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Category Archives: Travel Notes

Life on the Island.

Now I’d like to write about some other places on Hawaii which I liked and which stuck in my memory.

For some reason, I took a real liking to a place called Waikoloa on the west coast of the Big Island.

It’s a small town (really more of a village) with hotels, beaches and small houses, built amidst a huge field of lava which appeared some time around the mid-19th century. The western part of the island is dry and rocky, while the eastern part is wet, covered by jungle and swamp. On the dry west coast, the lava streams have remained bare and deserted for more than 150 years, never seeing any vegetation. But then, a man came and decided to build a garden city in this desert. No sooner said than invested and done, producing a stunning – and highly photogenic – miracle. See for yourself.

Waikoloa village Hawaii

Read on: a terrifying story of captain James Cook…

A Big Volcano on a Big Island.

The Hawaiian Islands are a chain of active and extinct volcanoes, so various manifestations of volcanic activity are abundant here, like craters, calderaslava streamssulfuric steam vents and other subsurface natural features. However, not a single geyser was detected, no hot springs… That’s strange given the amount of precipitation and the rivers here – there must be some springs somewhere. But there are none.

Hawaiian volcanisms

Hawaiian volcanisms

Read on: The geological origin of Hawaii is absolutely unique…

Those born to swim cannot fly.

“Those born to crawl cannot fly, but sometimes the bastards crawl up to a great height,” to very loosely paraphrase a revolutionary phrase.

Open your eyes and let your jaw drop, because there is a fish on this earth of ours that sometimes flies to an altitude of 100 m or more. The O’opu lives in Hawaii’s Kolekole Stream and in the 130-meter Akaka falls.

Akaka falls Hawaii

Read on: A merciless evolution…

Hawaii Hi-Five-0.

Aloha folks!

I’m currently cooling off after a visit to the Big Island of the Hawaiian archipelago. What an amazing place – tipping the emotions over the edge with its mixture of perfect weather, pristine oceans, vibrant volcanism, opulent jungles and overall breathtaking beauty. Aloha Hawaii, and mahalo Hawaii :).

That things aren’t as 100% American as apple pie you kinda get the idea of when on the flight approaching the USA’s 50th state (it was the last state to join the Union, in 1959). Instead of the usual ‘thank you’ at the end of tannoyed messages, the stewardesses say ‘aloha and mahalo!’ as if heralding the fact that it isn’t quite, fully, the United States you’re approaching… It’s just different – so get ready!

Hawaii

Read on: Hawaii is really quite distinct from the other states…

Vodka – Connecting Peoples?

Aloha, droogs!

Today I’m reporting to you from Hawaii, USA. Yes, it is nice for some :).

Vodka - connecting people!

Read on:

3, 2, 1… liftoff!

At last! Another dream of mine has come true – to see a spaceship take off! Hurray!

Last week it left Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and by the weekend it had already reached the International Space Station and docked. The crew’s made up of two Russians and one American – which perhaps explains why around town and in our hotel much American-accented English was to be heard.

We watched the liftoff from about two kilometers away, which might seem a long way off. But it isn’t. This isn’t U2 playing a stadium where being at the back is almost a waste of time and money… This is the Baikonur experience. The power generated by the massive rocket engines shook everything around so much it felt like an earthquake was occurring at the same time as the liftoff. Rather unnerving.

Baikonur Space Launch Center

The spike on the top means the ship’s manned; if it was without one, it would mean no crew – an unmanned remote-controlled cargo mission

Read on: Baikonur from inside…

Korean new office; Hainan déjà vu & fish.

Hi folks!

Another intense stint of globetrotting is over – finally. We’d been on the road for almost two months, visiting eight countries in total. It went like this: Dominican RepublicBrazilChile (Patagonia) – Saudi Arabia – Italy – Germany – Korea – China.

The second half of the journey turned out to be really tough – non-stop sprinting as opposed to the steady-jog pace which we normally aim for. Meetings, speeches, and moving around from A to B to C… with hardly any let-up whatsoever, not so much as a stroll after a long day – for two whole weeks! I was starting to burn out – when the habitual zip and zest and general lust for life just vanishes and everything seems either uninteresting or irritating or both. A bit like jetlag – which incidentally had also been building from acute to chronic… Cue some much-needed MANDATORY down time. Happily for me – in Hainan – the Chinese island some 30 kilometers to the south of the mainland. I had about a week there. Oh boy, did I need it. And, oh boy, how I enjoyed it.

Hainan, Sanya

Summarizing this latest world tour won’t take all that long as, since Patagonia, there was hardly any time for tourism. So, briefly…

Read on: It started with an intercontinental leap…

Patagonia: Pata-utopia.

Jules Verne, fat adventure novels, In Search of the Castaways, Paganel and Patagonia

Such childhood reminiscences are indelibly etched somewhere in the deeper recesses of my memory. I always conjured up images of mysterious countries in far-flung corners of the world, all exotic and unusual… but always beautiful.

Turns out those images were pretty accurate. For four decades later I found myself in Patagonia on a hiking trip, and if I was only allowed one word to describe the place, it would not be difficult choosing it: beautiful.

We wound up there after having a few free days left over after our visit to Brasília. And since that visit was a culmination of non-stop mental effort and oratory exertion, the timing was just right for some serious back-to-nature getting-away-from-it-all with lashings of fresh mountain air.

Of course, the whole of Patagonia can’t be checked out in just a few days as it covers such a massive territory. Still, we did manage to experience one of the most precious jewels in the Patagonian crown – the Torres del Paine National Park.

Torres del Paine National Park

Read on: 120 km in 5 days…

Not p-p-p-picking up penguins in Porvenir.

Tierra del Fuego, Chile. I’d always known it to be a mystically mysterious place if ever there was one, after having images of it seared into my brain as a child from being absorbed in the travel thrillers of Jules Verne and the like. Fast-forward three or four decades, and here I am – almost – in the Land of Fire itself. (Where the ‘Fire’ quite comes from I’ve yet to fathom, as there’s nothing hot about this place.) Actually, we’re just across the Strait of Magellan from it – in Punta Arenas, from where the fiery archipelago can be viewed with the naked eye! Once observed from over the water, that was it – we just had to get over there and check it out, if only to cure our curiosity…

Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Read on: Hallucinogenic landscapes. Unusual. Unreal…

Punta Arenas nostálgico.

Greetings all!

Punta Arenas – Sandy Point in English – is right at the very bottom end of Chile. It’s on a bank of the Strait of Magellan, across from the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. In other words, quite literally, the middle of nowhere. Unless, one day, you might fancy flying down to Antarctica… then it’d be where you’d want to be in the middle of, as flights down there leave from here. Actually, you’d need to be a little to the south of Punta Arenas, not in the middle of it, but that wouldn’t have given me the pseudo-witty play on words.

Punta Arenas, Chile

Read on: This was not my first time in Punta Arenas…