Nordhorn, Germany, Europe, 04.01. 2009

Silvester2008ShanghaiIntro: One complete year without update! Sorry, although this was a moving year. Many good and some bad things happened but especially I was moving myself really much. Never before I traveled as much as this year. I barely believe it myself, so I listed most locations, where I have been since my last update one year ago in chronological order (if I remember correctly):

Nordhorn-Duesseldorf-Frankfurt - Shanghai-Guangzhou-Taishan-Zhuhai - Macao - Zhuhai-Taishan-Guangzhou-Xiamen-Shanghai - Frankfurt-Duesseldorf-Karlsruhe-Erlangen-Karlsruhe - Bruxelles - Karlsruhe - Paris - Karlsruhe - Beijing-Tianjin-Huanghua-Beijing-Shanghai-Tianjin-Shanghai - Hong Kong - Shanghai-Tianjin-Beijing - Frankfurt-Duesseldorf-Karlsruhe-Frankfurt - Shanghai - Frankfurt-Karlsruhe-Erlangen-Karlsruhe - Amsterdam - Karlsruhe-Duesseldorf-Nordhorn-Hamburg-Nordhorn-Frankfurt - Athens - Frankfurt-Karlsruhe-Frankfurt - Beijing-Tianjin-Huanghua-Tianjin-Shanghai-Guangzhou-Taishan-Zhuhai - HongKong - Zhuhai-Taishan-Zhuhai - HongKong - Zhuhai-Taishan-Guangzhou-Shanghai-Nanjing-Shanghai - Frankfurt-Karlsruhe-Nordhorn-Berlin-Nordhorn. (Who could imagine that Nordhorn was ever mentioned with Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Athens, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, and so on within one sentence?)

Confused? This makes some 120 hours in the airplane, several hours by train, bus, ship or taxi and in total I traveled some 80.000 km, which equals a trip twice around the world. So here I can just show some few pictures and write short stories about my year 2008. Of course I also leave some private stories for my better friends! ;-)

On arrival in China this year, I first went to Shanghai, but already on early January I took the flight to Guangzhou, where we where picked up by our driver. Guangzhou is a little small town, just 3 times as big as Berlin or 6 times as big as Hamburg. ) By the way, in a small italian restaurant close to the main stadium in the city center, you can get the best Pizza in China! The picture on the left shows the welcome figures for the year of the mouse! On the right hand side is a picture of the new TV tower, which will be one of the tallest towers of the world, when it is finished.


View from Zhuhai to Macao

Zhuhai was one of the first places to travel this year, because we had a project some 60km west. South of Zhuhai is Macao, which can be seen on the left picture. About the right half of the upper left picture is Zhuhai, to the right is Macao. On the right picture I asked for a small snack and they asked: Fish or Chicken? Well, we ordered Chicken and we got Chicken Claws. Mjam.

Zhuhai is not bad though. At least it is much better than the most other places, where we used to work. The town, which I liked more is Macao, and it is most pleasant to walk over from Zhuhai to Macao. Macao is really small and it just takes half a day to walk from the northern top to the bottom of the main island in the south. Macao used to be a Portuguese colony and now it is well known for gambling.

On the left is a singer in one of the bars in the main bar street in Zhuhai. Usually the people are gambling here and playing drinking games.

Close to Zhuhai is Taishan, a small city with roughly one million people. Sounds big to Europeans (Well, Cologne a village of the same size), but when you go there, even european towns with roughly 50.000 people have more to offer. The picture on the bottom to the right is the airport in Guangzhou, which is a major port in China.


This little town is really nice and a good time out from mainland China. One strange thing to Westerners: Even if Macao and Hong Kong belong to China, westerners don't need a Visa, but Chinese need a special passport to go there. To extend the Visa, it is really comfortable to go here. Just exit for a walk on the island, return to the border and get a brand new immigration stamp to renew your Visa (as long as you have a multiple entry visa!)


But this leads us to a much better places just 60 km east across the Pear River delta. Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to my most favorite City in Asia: Hong Kong (followed by Tokyo):

The best ting to me about Hong Kong is the nature and the parks. Sorry? Hong Kong? Nature? Yes, you are reading right. Hong Kong has great parks, mountains, beaches, the sea and so on. Right between the breathtaking skyscrapers are cozy parks. Besides all the parks and mountains and the Sea (I just need to mention this again), also shopping can be a great deal. Lisa is heading for clothes and luxury goods, while I am after Electronics. On my last trip to Hong Kong I grabbed deep into my pockets and I bought a toy, which I have been looking for a long time. This toy also will be a benefit to my web site, because the photos will be much better in future. My new toy: a Nikon D90 DSLR, with a 18-105 VR lens.

Did you know, that Hong Kong has one of the biggest bird populations worldwide? If you are hading for beaches, just take the ferry to Lantau (some 20 minutes) and you can forget about the Caribbean!

Also the view from the Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island is breathtaking. To one side are skyscrapers like mushrooms in the forest, on the other side is the deep forest, so green, that Ireland seems to be pale.

But be aware of the Typhoon season. On the other side, even in december you can have T-Shirt-days and relax with the Flamingos in TsimShaTsui on Kowloon peninsula.

But in Hong Kong at one side it is extremely clean and tidy, on the other side, also some dirty things can be seen. Hong Kong has a great nightlife and also some strange Sex shops (Loverly Flavour Professor???)

Back in Taishan I could enjoy riding the Motorbike of one colleague and also see the surgeries of some chicks. They where awake without any sedatives, the guy cut their chest, opened the skin, cut out something, released the crimps and let the chicks run away.

Tong Gu, the village around the power station could actually be really nice. It has a small lake with old buildings around, but rubbish is widely spread all around.

In this village are a few restaurants, one small massage saloon, one Internet Cafe and some small shops. The door, which directly connected the hotel to the beach last year is now filled up with bricks and concrete. During the last walk to the beach we also saw, that the beach was abandoned and the seashore seemed to be was destroyed by a Typhoon and the construction for the new units.


Xiamen during Chinese New Year:

Xiamen is close to Taiwan and it is actually a really pleasant place. Lisa and me spent the Chinese New Years festival in early february here. You might wonder, that I already wrote quite much about Macao and Hong Kong before, but I have been to Hong Kong three times this year and I put those pictures together.

Xiamen is a city, which is separated into a few islands. The biggest of those Islands is called Piano Island. But as you might know, during the Chinese New Year, almost every Chinese is on the road to visit the relatives and to pray at the temples. Well, Xiamen is also famous for the temples, as you can see on the pictures. Lots of temples and crowds of people.

As I wrote before, Xiamen is close to Taiwan and from Xiamen, some ships do tours to an island in Taiwan, where is written in big letters, that China shall be united. (Could anyone please tell me the correct translation?)

Paris in March

I was lucky, that I had some time to visit my friends in Paris. Actually there is not much to tell about paris, because I didn't spend much time there.


Huanghua, Tianjin und Beijing

This year, shortly before and after the olympic games I could visit Beijing. Not to mention, that Beijing is in a good shape. Also Tianjin is doing well, but if you leave the cities, you end up in villages like Huanghua.

What surprised me the most where the numerous sex shops and prostitutes in this town. You must know, Prostitution is illegal in China, but here it is everywhere and we found more sporting houses than supermarkets and other shops.

To me it was also quite shocking, how dirty this place is. When it was dry, the air was dusty and after the rain, the village was sinking in mud. Garbage was thrown on the street and into the backyard. Only the Hotel was good and a massage place was acceptable. Besides this there was nothing attractive.

Strange are also the trucks on the right hand side. They carry a big weight to the back, which is dropped all few centimeters to tighten the underground. On this picture you also can see the unfruitful ground.



Traveling in China

Several trains from Tianjin to Beijing where cancelled before the olympic games and we had to wait outside with many people to leave. The new airport in Beijing is really impressive though.

Shanghai and Environment

As I wrote at the beginning, we also had to suffer from bad news this year. A close family member passed away. The whole ceremony was quite hard and there is no place to mention it here. But surprisingly for me the final funeral of the ashes in the graveyards, which is shown here, was quite calm. We burned some paper as replacement for money and sacrificed some goods for the world beyond.. Those paper was market as "Heaven Dollar" and " Hell Dollar". But the biggest surprise for me was to find my name on the gravestone as one of the close family members. Lucky though, that it was painted red, which means, that I am alive. When I die, this will be painted black.

Amsterdam (Harlem)

I had one week close to Harlem, which is close to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Harlem has got a really nice old town with lots of channels and lakes. But actually we didn't see much, because the focus was on our work.

Sailing in Greece

Sailing this year was really nice (at least for me). The first and the last day was quite windy and we had big waves, which caused some seasickness to some of the crew. Most of the days in between where too calm for sailing.

Sailing is a great passion of me and I hope, the crew shared the passion with me. Greece for sailing was OK this year, but my most favorite was still Thailand. So the next tour is in preparation more south and more east.

Silvester in Berlin

There is also not so much to tell here, the private pictures will be shared in other places.

After arrival in Nordhorn, we did some Ice skating in the new year and playing Ice hockey. In cold winters, the lakes and even rivers are frozen

Right now I was writing from Nordhorn, next week I will be in Karlsruhe and take the flight to China as soon as possible. Most time of this year I will be in China, but also a project in Korea is scheduled. Anyway, no one knows for sure. Have a great new year and good luck to all of us.

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