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Hi there, I am a graphic- & interactive designer based in Germany. If I'm not behind the screen you will find me on the move. Have fun going through a comprehensive mood about my life.

Christmas 09

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It wasn’t easy to get there but finally I made it – arrived at the “Swedish Resort” 16km south of Hua Hin. From Bangkok I went on a 5 hour train ride and 1 hour pick up truck drive, to get to the resort. Because it was already 9pm in the evening when I arrived, Lola was asleep.

When she saw me the next morning it was a huge surprise for her. She was almost shocked but so happy to see me. So we had some really nice days and celebrated Christmas all together with a nice dinner.

Because of different circumstances I left Hua Hin already on the 27th and traveled further south to Chumphon. Chumphon is a small town from where boats leave to the nearby islands like Koh Tao, Koh Phangan or Koh Samui. Chumphon has a nearby beach which is called “Hat Tha Wua Laen Beach”, a great destination for kitesurf. When I arrived at Chumphon I jumped on the next pick up truck to go the 16km up north to the beach side to give it a try and maybe stay for 2-3 days to do some kitesurf. Sadly there wasn’t any wind and the guy from North Kiteboarding told me that the wind left 2 weeks ago and he does not expect it to come back within the next week.

So the decision was made and I went back to Chumphon to get on the night boat, a small fisher boat, to leave for Koh Tao. The boat takes about 6 hours for the 75 km to get to Koh Tao. It leaves at 11pm and arrives at Koh Tao the next morning at 6am. They lay some mattresses out for people to sleep on but because of New Year there were too many on the boat so that body’s where on top of each other. So I took a mattress out and climbed through the side window of the boat on the roof where a beautiful sky – full of stars – was waiting for me.

Room mate

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I’m always open and willed to hand out little things, donations to people or animals in need. But when I came back today from a nearby beach, a wonderful beach I visited during the afternoon, when I entered my little bamboo room in the guest house, I saw the banana, the one I left on the rack, half eaten. So, quick thinking, snakes and spiders don’t eat bananas, right? Hmm, next most common animal, especially around the guest houses, are rat’s. I have seen some around the other day, close to the guest house, which had the size of my forearm.

Not enough that this “smart” creature took my vitamin snack, the bloody thing had also bitten her way through the top of my rucksack into the top level where I had some crackers. By the size of the hole, the size of my fist, this rat must be not only one of the bigger rats but also one of the smartest around here. At least with a very sensitive nose.

As we all know – rats are quite smart. The information that there is some food available at my little bamboo house went straight into the rats memory. So it wasn’t really a surprise that when I switched the light out to go to sleep the rat came back into the room. Facing the creature with my flash light made her stop for a second but not leave the room. Getting in through a small hole under the roof the rat found the way down over some bamboo sticks on the side of the wall. I could not believe how big this animal was. At least the size of my forearm. I did not work out to kill her with my Flip-Flop, at least made her go away for some minutes until I switched out the light, same story continued. Rat came back in, trying to find the way to my backpack. So I tried to find something bigger, a stronger weapon. All I could find was the Cambodia Loney Planet Guide. I almost hit her with the book and the feeling came up that the rat starts to get aggressive against my stupid weapons. So the rat left the room again for a second, a second I used to get a towel and cover up the gap in the wall … I pushed it into the hole that heavy, that at least the rat had no chance to get back in again.

I believe that when you start sharing your privacy with rat’s – it’s better to leave.

Day of rest

You know that it will hit you at least one time during your trip, but you don’t know when. Diarrhea. Nothing you can do … Sit and wait until it’s over.

Tomorrow I will go back to Bangkok and further down to Hua Hin the next day. Next day means the 24th of December, Christmas. I promised to Lola to be there so I will come.

Hill of Penh

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Legend has it that the city of Phnom Penh was founded when an old woman named Penh found four Buddha images that had come to rest on the banks of the Mekong River. She housed them on a nearby hill, and the town that grew up here came to be known as Phnom Penh (Hill of Penh).

To get there from Siem Reap I jumped on a boat and went down the Tonle Sap Lake and further down the Tonle Sap River. Phnom Penh was very interesting but also very sad. Here you have to face history from the Khmer Rouge regime and it hit me big time. Luckily I found a nice tuk-tuk driver, his name is Peter (what ever his real name is, that’s how he used to call himself), who drove me for one day around town. Peter is around 40 years old and he was 10 years old when the Khmer Rouge regime, under the power of Pol Pot, took Phnom Penh on 17 April 1975. As part of the radical social programme, they immediately forced the entire population starting from that date into the countryside. Who was out on the street that day was directly send out of the town or killed. Whole families were split up on those first fateful days of the Khmer Rouge regime. Like Peter, who was sent into a labour camp where he had to work on rice fields, split up from his family. While he was telling his story I knew that this day will last for longer in my mind. He showed his tongue, which had deep cuts from torture and different illnesses. Hepatitis, Malaria and everyday torture was common during that time. Approximated 3.5-4 mio people had been killed, tortured to death in special prisons or killing fields. Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, woman, children and infants who had been detained and tortured at S-21 (a former school in Phnom Penh which was converted into a Security Prison called S-21) were transported to the extermination camp of Chong Ek, the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. People were often bludgeoned to death to avoid wasting precious bullets. Only 7 people from 17,000 survived the prison or the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. Cambodia had much more Killing Fields and special prisons spread out over the country during that time.

It is a peaceful place today, masking the horrors that unfolded here less than 3 decades ago. I found it pretty intense and depressive walking through the different sides of the camp. Trees where used as “Killing Trees” to beat children or baby’s with their head against – until they dead, mothers often kept beside as spectators before they where killed with any other brutal practice.

After 2 days of Phnom Penh I decided to head south to clear my head from the heavy pictures. I needed to restart my system – clean the cache. Beach, drinks, party and nothing to do all day long. Because this sounded like the perfect plan for me, I jumped on the first bus next morning and drove down to Sihanoukville, a pretty laid back and easy going place at the South Coast of Cambodia, surrounded by white sand beaches and undeveloped tropical islands. And so far … I like it a lot. It is pretty laid back and more hippie than any kind of mass tourism. But also here you can not escape from the follow-up of the Khmer Rouge regime. Landmines. Cambodia holds the world record of landmines and landmines victims. A lot of landmine victims you see over day and night at the beach, where they try to collect some money from westerner’s or rich Cambodians from Phnom Penh. Not easy to watch and very sad. So I always give them some smaller cash but there are too many. As sad as it is, it’s part of the country’s history and you can not close your eyes.

Cambodia

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12 hours, 2 paracetamol and 450 km later. I arrived at Siem Reap/Cambodia. From Bangkok I had to do some bus hoping to get here, filled out tonnes of documents at the Cambodian Border. But, every second at the border or on this bumping buses was worth it. Driving down the 200 km on the recently upgraded highway to Siem Reap, dusk  turned the beautiful countryside into an amazing scenery of purple and turquoise colours with all kind of reflections in the little lakes between the rice fields. Window open, IPod set on the right music, paradise could not be closer.
Siem Reap is an incredible charming town with an well developed tourist industry. In history, in 1900, the French were able to pressure Thailand into returning the north west provinces of Battambang, Siem Reap and Sisophon in return for concessions of Lao territory to Thais. This meant Angkor came under Cambodian control for the first time in more than a century. Well, the French still kept a lot of the power they always have had in the provinces.
So, why going so far back in history? That everybody understands the fact that much of Siem Reaps special charm is in it’s early 20th century French architecture. Some of the finest colonial buildings turned into luxury hotels. Somehow it reminds me a lot about Havana/Cuba, where I had been in 2003.
Yesterday I had a “leisure day” after being on the bus tour for so long. I stayed at the roof terrace of the “Terrasse des Elephants” an Angkor Boutique Hotel from the early years. Check out the website for more information or see the nice pool pictures of the amazing roof terrace. I just changed my guest house today and moved in a new one right beside the hotel. Now I can jump in the pool any time I like. Well, instead of 50 $ per room at the hotel  I pay only 6$. 5$ if I want to go into the pool of the hotel. But the guest house is fun and much better as the previous one.
Today I got up at 4am to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, the most famous temple complex at Angkor. I hired a private driver with a small moped to take me to the different temples in the same area of 25 km. There are 100  temples surviving today just a small number of temples Angkor must had at its main peak of the Khmer empire; a city that, at it’s zenith, boasted a population of one million when London was scrawny town of 50.000. Because normal houses at Angkor were constructed of wood, only the temples which are made of brick or stones, still exist. It’s amazing to see how big and exclusive life had been at this time. Very nice trip.
So the next plan is, going down to the floating village of Chong Kneas and try to stay there for one night. From there I would like to get on a boat down the Tonle Sap Lake and head into Phnom Pnehm on Wednesday night.

Enjoy looking at the pictures …

The Plan

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After I changed my Guest House this morning, I have the strong feeling to leave the steamy Asian metropolis and start to travel north, direction Cambodia. 3 days in Bangkok are enough, it sucks just too much energy out of my body. There is definitely too much distraction in town, the city which never sleeps.
So, I will jump on a bus tomorrow morning and find my way to Siem Reap/Cambodia. Close to Angkor Wat I will maybe stay for 2 days and travel through the temple of historical Angkor Wat. Fom Siem Reap I will try to get on a boat and travel down, over the Lake Tonle Sap, to Phnom Penh and from there over the Mengkong River further south close to the Vietnam border. Maybe stay in the area for another 3-4 days, move my feed into Vietnam/Mui Ne to do some kitesurf or just hang out along the beautiful beaches of south Vietnam.
Keeping in mind that I will have to go back to Bangkok and maybe even further down from there, I will travel back into Cambodia and stay closely to the coast line until I reach Sihanoukville. This area is also recommended as one of the most beautiful beach side of South Cambodia and worth to spend some time at.
Shit, just had to drop another 10 BHT coin into the machine to not loose connection. So, some more time to write. Whats the daily life in Bangkok. Mmhh, food, fresh fruit shakes, massages, Tuk Tuk tours or just stupid things like going to the post office, buying a bag to leave stuff (winter clothes from Nepal) at the storage (hostel). Planing the tour, meet people. By the way, the picture of the old hippie guy I posted in my last post is Stafano from Tuscany/Italy, which I met at the airport. Funny and weired guy, traveled all over India, at least been there 30 times in his entire life. He had been to prison in India 4 times, you don’t want to know the reasons, longest stay was 4 months. He was a great entertainment and fun to listen to.

Smoking and smoking related items

Transfer at Delhi Airport: I had to pass the security check at Delhi airport and the custom officer found a pack of Marlboro Light cigarettes in the side pocket of my trouser. Next second he asked to see my lighter but I did not had one on me. So I excused and explained him I don’t have a lighter with me. He did not believe so he asked again. I explained again. He answered he want to see the lighter because he knows that if there are cigarettes there must also be a lighter. So this discussion went on over some minutes and I almost gave up. Suddenly he stopped and looked at me and said in kind of a straight voice that the next time I should bring lighter …

Funny thing is that if I had carried a lighter with me the story had been the opposite way around.

Kao San Road Bangkok: Today I had some food at a street kitchen close to Kao San Road. The street kitchen was basically made of a wok and a couple of bags filled up with fresh vegetables and meat, a table and a chair. After I had eaten I lighted up a cigarette and watched the people on the street. Suddenly the Thai chef came up to me to inform me that smoking is forbidden in his street kitchen. So, isn’t this funny. You sit under the open sky outside on the street, one table and no other customers around and this guy is still protecting his area from smoking. But what really made the story was that he was smoking behind his wok while preparing the food.

I think I will stay 2 more day’s in the jungle of Bangkok before I travel north to Chang Mai or Cambodia. Have not decided yet. But I made a good deal today on a second hand Lonely Planet 2009 travel guide which will hopefully bring the answers.

Good Bye Kathmandu

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I left Kathmandu yesterday and went over Delhi to Bangkok. The last days in Kathmandu had been very nice. The family invited me to their home and cooked the entire day Nepali and Sherpa food for me. For sure I had to drink litres of “Dumba” that day. We had a great time and they have been so thankful for the donated money I brought them. They did not had any words to describe how much it means to them. But their faces and reaction told everything.
Again, thanks to everybody who supported this case and the believe in the truth of this story. For all the non believers, your next chance for a donation is coming up soon.

Add on: As you can see at the above image, even in Nepal they are interested in Motorsport. They showed an old race, Silverstone GP 1994, on TV, the race Damon Hill won after a dramatic battle with Michael Schumacher during the race. Guess how long I was starring on that screen to find out what season or GP track it is. Also I had to explain my Nepali friends at the pub that this is an old race and cars look very different today.

Ups I did it again

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I swore to god I will never ever do it again after my bad experience in India in 2006. But, no risk no fun. Landed in Kathmandu I passed the pre-paid taxi desk and went straight to the local drivers as they where offering much better deals. With 2 American girls in my shadow we found a driver who drove us into Thamel/Kathmandu for around about 1 Euro. Well, for a 30 min drive it’s even in Kathmandu a great deal. Deal, that’s the word which means in Nepal almost the same than in India. I knew it from my 6 weeks here in Nepal in 2006 and was waiting for the start of the conversation in the car.
Sure it started soon and I shut my mouth and followed the conversation between the 2 girls and the 2 Nepali driver in the front. I must say, sometimes you are lucky and they show you the best deals and places in town, but the chances are pretty rare. This time I was lucky and they dropped us out at a nice little guest house, the “Pilgrim Garden Guest House” in the heard of Thamel. Today I spent the entire day with my Nepali family, for who I/we collected the money during the year. We have not seen us for 3 years and the moment when they visited me at the guest house was very intense to all of us. We spent the rest of the day at the Swayambunath Stupa, which  is better known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the north-west. Before we climbed up the steps to the temple we had lunch at Ashis’s and Yangzee’s grandma, Nima’s mother (Nima, the father of the kids who died last year).
As an Nepali tradition I had to drink some bowls of “Dumba”, the traditional Sherpa beer from the mountains. It’s made with hot water and a strange seed which only grows in Nepal. You have to drink it warm and with a special metal straw, which has one end squezzed together that the seeds can’t get up to your mouth. Tomorrow I will go to the house of the family and Mina will cook traditional Nepali food for me and I’m sure – a biiiig bowl of Dumba.

Believes …

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… are the most important thing for Indians, for their culture, their religion. For western people often hard to understand or to get into, even if they try hard as you often can tell by the way they dress in India. I’m not quite sure what they think or what’s in their mind when they throw over some traditional Indian clothes. I always have the strong feeling to tell them how stupid they look. In Germany we would call it Carnival and it would give them at least a better reason to do it. Maybe they think that spirituality starts or comes with Indian clothes? Anyway, something the poor Indians have to deal with. But I bet they have some great words for the kind of people. I would love to know them. For me the only thing to believe in, in Pahar Ganj,  is the believe that what ever they will tell you, try to sale to you or recommend it will be a fuck up or disappointment. Last one is the best ending of the story.
Pahar Ganj/Delhi, feels like the end of the Indian bowel and I almost forgot about it. But walking for the last 2 days around Pahar Ganj and neighborhood made me face reality in real time. I strongly believe that there must be a different side of the town but I have not found or seen it yet. Maybe there isn’t.
Taking some of my learnings from 2006 into consideration, I had booked a cheap hotel over the Internet in advance and I have taken a prepaid taxi from the Delhi airport to Pahar Ganj. Both guaranteed a smooth landing for myself here in Delhi. Pahar Ganj is definitely not the place where you want to hang out for too long. Tomorrow I will leave for Nepal/Kathmandu where I really look forward to.
Overall I had a good start here in Delhi, met some interesting people and enjoyed the chaos in the jungle of Parah Ganj. Please note that I have enormous affection for India and total respect to it’s tenacity in overcoming difficulties. Don’t extend my words to the country as a whole impression, as it would be wrong. But everybody who been to Pahar Ganj in Delhi will share my impressions and agree that it is a rough small corner of India.

Enjoy looking at the pictures …

Incredible India

India 09

I guess the first touch point with India is when you go to the Indian Embassy and start to organize your visa. The big posters on the walls display the amazing and colorful beauty of India. Bollywood movies on flat screens deliver the right sound to set you in the mood for another great adventure in your life. Sometimes the adventure starts already at the embassy, when you try to organize your visa. I had my great experience already last week which I see now as a warm up for my leave tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow I will leave for a 6 weeks trip to Asia. First stop will be Delhi/India, where I will stay for 4 days. From Delhi I will fly to Kathmandu/Nepal where I stay another 4 days before I will fly over to Bangkok/Thailand. So far that’s the plan. But as always, nothing is set in stone and everything can change. From Bangkok the map is wide open. Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam? No plan yet.

I will keep you updated as long there is a Internet connection around me.

Take care,
Chriss

Into the gravel

ktm

KTM 125cc rider Sturla Fagerhaug of Norway crashes during the last race of the Motorcycle Grand Prix season at the Cheste race track outside Valencia November 8. (AP Photo/Paul White)

Upside Down

Nascar

Ryan Newman (39) slides upside down on the track after crashing with Kevin Harvick (29) during the AMP Energy 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, at Talladega Superspeedway. (Mark Young/Associated Press)

Atelic

A motion control test film by DuckEye developed from 'Iatrogenesis' created for Rambert Dance Company's 'Season of New Choreography'. Absolutly beautiful in terms of the video production as well the choreography. The choreography reminded me a little bit of Wiliam Forsythe but that's maybe because I have no idea about modern dance :-).


Choreography Alexander Whitley
Dancers: Jonathan Goddard, Miguel Altunaga, Eryck Brahmania, Estela Merlos
Music: Guy Connelly

Directed by Duckeye
Produced by Rokkit

Director of Photography: Simon Paul
Gaffer: Jono Yates
Runner: Leonard Wilkinson

shot using Canon D5 MKII with a manual 25mm Carl Zeiss lens.

First Look

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A short film of the surfer Jamie O’Brien shot with the Canon 5D MKII and Red One Camera in the North Shore of Hawaii. Shots are taking by Vincent Laforet which had already tested the Canon EOS 5D MK2 with a nice shortstory moodfilm “Reeverie” at the beginning of 2009. Again, great emotional pictures combined with a set of fresh perspectives.

Divali 2009

Divali Items

A potter makes clay lamps for Diwali in Mumbai, India. October 17th marked the celebration of Diwali among Hindus and other groups around the world. Diwali is also known as the “Festival of Lights” (the name translates as “row of lamps” in Sanskrit). The festival marks the homecoming of Hindu God Rama to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest following his victory over Ravana, and signifies the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness. Celebrants observe Diwali with fireworks, colorful lanterns, lamps, garlands, sweet treats and worship.

A piece of land

A piece of land
Cows and vehicles remained on a piece of land surrounded by floodwaters in the village of Jeram Perdas, Malaysia. Hundreds of villagers were temporarily evacuated from the area due to flooding at the start of the annual monsoon season. (Fathil Asri/Agence-France Presse/Getty Images)

F-One Addikt 2

First run release for the new F.ONE movie was filmed with the RED ONE cinema quality camera which captures 120 frames per second in full HD! Very nice camera movements and amazing slow motion shots with fresh angles.

Highest-altitude skydiving stunt

pof_091105

Tom Noonan, of the U.S., and Ganesh Pandey, of Nepal, performed a tandem skydive near the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest , in the background in Nepal Thursday. Their dive is believed to be the highest-altitude skydiving stunt, an organizer said. (Wendy Smith/Reuters)