However the report on my agenda was not on female behavior but on Rooibos, the indigenous plant there that makes a quite popular sort of infusion with earthy, nutty flavors. To find the fields and production site the photographer Russell and I were met at the Cape Town airport by Gerda. She drove us up the hills through impressive scenery to Clanwilliam and into the half desert. Before we went any further we were staying at the Bushmans Kloof Ressort for the night. After a wonderful dinner under uncountable stars we were taken out for a little tour in the early morning by a ranger.
When Alexander and I were living in London, it didn’t take us long to notice, that socializing is an extremely serious matter to the natives. So when we were asked by Mrs Sturges-Jones, our very friendly neighbour from one floor above, to join her for “Pre-Dinner Drinks”, we had second thoughts that this is just having an Aperitif with an elderly lady – and even more important, a very good friend of our landlord.
As a non-British subject you can be way off … So I did ask for advice in the office. The information by Mrs Khan – the unofficial chief of our team – was: Pre-Dinner Drinks is a casual way to introduce yourself. The important thing is to be there at 6 pm and leave at 8 pm sharp – no matter what. That sounded weird but manageable.
Es ist eine gute Sache, wenn Wein in Restaurants oder Bars glasweise ausgeschenkt wird. Manchmal kann man sich schließlich mit seinem Gegenüber nicht auf eine Flasche einigen. Oder einer will auch mal separat eine kleine Menge eines ausgefallenen Tropfens probieren. Aber was man sich da jetzt im Empire ausgedacht hat, ist doch slightly over the top. Das Foto zeigt ein Supermarktregal bei Tesco in London. Es handelt sich um Plastik-”Gläser” mit abziehbarem Aludeckel – wie Joghurtbecher… Nein, wir haben keine Kostprobe mitgenommen.
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, früher Nachmittag: Schon bevor es losgeht, kann der Passagier zunächst einiges über das System Bahn lernen: “Wir haben einen Türendefekt, aber sobald unser Zugführer die Unterlagen zu unserer Umleitungsstrecke vorliegen hat, geht es gleich los.”
Mit 40 Minuten Verspätung erreichen wir Hannover, in Kassel sind es nur noch 30. Und ab da konnte ich richtig was lernen. Ein ganzes Füllhorn voll Themen passt nämlich auf die Strecke Kassel – Frankfurt. » Read the rest of this entry «
Portuguese are different. I think it must be their long tradition as seafarers which makes them getting over difficult situations unexited. Just taking it as it comes calmly, in their melancholic style.
But let’s start with the beginning.
The Air Portugal flight TP 561 from Hamburg to Lisbon was ready for boarding just a little bit late – we could hope for being on time. It was a special atmosphere being in the waiting area in front of gate A40 surrounded by at least 5 huge families of African origin. No no, retransporting refugees looks different. I have seen that ones, they are taken one by one - not in a jolly crowd. And: These people here had a very pleasant behaviour, could speak german, specially the kids without accent. They looked good, women and kids with fantastic hairstyles, in cool and glitzy clothes. Two huge matrons dressed in very colourful gowns and drapes. » Read the rest of this entry «
Let’s be honest: France is one of the countries, where you have to be cautious with innocently looking forward to your meal in happy anticipation. But exactly that was what we did, when we where driving out of Marseille after a wonderful week in this exciting city. Alexander and I where invited for lunch to Château Revelette, the winery of Peter Fischer. The man is producing very good wines in the hinterland of Aix-en-Provence. I had done a report on him earlier and when he heared, that we were in the region, he was eager to have us with a group of friends for a “speciality” – as he put it. » Read the rest of this entry «
Eine Schatzkiste ist herrlich. Da findet man Dinge, von denen man gar nicht weiß, dass man sie hat… Ich zum Beispiel habe an einem Regentag ein kleines Büchlein entdeckt. Sofort habe ich mich erinnert, woher es kommt. Malakka! Neujahr 1995 haben Alexander und ich meine Freundin Conni in Singapur besucht und von dort aus einen Ausflug in die malaysische Küstenstadt gemacht. Ich weiß noch genau, wie wir mit dem Überlandbus gefahren sind. Wie wir zu unserer eigenen Überraschung einen alten venezianischen Spiegel gekauft haben, den wir die ganze Heimreise nach Hamburg in eine Pappe verschnürt unter dem Arm getragen haben. Wie wir dieses Respekt einflößenden Reptil – ein Leguan? – am Flussufer sitzen sahen. Und wie wir vor diesem Tempel standen. » Read the rest of this entry «
I was visiting the Capital of the Middle Kingdom for a report on the local cuisine in times of the upcoming Olympics. So that was in October 2007. That evening we went out of the center of Beijing in a taxi. It was already 8 o’clock, very late for dinner in China. Even in the Capital 6 o’clock is when everybody is sitting at a table, chopsticks in hand. My only excuse: I was traveling with a photographer! We left the highway, turned into several streets and eventually rolled down a very dark dust road. The driver was all but enthusiastic. Specially after we had passed a military post the car was getting slower and slower. He grumbled: “Don’t have a clue where this place could be.” Two hands were stretching out towards him holding a cell phone. My second hand showed the card with the phone number of the place. We were in the majority and absolutely determined not to get out of the car in this end-of-the-world scenery.
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It happened on a trip to Portugal with two wine writer colleagues. In pitch black night we arrived on top of a hill at the hotel for a late tasting and to stay overnight. The surroundings of that age old castle-like building had an eery atmosphere. So we went inside quite hastily and were greeted by a relatively young factotum with odd manners.
He guided us to the reception and said: “My colleague will check you in.” He vanished behind a partition made of dark wood and a frosted glass panel and immediately came out again to greet us officially. We had to show our passports and with a stiff smile were handed the room keys. Walking to our rooms on worn carpets alongside huge tile pictures showing the history of the country in blue and white, in turns with dark tropical wood, oriental patterns, we were discussing if there were twins at the reception or if this guy had a split personality. We weren’t sure …
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