Friday, February 27, 2009

The Blue Bible and Free Coffee / San Francisco, USA

A backpacking trip without a guide book would be difficult for me. The blue Lonely Planet books gave me numerous very valuable hints about how a country works. They told me where and when buses leave, recommended some good hostels and gave advice how to avoid the main scams. Unfortunately almost every traveler relies on the Lonely Planet guide books and most of us end up in the same hostels. Sometimes it seemed that hotels or sights don't exist if they are not mentioned in the Lonely Planet.
That brought me to the thought whether a country would disappear completely when all tourists would throw away their Lonely Planets in the same second.
Anyway, this is not what I want to tell you in this posting.

Usually I refer to the blue Lonely Planet book as the 'Blue Bible' because it acts as a guidance for life and even the writing is as small as in a bible. In San Francisco I had a blue bible experience of a sad kind.

I sat in a Starbucks in San Francisco by the window and read in the Lonely Planet for Hawaii, my next stop.
All of a sudden an old homeless guy in rotten cloths entered the shop and sat down on my table. He started asking for some money but I hardly understood anything because he was talking in a very strong accent and he was lacking most of his teeth.
After some seconds two Starbucks employees appeared and asked the guy to leave in a very hard tone.
The homeless man said 'I just wanted to talk to this man. I thought he is a good man because he reads in the bible'.
The waiters almost grabbed the man in his armpits and forced him to leave the shop.
I didn't know what to say.
After two minutes one of the Starbucks guys brought me a free cup of coffee and said 'Sir sorry for this situation. Here is a free Latte for you'.

Damn, there was a homeless guy and a rich tourist and in the end the rich tourist gets free coffee while the poor guy is thrown out.

I looked at my blue bible, felt awful and stopped reading in my blue bible about places the vagabond probably never will see.

Life is very unfair in many ways and I have no idea how to deal with it.

This story is not invented. You can still the my two cups of coffee on the table.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Franconian Carnival - A Sad Story?

This posting is not about my trip for a change. It is about German carnival. I really don't like it (I write 'don't like' because I want to avoid the ugly word 'hate'). I am glad that the show is over today because it is Ash Wednesday.
I am not even sure why I don't like it. Maybe because I don't want to be funny just because the calendar tells me to do so
Yes, I can tolerate guys that do like carnival - as long as they don't force me to wear funny hats.

I stumbled into the remains of a carnival parade in Nuremberg and wondered whether the folks are really funny. Is it possible to look sad in a costume? So I asked random people to pretend to look sad. The carnivalistas tried hard but in the end a hidden smile lurked behind the pretended sadness.
Conclusion for me: They really had a good time and one can't be sad wearing bunny ears.

Are you a carnival person? Tell me about it.

Back Home and Still Away

After 152 days on the road I felt ready to go home. The photo was taken on the very last day of my trip in Amman, Jordan

Believe it or not, I am back home. With an incredible one-week encore in New York my trip around the world has come to an end.

The beauty of the earth surprised me almost every single day. I had the chance to see many stunning places all over the world but also get an idea about who fragile the our planet is and how stupid the human kind behaves and how unfair life sometimes acts in distributing wealth and poverty.
As far as I can tell now there was a thing that was even more impressive than beautiful landscapes: To meet people.
I met more inspiring people than I ever imagined. Human beings that made me laugh, challenged things I took for granted, folks joining me in watching sunsets without saying a single word and new friends sharing pieces of their universe with me.

To make a long story short:
It was the most amazing time in my life so far and my internal batteries are more than fully recharged.

I will continue to blog little episodes from my trip because my head is almost exploding with smells, colors, noises and impressions from my trip.