Donnerstag, April 28, 2011

Back from The Gathering and Revision

This is something I posted on Pouet last night on last week's Easter parties The Gathering in Hamar, Norway and Revision in Saarbrücken, Germany.

First of all, the most important thing:


This goes both for me personally, as the feedback for this Award show edition has been incredibly positive, and for the entire Awards crew (at least as far as I know). Thank you for...well..everything, from voting to discussing, coming to the show, watching the show on the net and, of course, creating these pieces of art that often still open my mouth and eyes wide.


It was an unfathomable pleasure and honor to be working with you, and this goes for both the entire production crew and everybody else I have met at TG. Duckers and Lug00ber, from you I received an amount of support I would've never expected, and I cannot find good words to say how much I am in awe of your efforts at TG.

Production crew, you probably noticed how unexpectedly the debriefing after the Awards show was for me, and hopefully also how much I was glowing with happiness to notice that you had been looking forward to this show as THE MAIN event at TG, and that you'd had an equally good time as we did.

You did very well, and your commitment is outstanding. It makes me very proud to have been at your event.


I was initially hesitant about the idea of hosting the Awards show at TG, for pretty much all the reasons mentioned in this endless Pouet thread. And I think now more than ever before that hosting the show at TG was the very best thing we could have done, not only for TG but for the entire Demoscene. The visitor numbers at Revision show clearly that the marketing efforts paid off, and I'm sure that all the rumpus would've seemed somewhat pointless if there hadn't been a "competing" demoparty that would at times state things like "Forget about Germany". All this couldn't have provided more oxygen for Revision's and its fans' enthusiasm.

The budget question has been discussed at length here but let me add one small detail. In my opinion, the statues are an extremely nice asset to winning an award, and whoever has won one will certainly agree. These statues don't come for free, and I am utterly grateful for TG offering to cover for not only this year's but also LAST YEAR's statues, something that TG really had nothing to do with. Holding an actual statue in your hands is something so much different from holding a mere certificate.

At the time TG offered to host and sponsor the awards, there was no alternative offer. Yes, I know there had been rumors about a German party. I was part of the team that said we'd want to organize a successor party. But it just wasn't clear it would happen for sure, and even if so, said party would have never been able to support the awards financially. Whether this was absolutely necessary or not, I will leave to others to decide, but I think I speak for everybody at when I say that we're all very happy we were able to cover for two years of statues in one go.

The only thing you might want to blame TG for is posing the hosting question at a time when "the successor party" didn't really exist. But that's just their choice, and not only would I have done the very same thing but we at were even happy that we had found such a hospitable solution so far in advance. Now than ever before I am convinced that TG offered to host the show (at least also) because of their commitment and enthusiasm about the Awards show, something that I, frankly, at times have slight difficulties to see in some circles.


I've heard a lot of rumor about TG but NONE of the people badmouthing TG to me last year had actually BEEN there. I appreciate your loyalty to "the scene" (whatever that is) but talking about "splitting the scene" seems extremely ironic to a scene so small that almost nobody outside of it has ever heard about it. And please spare us all the crap about how much it's like Assembly. I have never been to Assembly myself but I have heard equally many voices saying that there are substantial differences between the two. And as long as you haven't seen both, it's not your opinion to have.

Now, if you have never been to TG there, here's something you need to do before having an opinion. Not only because it's sensible to know what you're talking about, but also because TG has a variety of things you might actually LIKE.

Yes, many teenagers at TG play games. Yes, they might be wasting their potential, and yes, they might look silly to us. They're teenagers. But some -- and I have also been talked to directly after the show by several kids who were excited to start something creative -- have a commitment about even the Demoscene that I sense lacking in some of "us" who spend a lot of time fighting instead of nurturing what some call "the scene spirit".

The TG kids by the way also have a very impressive way of bringing half of their bedroom that might have even put Scamp's endeavors in best times to shame. :) Seriously, it's very impressive to see how committed they are, regardless of what they do. And besides, they're EXACTLY our target group when it comes to keeping the scene alive. We're all aging, and if it's not people among the thousands of enthusiastic teenagers at TG who might become creative any time soon, I don't know who could be.

I strongly encourage everybody to try the 2-events-during-Easter thing just like I did this year with about 10 other sceners, especially if you've never been to TG. It is an utterly enjoyable thing to do, it will very likely strengthen your scene spirit, and believe me, if you really want to be, you will be drunk for a respectable part of the time. They're Norwegians; they've done their homework. :)
On top, when booked way in advance, it's not only cheap but you also don't miss the demo compos at Revision if that's what's keeping you back.

Montag, November 15, 2010

Entertaining + Coaching = Stage Presence Coaching

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Fields of View

The world is such a cute small place. In my endeavors to do something about my personal situation -- you certainly remember my last entertain-write-coach story blog post -- I have started getting in touch with two institutions.

The first one is the well-known logo Institut here in Frankfurt's Nordend. Don't be blinded by the somewhat mediocre website. This institute has trained speakers and TV and radio hosts for 20 years now, and they provide staff for all major TV and radio stations in Germany, it seems. A friend of Robert's and mine recommended them so I wrote them an e-mail and talked to one of their teachers on the phone once. For some reason the founder Dr. Böhm and I have not caught each other on the phone, but we're working on it.

The second one is Explorers' Akademie, a company run by a long-term (I think it's 18 years now) experienced coach who is also a long-term friend of Robert's. Man, Robert knows people all over the place. This guy, Frank is his name, had an informational evening last Thursday night at the monastery in Niddatal where he also runs the coaching sessions, and invited us so obviously we went. When I heard "informational evening" I assumed it'd be some 10-people group or so but it turned out that the only other two announced guests couldn't make it, so we ended up with two to three hours of Frank's time on our hands.

We talked about various aspects and basics of coaching and NLP, and I am very interested in taking a class in this to self-develop myself in this direction. To this day I know but a few things about it so I'm just interested. Now, this coming Friday to Sunday, Frank is having a three-days coaching session that is usually not intended for beginners but that sounds extremely interesting to me. It's called "Stage Presence for Coaches", and for all I know it will combine exactly the two aspects of stage/entertainment and coaching. And now, to top it off, guess whom he's doing this class with. It's Ms Böhm, the founder of the logo Institut!

What better start could there be for me to get going?!?


Mittwoch, Oktober 27, 2010

Time For Change, For Good, For Real

We're going a long way here when I tell you this after absence for what, a year and a half? Well, let's see, what's happened so far?

March 2009: I quit the job I had back in Düsseldorf when the borderline wife and her loser husband (one of my bosses at the time) started bitching at people and making accusations that were far from acceptable for work (or any other situation in life).

June 2009: I start a job at an online dialog marketing agency here in Frankfurt. My job title is officially "judicial project manager" but really, for months nobody knows how to handle me. I start out managing projects but by the turn of the year 2009/2010 I am asked whether I'd enjoy sales instead, which I say I do. That's the job I still have.

To round it up, and I'm leaving a lot of details aside here, I am not so happy where I am. Again. Makes you think, doesn't it, especially with my "job carrier" that basically consists of jobs here and there that I never excelled in, or particularly enjoyed either, for that matter.

Last night, my boyfriend and I went to see friends for dinner after we had hit the gym. Now, as we walk in yesterday night we run into Margot, another friend and guest of theirs that night, and one of the first things she says is, "So, have you done something with your language talent?" I shake my head in embarrassment, "No, I haven't. I'd love to but don't know how."
The topic changes, and we start talking about all sorts of other things until at some point it comes up again, and all of a sudden I hear myself say how much I despise my job, how it's getting worse by the week, and how much I'd love to do something else. While I was at it I noticed that only a portion of my unhappiness is actually linked to my current job. Really it probably had much more to do with the fact that I have never been courageous enough to take the leap that was necessary for me to enjoy my job. All my life I have been cowardly tip-toeing along the gap that I must cross, back and forth, wasting my time and energy on things I thought I needed to do because everything else would be a perceived waste of (education) time.

So Margot says to me, "What would you like to do?" And instinctively I say, "I don't know, and I hate that I don't! You can't imagine how much I'd like to know what I'd like to do!"
Not the least bit impressed by my answer, she goes, "I think you know what you want to do. What is it?" And I say, "I want to ENTERTAIN, WRITE, and COACH." Just like that.

And she said, "So go do it!"

There it is.
Entertain, write, coach.
That's exactly what I have always enjoyed the most.

So many people have told me they love my speeches, how they like me to guide through an event on stage, how they enjoy reading this blog. And I have always written. Since the age of 12 I kept a diary, and when the Internet had grown enough, I blogged as well. And last but not least, people have often asked me for guidance about their job and love life, and for all I know they turned out very happy after a healthy talk with me.

Now what does all this mean?

Well, for now it means that I need to change something, rather sooner than later, because one of the friends we visited last night is perfectly right in saying, "You better change your life for good now because if you don't, what will happen is that you'll be fired eventually because you'll never enjoy any job in somebody else's company, and if things go really badly you'll be too old to get any other job anymore."

Being the child of two extremely capitalistic parents, I am having a very hard time letting go of the illusion of financial security of a steady job, but I will find a concept that will pay the bills and make me happy. And in turn, it'll make the people happy that I will be in touch with professionally, be it my audience, my readers, or the coachees.

Last night was short and very unquiet for me, and I got up an hour earlier than usual, sat down and wrote down a few things that I hope will pave my future. One of the first steps will probably be to talk to my bosses about altering my job to a part-time model or something similar. And if my current boss remembers the URL to this blog, the genie will get out of the bottle eventually anyway.

I have been anxious and nervous for months, and every now and then it's accompanied by powerlessness. And I am anxious even now. Only now, with this sense of sun dawning at the horizon, it seems to be rather pushing than depressing me.

To the wonderful people I spent yesterday night with, I don't know anything else to say than,

"Thank you with all my heart! It feels like until yesterday night I had been holding my breath for a long time. I am so grateful to call you my friends."

I am sitting in the office, and my eyes are watering.

To a happy and very funny future!

Mittwoch, April 14, 2010

So what else is new

Photo courtesy of mulf.

Two things to start off with.

The first one deals with a mild version of the writer's block. You could call it the writer's amnesia. I had not written a blog entry for so long that I thought there was just nothing to talk about. The truth is, of course, that there are tons of things to talk about. So many, actually, that even the most enthusiastic readers among you might consider never coming back here an actual option.

Ever since I started this entry -- and it's been several weeks since I did -- I have come across a variety of thoughts I consider tellworthy. So don't act surprised if I come up with them at some point. :)

Truth is also, and this is the second thing to start with, life has been great with me. Ironically enough, when things are great there is hardly anything to talk about. When you meet somebody and you tell him things are great, that's pretty much the end of story. If, however, one of the participants is currently wading through an ocean of feces, chances are you have days of interesting conversation ahead of you. Assuming that the other one cares, of course.

I should actually give a thought to renaming this blog to "Whiny Bitch", just like a friend recommended a while back. A blog is just wonderful to vent, and for all I know, venting can be a lot of fun to readers if it's done right. Also, bitching provides you with many fun topics for blogs. :)

So how have things been recently anyway?


I'm doing well and enjoying my work. Last February I got a new colleague to help me with sales (which has been my official focus since January), and until the CEOs finally decided (at the end of March) that she did not quite meet the requirements, and ended her probation period in the beginning of April, I was on a rocky path. It is quite peculiar to see how an ill-fitting coworker can change your work environment altogether.

Also, and I think that this is a much more important point, I have reason to believe that now rather than before, both CEOs seem to have started trusting me. Truth is (it's many truths that I'm hitting you here, isn't it?) that if your bosses don't trust you, your work can meet pretty much any requirements with regards to content, you'll never make it in the company. That's even more true in a company of the size of mine (30 employees).


Robert and I are doing well. At least I think so. Sometimes, out of the blue, we'll have very odd discussions, sometimes even arguments, but the weird thing is that I sometimes wonder if I'm part of it. I often actually marvel at what's going on, thinking that whatever is blowing wind my way at that moment has hardly anything to do with me. Admittedly, after the last two relationships that ended by me being the last one to be told that "things didn't work out" (after his friends, at least), I'm probably more suspicious than most people. Yet, sometimes things come up that I don't yet know how to work with. Sometimes I have the "weird" feeling that I rather tripped on something I didn't place there.

But overall, I think we're doing very well. Honestly. I took Robert to a computer art festival recently, again, and this time he even joined the organizers team. It was great to have him there, and I think he enjoyed it a lot, too. Hell, the demoscene is just a peculiar little cozy place.


One thing I noticed that is remarkable to me. You might remember that I moved to Frankfurt last year in May. Two and a half months later I met Robert who has been to Frankfurt almost 40 years. This leads to a very interesting paradox:

On the one hand, he has many (also long-term) friends whom we meet on a more or less regular basis. Of course, they're his friends. Now, if you consider that I had hardly ever had any contact with anybody in Frankfurt, it is clear that I have no long-term friends in Frankfurt. Of course I met people in Frankfurt when I had moved here but they're just not long-term yet. This leads to the strange paradox that on the one hand we always meet (his) friends and act long-term, but on the other hand I have next to none of my own and can hardly try to find my own friends.

Imagine this, and actually it rather works with gay men than with straight people.

You move to a new city, and you're single. You start meeting, maybe dating people and just see where it goes. So did I. Not that my dates were meant for sex. Au contraire, ma chère. I intentionally did not look for sex but for friends. Sex is always an option, whether you've wasted all your chances to make friends or not. At the time I wanted to make friends.

Now that I'm with Robert, I of course don't hook up with guys on Gayromeo any more, just to "see where it leads", friendship, a Frankfurt guide, a downright boring conversation, or (so God will) sex.

The weird thing is that now I act like I have many long-term friends in Frankfurt while, really, I don't, and I don't have the realistic chances to change it, at least not the way I used to. Well, at least I have colleagues that I enjoy having a beer with at times.

The Whiny-Bitch Part

What's currently taking more of my attention that I'd ever want are two things.

First of all, I'm just effing fed up being told what does NOT work. Like just now when I suggested to an acquaintance to get together some time for dinner or so, and he replies that on weekends it usually won't work because he's busy. Now, he just wanted to be Facebook friends so I assume he'd like to get together somehow some time. Now, if that is the case, why can't he effing tell me what WOULD work? Why are there so many people on Earth who concencrate on what does NOT work?!?

Secondly, I have been dealing with a lot of lack of precision, and I hate that. People come to me saying, "Hey, you're a lawyer, can you make me a privacy disclaimer." The conversation usually goes like this.

"Hey, can you make me a disclaimer?" -- "Sure. What would you like to be in it?" -- "It's a standard privacy disclaimer." -- "Okay, but what would you like to be in it?" -- [silence]
They seem to be convinced that lawyers are mind-readers. I should get myself a glass ball.

I'll sign off with these words for now but several things have come up in my mind recently so I might get to writing more again soon. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Donnerstag, Januar 28, 2010

Spam on Blogger must die and rot in hell

Could Blogger please get a hold on the spam that's automatically spread over articles? I find it personally annoying to have to delete 17 comments on viagra and other shit.

Mittwoch, Januar 27, 2010

The Bangkok Vacation Part

This is the second part of my Asia vacation report. Check the first part here.

Uneventful but very nice flight with Thai. We had gotten so used to Chinese conformity that seeing the differently colored uniforms of the staff was a ray of sunshine, and they were all so friendly. Wonderful.


We had been warned about taxi drivers trying to earn an extra dime (or ten) by not activating their taximeter (in other cultures, this is called "ripping off" but most Thai are so poor that this behavior is even understandable) but having just arrived at the airport, I didn't know what to watch out for. How were we supposed to recognize "the good taxis"? Well, we took a taxi to our hotel anyway, and ended up paying a fair price of around 450 Baht, including fees for tollways, which is 9 Euros and cheap for a 45-minute trip at least.

Still, during our vacation weran into many taxi drivers trying to give us a flat fee for taking us instead of driving by taximeter. When that happens, the offered amount is always higher than the taximeter amount. Always. Anyhow, sometimes it would take three or four attempts to find a "proper" taxi driver. Believe me, especially when even the English-speaking ones hardly say a word you understand, things can get exhausting.

We arrived at our hotel, the Khaosan Palace Inn, at around 7 PM. It was right in the middle of Khao San Road, the center of Bangkok backpacker tourism. It was almost 30°C even when we got to the hotel, and much more humid than Hong Kong had been. Tons of people on street, mostly foreigners and street vendors. The hotel was nice, rooms clean and with all the amenities you could expect for roughly 14 Euros per night (for both of us). But once more we first got a room with rather a wall than a view but when we asked to get another one the next morning it was not a problem.


The Language Barrier

It felt very good to be staying among foreigners, I can tell you. Not that we wanted to hang out with Germans; it was rather the being among others who were not from there. Just seeing the occasional Caucasian face made me feel much more at home, and I am not exactly proud of this. German history and all. But what aggravated it was the fact that the Thai speak even much worse English than the Chinese I had seen, and had a much worse accent. Consonants were almost omitted altogether, let alone the unbelievable intonation. Not even the sounds we're so used to in English and German are the same. What comes so natural to us when we say "uh-huh", for example, to me sounds more like moaning in Thai. We soon knew how to say "thank you" and stuff like that, but Thai is a different language world altogether.

General Perception of Bangkok

We experienced Bangkok to be colorful and peaceful. Not quite as clean as Hong Kong but still a nice city to be in, as long as you stayed away from downtown that looked pretty much the same as Hong Kong, or any huge-city downtown, for that matter. I think that also Bangkok as a city can be done in three days. It is way easier in Bangkok than in Hong Kong, however, to fill some days. Just make sure you have plan of what to do, even if it explicitly includes hanging out at a spa or pool.

The Wats

The city is full of monasteries (they're called "Wat" in Thai), and one that you should definitely check out is Wat Pho, South of the royal palace. Wat Pho is not only extremely beautiful and impressive, it also gives home to a very accredited massage school where you can get a Thai massage that you will probably never forget.

In case you have never received a Thai massage, be ready for a healthy amount of pain. The boys and girls that gave us one drilled their fingers and elbows into our muscles, and at several points I wanted to ask my masseur to ease up a little. I ultimately didn't, and you feel unbelievable once the massage is over. Promised. Oh, and don't be surprised that when you ask for a Thai full-body massage at Wat Pho, somebody leads you quite far, even out of the monastery into a side street. That's where the massage school is really located. It seems like the small Wat Pho building they have is just a prestige outpost.

If you're gay you have very probably heard of it. It is said to be the best, most luxurious, most famous or whatever gay sauna in the world, and friends of mine had highly recommended it to me. It is very close to the Austrian embassy, by the way. Makes you think, doesn't it? :)

Anyway, Babylon is actually a hotel, sauna and restaurant, and although it hardly met my expectations after all the praising I had heard, it is far from bad. We were given a tour by what I would call the queeniest person ever caught stuck in a man's body, and the hotel rooms are, although relatively expensive for Thailand, still affordable and very nicely set up and decorated. If you love gardens and exotic flowers, the more upscale and private rooms are very likely just your thing. We were told, by the way, that you were obviously welcome to bring guests home but that you were preferred not to bring street hookers. Not in these words, of course, but still.


A word about how you can shop yourself to silliness. If you're looking for tailor-made clothes, e.g. suits, Thailand is definitely a place to get them at incredible rates. Not that I had anything made myself but the way street vendors offer these services, there must be something to it. It won't be Armani, as everybody guarantees you it'll be (I wonder if they have any idea what that word means) but I think it's safe to assume that the tailors will do a great job at tailoring pretty much anything to anyone's needs. Including Cirque du Soleil-like tents for the obese.

You get tons of food on the streets, and most of it is not only fine, it's great. If you like Thai food you will love the pad thai that you get almost everywhere. It tastes great and costs around 60 Baht, which is around 1.20 EUR. Try getting a full meal for that price in Germany. Or even just a starter.

Oh, by the way, if you're thinking about buying computer accessories or gaming consoles in Asia, I can't say I recommed it. In Hong Kong, the prices for the stuff you'll want are comparable to German prices so even dealing with the country limitations -- as far as they still exist -- isn't worth it, and in Bangkok it's actually almost the same. Facing the fact that you probably won't have any guarantee on your product, I'd say you leave it and order it somewhere cheap in Germany.

My Bangkok 101

Here's my Bangkok 101 so YOU get something out of all this as well:
  1. Transportation and taxi: Taking a taxi is so cheap that unless you have a specific reason to do differently, you should rely on taxis. You can try taking a tuktuk just to see how boring and expensive it is, and how you'll be too tall to actually see anything. Just make sure that the taxi driver activates his taximeter, and you'll be fine. Ask right away whether he'll activate it. If he won't, he'll tell you a lump-sum price or just drive off without any comment. If he understands where you want to go and says "OK", you're fine to get in.
    What might help you is getting a card (some hotels have them) with all the touristy destinations written on them in English and Thai so that all you have to do is pointing at one.
  2. Hotel room: Admittedly, this is rather a general hint than Bangkok-related but in my experience it has always paid off to ask for another room when I didn't like mine. Sometimes a different room costs extra but often the fee is way worth it if in exchange you get one you actually enjoy.
  3. Street vendors: Unless you actually want to buy something, avoid eye contact and ignore them altogether. Personally, I have a hard time with that, especially because the Thai are extremely friendly. Of course this is exactly what vendors look out for, and some of them stick to you, no matter what you say and no matter how you're trying to say nicely that you'd prefer to be left alone. American politeness doesn't work here; forget it.
  4. Diarrhoea and stuff: Don't drink tap water. Brushing your teeth is fine though. Food in restaurants is generally fine to eat, and so is most food sold on the streets. If you're likely to have digestive problems, you should watch out for refridgerated stuff like ice cream, milk shakes, and ice cubes.
  5. The voltage in Thailand is 220 volts, and the German plugs fit, so you're fine with gadgets from Germany but check twice whether your American apparel works. Electrical shavers and notebooks are usually fine but, e.g., battery chargers often don't.
Thanks for reading this brief but hopefully informative report. The pictures are already online. Ask me for access codes if you're interested.

It's good to be back (although I admit we have been back for almost a month now).

Sonntag, Januar 24, 2010

The Hong Kong Vacation Part

This is the first part of Robert's and my Asia vacation report. We flew to Hong Kong on 22 December, then on to Bangkok on the 29th, and back to Frankfurt on 6 January, via Copenhagen.

You'll see that it's a very brief summary, and very subjective on top. But hey, it's my party, I'm gonna cry if I want to. You would cry, too, if it happened to you. :)

Choice of Travel Destination

In October, Robert and I had known each other for roughly only two months but at least I didn't have any inhibitions to take steps from there. As I had written previously the choice of moving in with each other was made not long thereafter, and we ended up doing that even before going on vacation together. In my opinion, the latter is crucial to every partner relationship because there is hardly anything that puts your relationship to a test as badly as a common place to live or, you guessed it, a vacation abroad.

So we had been thinking for a while about whether, and of course where, we wanted to go on vacation over Christmas and newyear's. There were virtually no limitations at the time as to where we'd go. We had more than two weeks to spend, so we could be brainstorming ourselves silly, and with Robert's connections to Lufthansa, chances were good we'd get a reasonable price at least for the flights. Sometimes I still marvel at the rebates that airline employees get at places like Club Med. But that's a different topic.

Now, where would we go? Our ideas were widely spread. Australia? Very nice idea but too hot in December/January. A car road trip from South to North California? Definitely a candidate. I have friends in the Northern US but there was no chance in hell that I'd be freezing my behind off in Massachusetts, sorry. Something cheaper, like in the Canary islands? Gran Canaria used to be a gay Mekka but things allegedly have changed, and honestly, even at the time it was big I could imagine much more exciting places to go to. When I go abroad my focus is not having things the same as at home.

I don't know any more how Asia came up but I think it was I who said that I had been wanting to travel to Hong Kong for years, and that because I loved Thai food and had seen extremely beautiful pictures about Thailand, Bangkok would be another city I'd love to see. He hadn't seen Hong Kong yet, Robert said, but Bangkok he had seen in 1993 and he'd love to travel there again.

In case you smirked at my remark about the connection of Thai food with wanting to travel to Thailand, I am convinced that much more often than not, people have the silliest motives to travel somewhere. Due to the Internet offering knowledge about pretty much anything and everything, I think that our perception of the world is both more wholesome and tainted.

Fact is, I had never been to Asia at all. Also, I had seen many things about it. Regardless of the fact that there are vast differences among the countries – e.g., Germans often have no clue about the differences between China and Japan; at least many have realized the difference between Chinese and Thai food –, the Internet makes it difficult at times to realize them. I had read and seen a lot about Asia, may it be respectable sources or articles and books about differences in mentalities, or YouTube videos like Hardgay, Japanese children's toilet training, or Sexy Bejing's „Lost in Translation“ video.

The decision to travel to Hong Kong and Bangkok came almost silently. Robert had asked a friend whether she could book us a convenient and reasonably priced set of flights, and when the pertaining quote was made it was clear that we both wanted to do it.

So the choice was made.

Strangely enough, we hardly did any other preparations other than booking hotels in both cities, the one in Bangkok actually the night before our flight to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

The flight to Hong Kong was a Lufthansa flight, and we slept well, which is probably why we hardly had any jetlag symptoms. This is true for both intercontinental flights, by the way. Our hotel in Hong Kong, The Harbourview, was located directly at the sea but we had to switch rooms and pay about € 10 extra per day to actually get a room with harbour view. The one we got at first had the gorgeous view onto a dirty concrete wall and a black window front. Charming.

I'll be frank, we both didn't like Hong Kong too much, for various reasons. Don't get me wrong. What I am about to say is not meant to hurt anybody or any people, it is merely my/our perception of the vacation.

Hong Kong is an extremely impressive city, colorful, bright, with huge buildings, it's clean, peaceful, and you can party anytime, almost everywhere. Gay, straight, bi, ladyboys, transgender, you name it, you get it. But from what we saw during the seven days, we think that two days of Hong Kong are enough to see everything that matters and that defines the city. I say this because we think Hong Kong consists mostly of one thing. Shopping. I have never seen such a mass of shopping malls with such a mass of mediocre and ever-same crap.

Robert and I both like to shop, and we both had planned to go on vacation and shop ourselves stupid. Not that our suitcases would have held much more – weight-wise – but that had been our initial plan. But apart from a few audio CDs with JPop, nothing of what we saw in all the malls interested us. And even those we didn't buy. There were two groups of products, the usually (or sometimes more) expensive ones that are boring, and the cheap crap that you'll only buy when you're young and stupid, or drunk.
"But what about all the sites?!?" you might ask.

Yes, there is the giant bronze Buddha statue on Lantau island. Been there. Impressive (though not as impressive as I thought) but extremely touristy. By the way, if you're planning to go, make sure like the new day to go as early as you can, or you'll stand in lines for hours just to buy a ticket. And I am not exaggerating. My estimate is that some people actually stood in subsequent lines for roughly three hours to only get the tram up the hill. It seems like the Chinese don't have any problem with that. I, however, do.

And don't overestimate the whole statue experience. It's just a giant Buddha statue. [shrug]
What might be something for you if you're into fake tacky shit is the plastic tree of enlightenment that you'll see on your left on your way to the statue. That's so bad it's cool.

Expecting and hoping badly that things would be different at least on the outskirts, we went for a trip to Cheung Chau island and to Aberdeen, but we were disappointed. It was all the same to us, sometimes with smaller buildings and fisherman boats but always the same stuff to see and do. Walking around, eating and shopping.

Before I went to Asia I used to say I'm a buddhist. Now that I have seen what that means in Hong Kong, I am hesitant to say it any more. What I have seen in the temples in Hong Kong was just as flat as the whole shopping frenzy seemed to me. You see people burning and shaking incense sticks (and all temples reak of them), and lush statues everywhere, but it looked just as uninspired and uninspiring as the Christian churches look to me in Germany.

If you think that in Hong Kong you will get by with English because of the city's historical background of an English colony, you're partially right. You'll get by but don't expect meaningful personal encounters. Most Chinese people hardly speak more than the absolute minimum. Hotel and airline staff are different, of course, and you can order your food and drinks but that's it for the most part. Even trip booking seemed so cumbersome to me that I couldn't be bothered really.

I am in awe about the city's energy thirst though, for already the sheer mass of lights and air conditioning is overwhelming. It doesn't take long for you to stand in front of the side of a 50-storey building whose color you can hardly make out because of all the air conditioning.

Also, don't be surprised if you run into the same kinds of shop on an entire street. There are actually streets where almost nothing else but dried food is sold, then others with nothing but pets (and the most horrifying clothes for them, I tell you). Again others with electronica, and so on.

And you've got people everywhere. Every-effing-where. Usually walking veeeeery slooooowly in front of you, and somehow they manage to block entire 4-meter-wide sidewalks with two persons or sometimes, if they're very experienced, alone. However, there are well-organized and widely spread walkways, often located aside or in and through buildings. Walking is very common in Hong Kong (if you can stand walking at half your regular speed).

But actually, sadly, this is pretty much everything I remember clearly about Hong Kong.

When we boarded the plane on the 29th of December to fly to Bangkok, I cannot say either of us regretted it. It was time. Actually, it had been time for days, and at the time Robert and I agreed that Hong Kong could -- rather should -- be done in two days, three tops. Keep that in mind if you're planning to go for the first time. Make sure you have arranged for ways to get out of the city for good, not on the weekend though because that's when all the Hong Kongians do the same, and you'll end up standing in line again.