Saturday, September 30, 2006

Aloha II! (English version)

Since my hosts have kindly taken time off to show me around, I've seen quite a bit of the island of O'ahu this week. We drove up to the North Shore, seeing pineapple and coffee plantations on the way and going through the mountains with the help of a tunnel. It was good that we didn't plan that trip for the weekend - surf's up really big now, and traffic will be no fun. Then we drove over to the windward side of the island - I managed to get at least my feet wet, though the first contact with Pacific water was at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu at the beginning of the week.

After seeing that famous area, full of highrise hotels, crowds of tourists, and fancy shops with equally fancy prices, I was doubly thankful for the opportunity to stay here privately. A lovely residential area is much nicer! We did have cocktails at the beach bar of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, just puttin' on the ritz for the fun of it. We also went to the museum, which was nice to see, though partially closed for renovation.

Today I went fabric shopping, an important priority! I'm bringing fabrics from each country to use for a quilt, and of course browsing those stores is much more fun than shopping at tourist traps! Besides, as a souvenir, fabric is perfect - unbreakable, fairly light, and non-bulky.

Two more days here, and I'll be packing for the next leg of the journey. That gives me time to work on a bit of a tan - I'm being very careful to use sunscreen and stay out of the sun during the middle hours of the day, so it won't go fast. That's definitely healthier and more comfortable!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Es gibt doch Bier auf Hawaii! Nicht dass ich interessiert waere, aber gestern haben mein Bruder, seine Frau und ich Lunch gehabt in einem Lokal, in dem es sogar mehrere Sorten Bier nach deutscher Art gibt - Koelsch, Hefeweizen, usw.

Hier ist es wunderschoen - ueberall gibt es besondere Pflanzen und Voegel und es duftet nach exotischen Blumen. Regenboegen sind oft zu sehen, denn irgendwo regnet es, anderswo scheint die Sonne. Auf dieser Seite der Berge ist es eher trocken - ideal fuer Urlauber, aber die Pflanzen muessen gewaessert werden.

Gestern haben die beiden mir die beruehmte Strandgegend Waikiki gezeigt, wobei ich dankbar bin, nicht dort wohnen zu muessen! Viele Hochhaushotels, viele Geschaefte, Strassen und Menschen - nicht das, was ich als erholsam empfinden wuerde. Allerdings habe ich es genossen, das erste Mal in meinem Leben meine Fuesse im Wasser des Pazifischen Ozeans zu baden. Heute fahren wir an eine weiterentfernte Kueste.

Der Zeitunterschied ist leicht zu berechnen - genau 12 Stunden. (Im Winter sind's elf, da es hier keinen Wechsel gibt.) Also wenn Ihr schlafen geht, faengt mein Tag erst richtig an. Ich wuensche Euch eine gute Nacht!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The adventure of flying/Das Abenteuer des Fliegens

I thought that the purpose of my flights on this trip was to get me to the places where my adventures would take place, and I certainly didn't think of Minneapolis, Minnesota as being an adventurous location, but my flight from there to Dallas turned out to be much longer and more complicated than planned.

I left North Dakota Friday morning and was to reach Dallas via Minneapolis and Chicago (devious because of the two different airlines involved) on the evening. The first leg of the journey went quickly, and I had time to enjoy the airport in Minnesota before boarding the flight to O'Hare. Well, we sat in the plane, parked on the runway for almost two hours, with the occasional information that they were waiting for clearance from Chicago, where there were storms, possibly even reported tornados. OK, it's better to be safe on the ground than to get into stormy weather up in the sky, I thought, but by the time the plane taxied back to the gate, my connecting flight was leaving Chicago.

There was a long line to reroute and rebook flights back in the airport, and no chance for me to get to Dallas that evening, so after the complicated process of rebooking a flight directly from Minneapolis to Dallas the next morning, I had to take a hotel room for the night - at my own expense, since weather is not the airline's responsibility. Up early the next morning, I was on the plane and on the way to Dallas, hoping to be there later in the morning and still have half of that day with my brother and his family.

Well, by that time the weather in Dallas was acting up, and the plane didn't have enough fuel to keep circling for too long, so it flew down to Austin to refuel there. For some reason unknown to me, we did have to deplane there, and the plane did not fly to Dallas, so we all ended up picking up our luggage again and standing in line again to rebook a flight to Dallas. The next few flights were cancelled, but one machine was actually there to take us - but by the time flight time arrived, they said that the pilot and cockpit crew forit hadn't arrived yet, as they were still stuck on the ground in Dallas. By the time they finally got to Austin I had walked around the airport there more than I cared to, not able to leave the building because we never knew when the plane might leave.

I arrived in Dallas Saturday evening, 24 hours after I was scheduled to do so! (Had I left North Dakota by car on Friday morning, I could have ben there by then!) The worst part of it was that I only had the weekend there, as my brother works long hours during the week, so we had hoped to have at least those two+ days together. Two nights and one day were short, but we did our best to make the best of them.

By comparison, yesterday's flight to Hawai'i went smoothly; it took eight hours, and the airlines don't serve food except for expensive sandwiches to buy on domestic flights even of that length, but as everyone has been feeding me better than necessary, it felt good to have a few hours without anything but liquids. I was picked up by my (other) brother and wife here, greeted with two wonderful leis and am looking forward to my week here! More in the days to come...

Die komplizierte Geschichte meines Flugabenteuers am letzten Wochenende werde ich in Deutsch nachholen, wenn ich Zeit habe. Jetzt bin ich gut in Hawai'i angekommen und freue mich auf meine Tage hier - mehr dazu bald, nun geht's los auf Entdeckungsfahrt!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I've come a long way, baby

Besides providing me with internet access, I have a second reason for being thankful to the small town library here - I found a battered old copy of Michener's Hawaii, a gigantic historical novel which I had thought about reading as preparation for next week's trip there, but hadn't had time at home. It's actually so dilapidated that the librarian gave it to me, so I can dispose of it when I've finished reading. How about that for acquiring a book that doesn't weigh down my luggage for the rest of the trip?! I've had time to read, so I'm about a third into it by now, and it's a fascinating look at the history of the islands.

I'm letting my mind wander along with my feet as I walk about town daily, trying to connect to my memories of the years I spent here. The old high school is still there, though it now has students from two neighboring towns as well and carries the name of the county instead of the town. Physically, much has stayed the same, though I don't know a lot of the residents anymore, but I guess I've changed so much that I get little feeling of familiarity when I see it. That old advertising slogan comes to mind: "You've come a long way, baby!" And I have no desire to come back - except to visit and keep in touch with the people here, of course.

Ich habe doppelten Grund, der kleinen oeffentlichen Buecherei hier dankbar zu sein - nicht nur fuer die Moeglichkeit, Internet zu benutzen, sondern auch fuer ein Buch, das ich als Vorbereitung fuer naechste Woche lese. Ich wusste von Michener's grossem historischem Roman "Hawaii", hatte aber keine Zeit, es zu Hause zu lesen. Hier fand ich eine Kopie, die ziemlich auseinander faellt, aber noch so eben ganz ist. Die Bibliothekarin schenkte es mir - ob es hier oder unterwegs weggeworfen wuerde, waere egal - nett, was?! Es liest sich sehr gut und hat viel Information aus der Vergangenheit der Inseln.

Ansonsten faulenze ich und gehe spazieren, versuche dabei Erinnerungen von frueher aufzufrischen. Der Ort hat sich aeusserlich nicht viel veraendert, aber ich habe mich so veraendert, dass mir alles hier sehr fremd ist. Nur die Menschen ver/binden mich noch mit und an das Dorf meiner Jugend.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Next stop/Naechster Halt

It took me three flights to get from Toronto to my next stop, rural North Dakota - really, it's easier to get to Australia, I think. But there was one improvement - I was allowed to keep my lipstick! Anyway, all went well, all flights were punctual, and I'm now spending time visiting my mother and relaxing. As there are no sights to see here, my activities are mostly walking and sitting around, though friends from way back when will be coming over to visit a couple of times this week.

Move on now, nothing to see here...

Ich habe drei relativ kurze Fluege gebraucht, um hier zu landen, im laendlichen North Dakota. Da es sonst nichts zu tun gibt, kann ich sehr gut ausspannen und die Reste meines Jetlags auskurieren. Spaziergaenge und Gespraeche mit meiner Mutter, sowie ein paar Besuche von alten Schulkameraden usw. fuellen die Tage aus bis zur naechsten Reise am Freitag.

Demnaechst mehr...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Soweit, so gut/ So far, so good!

Die erste Etappe ging gut, wenn auch mit einem Verlust - die Bestimmungen in London waren so streng, dass ich sogar meinen Lippenstift ins Hauptgepaeck geben musste! Ich bin noch nie zuvor ohne Lippenstift, nicht mal Labello war erlaubt, gereist. Nun ja, wenn das die einzigen Haerten sind, die ich erlebe, will ich zufrieden sein.

Bin gut in Toronto angekommen, auch mein Gepaeck kam heil an, und wurde von meinen Freunden abgeholt. Erstes Kennenlernen der Stadt bei der Fahrt; in einer Grossstadt gibt es selbst am Abend viel zu sehen. Ein Spaziergang am Seeufer rundete den Tag ab.

Gestern habe ich mit meiner Freundin die lebhafte Innenstadt zu Fuss erkundet; natuerlich sind historische Gebaeude hier nicht so alt wie in Europa, trotzdem fand ich's interessant. Der kroenende Abschluss war Nachmittagstee in einem vornehmen Hotel - mehrgaengig und sehr, sehr lecker! Einen gemuetlichen Abend zu Hause mit der Familie beendete den Tag.

Heute steht der Besuch eines Museums, dass speziell einheimische Kunst zeigt, an. Ich freue mich darauf!

Greetings from Canada, eh! The first leg of my journey went well, though I did experience one hardship - security in London Heathrow applied not only to liquids, but even to cosmetics, so for the first time in my life, I had to travel without a lipstick!! Oh well, if that's the worst it gets, I consider myself fortunate...

I'm thankful for a safe arrival, including my luggage, and am enjoying myself tremendously here. That is due first and foremost to the friends with whom I'm staying - I feel very much at home with them and our conversations are a pleasure. Toronto is an interesting and vibrant city, and exploring it on foot yesterday was fun. Historical buildings always interest me, as do unique shops, pretty parks, and the variety of people one sees.

The highlight of the day was "high tea" in a snazzy hotel lobby. I can't begin to tell you all the kinds of little sandwiches and cakes there were, and delicious scones too. The tea was excellent and generously repleted with hot water several times - those of you who know me know that my capacity for tea is almost limitless!

Except for an embarassing incident involving the accidental inversion of the computer screen display - my friend claims that I was testing what it would be like "down under"! - which was only repairable with knowledgeable help , the evening was cozy and relaxed. I've managed to adjust to normal times of day and night here, so am glad that jet lag is not a big problem. It always seems easier going westwards - and I will always be travelling westwards this trip!

More to come...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Journey's Eve/Reisevorabend

This will be the longest trip I've ever taken, in terms of both time and distance; strangely, I've never been more relaxed on the day before a journey. Perhaps it's because I've planned this for so long - clothing and all necessities have been collected well in advance, and I packed everything yesterday to be sure that I'm under the weight limits. I think it's rather incredible to be travelling for six weeks with only about 20 kilos of baggage for myself! (I have a bit more at the beginning, as I'm taking along some items for family and friends.) Walking and hiking shoes make up a goodly percentage of that weight; they're more important than anything else.

I planned my pre-journey work well too; usually the last day is hectic, with packing, household tasks and errands keeping me busy until late at night. This time I finished all but some details during the past couple of days, and was able to sit outside on the patio this afternoon with a cup of tea. I'm not sure how well I will sleep tonight; my train to the airport leaves at five in the morning. Anyone want to sing "Leaving on a jet plane" for me?

Dies wird die längste Reise sein, die ich je unternommen habe, in Bezug sowohl auf die Zeit als auch auf die Entfernung. Trotzdem (oder gerade deswegen?) bin ich sehr entspannt am letzten Tag zu Hause. Ich habe schon gestern alles gepackt und gewogen, liege weit unter dem, was ich mitnehmen darf, und bin stolz darauf, dass mein eigenes Gepäck unter 20 Kilo liegt! (Dazu kommt noch etwas mehr am Anfang, denn ich nehme Geschenke mit für Familie und Freunde.) Schuhe zum Wandern und Gehen machen einen guten Teil des Gewichts aus, aber sie sind wichtig.

Ich habe gut geplant; alles, was ich mitnehme, war schon vorher bereit; bis auf Kleinigkeiten waren alle Besorgungen, Haushaltsarbeiten, und Vorbereitungen in den letzten Tagen erledigt. Es ist wohl das erste Mal, dass ich nicht am letzten Abend bis spät in die Nacht arbeiten muß. Heute nachmittag hatte ich sogar Zeit, in Ruhe auf der Terrasse zu sitzen und Tee zu trinken! Mal sehen, ob/wie ich schlafen kann - um fünf in der Frühe geht mein Zug zum Flughafen...

Monday, September 11, 2006

"Everywhere you go... always take the weather with you."

That's a great song line to combine both themes of this blog - travel and weather. If I take it literally, I have good chances of having warm and sunny days on my trip - Germany is sending me off with a gorgeous Indian summer! Though it's chilly in the morning, it gets almost hot in the afternoon sunshine.

I presume, however, that the song lyrics are not meant literally, but as a reminder that we take our attitudes with us. That also bodes well for the weeks to come.

And for some reason, that line reminds me of another which I find hilarious:

"Wherever you go, there you are."

Truer words were never spoken...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Jetzt mal in Deutsch

Nachdem die erste Phase meines Reiseblogs auf Englisch gelaufen ist, schreibe ich heute einen Testeintrag für meine deutschsprachigen Freunde. Ihr könnt gerne Rückmeldung geben - dazu einfach auf "comments" direkt unter diesen Zeilen klicken, wo Ihr sowohl die Kommentare, Grüße, und Nachrichten anderer lesen könnt, als auch im Kasten selber etwas zu schreiben. Die Option "sonstiges" gibt Euch die Möglichkeit, Euren Namen zu schreiben; bei "anonym" müsste ich raten, wer es sein könnte, falls Ihr keinen Namen in der Nachricht hinterlassen habt. Ich freue mich, auch unterwegs von meinen Freunden zu hören!

Ich weiß noch nicht, wie regelmäßig ich online sein werde, werde mich aber bemühen, so oft von mir hören zu lassen, wie's mir möglich ist.

Friday, September 08, 2006

If God created the world in six days, I should manage to finish my travel preparations in that time, right?!

Notice for my English-speaking readers - my German friends have asked me if I will be writing for them as well. Rather than taking the complicated path of setting up a second blog, I have decided that I will write part of my entries here in German. That way, should I manage to figure out how to put up pictures, they can be seen by all. Fortunately, those need no translation!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Have towel, will travel

If I take H2G2 (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) as my guide, I'm ready for my trip.

"If with trolley or backpack I can transport my baggage, I will. I have my towel!" (No apologies to the "Lord of the Rings" FotR movie script - lines like that practically beg to be parodied!)

As I collect the clothes, shoes, cosmetics and sundry articles that I must take with me, I am trying to plan well so as to get everything into as small a space as possible while weighing as little as possible. I will have a bit more leeway on the first leg of the journey, which is good, as I'm taking some presents along for family and friends. But by the time I head for New Zealand and Australia, I need to have cut down to 20 kilos - that's not much!

For that reason, my towel is new - though I normally prefer 100% cotton, this one has some modern high-tech fiber content so that it will be lighter and thinner, drying more quickly while still absorbing well. I have been shopping for small sizes of cosmetics to keep volume and weight down some more.

I am planning to dress in basic black and blue (no - I don't mean bruises, silly!) denim - wearing one pair of jeans and packing another, with only one pair of dressy black pants and a thin skirt or two in case I need something like that. Layering is the secret for the rest of my clothes - T-shirts long and short-sleeved, one wool sweater for cool evenings and/or days, and only very basic jewelry (nothing terribly valuable or irreplaceable!) that gets worn constantly to avoid the danger of losing any of it. My double-layered jacket is black and will serve well in all kinds of weather conditions.

I plan to pre-pack and weigh everything several days before I leave to see how I'm doing. I hope I can keep at least some hand luggage as a carry-on; who knows what safety precautions will be in effect next week. I would like to keep my journal and camera with me - I'm not yet sure if I want to take along something to read. What do I do with a book after it's done - drag it with me for the rest of the trip?! I may end up sending myself packages to my home address along the way, especially if I buy more fabric than I can carry...