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[posted: Wednesday, 2007-03-07] [category: photo, travel]
seattle, washington

arriving in seattle, i was looking forward to enjoying a few quiet days in a familiar place.
i was staying with the byers family (again), and had some time to relax, catch up on emails, watch some movies etc. heather, cindy and larry also took me to snoqualmie falls, olympia (washington state’s capital), downtown seattle of course, …and not to forget a belated birthday-celebration-bowling-evening with heather and some of her friends.

seattle underground

i think the underground tour needs a little explanation: there was a great fire in 1889, which destroyed most parts of seattle’s central business district. there had been problems with floodings etc. up until that time, so it was decided that the ground level should be raised two stories higher. at first, only the streets were higher, and people had to climb ladders to get down to the sidewalks & building’s entrances…
wikipedia information: de, en

and then, just over 3 months after i had started this trip, it was time to fly back home. :-)

 

[view photos: seattle, washington] (added some cellphone pictures)
[view photos: olympia, washington]
[view photos: going home]

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[posted: Friday, 2007-02-23] [category: photo, travel]
victorian inn, ferndale

next stop on my route: eureka, california.
i must confess, the first time i heard about that town was through star wars (remember the moon “endor” in part VI, home of the ewoks? [1] [2, middle of page]).

joyce and darrell were hosting me for the time that i spent in the area, and again, i felt like i had my own 24-hour-tourguides. they were going out of their way to make me feel home and show me around.
i hadn’t told them it was my birthday, but when it came up, we even had a birthday cake for dessert. :-) (we had it with ice-cream, to fulfill all criteria for american food: plenty of sugar, and cold/frozen.)
 

[view photos: eureka and ferndale]
[view photos: redwood national park]

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[posted: Sunday, 2007-02-18] [category: photo, travel]
san francisco cable car

when i got to san francisco, bad planning (on my side) prevented me from meeting my personal hero eric cheng. and he wasn’t the only person i ended up not meeting while i was in the area…
singer/songwriter vienna teng (who i had hoped see play/sing somewhere) was out of town recording her third album, and i missed out on meeting adam tow, because i couldn’t check my emails in time. even getting a coffee with gfl heather moore didn’t work out.

on the positive side, san francisco is a very sympathetic city which i very much enjoyed exploring on my own…
 

giant anchovy tank, monterey bay aquarium

of course, monterey bay aquarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, was another “must see” for me. it was definitely worth the drive down there. especially the jellyfish section was incredible!
 

[view photos: san francisco, usa]
[view photos: monterey bay aquarium]

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[posted: Saturday, 2007-02-17] [category: photo, travel]

when i landed in los angeles, cindy and larry were already waiting at the airport – they had come all the way down from the seattle area to show me around!

disneyland california

the first day – of course – we spent at disneyland (and disney’s california adventure), and i have to say i was surprised that there wasn’t a rollercoaster that cindy&larry didn’t want to go on. :-)
we went there on a friday morning during schooldays, so the park was virtually empty until the early afternoon. on our first rides we were told to just stay seated if we wanted to go another time…
during their visit to austria just a few months earlier, we had visited the matterhorn and neuschwanstein castle (not online yet). it had taken us up to 8 hours of driving to get there… in disneyland, these sights were a tad closer. ;-)

also got a chance to meet some more members (of those that live in cali) of the byers family, which was very nice.
 

[view photos: disneyland california]
[view photos: los angeles]
[view photos: laguna beach]

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[posted: Saturday, 2007-01-20] [category: nature, photo]

while on taveuni last year, i noticed little yellow things on a beach. everytime i tried to get closer, they would just disappear in the sand.
it took some time sitting really really still, but eventually even the close slowly ones came out again and continued with their odd behaviour: they waved with one claw, and they all did it synchronously.

i later found out that these crabs are called fiddler crabs (uca spp., in german: winkerkrabben, “waving crabs”).
the males in the uca-genus have asymmetrical claws – one is tiny, the other one incredibly oversize (up to half of their body mass!). they wave with the big one to get females interested (i’m think i’m gonna try that too :-)).
according to michael rosenberg of www.fiddlercrab.info, the crab is almost certainly a lemon-yellow clawed fiddler crab (uca perplexa).

[view photos: lots of crabs]

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[posted: Saturday, 2007-01-20] [category: music, nature, photo, travel]

my commute to university is about 45 minutes in one direction.
that means i have 90 minutes of potentially unused/lost time per day, which i’m currently spending organizing and processing photos…

markus, murray and lorri

i joined lorri, born and murray that day, and we went north to naqara/somosomo because we wanted to do a hike up to lake tagimaucia – taveuni’s biggest freshwater lake (sometimes spelled tagimoucea or tagimoucia).
we had lost track of weekdays, and just across the street from our motel, there seemed to be a festival going on – loud music for several hours, lots of fijians around, children running around on the street, …
it was sunday, and the festival was “just” regular service. there’s only one church (building) in town, so every confession celebrates mass at another time, resulting in a whole day of church service.

i couldn’t resist taking some digital souvenirs: [more...]

[posted: Monday, 2007-01-08] [category: music, photo, travel]

my stay in fiji started with a good surprise, and a bad one:

musicians at nadi airport

in nadi airport [G], right after we alighted from the airplane, we were welcomed by two fijian musicians. the captain of our airplane soon came by, unpacked his ukulele, and joined in:


[download] (mp3, 780KB)

the bad one was the hostel that i had booked through the internet: after staying in australian and new zealander hostels/backpackers, nadi downtown backpackers was nowhere near the worst hostel i could imagine…
there were 4 bunk beds crammed into a tiny, dirty room, water taps were dripping (actually, i thought somebody had left them halfway on at first), and there was one single room key.
but i was just spending one night there anyway, before my next flight would take me to the next island:

taveuni [G] was recommended to me by (yet another) peter. [more...]