has taught me i dig temples (and shrines), this was my little heaven in hongkong (and a rather time consuming one). but before i went to the temple i cooled down a little in a close by mall called "wong tai sin mall"[068-071,141-147]. i started my temple tour in front of the main temple(s) where there are two floors full of soothsayer's booths[073]. loads of them were occupied, most of them with couples. quite interesting actually. next stop was a huge garden called the "good wish garden"[074-127]. again turtles, dragonflies, and huge fish were all over the place. very peaceful, very quiet, almost no people there - absolutely wonderful and impressive.
now it was finally time to enter the main temple. inside the temple buddhisms, taoisms, and confucianisms is practiced. thus there were quite a lot of people, having tons of incense sticks lit. inside the temple buildings there's always so much smoke of them, i always get a little dizzy when being in there for a longer time. i guess the people working there are on those incense stick drugs all day long. must be the reason they all were so very friendly to me all the time.
to get some water and onigiris (didn't know they have them here too) i went back to the mall. in there i found a small market, where they sold things like fish-slices, chicken-something and salted raw, fried and deep-fried fish. same with beef, where they had dark-red slices of meat. looked strange and unknown to me. also they had beef tripe on a stick. very... not delicious.
i think i will get a t-shirt saying "want no suit, got apartment". whenever i'm on "nathan road" (on which my hotel is) all kind of guys ask me whether i want a suit (tailor made of course) or if i need an apartment. honestly, do i look like a guy that needs or even wants a suit? and if i would need an apartment, shouldn't i somehow have some luggage with me? unfortunately this is really annoying. but i guess that's the price for the low budget hotel. worth to pay actually.

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Thu, 24 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 02 (0 comments)
having plenty of sleep i felt totally fit on day 02. so, according to the tradition when i was in japan, i was searching for a MacDonald's restaurant to have black coffee and croissants. unfortunately i haven't found one. instead i ended up at a starbuck's cafe, full of americans (or english?). so i had a tall americano (following the tradition i started on my america trip) and a blueberry muffin for breakfast. i decided to explore my neighbourhood today, called "tsim sha tsui". first stop was "1881 heritage"[001-015], a former marine police headquarter, which is an old victorian building. today there are all kind of luxury shops in there. first time i got strange looks today because i definitely didn't fit in there. near by was a construction site, and skyscrapers. but skyscrapers are actually everywhere. almost all of them are old, ugly, and huge, but somehow that's something typical for hongkong i guess.
next i took a walk along the waterfront[016-046], where one really has an awesome view on the skyline of hongkong. during the day i always went to shopping malls from time to time to enjoy the cool air inside, since outside it's really hot. though there's always strong wind it still is hot. inside the "harbour city"[022] mall there were all kind of luxury stores again. second time i got strange looks today.
some special things (amongst the really fabulous view on the other islands) along the waterfront are the old clock tower[049] (unfortunately not open to public), stuff at or in the "HK cultural centre"[047-089], and the "Avenue of stars"[090-120], where all kind of chinese movie-stars have their names and sometimes their hand prints on the ground, just as in los angeles. notice the construction site using bamboo for building scaffolds[115-117,126].
next i came by the HK polytechnic university[130-137], a very huge campus with loads of buildings and loads of students. a totally busy and crowded place.
on my search for a temple i had to leave the usual tourist roads, and thus ended up in areas where i was the only non-asian person there. still i felt totally safe. was nice seeing a little bit of the non official hongkong. the buildings got even more decayed, the pavements got narrower. that was the third time i got strange looks today. the temple itself was quite strange (compared to the ones i know from japan) and taking pictures was not allowed. too sad, as it was quite a nice one (though very compact, as it was only one room. last stop for today was "whampoa plaza"[149-157], which actually is located in the area called "hunghom". "whampoa plaza" is a shopping mall that is built inside a ship. so within narrow streets, ugly skyscrapers stands a ship, far away from the water. pretty weird, but nice shops inside. chinese people seem to share a lot of stuff they like with japanese people, like the moomins, hello kitty, relakkuma, doraemon, and loads of other stuff i know from japan. in a bookstore i found another book of "chi's sweet home" from which i bought one book in japan, one in america (in an japanese bookstore), and this one here in hongkong (though i think it's translated and not original japanese anymore. not sure though). some more trips and i have them all.
there are ads all over the city that say something about a "dress special day", which will be held on the 30th of september. too bad i don't have special clothes. i wonder what this day will look like...

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Wed, 23 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 01 (0 comments)
HK. no, this time not "hello kitty", but rather hong kong, the first day. long journey to get here. linz to munich, munich to hongkong. all in all an 16 hour trip with about 13 hours of flight. unfortunately no free wifi on the airports in linz nor munich. the legroom on the plane from munich to hongkong was surprisingly ok, still i did not get a lot of sleep. instead i watched movies like "star trek XI", "angels and demons", "night at the museum: battle of the smithsonian", and "monsters vs. aliens". the rest of the flight i spent eating, drinking, or sleeping. at the airport people were very friendly and nice. i got my "octopuss card" which is an convenient way of getting around. you charge the card with a certain amount and then don't have to worry about coins, but just hold the octopuss card to some card reader, and you're done. recharging can be done at any station or grocery store (at least the lady who sold it to me said so). hongkong (so far) is so totally different from tokyo. here i really get the impression that it's a mega-city. narrow streets and all of them are totally crowded - there are people everywhere. but that's only my first impression so far, since my hotel is located in one of the busiest districts in hongkong, namely "tsim sha tsui". the hotel itself actually is also quite... let's call it unique. i'd suggest you read the wikipedia site for the building to get an impression. now i'm tired and having headache. but i try to stay awake a few more hours to get back into the normal day-night-cycle. tap water has chlorine smell, still i will take a shower now and then go to bed.

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Sat, 05 Sep 2009
ars electronica festival, day 03 (0 comments)
a performance at the brucknerhaus by prix ars winner lawrence malstaf was my first thing to see on day 03 he and two girls get vacuum packed between layers of transparent PVC. the result is quite strange and fascinating at the same time. people hanging and being forced into a certain pose.
next attraction of the day was the presentation of the creatures for the klangwolke to the public on the main square. loads of animals, loads of people, and as usually loads of press and media people there. yet a very nice spectacle, since all the people of linz seemed to be involved by this huge project. really nice to see the creators of the animals make their puppets move and behave almost as the real animals would do. there were the snails crossing a big street with heavy traffic at a very slow speed, whereas leopards are running around quite fast making huge leaps, scaring off children.
once all the animals were spread all over the town i went to the university of arts again to take a closer look at the exhibits again. a girl was really giving a great performance at the headbanger-hero game. was great fun watching. also i examined the MIT stuff a little closer.
next stop was the lentos museum that has a newly opened exhibition called "see this sound". very weird stuff (actually too weird for me sometimes) in there. will have to go there again one day because they closed the museum and i could not manage to see all the stuff in there. funny thing: all museums were for free with the festival-pass, even the hoehenrausch exhibition in the OK which usually costs around seven euros even with the insider-ticket for linz09). but not this exhibition. it would have cost four euros with the festival-pass, but it's for free with the linz09 insider ticket. pretty confusing pricing policies they have.
finally, at 21:00 the klangwolke started and all the animals had their big appearance. unfortunately i did not have the best point of view so i was mainly listening to the music and watching the fireworks. nonetheless a magnificent spectacle and a great idea to involve the citizens that much with the creatures.

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Fri, 04 Sep 2009
ars electronica festival, day 02 (0 comments)
day 02 of the ars electronica festival started at at the AEC for me, since hiroshi ishiguro was at the museum. a good chance to see the gemini roboter and the creator at the same time. the roboter is quite scary and creepy actually, but also very fascinating at the same time.
on the main square was a huge sphere showing all kind of japanese games. i decided to go there and take a look at the games. this exhibition actually was a little disappointing since i was expecting top-notch games or would be able to get a glimpse on new technologies, trends, or developments. but this was not the case. all games one could try out there were current games that you could buy at any electronic market nowadays. but at least there were quite a lot of japanese people there, among them a tv-crew that interviewed people there (strange enough the interviews were in german).
afterwards i was heading to the brucknerhaus again to take a closer look at the exhibits there since i was quite in a rush on the first day and only had a quick glimpse on them. nice thing about the brucknerhaus was that they had a free wireless network there too (as almost every location of the ars electronica festival.
since the ars electronica gala was about to start at 18:30 i was staying at the brucknerhaus, met some old friends and had a few coffees. thanks to michele i had a ticket for the gala. the gala was like every year (i guess), but one gets a good overview of all the submissions, nominations, and winners. afterwards an excellent buffet and free drinks. nomnom and kampai!
when i left the brucknerhaus heading back to the AEC quarter the fassadenfestival already started. artists had the opportunity to take over the front of the AEC building. the FM4 radio crew had already started with their performance called "FM4 signs & signals". the sound came from the speakers used for the klangwolke that were placed at the riverbanks of the danube. excellent sound and nice visuals - finally the LED-front of the AEC was used properly.

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Thu, 03 Sep 2009
ars electronica festival, day 01 (0 comments)
yow, again it's the time of the year where linz gets flooded with all kind of more or less weird people - artists, that is - as it's ars electronica festival time again. i started day 01 in the brucknerhaus to fetch my festival pass. there were already a lot of artists with their projects and exhibits. besides urine treatment to make it drinkable water again, strange fossil creatures, and a shoe made of flesh and skin there was loads of other weird and awesome stuff. next stop was the opening of the exhibition on the second floor of the ars electronica center with a focus on japanese artists. again loads of strange and fascinating stuff and a lot of media and press people. since it was quite crowded in there i decided to go on to the AEC quarter, which is located outside on the huge concrete area next to the AEC.
next i rushed to the opening at the kunstuniversitaet. they had an area with works from the MIT lab and another area with works from local artists. the opening itself was like a baroque ball with people with masks and beautiful dresses and suits. unfortunately most of the MIT stuff was behind glass-cubes and not interactive at all. too sad, too bad. funny things one could see there was a headbanger-hero and a hello-kitty game.
on the third and fourth floor (but actually not allowed for the public, but i sneaked in) of the kunstuniversitaet were the self-made animals for the klangwolke ("die flut") which will take place in a few days. rooms full with boars, snails, sharks, leopards, lions, gorillas, crows, unicorns... no wait, no unicorns, but dinosaurs were up there. very impressive what people made there (they were already working on those animals since may).
next opening took place at the OK. to get there it usually takes about five minutes by bike. but it starting raining cats (meow) and dogs just when i got out of the art university. so this tour took me a little longer and i was totally wet. i got soaked to the skin. but the shower was worth it - another bunch of awesome exhibits on the reopened first floor of the OK. most impressive stuff to me was a plotter that was (ab)used to write the bible with a calligraphic pen. it took the machine four lines to draw a simple "a", for example. another nice thing to watch was the "nemo observatorium", a transparent PVC cylinder with styrofoam beads in it that get blown around and form random patterns inside the cylinder.

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Fri, 14 Aug 2009
the old mill in hagenberg (0 comments)
i finally made it to the old mill ruin in hagenberg. it's only a few minutes walk from the castle to get there. i took my tripod and wanted to see this location i had seen on pictures so many times myself at last and, of course, take some pictures there. unfortunately the area was pretty overgrown with stinging nettles, so i could not reach my favourite point to take pictures from. instead i was more or less mowing with my tripod to get a little area free of the plants where i can place my tripod. the ruin itself was pretty nice, but way smaller than i thought it would be. nonetheless it was worth the walk there. on my way back i took some pictures of the church tower and spire (with some lens experimenting as you can see on some pictures).

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Sun, 02 Aug 2009
a trip to schaunburg (0 comments)
another trip with the aim of spreading cultural asset amongst american people. this time not only erin (and jake), but also jake's parents (and his girlfriend). so what would be better than some medieval ruins? nothing. thus we decided to go to schaunburg. i think all of the foreign guests were pretty impressed. be it by the castle itself, the nice overview on the highest platform, or something else. after the trip to the ruins we drove to eferding to a local mostbauern. the meal was excellent (though too many wasps) and way too much for the six of us. after a little chill-out (with a cute cat) at jake and andrea's house, we drove back to linz.

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Wed, 22 Jul 2009
a trip to steyr (0 comments)
in order to get our american guest a little more into austrian culture and history jake and i decided to take erin to steyr. since jake has been living there for several years, he was the perfect guide for this very old town. so went along the river, through old castles, buildings, and streets, got so see some preparations and rehearsal for an open air classics concert with loads of japanese orchestra ladies with all kind of instruments. since it was very hot we decided to go to the place where the two rivers steyr and enns join to have our feet cooled down in the cold refreshing water. at the river bank we saw a cute little kitty that was brought there by a woman. the cat was exploring the area very cautious and was watching us suspiciously. of course i could not resist to take some pics of that little creature. on our way back to the car we also came by a playground where erin and jake had some fun with a little carousel. we then decided to have a short break in enns to drink some coffee at the main square of the town. was a nice day-trip with a lot of fun.

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Sun, 05 Jul 2009
another visit to vienna (0 comments)
been to vienna again, but this time with some friends from russia, called olga and dimas. i brought some linzertorte as a welcome present and in return got some russian red wine. a taste experience of a very special kind. we started this day by going to the prater. of course we got on the big ferris wheel and got a very nice overview of the prater. there we went to a running sushi restaurant, where olga's sister was using chop-sticks for the very first time in her life. was quite fun watching her. later we went back to the center of vienna. another very nice trip to vienna.

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Sat, 20 Jun 2009
visit to vienna (0 comments)
been to vienna today with erin and jake. first jake and i visited a huge music store. on several floors they have all kind of instruments, it was really impressive. after jake has decided on a hi-hat we met with erin and went to the museum quarter. we were stralling around then and saw a parade of vegetarians. next stop was the stephansdom. our last stop was some american bar where we had american beer. was a nice day in vienna.

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Sun, 31 May 2009
mogwai (0 comments)
^C: mogwai, donaupark linz
yes! i am a long way from home hunted by a freak mogwai fear satan i'm jim morrison, i'm dead summer i love you, i'm going to blow up your school auto rock batcat friend of the night new paths to helicon, pt. 1 2 rights make 1 wrong we're no here

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Sun, 12 Apr 2009
chicago, day 10 (0 comments)
last day for us in america. packing our stuff, driving back from milwaukee to chicago's airport "o'hare". saying goodbye to erin, getting on the aeroplane, flying to amsterdam, flying on to munich, getting our shuttle taxi bus back home. doing the laundry, and finally sleeping for 17 hours. absolutely nice trip, thanks to everyone involved. in the middle of the trip jake asked me for summing up the whole stay in one word that would include most of my impressions and describes the whole america trip best. i should tell him on the last day, which is today. so i spent the last few days thinking about it whenever i had time for it, and finally chose this word: "revealing".

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Sat, 11 Apr 2009
chicago/milwaukee, day 09 (0 comments)
after the usual breakfast habits today was the big day for the baseball fans in milwaukee and those from chicago. the second baseball match in this season, playing the chicago "cubs" versus the milwaukee "brewers" in the "miller parks" stadium. the game started around 18:00, still we have been at the parking lot at about 14:00 due to some american tradition called "tailgating". this means that the parking lot gets filled by all the people that want to see the game later on and then they start to put up their grill and start to play little games, barbecuing, drinking, and talking with other people at the tailgate party. so we bought some meat (brat, burger, sausages, etc), buns for all the meat, beer, and other useful stuff for the party. although on this day we had the best weather during our trip, it was still a little cold if one did not stand right next to the grill. nonetheless the people had fun, both cubs and brewers fans, and really no one kicks up a row (at least i saw no one). we were amongst the first ones to get to the parking lot, but once we had parked our cars, the lot quickly got crowded and within 15 minutes there was party all around us. after a while i forgot why i actually came here. but fortunately the others reminded me of the game and so we went to the stadium. there were about 45000 people in the stadium but it didn't seem to be fully sold out. entering the stadium and finding our seats was quite easy, everything was well arranged by the organisers. although everybody tried their best to explain the game to me i didn't fully understand it i guess. but it was a nice experience to see the masses of people cheering their teams. the typical american way of doing things it was all a massive spectacle, with fireworks, mascots sliding down a slide, all kind of contests for the audience, tons of advertisements with cars driving through the arena, a sausage-race, and of course... some baseball. most interesting thing is that in the stadium the fans are not divided by the teams they cheer but rather share the same seat rows. while in austria this would lead to a massive violent brawl, here it was quite peaceful. once i saw someone throwing empty plastic bottles but within a few seconds security guys were all around and removed the mischief. the cubs won, just in case you were wondering. leaving the stadium was also a very relaxing thing. not too crowded, no holdups, just one little fight that was ended pretty fast by the friends around the two fighters. again, very impressive - all of it. later we - as usual - went to a bar and had a few drinks. anthony, the guy who offered his apartment to us for two nights sleeping there (thanks to him once more!), knew a bar where they played 70s songs.

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Fri, 10 Apr 2009
chicago/milwaukee, day 08 (0 comments)
since michael had to do some stuff at the university of milwaukee that's where we spent most of our day. walked around on the campus, having a coffee and playing billiard. in the evening we've been to the frontlake brewery tour where they show you the brewery and you can try several beers. afterwards we had fried fish on good friday (seems to be some kind of tradition here i guess). afterwards we went to some bars and pubs again. no pics from this day since i left my cam at home.

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Thu, 09 Apr 2009
chicago/milwaukee, day 07 (0 comments)
today we went to a japanese mall since erin knows i like japanese stuff so much. there was a bookstore included where i bought another "chi's sweet home" book. i bought one in tokyo and i really like the way it's drawn. then there was the food store where they had all those original japanese stuff. this all was like a travel back in time when i was in tokyo. all those goods where you don't know what's inside since you can't read the labels or ingredients lists. i really enjoyed that. they also had those sushi and maki sets which i loved so much, so i had one for dinner. in the next shop i bought some chopsticks with a lucky cat on it for one dollar - very cheap and very cute. after the mall we drove to milwaukee, which took us about an hour to get there. we stopped at the lakefront side and enjoyed a coffee and a walk on the beach. later on we went to some bars and had a few beers.

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Wed, 08 Apr 2009
chicago/new york, day 06 (0 comments)
while michael had some scrambled eggs in a wrap again, i tried something totally different: fruits for breakfast. though quite expensive the fruits were really delicious. i got some kiwi, oranges, melons, grapes, and pineapples. then we were heading for central park and walked down 5th avenue. a shopping street with almost only shops for luxury goods like gucci, cartier, prada, tiffany and other stuff no men would need. instead i forced michael to enter a disney store since i wanted to look for some "bolt"-cat (don't know the cat's name) merchandising articles, but they had none. instead all the stuff for kids that will turn them into little princesses or pirates, etc. though this one was not such a colour-flash as the one i've visited in paris/france. next stop was an apple store (i guess it's the one that appears in an simpon's episode). then we arrived at the central park. quite a very huge park and we only walked about two thirds of it, passing by several lakes. at the "jacqueline kennedy onassis reservoir" lake we left all the cute little squirrels, exiting the park to stand right in front of the "guggenheim museum" (well known from a scene in the "the international" movie. nice thing about the museum is that you do not need to pay to walk through the building on the ground floor. so that's what we did. after a ride with the underground we arrived at "china town", an area where you can almost only find signs and shop-banners in chinese. absolutely wonderful (though unfortunately not japanese), since it reminded me so much of japan - strange signs everywhere and you have no idea what they say or what the shops are about. close to china town we ended at our last goal for today, namely "brooklyn bridge". now, on the sixth day of my stay it's time for some random facts about americans: there are less fat people than i expected. food tends to be very fatty and comes in way too big portions. in restaurants there are almost always sugared soft drinks only. there's rarely (mineral) water offered too. ice is added to every drink they serve. starbucks has quite good coffee. there are american flags everywhere, be it flying or printed somewhere. americans are very friendly. water from the tap always had a taste of chlorine so far.

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Tue, 07 Apr 2009
chicago/new york, day 05 (0 comments)
this morning we had some typical american breakfast again. michael had his scrambled eggs, i had my pancakes. then we went to manhattan, seeing stuff like hudson river (no plane landing on this day unfortunately), the huge ground zero construction site, wall street. we actually walked most of the time so this took us all day. when returning home we tried a typical hot dog from those take away thingies as known from all the movies and/or series. additionally we have been to the "world's largest camera superstore in the world" called "B&H". so nothing much to write here, but a day full of nice impressions from the big apple.

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Mon, 06 Apr 2009
chicago/new york, day 04 (0 comments)
today michael and me had to get up really early in the morning to get to o'hare airport to get our flight to new york city. so we packed our stuff and drove to the airport. we soon found our gate and boarded. the pilot announced that there might be problems with taking off in chicago and landing in new york due to delays caused by the weather in chicago and new york. but with only a small delay we made it to new york and had no problems landing there. the weather here in new york is warmer than in chicago and it's also not raining all the time. so we went to our hotel that is really close to several sights we visited later like the empire state building (the "king kong" thingie, remember?) where really only a few people went, so we did not have to wait long to get to the observatory floor, or like the time square we found later (actually by accident). new york itself is different to chicago from what i can tell now. it's way more busy and there loads more people. but maybe we are just staying in a busy and crowded area. we'll find out tomorrow. so far i enjoyed new york city. it's actually more or less like you know it from movies and/or series. several WTF-encounters were made so far, like a ferris wheel in a huge "toys'r'us" store near time square. especially nice was seeing the statue of liberty from the airplane, when flying over it and fog around the empire state building within a few minutes when there was sunshine a few moments before. very very nice.

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Sun, 05 Apr 2009
chicago, day 03 (0 comments)
day 03 started with a visit to "stella's diner", a restaurant where we planned to have breakfast in downtown. inside it was just like i expected it. americans eating the fattiest and weirdest things for breakfast like scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, french fries, etc, etc. everything for a good and healthy start of the day. erin, michael, and jake had something typical american, i had waffles with banana and nuts. again a sweet and delicious breakfast for me. afterwards we escorted jake to the amtrak railroad station since he is leaving for iowa to visit his parents. close to the railway station is the "sears tower", currently chicago's tallest building. then it began to hail and snow. according to a cab driver this happened the last time approximately 15 years ago. we decided to have sushi this evening and so erin showed us the "toro sushi" restaurant. a very small sushi restaurant which was full when we arrived, so the waitress offered to call us if there will be a table available for us. so we went to a nearby bar and had a beer there. the nice thing about "toro" is that you can bring your own booze. since we went to a japanese restaurant we decided to get some sake at a nearby liquor-store. the maki they had there were a little americanised it seemed to me. they had more filling looked a little fancier than usually maki looks at a japanese restaurant and it also tasted very spicy. i had a bento box with salmon teriyaki and sushi. it was delicious. near the sushi bar we also found an austrian bakery selling all kind of sweets and pies like they do in austria. unfortunately the shop owner was not present at that time, as an employee told us. we bought some apfel-, and topfen-strudel, and "michael's weekend special" (biscuit and chocolate, and some more sweet stuff). we wanted to keep this for breakfast for the next day, day 04. after that we went home in the snowfall in april.

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Sat, 04 Apr 2009
chicago, day 02 (0 comments)
today in the morning erin made quiche for us. since i do not eat quiche in the morning she additionally made me some kind of apple-pie. sweet and delicious. the weather was fine today (not too warm, not too cold) and the sun was shining. then we were walking for a few minutes to get to the "great lake" ("lake michigan"). next we headed on to the "wrigley's stadium" which seems to be quite famous. but since i don't know anything about baseball at all it was just an ordinary stadium to me. then we went to a bar called "goose island bar" and drank some american ale beer. same we did at the "sheffield" bar. afterwards we went to a "macey's" store where they had a very impressive ceiling with all kind of adornments. right next to the store is "millenium park" with the so called "bean" - a huge sphere with a reflecting surface, which really looks nice and interesting. especially with all the skyscrapers reflecting on the surface. next we went to a mac-store since michael wanted to buy some iStuff. later we got hungry so we went to "chipotley", some kind of a burrito fast-food-restaurant. so you choose some basic type of burrito you like and then add some ingredients of your choice. quite delicious. then we continued our walk through chicago and came to the "water tower" a tower that was the only building remaining after a huge fire broke out in the 19th century. before returning to erin's apartment we went to another bar on clark street. americans have all kind of different flavoured beer of stout and ale. and of course beer from belgium and germany.

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Fri, 03 Apr 2009
chicago, day 01 (0 comments)
day 01 started at 05:30 (05:30) in linz when jake, michael, and me met to get on the transfer-shuttle-bus to munich's airport. our first flight was from munich to amsterdam, which took us about one and a half hours. in amsterdam we had our security-interview for going to the united states, like if everything in our luggage is from us, or if someone gave us things to bring to america, etc. after two hours spending on amsterdam's airport we got on the plane to minneapolis. a flight that took us eight and a half hours. there were some movies for killing time, like "the day the world stood still" (my rating: "ok"), "slumdog millionaire" (my rating: "nice"), and "suspect x" (my rating: "wonderful"). in minneapolis we had our immigration-stuff done like leaving our finger-prints, having a photo taken of us, answering questions like "where do you go? chicago. where do you stay? at friends. where do you know them from? from austria. they're americans? yes. what where they doing in austria. working. what's your job. system-administration. system-administration? yes, repairing computers [remark: i wanted to keep it simple here]. ok, thank you, welcome to america. thank you.". additionally we had to fill out loads of forms, which we actually already had filled out online days ago. the lady said there were problems with this online-stuff so we had to fill out the paper-form too. additionally they had a cute little dog there that was sniffing for (most probably) drugs, food, plants, etc - all agricultural and illegal stuff you're not allowed to bring to the united states. i later found out that i still had my apples in my rucksack. so no good job by the dog, but actually i don't blame him, in fact i'm glad he just ignored my apples, because by that time the three of us were already pretty exhausted and tired. but there was still one last flight we had to take, namely from minneapolis to chicago, which took us approximately another hour and we finally arrived at 21:00 local time. in chicago erin was waiting at the airport and we all drove to her place where we will spend the next few days. there we drank some strange american beer, and finally went to bed at 01:00 local time, which would be 07:00 in austria. i was happy when i got to sleep.

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Sat, 14 Feb 2009
flickR photowalk (0 comments)
though i'm not really an active user of the flickR services, i once got an account and joined the photowalk group of linz which was founded by magrolino. so today i joined the first photowalk through the desperate concrete area of auwiesen, located in the south of linz. there were about ten people walking through auwiesen and shooting pics of whatever they found in front of their lenses, that was worth to take a picture of. there was loads of waste lying around, a few shopping carts here and there, and a sunk dust bin. was quite fun, entertaining, and a good lecture in how to appreciate the area you are living in. here are some of the impressions i collected today:
more information about the flickR stuff can be found here: linzphotowalks, magrolino, and me.

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Sat, 31 Jan 2009
studio shooting (0 comments)
today i have been to the coached shooting at the "cash-photos" studio in linz. it was about getting familiar with the studio-equipment such as flashes, lightboxes, etc. in order to have something to take pictures of there was the model "eva", which was really of great help because she was posing like a pro (and i think she is). this helped to concentrate on the technical side of the shooting. so there was no giving the model orders how to pose, but rather every time i took a picture eva changed to a different pose. quite interesting, informative, and diverting afternoon. here some of the shots i did on this day:
furthermore the links to model eva, cash-photos' site (where one can book the studio).

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Thu, 29 Jan 2009
ITnT 2009 (0 comments)
this year i was at the ITnT again but actually it's getting more and more boring every year. firstly because i did not meet as much people i know as last year, and secondly the girls in weird dresses/costumes/outfits are getting less and less. seems nerds can not be impressed with hot girls that easily any more. hm... seems i am the only one left. the few of the girls were nice and friendly. at the fair i met [sue] and attingo which was very nice. later in the evening i met c-na and cypher which was also very nice and joyful.

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Sun, 25 Jan 2009
ars electronica center, linz09 (0 comments)
for the first time i got closer to the new ars electronica center in linz with the new look for linz09. the outside of the building has loads of tiles, each of it can be lit in a different colour so there are gradients and animations all over the front of the building. quite nice, but i was more fascinated by the patterns the LED lights produce on the boardings of each tile or cell. they produce very nice moiré patterns. so i took pictures of that rather than the building itself, since this is an already well known subject. so, here are some of my impressions of the new AEC building:

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Fri, 02 Jan 2009
strasbourg-trip, day 05 (0 comments)
today the weather was very nice again, with sunshine and enjoyable -5 degrees celsius. so we walked to "petite france", an area in strasbourg with loads of very old half-timbered houses. on our photo walk we also found a shop specialised in beer that offered loads of different beers most of them from belgium and germany, but they also had the japanese "asahi" beer there.
although the buildings are really very nice, after a while all houses and places start to look all the same and familiar. so we finally walked home then and watched another movie. maybe we'll go out later. we'll see...

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Thu, 01 Jan 2009
strasbourg-trip, day 03 and day 04 (0 comments)
not really much to tell besides a nice new year's eve party on the 31st and a nice hangover on the 01st of january in 2009. we were watching loads of movies and relaxed the rest of the day. maybe tomorrow there will be some activity and maybe then there will be some pics again. we'll see...

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