31 Dezember 2009

December adventures

I was lucky in December - a change of schedule usually means flights like Ashgabad or Teheran. This time, they sent me to Bangkok. Great place to find beautiful flowers for my mother and other friends. Usually I never get there, so I was happy to be able to explore a new place - and to eat loads of superspicy Thai curry ;)
Coming back, I was again lucky that I had Christmas off for the first time since I started working for Lufthansa - my parents had water in the cellar of their house, as a pipe had frozen and then burst. They needed my help straight away, so this year Christmas was a great workout of carrying buckets full of water out of the house.
On the 1st of January, I have another long flight, and then I start preparing for Australia again. I could make enough time to go to the Australian Alps and fly the Bogong Cup. Im not too sad to leave rain and snow behind for a couple of weeks.

10 Dezember 2009

China again: Nanjing, Timezone: UTC + 8

And again, no chance to update my blog while I was in Nanjing, China. This city is not as big and not as modern as the well known metropoles of China, but it is nice to see some history and traditional places. Even if they are re-built like the Konfuzius temple on the photos, as it was completely destroyed before.
Nanjing has a dark history of destruction, not only by Japanese, but also by British and American bombing. About 400000 Chinese people dwere killed in the Nanjing massacre.
I was surprised to meet extremely friendly and helpful people - who were even lining up in front of the subway ticket machine! No elbowing in this city, I was even offered a seat on the train. Looking on my map, a girl stopped and asked if she could help me, as she spoke English, which not many people in Nanjing do.
A highlight for me - 20 different sorts of Tofu in the supermarket, and great tasty dragon fruit! But horror just a few meters away - I felt very sorry for the poor frogs and cute turtles sitting in tanks and waiting to become dinner :( one turtle nearly climbed on my arm, I so wish I could have taken all of them and set them free somewhere.
Another speciality in Nanjing is "soup of duck intestines". The smell made me hold my breath and run for fresh air several times. Duck liver, bowels, kidney, stomach and a lot of msg really create a smell that I cannot cope with...
While it was end of the world weather in Germany, we enjoyed some bright sunny days in Nanjing, but it was not far from freezing temperatures and I was superhappy that we had just got our Adidas team clothes for winter in Herzogenaurach. It was quite chilly when I collected some of the famous agates "Rain flower stones" at Yu Hua Tai, the rain flower terrace.
It was great to discover new places, a new culture and meet new people. Just foodwise it was quite difficult for a vegetarian, even the noodles tasted as if they were cooked in animal fat. When I go to Australia in January, I hope I can assist Molly Moyes again, her Chinese cooking is legendary (as are the numbers of people she feeds - family, friends and visiting foreign pilots ). And I definitely need to learn more about Chinese cooking to find some edible vegetarian dishes next time I get there.

Shanghai Surprise - Timezone: UTC + 8

After returning from Mexico, I went to China for the first time. It was a lot of fun on board when my colleagues taught me the basics of Chinese - the right intonation! I was surprised to see that the structure of the language is quite basic and I could communicate drinks and food successfully to the Chinese speaking passengers who seemed to have a lot of fun with my efforts.
The city of Shanghai is stunning - so many modern sky scrapers with really interesting architecture, so many people everywhere. The pushing and pulling is amazing, a bit of a cultural shock. If you try just to cue up in front of a ticket machine for the metro, you will never get a ticket ;) same in the supermarket, same in noodle bars - you need to use your elbows to survive.
Going around the city in the subway train is fast, but be prepared for a lot of pushing and pulling and also some pickpockets.
The famous Bund is a large constuction place at the moment, as the city is preparing for next year´s Expo 2010 in Shanghai - sorry that I can´t get you the picture with the Pudong view.
By the way, it took a while for me to update my blog, because my blog is censored in China. Seems like all blogspot addresses are forbidden, for whatever reason. I could read the Ozreport at least ;) And sure, my next trip took me to China again.