Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Big Blue / Nuremberg

The Emperial Castle was illuminated with invented star constellations.
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Once again it was "Blaue Nacht" (Blue Night) in Nuremberg - an art event in the whole city. More than 130.000 crowded the streets. I read a cite from an artist asking "Is it still art if that many people are coming?". Holy shit, what an idiot.

The topic of this year was "Firmament" - a perfect theme for playing with light and darkness and the barrier in between.

I loved to stroll through the blue streets of the old city center.

I listened to Ulla Konold. The is a wonderful story teller and I met her by chance a few weeks ago while slacklining. She stopped and asked whether she could give it a try. The first person on my slackline wearing a white suit and a very fascinating human being.
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Candles in the Sebaldus Church. I liked the restricted illumination.
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The girl was watching turtles in a shop front window. The white things in her hair were for creating curls the next day because she was about to have a dance performance with some other girls. Her mother refused to go the the Blue Night with her wearing the weird stuff. The little girl's solution was to paint the white things blue. All of a sudden her mother was satisfied and even charmed by the cleverness of her daughter.

The yellow light created an ever changing sea of waves on the walls of the big hall in the Emperial Castle.

The shadow of an outside god.
Sebaldus Church

Friday, May 22, 2009

And What About The Beaches? / Big Island, Hawaii

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You might wonder why I am writing about Hawaii and not mentioning the beaches or the sea all the time. Well, it turned out that the volcanic stuff fascinated me way more than the water.

Of course, the black beaches were impressive but I have to admit that I hung out at the beach only 2-3 times during my time on Hawaii because I spent so much time walking across fields of lave.

I stopped at a small beach one day to doze in the sun a bit and found a very special friend with the same plan right beside me.

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Isn't it unreal to sit under a palm tree watching the waves in front of you and a gigantic turtle "walks' by? After a few minutes I realized that the beach was full of them and that some kids were snorkeling with the wild turtles.

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The Hawaiian folks have a special relationship to water. It seems to be part of their daily life big deal. This relationship in combination with the relaxed attitude on Hawaii created a very laid back atmosphere.

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I watched this little boy fishing in a small lake. He barely moved for a long time. Very very different to the kids in Germany. I wondered whether his mind was full of thoughts or whether he managed to make his head empty for a few minutes.

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Instead of playing Basketball or skating kids mastered all the wave-taming disciplines.
You could spot some boys bodyboarding on rocky beaches everywhere.
I tried to swim at one of the places and the result was that the big waves smashed me against the sharp stones immediately. I left the water with some nice cuts on my feet. Damn, the next day I wanted to do a long hike to the top of the Mauna Loa volcano.
Will the cuts prevent me from doing it? Stay tuned.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Places of Creation / Big Island, Hawaii

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Hawaii is a growing place. Literally. Especially one of the islands, called 'Big Island' is getting bigger and bigger because it has the world's most active volcanoes on it and their constant lava flows add new territory every day.

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Huge areas of Big Island look like what I imagine from the moon - plus some blue sky.
I decided to do a bit more hiking than the usual crater rim drive. I read that it is possible to hike the wilderness beyond the beaten track. Perfect!

If you want to do so you have to inform one of the Park Rangers about your plan and your route. He gives you a very detailed briefing about all kinds of possible (and impossible) dangers. Most topics are about the daily directions of the toxic fumes.

After all the information and signing a wilderness permit paper I was a bit hesitant because it sounded like a guarantee for a painful death out in the loneliness. As always in the end it was easy.

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The recommendation of the Ranger was a hike to one of the remote craters. He warned me that I wouldn't see a lot of people out there. He was right. I drove out to a distant parking lot and it took me only a few minutes of hiking to end up in complete silence.
Very very impressive.

At the first glance the landscape was a completely dead area. After looking closer I realized that life is stronger. Small patches of green made their way through the lava. In a few hundred years probably a forest will cover this place.
"Life is stronger" was kind of my topic of the day.

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I had a fantastic day on my own in one of the most bizarre sceneries I've ever seen.

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After finishing my hike in the late afternoon I wanted to drive down to the coastline where the lava flows into the sea. Well, it was only an intention. Life might be stronger than lava but lava is definitely much more powerful than human engineering.

The road simply ended a few kilometers before the coast because of a river of lava that crouched over it a few years ago.

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In the distance I could see the big cloud from the spot where the glowing earth fought with the sea.

This cloud should bestow one of the most beautiful sunsets on me a few days later but this is another story.

Dark Hours

Some hobbies might seem unusual, some might be childish, superfluous, funny, exhausting, adventurous or even stupid.
For me, 'Geocaching' is a perfect combination of the above.

Just for the record:
Geocaching is the hunt for small boxes called caches. Someone hides a box somewhere, publishes the GPS coordinates of the spot on and everyone can try to find the cache using a GPS device. After you have found it, you just enter your name into a small log book inside the box and then you hide the cache in the same place for the next finder. There are thousands and thousands of geocaches around the world.
You could define it as a kind of high-tech-adventure-hiking. Actual it is not about the box itself but about exploring places you never noticed before in a playful fun way.

Most hiding places are easy to reach, some are a bit more difficult and some require big effort.

Last week I was on the hunt for a cache of the latter category together with three friends. The geocache was called 'The Call of the Devil'.

The interesting thing about it was that it was hidden deep down a cave. We had to use a huge pile of climbing gear, helmets, head lamps and rubber boots to do it.

Abseiling a total of 40m (120 ft) into complete darkness was a breathtaking experience for me.
Climbing up the rope afterwards was also very breathtaking - for different reasons.

We spent 6 dark hours down there, discovered every small hole, acted as magnets for mud and dirt and finally found the geocache.

This time I concentrated not on taking photos but on shooting video snippets with my small still camera.

If you want you can get an impression of our tour in my YouTube-video above.
Be warned - it is 10 minutes long.

I really love having friends who enjoy doing stuff like this as much as I do.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Muff Potter, Take Four

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One of the best things after I came back from my world tour is that my friend and I have been able to re-establish our old rule of visiting at least one live concert a month.

The one of April was special because it was the band of our very first concert in this series back in January of 2006 [Look here...].
It was a nice little concert but in the end I realized that four gigs of Muff Potter in three years are enough for now.
Muff Potter will stay one of my favorite bands and songs like 'Alles was ich brauch' [listen...] ' or 100 Kilo' [listen...] are part of my constant quote repository.

Und all der Überfluss
es ist mir zum Verdruss
verstopft mir die Seele und die Poren
Augen und die Ohren.
Und es ist gar nicht schwer
ich brauch' heut gar nichts mehr
ich hab' hier alles was ich brauch
- und du auch.

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My concert pal always blames me for not knowing all the lyrics of a certain old Muff Potter album called 'Bordsteinkantengeschichten'. I guess I will never master this one.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

God, Mother Earth and All the Others / Hawaii

It surprised me that Hawaii was such a spiritual place.
Every other day a new spiritual moment flashed my brain.
I never found out why the Hawaiian islands are such a melting pot for men searching invisible things. Maybe it has something to do with all the volcanic activities and the fact that the earth is much more active than the rest of the world.

Google shows an amazing 2.5 million hits as search result for "hawaii spiritual". Wow!

In Lahaina I saw this guy walking around on a public square reading out loud passages from the bible. He concentrated on the chapters about the end of the world, judgement day and Armageddon. The funny part was that his outfit wasn't the one of a decent preacher but colorful stuff. Impressive.

Only one hour later I saw the car below not far away. The message was completely different.
What was going on here?
Was it a kind of competition between the the-end-is-near-guys and the the-earth-will-exist-even-next-week-organisation?

Too bad that I hadn't had the chance to see both parties doing a vocal battle on the public square - like Hip Hop dudes dissing each other. Moses MC vs. Preach Diddy.

One hour later (literally) I walked by this little Buddhist temple. A completely different approach to eternity. Later I learned that Buddhism has a 9% share of Hawaiian religions. I liked the fact that all kinds of different believed seem to co-exist here.

The Shingon Buddhist Mission in Lahaina

The strangest encounter for me happened in one of the hostels. A fellow traveler looked very much like a new age disciple - batik pants, pony tail and Jesus-sandals. I tried to avoid him because he tended to spread his wisdom in a kind of exhausting way.

Every morning I used to buy some pastry and a big cup of coffee in a very small French bakery and had breakfast on the lawn in front of the hostel.
It happened that the new age guy joined me followed by a blond party girl with hell of a hangover.
Immediately he told me that mother earth will rise in exactly 4 years from now. The mind of all human beings will be lifted to the next level - if one likes it or not.
He visited Hawaii for some spiritual event and his plan was to start an organisation that will take care of the earth as soon as the rumble starts in 4 years.
The next minutes seemed to be as long as the next 4 years for me because the guy switched to a kind of verbal rapid-fire mode. I was close to Nirvana.

Luckily for me the party girl relieved me because the preacher-guy noticed that she might be more than a disciple - maybe a disciple with benefits. Her hangover made her react very slowly (or it made her def).
By all means I made use of it, grumbled a 'have a nice day' and fled.

For the rest of my days on Hawaii I forwent every single batik shirt.

I should start thinking what to do with the remaining 4 years before the higher state of mind hits me. Any hints are appreciated.

Aloha, peace and happy Armageddon.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Cookie Conspiracy

During a business meeting today we ate some cookies. My colleague grabbed blindly into the paper bag and fetched the three pieces above.

I heard about buns with the shape of Mother Theresa and slices of toast with the image of Elvis Presley on it - but cookies that form my name are scary. Actually I am not a saint and my Rock'n'Roll is very poor.

What kind of conspiracy is going on here? I am a bit worried.