Archive for Altblog

Wohin mit den alten Gedanken?

Tja, das ist jetzt die Frage. Wohin damit. Ich will alles neu machen, neuer Blog, neue URL, neue Webseite, neue Gedanken, aber mit den alten, ja, damit ist es wohl ein bisschen wie mit nuklearem Müll, irgendwo müssen sie hin, denn man wird sie ja schließlich nie ganz los.

Ein Endlager zu finden ist bekanntlich schwierig bis unmöglich, also ist eher ein permanentes Zwischenendlager gefragt, so für die eher temporäre Ewigkeit.

Wohin also mit den etwa 450 Posts und 1000 Comments? Ein Link zum alten Blog auf der neuen Webseite? Ganz runternehmen vom Netz und nur lokal aufheben? Im Netz lassen, aber nicht explizit verlinken? Gibt es irgendwo einen Blog-Friedhof, wo man alle alten Blogs in Urnen aufstellen kann, um sie noch ab und an zu besuchen, wenn einem danach ist? Man sich aber sonst auch nicht mehr um sie kümmern muss, nicht um Spam-Comments, Software-Updates und immer frische Blumen? Oder eher ein Blog-Seniorenheim? Oder eine Blog-Farm, wo die altgewordenen Blogs noch frei und selbstbestimmt, zwischen blühenden Wiesen und plätschernden Bächen unbekümmert ihren digitalen Lebensabend verbringen können? Schließlich sagte Christian Morgenstern: “Gedanken wollen oft – wie Kinder und Hunde -, dass man mit ihnen im Freien spazieren geht.”

Ja, wohin nur, mit den alten Gedanken? ist auch schon besetzt, voll mit neuen…


Dieser Blog hat jetzt nicht nur inoffiziell, sondern auch offiziell vorübergehend Pause. Solange, bis meine Magisterarbeit fertig ist, also mindestens bis zum 23. Juli. Danach werde ich einen neuen Blog bauen! So. Zurück an die Arbeit.

Getting old!

And no, I don’t mean I’m getting old (well, I am, but that’s a different story), but this blog. It needs a Generalüberholung. New theme, new design, new concept. One language. Maybe a new URL? Maybe keep the old one as an archive, and start with something new.

Maybe this will be a good project to finish together with my studies, which is hopefully spring/summer 2012. Then a whole new chapter of my life might begin, a dazzling world so full of possibilities, beyond the power of my current imagination.

In the meantime, I’m happy to receive any feedback or comments concerning this blog. Hope to have some ideas and improvements soon on my part. I’ll keep you posted (literally).

Why thongs? And what’s with the shopping trolleys?

You would think after a 7500km roadtrip through Oz I would talk about all the fantastic things I saw, but it’s hard to put so much into a reasonable amount of words, or pictures. So I will just ponder about something that has sprung into my mind again and again during that trip, and see how I go from there.

  1. Thongs, the Australian footwear. Why? Why thongs? I have worn thongs in many countries, and in no other one were they so useless, uncomfortable, dangerous.
    Scenario 1a: Sunshine. Walking in the sand on those endless beaches in thongs (why do I keep writing things?) will just catapult a handful of sand with every step up your legs, and then stick to your skin, get into your pants, and it makes walking more difficult too.
    Scenario 1b: Rain. And there is lots and lots and lots of rain here. Now, with every step, you catapult water up your legs (and pants), and/or dirt, and/or mud. And unfortunately, Australians use very slippery materials to build sidewalks. More unfortunately, the capital of rain (Brisbane) also has the most slippery sidewalks of all. They should put up some of those ever-present DANGER-signs.
  2. What’s up with the shopping trolleys? It seems to be a deep-rooted Australian national sport to hijack a shopping trolley, and put it away as far as possible, out its natural environment, into the most remote places. Places where it must have been a major effort to get it there. Quite remarkable considering that everyone shops in a big shopping centre, never getting the trolley further than to their car. Bizarre!

Karo’s Oz (3): Jervis Bay to Kiama

After a very comfortable (but expensive) night with the van connected to power for the first time in a caravan park, I made my way to beautiful Huskisson Beach at Jervis Bay. Pristine blue waters, magnificent stretches of sand in between all kinds of flat rock formations – just perfect to wander around and go for a swim.

I could just get the van started, so I decided to find an auto service, which was rather difficult as most places were of course closed becaused of christmas. When I finally made it to one, they couldn’t really do much for me except starting the motor so I could move on, so I surrendered to my fate and just travelled to my next destination, Kiama.

Kiama is famous for its blowhole, which is a big hole in an even bigger rock in the ocean, and which sometimes sucks in the water and spits it out again, so there’s a fountain of water up to 25m high. Quite some time ago, (very courageous and silly) people used to dive to the entrance of the hole on the ocean’s side, to be sucked in and then spit out on at the exit of the blowhole. Quite a dangerous thing to do, several poeple died, so now there is DANGER-signs all over the place. A very special someone almost drowned there 20 years ago – don’t do that again!

Apart from the blowhole, which decided not to spit much water the day I saw it, the scenery is still absolutely stunning, with steep rock cliffs that reminded me of Ireland, a little beach with black sand and other rock formations in a variety of shapes.

I parked my van near a cliff, and spent a rather uncomfortable night where I tried to hide in my own van, because, well, of course, you’re not supposed to camp there. In the end, no one cared, and I woke up to a sunrise over the  ocean which I could see through the front screen. At 6 in the morning, I went for a swim in the Kiama rock pool, which is basically a swimming pool which is half naturally formed in the rocks, and half cut out, and it was just the best way to start the day. Refreshed (and relatively clean for a change), I made it once again to start the van (with the help of little solar panels connected to the dying battery, which was just enough to get it started), and started my journey to Sydney…

Karo’s Oz (2): Gypsi the Van

Well, this is Gypsi the Van. My Van. My slightly cursed van. A Mazda E2200 1985, for which it is apparently impossible to even buy a new headlight (Supercheap Auto: “Sorry we don’t have those, I have never seen such a lightbulb in my life.”).

After The Scary Night, the battery slowly started dying, which is not the battery itself’s fault. The motor is not charging it properly, so it is probably the alternator or the regulator on the alternator. After a lot of jump starts, finally the starter motor said goodbye as well, and now I can only start it by rolling it downhill.

As there are not many spare parts available in Sydney, I might have to try to get Gypsi back to Brisbane, where there is a big Mazda wreckage place, either without stopping the motor (supposed the mechanic where it is now can get it started for me somehow in the first place), or by parking always down a hill.

There better be some hills on the way from Sydney to Brisbane… And then Gypsi will be repaired, better than new, and pimped!

Karo’s Oz (1): Sydney to Jervis Bay (or The Scary Night)

Finally! My first road trip in my campervan, the lovely yellow Mazda Poptop E2200 that hears to the name Gypsi.

From Sydney I took the train to Campbelltown, from there I got picked up in my van and we went to the owner’s house in Picton to do the paperwork and enjoy coffee and bikkies. From there I just started driving – I looked on the Internet for free campsites, and found the closest one in Belanglo State Forest. I drove there, on a dirt road, into the deserted, lonely, remote forest, onto a clearing called Dale’s Clearing. I was completely alone there, and spent a peaceful night, though it was a bit spooky with a little pond with brown, misty water. Peaceful, until, at dusk, something started to shake my van around. I was terrified. Laying still in the dark, I was hardly ever so scared as those 30 seconds and the silent minutes of hearing into the dark afterwards.

In the morning the sun woke me, and everything looked a lot more friendly with some motorycle riders who enjoyed the dirt tracks. So I decided it was probably just some kangaroos gnawing on my van.

Of course, it wouldn’t be me, if there wasn’t more to it. I just found out that Belanglo State Forest was the place where the (in)famous backpacker murders happened. And another body was found in 2010, of a girl that was murdered there just a few years ago, independent from the backpacker murders in the 90s.

Hello? I thought Australia was such a huuge place, so how on earth could I have picked that particular Forest out of aaaaaall the State Forests sites for my FIRST night of camping?

So who knows what that was that shook my van around. Maybe the motorcycle guys thought it would be a good joke to scare innocent backpackers. Or maybe it was just roos. Who knows?

Well, even without that knowledge I was glad to leave that haunted forest behind me in the morning, and drove to Nowra, with a stop at Fitzroy Falls. Beautiful view from there!

I drove further to Jervis Bay, where I am now. On a campsite, in between lots of people, enjoying the comfort of power, water, showers, freshly washed clothes, and flush toilets. Enough of those ‘country style toilets’ with a smiling cow on them.

The drive was very scenic, even though poor old Gypsi had a hard time going up the mountains. Second gear, to low, third gear, too high. A trail of patient cars behind me. Woops! On those hills an endless amount of cows and horses. If you would exchange the gum trees with pine trees, it wouldn’t look that different to some parts of Austria?

And there is a Karma…

„Es muss alles erst schlechter werden, damit es dann besser wird“, Angela Merkel. (“Everything has to get worse in order to get better.”)

Well, these were probably not the wisest words that Angele ever uttered, but they apply at least to a lot of situations I find myself in, again and again and again.

Something bad happens to me, but only through that something good and even much better happens after that. One example. Yesterday at the Sydney Airport.

All I want is a taxi to get to my accommodation. I get into the queue, wait patiently. Suddenly, there is a second queue popping up where people who came long after me get a cab right away. Doesn’t matter, I stay calm. Before me in my queue, an elderlish lady and her adult daughter. There is a taxi officer at the front, who asks everyone how many people they are and then assigns them the number of a taxi stand.

Ok, the daughter is asked how many, she says two, taxi guy says, go to number one. A few minutes later, he asks me, I say one, he says, go to number two.

I do as told, go to number two, but while I’m starting to talk to the taxi driver at taxi stand number two, that daughter comes and says that taxi is taken. She apparently put her mother in the taxi that they were told to take, and then she just took the next one as well. Without any word of apology, or explanation, just like that.

Of course, by that time, the person who was behind me in the queue has already been assigned number three, and someone else number four, so there was no place to go than back to the end of the queue, when I heard a friendly guy at number three asking if I needed a ride into the city.

He was in Sydney for business, and gave me a complete free ride right to my destination, which was incredibly friendly and kind of him, and we had a good chat during the ride as well.

So, because that lady with her mother screwed me over and stole my cab, I ended up in a situation that at first looked bad, but then turned out to be a lot better than the initial situation could have been. And I see that pattern happening over and over again, in many variations. So yes, sometimes things have to get worse so they can get better.

I am the weatherwoman

It is most bizarre that since June, the rain is following me. Let me give you a few examples.

During the winter break at Uni, it was all wet and grey and raining at the Gold Coast, so I booked a flight to Cairns, into the warm, tropical north, I thought, where it was the dry (!) season. Expected weather at that time of the year: Sunshine and blue skies.

The day I leave, suddenly it is sunny and beautiful at the Gold Coast and it starts raining in Cairns. In the dry season. And it basically rained for the whole two weeks I was there, while the Goldie hat sunny, warm, and dry winter days.

The day I leave Cairns, of course, the sun comes back to Cairns, and the rain and grey returns with me to the Gold Coast.

Now, since then, it more or less did not stop having lots and lots and lots of rain in Brisbane. There is flooding everywhere, and since August, I can remember only less than a handful of weekends where there was no rain. The dams are full, already bursting before the wet season really started, and there is lots and lots of more rain coming. “Drenched Queensland readies for more rain“, it says in the news.

I fear I might have upset the balance of the climate even further, as in Tasmania and down in the South it was snowing, just before Christmas. Which means for Australia, it was snowing in SUMMER.

And the story goes on. Yesterday, I leave Brisbane to go to Sydney. I arrive there in the evening, and during the landing of the plane a thunderstorm is forming, and the rain and the lightning is so heavy that they couldn’t even get the baggage from the plain and I had to wait for half an hour for that, until the worst was over.

Still raining, and myself dripping wet, I check into the hostel. And what does the guy behind the counter say?

“Oh, it was beautiful and hot and sunny all day today, just until it started raining in the evening.”

I should definitely travel to Uluru and make it rain in the desert.

You *definitely* know that you’re in Australia when…

…you walk into a post office to buy a stamp and the person behind the counter tells you “Oh sorry, we have been running out of stamps”.

How can the post, or better, how can any post run out of STAMPS?