Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day Jumping / Auckland, New Zealand

This posting is about November, 15th, 2008 - day 69 of my Round-the-World trip.
The special thing about this day is that it didn't exist for me at all.

It cost me some brain work to figure out the consequences of crossing the international date line backwards. Hawaii is in the time zone GMT -11, New Zealand is GMT +12 - meaning maximal time difference.
When checking my flight details I realized that I board on Friday and deboard the plane on Sunday after a 9 hour flight. I was never good at math but it was obvious that something was missing - in this case the complete Saturday. The plane skipped my complete Saturday. This day never happened in my life. Unbelievable.
I even almost booked a hostel for Saturday in advance - for a day that didnt exist. Funny, isn't it?

During the flight I had a lot of weird thoughts about this day-jumping-thing because it seemed so unreal to skip a complete day in my life.
What would have been happened on that November 15th?
I veered between two oppositional ideas for that day:
What if I missed wonderful moments? What if that day would have been filled up with inspiring people, the most colorful flowers on earth and the scent of fresh chocolate muffins?
Would have been a pity, wouldn't it?

On the other hand it could be that I omitted a dark day with tooth ache, a missed flight and screwed up conversations with important people. In this case it would have been perfectly OK because the crap simply never happened.

In the end I decided to go with the idea that the day is simply postponed. I now have a day in reserve and I can do with it whatever I want.

Oh boy, I can imagine the Grim Reaper looking like a complete idiot when coming for me. I will simply hand over the boarding pass of the long gone November day in 2008 with a big grin and saying 'could you please visit again tomorrow same time? I still have one day left'.

I have no idea what to do with that very last day. In ideal case I will be very satisfied with my life having no need to rush around doing all the things I never did and saying all the sentences I never said. I like the idea of being invisible on that last day and visiting the human beings that gave me intense moments, hours or even years. I could whisper 'thank you' in their ear, reassure them a bit and then slowly stroll away towards my favorite place - no matter if this will be a meadow on a river or a rocky valley in a country far away.

Oh yes, this is what I will do with that November day from 2008.


The photos are from my first walk through Auckland. I found a bunch of young guys practicing Parcour. They jumped between stairs and walls and looked quite cool. Funny coincidence that even the day after my big day jump was about jumping, isn't it?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bard Gathering - Bardentreffen / Nuremberg

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My annual music highlight in Nuremberg: The Bardentreffen (Gathering of the Bards). It is a free 3-day event with open air music all over the city.

This year there was a concert of my current favorite band from Bavaria. They are called LaBrassBanda and the music is a very strange mixture of traditional Bavarian brass folk music combined with gipsy beats, jazz, rock and Mariachi trumpets. Veeeeeery much to my satisfaction.
A funny detail about LaBrassBanda is that they drove from Bavaria to Vienna in Austria in 2008 with some old tractor and mopeds and made a amateur road movie out of it. Their goal was to visit the European Soccer Championship in Vienna. Check out the 5 parts of the video on YouTube.
I love these guys.

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L'Alba from France
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The girlfriend of a co-worker plays in a guitar duo called 'The Kinky Strings". They used the opportunity of the Bardentreffen to play on the streets in front of a friendly big crowd. Unfortunately I met the guys not until their last song. The great thing was that both of them were still in mood to make music. So we sat at the the riverside in the heart of Nuremberg with some friends and the Kinky Strings played a private concert for us until 2 AM in the morning. Very very relaxed.

The female part of the duo 'Kinky Strings'
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Private Concert after midnight on the Pegnitz river
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The male part of the 'Kinky Strings'
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The next day I met the Kinky Strings again for some more street music. This time I used my chalk board to help them to make more money. Well, at least I tried.
My strategy wasn't perfect in the beginning. I placed the chalk board in front of the guitar case they used for collecting money.
I started with the message 'Clapping is free' - no earnings.
My next try was 'Sing along for 1 Euro' - no earnings - damn.
My last try was 'Happy hour - listen to 2 songs, pay only 1' - aaaand: two ladies donated some coins. I was delighted while realizing that marketing actually works. Well, the ladies would have probably donated anyway but I had a good feeling, though.

Thanks to the Kinky Strings for two great days of guitar music but next time I want 'Wish You Were Here' from Pink Floyd as well.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Grandmother and Journeys to Far Far Away / Auckland, New Zealand

Oh boy, am I far away from home.
Actually it is as far as I can go from Germany.
As a child someone told me that if I would dig a deep deep hole I end up in New Zealand.
Voila, here I am: Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand

There's a conversation I had with my grandmother before almost every vacation in the last decades.
My granny never left the small village she was born in and foreign countries are only a flickering TV image for her. The conversation was always a variation of the following:

Granny: Why do you have to go away again?
Me: I just want to see how it is in XY.
Granny: But they have war and bombs in XY, don't they?
Me: No granny, it is peaceful there and the people are friendly.
Granny: Is XY far away?
Me: No granny, it is not really far away. Just a few hours.
Granny: But you promise to take care?
Me: Of course granny, I am always careful.

This time it is different - for two reasons. First of all I would have to tell my granny that I want to travel to a far far away country.
Second of all my granny wouldn't ask at all because she has no idea that I am traveling. She is 95 years old and forgot almost everything she knew. I decided to tell her nothing about my long trip because she would have been very confused to hear that the journey lasts half a year and I am traveling on my own.

I am sad that my grandmother already started her last journey. It is a journey into forgetting. Although she is in a good physical shape (a very tough old lady) I will never be able to tell her about elephants, waterfalls, smiling kids with dark or yellow skin or mountains that spit fire. It would have been great to share a glimpse of the wonders of the world with her I was lucky to see. Things she was never able to explore but only through my stories.

Tomorrow I will see her because my nephew Noah will have his baptism.
You know what? Probably I will tell her about the elephants and the children with dark skin anyway. She might not get the story but at least she will realize that I am sitting beside her. And maybe she will even hear some hidden words beneath my stories. Words that might sound like 'hey granny, I am back and I am so glad to see you alive'.

Damn, actually the intention for this posting was a cheerful nonsense talk about New Zealand but the posting steered into a completely different direction.

PS: I just re-named this posting. The initial title was 'Day Jumping'. I will tell you about it soon.