May 292018
 

When in Deutschland, one can easily notice that there was planning through every cycle of the development this place. Designed, and architect-ed while maintaining the balance between humans and nature. Almost all German cities, suburbs, villages, farms, roads, streets, stores, houses, flats indoors and outdoors are always kept pristinely clean, organized, and efficient in many functions. NYC, and East Coast and much of the cities in California look and feel like a third world country compared to Northern Europe.
The least clean, however, are the public bathrooms. Some cost 50 Euro cents some cost 1 Euro. There aren’t that many tall buildings. There aren’t that many super wide buildings. Most houses are beautiful, and well maintained. The building-flats for the most part are decently looking on the outside and have the clean and semi-minimalized European interior. People use their balconies or terraces.
The entire country’s landscape whether blended in the city or out in the farms are beautiful, free of toxic chemicals, refreshingly maintained, and fluidly blend in from city to country or vice-versa.
Deutschland has the best public transportation in the modern world. Beautiful design inside and out, excellent logistically planned and operated and therefore efficient. Very clean, and very efficient, without beggars, or very loud people in general when it comes to speaking in a public area such as the U-Bahn (Subway/Trains etc.).
This includes the U-Bahn (subways), S-Bahn (above ground including regional), ICE (National, and across other EU Countries), and Tram System. The bus system is decent as well. The other thing is the local Germans respect all property. Trains are not vandalized in general. In fact, vandalism or abuse of property, and nature is not there, and hopefully it stays that way. Also, its very safe for people.
Many of the people return items found to the lost and found of the transport authority. I happened to leave my iPad-mini behind at the Moosach Station on U-Bahn, in Munchen. After about a week, I finally made it to the lost and found department at the proper time as it is open only during certain hours. One of the greatest experience was to see how amazingly organized, clean, efficient, and friendly their lost and found department was and continues to be. They had umbrellas, hats, baseball caps, scarfs, big electronic items, phones, andall kinds of belongings, and it seemed as if casual “theft” was not really in existence, let alone real theft. It was like being in heaven for me to see such organization, cleanliness, respect, and human-ness.
This made me understand their bureaucracy, and I started appreciating it, because it worked and still works! It works for the people. The Bundestag-Bundesrat works for the people at large!

In all my trips, I forgot to mention: Not a single hot damn beggar, pan handler, or “homeless” (mentally challenged persons gone nuts) inside any U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Tram, Regional Bahn, Bus! Or at any train station. Furthermore, not a single “normal” person was loud, as in NYC, almost everyone who has a conversation is so loud, as if they want their conversation to be heard. I wonder if deep down New Yorkers feel so alone that they have to speak out loud. Unfortunately, it’s a behavioral pattern across much of the USA. Myself included. I am ashamed of myself!
Way outside, about 2-3 blocks after the central station, HauptBahnhoff, you had drunks – however – they were not begging, panhandling, shouting, or going bananas like in recent NYC.
In NYC , the E-Train Chambers Street Train Station smells like urine. Pretty much all E-Trains cars in almost every E-Train smells badly. There are about 5 to 10, disturbingly loud beggars per ride from Chambers Street to Jamaica, Queens.
I am not going to get started on NYC, and New Jersey Airports. I think SFO Intl is a much better airport. LAX Intl Terminal is decent. Secuirty check-in or check-out in California is horrible, LAX being the worst! NYC/NJ much better at security check-ins and check-outs.

Munchen/Bayern has a decent infrastructure for bikes including carrying them on regional train cars. The city with the best infrastructure with true separate bike lanes is Copenhagen. The bike lanes get plowed first during the snow storm in Copenhagen. People in NYC are conditioned to believe of a superb bike infrastructure in Amsterdam, and it’s not true. Amsterdam has a bike culture, however, not the infrastructure as in comparison to that of Copenhagen and much of Denmark. NYC bike lanes are a freaken joke, and dangerous for everyone. Thanks to, midget, Mr Doomberg’s (Bloomberg). The Bay Area did a better job biking from San Jose to San Francisco parallel to much of the Cal-Train. Within San Francisco I saw a long stretch of biking area from embarcadero to golden gate bridge (the other rim of San Fran not within the city itself, I could be wrong as I don’t fully recall).
Cafes in almost all of Europe including Germany, are real cafes with decent to great service. The cafes in most of Germany are clean, cozy, and friendly. You have to make an effort to speak and understand German, and that’s any other non-English developed or semi-developed country you are visiting. Decafe coffee is not popular here in Germany, although you could find it one of the US/UK café chains. Even the Starbucks, McDonalds have better service here in Germany than in most of USA, sometimes pronounced “ooossaaa” Don’t expect many Germans to go to McDonalds or Starbucks, and I don’t blame them. I go to Starbucks for free internet connection, their coffee is disgusting even while I mostly drink tea. In Italy, the last time I went, within 2 years ago there wasn’t even one Starbucks, Thank God! Free Internet was tough to find in Italy – God Help! Bela Italia!
Fur ihr ein tea, camile, mit ein buter crosiant bitte!
Germans are well dressed to super sharp and sophisticated for work or formal occasions. They are decent in their casual wear. I have to say that much of people in the Bay Area are also well dressed in their casual wear, they are not sloppy in their casual wear. In NYC its anything goes. And I mean anything!
Make sure to head out of Munich City and visit the overall region of Bayern. Check out the castles. One castle within the city is Scholl Nyumbenberg, and its amazing to visit or run the circumference. Visit the Neuschwanstein and other castles and/or go hiking in the Alps( Alpes), its very cool. Also, check out the lakes, such as Lake Starnberg, etc. The country side of Munich is amazing. I hope to hike and check-out Eagles Nest one day. It’s a lovely, lovely city and you will love Oktoberfest. That festival starts around mid-September and lasts about 2 weeks or 4 weeks (I forget). Try to be on foot much as get to absorb much, much more. However, if you are a biker, you there are many bike paths within the city, and outside the city, and many biking trails as well. Das ist alles. Danke for reading! And Veil Glück!

 Posted by at 10:36 pm
Jan 072018
 

I decided to visit the bay area after over 20 or 30 years for about a week in the early spring of 2016. I stayed in San Mateo using Airbnb.com where I was having a private bedroom and supposed en suite bathroom, except the bathroom was out of the suite. No big deal. When you visit here, you just totally get what “chill” means. Bay area is definitely has its own, chill, pace, however, this was not work wise 🙂 Work Wise I think its busier than New York. Yup. The weather in San Fran when I went was exceptionally warm and not windy, usually, the weather changes quite a bit even in the summer in San Fran. However, a bit out into San Mateo to San Jose the weather was amazingly good, and not as much wind. The temperatures would still change quite a bit between the day and after sun-set. Its definitely not a museum going area, and that was just fine by me. Aside from work, people have a great paths for biking, running or jogging, walking and you have an entire area for sailing, and some areas for kayaking.
Compared to all the bridges in New York City, and much of the State of New York, I think the Golden Gate Bridge is the most awesome bridge in the United States and also very well maintained.
They night life is very active just like any major city in the USA, and if you go into San Fran don’t except people to be friendly. I recommend go to a not druggy bar or restaurant in Haight-Ashbury. San Fran is very cliquish directly related to the neighborhood you visit with a few supposed exceptions of neighborhoods.

I am glad they have something like the Cal-train, however, its very disappointing design considering so many hi-tech companies here, that is compared to Northern European train systems. Cal-train was expensive too, and sloooowwww.
I would use Cal-train quite a bit visiting San Francisco much, and not a single person would give me an (eye based) acknowledgement of my existence or their own. This of course was not true when I visited Oakland, in Oakland, people were more human, just like in NYC, regardless of their economic or academic standing. I have traveled a little bit over the world, and I always meet people where I could have conversations or a (true) friendly hello. The exception being was Stockholm, Sweden (however, I did meet friendly people in other parts of Sweden), and well you have to kind of speak their language too. I have found some people from the UK and Australia to be very friendly as I meet them in different parts of the world. I met an upper middle aged UK couple, and I had a tiny bit of conversation. She said to me “it’s a little strange, I have found nobody speaks to you here.” I nodded and said “Yes, that’s been my experience too.” However, when I was at a Bar and drinking more (beer) than I should have been (Haight Ashbury area) then I had made some friends for the night. San Francisco is still many decades behind in socialization, as everyone is so neighborhood conscious that one could say there is neighborhood based discrimination,and that is so funny. Outside of San Fran, including San Mateo, is much more friendlier, and you know what the Asians, and the Hispanics turned out to be the most friendliest, of course, almost everyone in Oakland was friendlier and had less of weird San-fran complex.

 Posted by at 11:49 pm
Aug 162016
 

Images of: QueensTown|Auckland|Wellington

Visited New Zealand during May 2016 for the first time.  I decided on going from Queensland to Wellington, and finally to Auckland.  Of course, the recommended route is the other way around, that is from Auckland to Queensland.  I should have gone with the recommended route, however, that’s only after the fact.  Queensland was absolutely lovely.  Wellington was so, so.  Auckland was my least liked of all places. There is really no culture or say architecture in comparisons to say Europe including the UK.  In terms of social interaction even Germany tops is more social.  In terms of modernization such as a speedy internet connection even nations considered less developed have faster internet connection.  The whole adrenaline rush thing that they sell, well I think it’s a whole tourist trap thing, I mean you could bungee jump or go skydiving almost anywhere beautiful or not and it’s still an adrenaline rush.  Bottom line is if you go to New Zealand go there for the nature.  And the nature in New Zealand is beautiful, and unique.  Also, you might like the temperate climate in much of New Zealand.

 

New Zealand biggest positives – is more kickback, loose, has got amazing nature, and pleasant weather.

Mostly a kickback life-style, even if you work in the corporate arena.  Even if you work in Auckland or Wellington it will not be the same as working in corporate or professional arena in US, Canada, or Germany.  Some locals in NZ will say “Oh, yeah, I worked in Auckland and Wellington and I got tired of the hustle and bustle, and so now I am in Queensland etc..”  Make no mistake about it, if you are pretty much from any other part of this continent, professional or blue collar, corporate or not, this totally does not qualify as a hustle and bustle.  And you don’t have to go that far – just look across to Sydney.  I wouldn’t at call it  chill as in California, and exciting as in New York City or London etc.  It has its own laid back atmosphere.

 

NZ Biggest Negatives – Lack of culture (except for ancient Maori), architecture old or new, modernization , lack of social interaction

If you go there for culture or architecture, then don’t!  If you go there for socialization, then they are tad better than the Swedes of Stockholm, and the Danes of Copenhagen.  This is bewildering because they are English decent, speak English, and you will have a much better time conversing with people from UK or Ireland.  Heck, even the people from Sydney are more conversent.  In my experience, I found, especially in Auckland, that social interaction was segregated (yes, I said segregated people!).  The other thing I found was that local people did not know or lacked social interaction skills.  This was true of both genders, and especially women.  The other thing I experienced is that many times women would be afraid, and especially when they were wearing spandex pants or skirts (not even minis).  And I wasn’t even checking them out!  I wish I had a hidden rolling cam with audio on this trip.  Very Bizarre!  Also, on the times when local people, including those innocent Maori, were a bit social, they didn’t have much to talk about, and as if they were in their own world maybe even a blank world, not necessarily a peaceful blank world. Very strange.  If you are looking to come to New Zealand for some type of intelligent or non-intelligent entertaining conversation on almost any topic I suggest, in general, that you are better visiting someplace else.

Food-The food was the best in Auckland, it has a wide variety of foods, restaurants, bars, cafes, fuel area shops all over with good quality food, and the prices are more reasonable.  Wellington, near the cuba-street area has a wide variety of foods, restaurants, and bars.  Not as many cafes though.  The prices are a bit higher.  Queenstown, in the main town area, you have restaurants, and much fast food – however the food tastes different here, and not as good.  The light beer, and craft beer in all of New Zealand is pretty damn good, and better than most of the garbage in the US except for some no brand craft beers on tap.

Industrialize this-While New Zealand has beautiful nature all over, the main cities have lots and lots of cars.  The number of cars is probably growing as well, and so is the construction of new buildings all over New Zealand.  The pollution is going up.

 

 

Queensland Recommendations

Food: Caribe Latin Kitchen, the Empanada Kitchen (their different sauces are amazingly good), Skyline QueensTown Bar – amazing view, and I got a super friendly bartender – who  was on a Holiday Visa from the good ol USA!  Definitely try out the Mickey D’s on Frankton Road (Queenstown, Frankton) – I was missing a Mickey D’s, and they actually gave me coffee in true china – check out the pics dude!

Activity: So many here, please google it J.  Hike up to Skyline Queenstown, and Queenstown Hill.  Make sure to check the weather to book either the Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound Tour.  I went on the Doubtful Sound and it poured and still tried to enjoy it. I went in the fall.  Check the stats too – I think it rains like 200 or more days out of the year in the Doubtful Sound.  If you are lucky it will not be raining (snow might be better actually), however, didn’t get to see any animals L

Regardless, it was fun J. Really it was fun J .  If you go in spring or summer, definitely go kayaking, and other water sports all over New Zealand and not just Queensland.  Make sure to visit or even live in Arrow town.  If you are here for a bit longer absolutely take on of the great walks or hikes in the southern-western part (Milford track, etc..)

 

Wellington Recommendations

Food: CubaStreet has lots of restaurants, bars, clubs, and one or two cafes.  Monterey Café – kind of interesting food and beers

Activities: Museum of New Zealand Te PapaTongarewa, Wellington Botanic Garden, next to less interesting cable car museum, hike up to Victoria.  Hiking in all of New Zealand is excellent, sometimes you are hiking just by being in any city or any place as it’s all very nicely hilly J  There are also few other museums and galleries, just not very impressive.

Other:  One of the nicest, and lovely  things to  hear and say is “Thank you bus driver” when getting off the bus.  Only happened in Wellington regularly and not elsewhere in New Zealand.  In NYC  some of us (though not many of us) say “Thanks” or “Thanks, have a good day”,  “Thanks a lot”,  “Thanks and have a good night” , etc.. to the bus drivers.   Very rarely in much of EU, though I will say Merci, Merci beaucou, Danke, Danke Shuen, Gracias, Muchas Gracias, Graciee even if I get odd looks from others.

 

Auckland Recommendations

Food – lots and lots of different good quality restaurants, fast food, boutique or specialty food places at reasonable prices all over.  I like the cafes and restaurants on Ponsonby Rd between Karangahape Road, and College Hill and near Dunedin Town Hall.  Have breakfast at Marys, its absolutely lovel, and sit by the large “window” area to get a view of passers by and a view of Leys Institute Ponsonby Library & Hall. While you make your way to Marys, make sure to check out the old Ponsonby Post Office building.

Activities: Auckland Ware Memorial Museum – the best museum in New Zealand, and even better than the one in Wellington.  Excellent exhibition on the top floors.  Kind of pricey, however, worth it. Nearby the Auckland War MM there is a beautiful botanical green house, please visit it – it’s that good! Auckland Art Gallery is so-so, and not that impressive, the outside architecture is much more impressive and worth the intake.

Make sure to visit the islands such as Rangitoto, Waiheke, Rotoroa,  etc.  The ferries are very expensive even if the ferry is as short as the ones to and from Davenport.  Its worth it, and I recommend either a day trip (some islands can only be visited as a day trip) or a one night stay.  Absolutely, make certain of the second last and last ferry back, even if the counter person is not fully helpful for whatever reason. This isn’t like taking the 24 hour, free ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island.  Transport in all of NZ costs a good deal of money, and I think it’s more money than in London (except for cabs).

Hike up to Mount Eden.   It’s wonderful.  Don’t drive there, walk from Auckland city area to Mount Eden, believe it or not, people actually smile up in the town near Mount Eden, and will acknowledge our mutual amicable existence.  I walked the from Karangaphe Rd, Symonds St, to Mount Eden Rd finally to Mount Eden.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:47 pm
Nov 162015
 

DSC_0001     
Botanicactus-Mallorca-Images

Mallorca-2015-other-images

This time around to Spain using a Train from Montpellier to Barcelona Sants to the BCN, and then fly to Mallorca.  It was a great train ride.  Making me wish, I hadn’t stayed at Montpellier, and could have split my time and stayed at Narbonne, and Perpignan.  And of course between the three, I would now prefer to stay at  L’Avignon, and if you have company then Nimes would also be great since it has much more rustic feeling, and much less urban.  Being solo, L’Avigion it would be.   However, this is all in hindsight, and my sights are not in the behind, so no regrets.

From a beach point of view, well the Spanish coast is the best.

Yes, I went off season near the end of May.  The weather was very temperate and ever changing.   From sunny warm to cloudy and rainy.   I didn’t mind that.    I kind of knew the water temperature was going to be cool, and it was cold.  Almost, nobody was in the water except for one sunny warm day, with pretty much all the strong Germans in the water.

This time I rented a car.  It was a VolksWagon (FolksVagon), and it was an automatic.  Well, it was the European version of an automatic, and it was very funny ride.  When I would come to a complete stop the engine would kind of shake as if to stop, however, it would just idle, and when I would move again, the engine would kind of shake and un-idle ready to go.    A very fine looking new kind of a car, and I got curious looks from people.

The people of Spain especially Catalyuan and Mallorca have always been very friendly and easy going.  When I say Mallorca I mean the Mallorcias or Spanish not the recent transplants from other European parts, although I didn’t mind them that much.  Yes, I avoided the Playas de Mallorca because on my last visit I just got fed up of the European young adult tourists and teenagers just dumping bottles, and garbage onto the beach.  They would make their efforts of going green look like going mutant green.

This time in Mallorca, I was staying at Cala D’or area.   It has to my surprise also become a tourist oriented town.  And for a few years I have been thinking to go to another island where UK, and Deutsch, and now Russian and Dutch tourists don’t over take the majority of the island and convert it to a big bar with awful food.  The owners primarily cater and make food that tourists have no idea about.  If you care to cook your own food then be wise and rent an apartment, it will serve you well.

I loved that I rented a car and went to places that I haven’t on the island, and also got to see the farm areas, and other eateries definitely more local than touristy driven.    I visited the Botanicactus and pretty much spend about 4 hours here.  Took me about an hour to get there, and I didn’t mind one bit getting lost.  Getting lost was so much fun too, well I had GPS as well just in case.  One other day, I visited the parc Modrago, and the awesome beach there (S’Amarador).  I did notice quite a few bikers, in this entire part of Mallorca, so if you are a biker this entire area from Cala D’or to Modrago might be of interest to you.  Yes, the scenery is amazing.  The biking is not casual, it’s a mix of everything including hilly region.  I did not visit the Coves Del Drach (Caverns), and forget the reason for not doing so.

All I can say to Espanya, y todos partes de Espanya (incluso Cataluyna) es Muchas Gracas de Nuevo.

 Posted by at 4:22 am