Samstag, Juli 29, 2006


Amazing what words have made it into the English vocabulary. I've never heard of "dunkirk" before - well, I have heard of "Dünkirchen", which is the German name of that town, of course - but I didn't know of it's usage in the English language.

Why did I actually call my post "Dunkirk" then...?

I just found it quite appropriate for the news about Walmart leaving Germany. After 8 years of struggling on the German market and big words of changing the German supermarket sector into a whole new super-service-oriented American idol sector, Walmart sold all it's markets to the Metro Group. I can only guess the faces of the American big bosses of Walmart when they heard Germans don't want Walmart. Priceless.
I'm not at war with the US economy or any other company of American origin here in Germany. It's just a little bit satisfiying to see, that the American way is not always the successful one.

In its 8 years in Germany Walmart managed to change its Germany CEO twelve times. Only one of those guys was German. And he actually managed to stay in power for 4 years.

But still, things like banning relationships between their employees or singing motivation songs in the morning role call may work everywhere else - but not here. One of the bosses even ordered tons of coal before christmas. For North Americans that might not sound strange, but in Germany nobody has a BBQ on christmas. (I actually didn't know myself that it is usual to grill outside on christmas.) And after all Germans want to bag their groceries themselves!

Bye bye Walmart...

Samstag, Juli 22, 2006

It's getting hot in here...

A little bit less than 1 year ago in India, I remember me saying that "Next year I'll enjoy the nice rainy and cool German summer, without moskitos and without having to switch on a fan for the night."

Alright... it's the 3rd week with temperatures above 30°C now. The hottest day in Koblenz so far was last tuesday with 36.8°C. Of course that's still a lot less than in India at that time of the year. But pleeeassseeee, why can't we have a normal German summer???
I'm talking of 22°C, sun with some candyfloss clouds (is that expression common outside of Germany?) and a light breeze. You can ride your bike without grilling your bum! You can actually leave your flat before 6pm without being burnt in 2 seconds! You don't have to sit in a darkened flat all day. You can sit on a chair without feeling sweat running down your legs.

And the worst of it all? NO FANS! NO AC! Gooooosh, I wish I was in India right now!

Samstag, Juli 08, 2006

A sugar shock treat called "Gulab jamun"

I proudly present:
Almost self-made Gulab jamun for our AIESEC Global village event. Gulab jamun is an Indian desert, made from a milk powder/ flour - dough, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup.
Thanks to Samantha for bringing us instant Gulab jamun powder from India. All in all it was really easy to make. Unfortunately I was hit by squirting boiling oil so I've got some nice "I made Gulab jamun" - burns on my arm. At least something not everybody has. :-)

Sonntag, Juli 02, 2006

Samantha in Germany

Some impressions of Samantha's visit and our sightseeing tour in

Sam enjoying German cheesecake and Mezzo Mix.

The castle "Marksburg" - an original knight's castle from the early middle ages.

Ben, Samantha and me on the castle Marksburg above the Rhine.

Ben's favourite face mask in the torture chamber of the Marksburg.

Ben's favourite pyjamas.

Must be an armament for a ... turkey? Maybe?

Enjoying the view from the tiny chapel inside of the castle.

Sam listening to the castle guide.

There's more pictures of Samantha's visit to Frankfurt and Koblenz on my photo website:

Samstag, Juli 01, 2006

World's highest railway track opened in Tibet

Today the world's highest railway track was opened. It connects the Tibetan capital Lhasa with Golmud in Qingshai in China and it's been the largest railway building project of this century so far.

The highest point you can pass on this line is the Tanggula Pass at an altitude of 5072 metres. Therefore the cabins are supplied with oxygen and the windows have ultra-violet filters. The track is build on pieces of permafrost ground which melts in summer, so they had to build cooling pipes which assure the ground stays solid throughout the year.

A ticket from Bejing to Lhasa costs 389 yuan (I have no idea how much that is... Kent?) and it takes about 48 hours.

Besides this line being a scenic trip I 'd love to make someday you have to consider the damage it might cause to Tibet, it's environment and culture, since more migrants from central China are about to move to Tibet now.

Read more about it here!