ANIMALS Good-by, Beautiful Monkey!

Less than 30 are left of the Black Crested Gibbon on Hainan ...

Hainan

Say good-bye to this blond Gibbon …!

NO CHANCE! The gen pool is too weak with not even 30 animals, this glorious monkey, one of the most beautiful, can’t survive. The Chinese try to save this rare rainforest dweller on their island of Hainan, but on the other hand Hainan is rapidly and recklessly developed into the Chinese riviera, an ideal hotspot of tourism with endless white beaches like on south sea islands. The travel industry needs the hinterland to construct hotels and amusement parks, even now hundred thousands visit Hainan from the mainland – and now they are trying to „sell“ the island to first class tourists from foreign countries. The forests disappear faster than you can look and the ecologists and zoologists react! It’s a definite good-bye to the blond Gibbons with the black crest who are as cuddly as Australian Koala bears …

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ART NOUVEAU A (Almost) Forgotten Cafe In Italy

Try to drink an espresso in Udine's stunning „Contarena“

Udine

The entrance to the „Contarena“ ...

Udine

… the exit to the toilets ...

Udine

… and some Art Nouveau/Art Deco details

IT ISN’T MENTIONED IN THE GUIDES, I saw it by chance: the „Caffe Contarena“ in the Via Cavour, 1. Why hasn’t anybody mentioned to me, that Udine in Northneastern Italy houses an Art Nouveau/Art Deco treasure? A public one! An 19th century palace, a modern entrance with sliding glass doors – and inside a stunning sight: a rare mixture of the two styles who blend into something great! The frescoes and the mosaics are late Art Nouveau, the architecture, the lamps and the windows pure Art Deco. They built the „Contarena“ a bit too late, between 1911 and 1925 (I wonder what took them so long) and Raimondo D’Aronco, Italy’s most prominent Art Nouveau architect, couldn’t avoid the upcoming Art Deco move, but refused to part with the style he was best known for. I saw fairytale book illustrations in the Caffe, Mucha-like figurines, floral ornaments, formed into cupolas, and golden masks, growing from rows of circles. Here the decorations could fit into a church, there into a brothel. Square meter after square meter are filled with flowers, made of tiny stones, and painted with a tender touch by the tip of a brush. And I sat down, ordered a capuccino for 2.50 Euro (more or less the same in US$), and turned a 360° circle to inhale the beauties. Just look at the lamps, hanging from the wooden cassette ceiling like a cascade of frozen water, and mind the wall lamps, which are placed high to illuminate the treasures, not the tables. Even some of the original furniture survived. I confess I drank three capuccini and ate a brioche, because it took me quite a while to understand all the details of D’Aronco’s work.

 

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TRAVELS A Notebook In The Rain …!

I found the one we need so urgently

Notebook

Fienness used this one ...

Notebook

… this Moleskin is mine ...

Notebook

… and that's the latest one

I CONFESS THAT I DISCOVERED IT, while leaving through the wonderful „Explorer’s Sketchbook“ (hailed in another post). There I saw that the British adventurer Ranulph Fienness had used for years a rain- and fully water-proof proof notebook whose binding with rot-proof thread could withstand even dramatic humidity. The question was: Is there a modern version of his booklets, since the type he used is out of order? There is, after a long search I discovered it, under the same number as the Fienness one and by the same British manufacturer: The „2647Mining Transit Book“ or „Survey Book 2647“ from Chartwell! It got 80 pages, the size is 19.2 x 12 cm and it costs 14.34 pound (roughly 18.50 $ or 16.98 Euro). Just remember what one of our great explorers said: „It’s useless to travel if you do it without a pen and a notebook!“ I fully agree – just look at mine …

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WILDLIFE Bounty Hunters vs. Poachers?

Experts came up with a Wild West idea ...

Poaching

No, we don't want pictures like this ...

DO YOU WANT TO SAFE BAD HUMANS OR NICE RHINOS? That’s the question in a nutshell. Or the other way round: Set man-killers against animal- killers and pay them generously – or do you want to try to protect wildlife the guaranteed useless, old-fashioned way? I heard this alternative from my friends, the experts in the bush. They complain that the de-horning of a single rhino costs app. US$ 5000. An action without sense: The animals are handicapped, the poachers kill them anyway out of revenge („De-horning will not help!“) or for the material in the stumps, which – they claim – is still precious enough for the (illegal) market. Solution? „Print ‘Wanted Posters’ of the known poachers, offer US$ 5000 dead or alive!“, cried one game warden, who risks his health and life every week in the battle against the rhino killers. And if the poachers are not known? „Offer bounty! Let the ‘Bounty Hunters’ roam around in the area where rhinos still live.“ But would’t they kill innocents for such a fortune and claim they were poachers? „Oho“, laughs another friend, „they are all known! Either to their neighbors, the authorities – and to the other poachers. And if not: Watch who follows the rhinos, get them, bring them in and cash the bounty! And, by the way: They are easily recognizable by their guns, snares, saws and axes.“ My friend Tony Moore, „The Legend“ from Vic Falls, promises: „This way the rhinos are hundred percent protected. Much better than the National Parks Services can. And if a poachers looses his life? It probably safes the lives of many rhinos …!“ Wild West in Africa – tough, dangerous, illegal, murderous, but probably successful. From the point of view of the rhinos …

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GOLF What A Strange Foursome!

Martin Kaymer wants to play with Merkel, Smith and La Longoria ...

Kaymer

Martin Kaymer in action ...

Kaymer

Chancellor Merkel

Kaymer

Actor Will Smith

Kaymer

Actress Eva Longoria

HE WAS THE WORLD’S NUMBER 1 PLAYER ONCE, in the moment he ranks in the 40s – but he can still win any tournament: the German Martin Kaymer. Asked by the German magazine „Zeit Golfen“ what his personal dream-foursome would be, he gave a peculiar answer: Eva Longoria, Will Smith and Angela Merkel.“ We know that Smith got the good handicap 15 and La Longoria („Desperate Housewives“) the almost unbelievable handicap 0f 4; but the German chancellor doesn’t even play Golf … – „I would like to play with her anyway“, was Kaymer’s answer. Why? Mrs. Merkel is supposed to be the mightiest woman in the world, to be in the undisturbed presence of her for at least three hours should be a great experience. Together with a black superstar and the adorable Latina … – Kaymer’s choice is much better in reality than it looked at the first glimpse …

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PEOPLE Who Got The Longest?

The British poet Lord Byron, so it seems ...

Lord Byron

Lord Byron

SECRETLY, THE WORLD IS VERY INTERESTED to get the answer to this indecent question. Yes, so it is, don’t deny it! Was it Rasputin, the Sibirean monk, or Don Ameche, the American actor, or Ludwig II, the fairytale king of Bavaria? Few would know for certain. The ladies, of course, but they seldom tell. I personally know (because I’ve seen „it“) of a German scientist who’s dong ends around his kneecaps. But the other day I stumbled over this piece of information in the marvellous book „Rest in Pieces“ by the beautiful author Bess Lovejoy: „… Houldsworth (the warden of the church, were the poet is buried) also noted that Byron’s sexual organ showed quite abnormal development. Biographers have long wondered about this abnormality, but Houldsworth, interview by a British journalist in the 1960s, cleared up the confusion: I’ve been in the Army, I’ve been in bathhouses, I’ve seen men … but I never saw nothing like him … He was built like a pony.“ Regard: Lord Byron, the greatest of all great English poets, 1788-1824, a sentimental lyricist, was when Houldworth saw his remains, dead for 111 years! He was only party embalmed, partly skeletonized. And still his most private part showed those amazing dimensions – but what, I wonder, did it look like when Byron was alive  …

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R.I.P. The Craziest Grave On Earth!

A beloved TV star took his living room – to the cemetery ...

Mafela

That's the unbelievable grave in Johannesburg ...

Mafela

… and that's Joe Mafela

HIS NAME WAS JOE MAFELA and he was so popular in South Africa, fans would kiss his footsteps. A local hero of TV, an entertainer, singer, writer, producer, model, talkshow host and comedian. Now he is dead, victim with 74 of a frontal car crash on the M1, north of Johannesburg, on March 18, 2017. The whole country cried out in mourning for the best known man since Nelson Mandela, and immediately after a shroud of secrecy covered his funeral. Nobody knew why, not even the cemetery was published (the West Park Cemetery in Jo’burg). But when they buried him, it became obvious why: Mafela had everything meticulously planned in advance, a grave like none on earth, a continuation of his lifetime career, stretched into eternity – in black marble on green lawn! Just look at the big picture: A cosy chair, a table with one of his books opened halfway, a pedestal with his name and eulogy and on top a flatscreen set in black marble too (but they wouldn’t let near enough to see if it’s a real TV set with an electric cable). Mafela – an African pharaoh of entertainment. A grave for „The Guiness Book of Records“, prepared by him long before, with a deeper meaning, fueled by superstition: Mafela wants us to believe that he escapes his grave and sits in the chair at night to watch his own programs …

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FOOD Ever Heard Of The TRUESCHE?

It's possibly the best tasting fish, but it's rare like Caviar ...

Food

That's how a Trüsche looks …

I CONFESS, I DIDN’T KNOW IT! Nobobody I know had any idea that this sweet water delicacy existed so close – in the Swiss Lakes. And that there are still fishermen who go for the TRÜSCHE – and before they catch one, it’s sold already to gourmets!!! The facts: It’s the only lake- and river codfish (or Burbot) in Europe, it gets 70 cm or ca. 25 inches long, can only be caught in ice-cold winter months and in depths of up to 80 m or 240 feet, the Trüsche paradise seems to be the Brienzersee, but it’s fished in Lake Zurich as well. Now you think it is extraordinary expensive, but surprisingly it’s not: 100 grams are sold for 3 Swiss Franks (app. the same in US$ or Euro), I saw a complete fish for 24 SFr and a kilo (1000 grams) was offered to me for 50 SFr. Surprise, surprise: The Trüsche is almost boneless, can be fried and the flesh gnawed off its backbone like a chicken leg. And: The liver is the most expensive part, is almost always sold separately, fried with onions in very hot butter and served with green salad.

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ANIMALS Would You Buy Elephant Tusks?

Antique ones are offered all over the world … – not even expensive!

The Tusks from Hermann Historica in Munich (Germany) ...

I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND! Because there are thousands of 100 and more years old elephant tusks in European households, stemming from colonial times. In Britain, Germany, France, Portugal, even Spain and Italy. Beautiful pairs, some 120 cm long and weighing almost 100 kilos. You can get a pair for 2000 Euros or US$ 2200, huge tusks might cost up to 5200 Euro or up to US$ 5500. The sales are not prevented since there is no doubt, that hunters brought them home between 1860 and 1916 (in the case of Germany). Should the ivory ban include those antique tusks? Spontaneously I would say No. Should one buy these guaranteed old ones? Why not if you can’t resist? Or is it generally improper to decorate a home with tusks? Yes, I think so. This hunter’s pride on the wall is very old-fashioned. Ridiculously vain. Dead animals, especially parts of dead animals, are not nice. Just the other day I saw the new catalogue of Hermann Historica, an auction house in Munich, and they offered an enormous pair of tusks from the former British colony Zambia and an elephant who was shot at the beginning of the 20th century  (on the next page was a Narwal skewer for sale, for 2500 Euro or US$ 2800). The price of the tusks? The above mentioned 5200 Euro or US$ 5500. I was almost tempted …

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DRINKS Five o’clock With Nelson Mandela

Honor the South African legend with four different cups of tea!

Mandela

An advertisement for the tea ...

Mandela

… and the four variations

THERE IS AN SURPRISING, ALMOST SECRET STORY about South Africas first black President: When Nelson Mandela was released from Robben Island after 28 years in prison and was shipped to Capetown, he went missing for over an hour. Where was he? Sipping tea with his shoes off in a quiet suburban home! In memory of this precious moment, the first in freedom again, there is „Mandela Tea“ now available. Grown organically in South Africa, sustainably sourced, in four variations like Honeybush, Buchu and Rooibos – and benefitting the „Mandela Day Library Project“. The tea can easily be ordered via internet and a package with 20 sachets costs about 49 ZARUS$ 3.66 or about the same in Euro. Oh,by the way: Each package is adorned with the portrait of the happy hero in one of his typical shirts …

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