We Are Underestimating Elevator Doors …

... and I can understand Connaisseurs who collect them optically!

The doors in „The New Yorker“ ...

I WAS REMINDED OF THE MISTAKE WE ALL MAKE by a page in „The New Yorker“ (shown here). The American artist Julia Rothman had 6 elevator doors, all in famous buildings of New York, beautifully painted and the readers were asked, to recognize them (some difficult, some easy). But the essence of this page was: There are lift entrances so unique, so pure in style, so fitting to the whole complex (preferably historical) that they should get their own chapter in art history. Just have a look at those 9 doors of Julia Rothman: one more significant than the other! You could/should each of them unhinge and give them an exhibition room in the Metropolitan Museum. And I know of many more elevator portals like those. Just think of the gorgeous (and creaking) French ascenseur cages of painted wrought iron! Or the Art Nouveau doors made of Lalique glass. The wooden masterpieces in German castles (installed after 500 years of climbing the stairs). I’m grateful to Miss Rothman and „The New Yorker“ for bringing this subject up and I’m waiting now for the architect/art historian to publish the book I’m waiting for. And should you discover a remarkable elevator door, please let me know.

The answers to Mis Rothman’s quiz: A Chrysler Building, B Hotel Carlyle, C General Electric Building, D Hotel Lexington, E Cities Services Building, F Empire State Building, G Tiffany, H Hotel Plaza, I Film Center Building

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Look What I saw In Zimbabwe!

...but on the other hand – wasn't it a clever idea?

Links NO, rechts YES ...

I COULDN’T BELIEVE MY EYES – and the flash of an idea poisened my brain: Is it anti-african to show it here? In a „white“ blog? Well, I came to the conclusion that you might see such an hilarious toilet advice even in Lower Bavaria (Germany) or in Gurky Corner (Wisconsin/USA). This one here I discovered in Bulawayo, a beautiful town in the southwestern part of Zimbabwe. It’s fixed to a public toilet and I tell you frankly, that I have seen toilets in Asia, Europe and America which I used exactly like it shouldn’t be used!!! Because it was the only way not to soil me from head to toe by the „leftovers“ of previous users. And is the traditional Middle East toilet not a simple tiled hole in the ground? And is therefore the illegal position on the rim of the bowl not a very clever compromise with „western“ technology? No, it’s not, says the city, owner of this public luxury. Which was clean as a bride’s veil and I had a great time using it …

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ANIMALS Lost & Found …

What's barking in Madagascar? The smallest dog in the world

Dog

That's the barking dwarf from Madagascar ...

I had never seen a dog like that: It was barking from a rich lady’s handbag in Antananarivo, the capital of the island of Madagascar, and when I ask her what this was, she said: „Coton de Tulear“. It sounded like „Cochon“ and  „Fuck off!“ to me, so I left. But she was right: The name of this liliput race is „Coton de Tulear“ and it was created in Tulear, a town in the southern part of the island, where some people got rich by cotton and became so bored by wealth that they invented the smallest dog in the world, 10 inches (24 cm) high at the head and weighing never more than 12 pounds (5 kilo). A white piece of fur with hanging ears and long coat, looking like a Maltese (dog) and – well – fitting into one of these modern handbag. In Tulear, where I went, they are quite common, anywhere else they are very rare. But one should refrain from entering a handbag with a hand to cuddle the „Coton“ – both the lady and the dog might bite …

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HOTELS The Nice Advice …

In Namibia's „Canyon Lodge“ ask for hut # 11

Namibia

The Canyon Lodge in Namibia in a water color of my own doing ...

Where the country (almost) ends, there lies a paradise. Around 1900 it was the farmhouse of the German brothers, now it is the „Canyon Lodge“ not far from one of the wonders of the world, Namibia’s Fish River Canyon, Africa’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Nearby and clustered around a rock formation lie some 25 one-room-bungalows with baths, equipped with simple luxury or luxurious simplicity, far, far away from everything that burdens mankind. But ask for No. 11. The best best positioned, most individual and nicest hut. A big white owl nests near the bathroom window and from the veranda ons looks far into the southern tip of the Namib desert and at night sparkle not only the stars in the sky but equally the crystals in the sand. I hope, my watercolour shows the „Canyon Lodge“ in an appropriate way …

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SIGHTS Moments You Never Forget …

You won‘t ever be closer to god but on this spot in Newfoundland!

Just look and look and look – this is not a painting, it’s a photo! A platform at the end of a fjord, meandering for a hundred miles, the shores a palette of colours, light and shadows, the universe so near, reality so far, and if you had the luck to enjoy this sight, I tell you – you are homesick for it, you feel ill everytime you remember it and it is so far, your heart aches for this melange of earth and sky, this paradise on Canada’s island of Newfoundland, in this National Park Gros Morne, nobody knows who doesn’t live on this stretch of Atlantic coast. Am I exaggerating? Well, just look and look and look …

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Lake Chad is vanishing …

... and a secret desaster lurks around the corner!

The map of „The New Yorker“ demonstrates the situation dramatically ...

THIS LAKE WAS ONCE THE SOURCE OF LIFE FOR MILLIONS! With 22 600 sqkm it was bigger than Israel or Slovenija, four times bigger than Lake Albert and bordering the states Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. And now? Lake Chad has shrunk by ca. 95 %!!! The northern basin is desert now, part of the Sahel Zone of the Sahara. It started in the 1970s, nobody knows why, and presently the dozens of inhabited island are rapidly becoming more like dunes. About a 100 00 people once existed there, but the goverment forced what’s left of them (ca. 55 000) to leave their traditional habitats. But since these tribes were robbers by tradition, nobody living on the mainland (so to speak) wants them. So they are poorly reorganized in camps in the hot Nowhere – right in the desert. Their cattle herds die, water is scarce, food almost non-existent – and nobody cares! They are dying by the thousands, and the disappearance of Lake Chad will change a significant part of Central Africa. The world isn’t aware what’s happening on the shores of what was 40 years ago a vast water basin, with navigation from country to country, trading routes by boat, fertile land and a never ending source of water. Look at the splendid map, La Tigre made für „The New Yorker”: The green indicates the former size of Lake Chad, the blue is the actual status.

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CHRISTMAS Are The Japanese Christians?

No, but clever businessmen – and great copyists ...

Pre-Christmas in Tokyo – wow!

JUST LOOK AT THIS PHOTO, I just got from my friend Hans and his Japanese wife Yoko: Tokyo, exploding in christmas decorations. My god, the Shopping Mall close to the Ginza looking like the „Christkindlmarkt“ in Nuremberg! Everything is artificial, no tree had to die for these basically christian decorations in a Buddhist land. No green needles visible, just lightbulbs in a dozen colors. You won’t see anything which has to to with what happened in Bethlehem 2017 years ago. Well, let them have their own way with what we invented. I just wanted to show you that you wouldn’t feel lost in the Japanese capital in the next four weeks …

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Need A Nice Hotel in Venice?

I got one! The „Bucintoro“ – personally tested by me ...

The hotel is the corner building ...

... here it is on the Venice map ...

... and that's one of the hotel's cabins

THERE ARE MANY POSITIVA WHICH CONVINCED ME. First: The location opposite San Giorgio, 10 minutes walk from Piazza San Marco and the Giardini, 5 minutes walk to the Arsenale – and it’s right on the shore of the big Canale, the Giudecca. Second: The „Bucintoro“ is „a Firstclass hotel with a trick“, because since it is named after the state bark of Venice’s elected ruler, the doge, the rooms are, you wouldn’t believe it, mahagonny paneled ship’s cabins! Third: The rooms are pretty small but cosy, with a similarly clever arranged nautical interior, wooden shutters at night and when you breakfast in bed, you are looking through the windows over the water onto San Giorgio. Breathtaking! Fourth: They got a nice terrace in front, ideal for a „Venice watching“ sundowner. Fifth: They serve a fabulous breakfast (and equally good meals). But within 3 Minutes walk are some of the best „people’s restaurants“ on the smaller waterways. Sixth: The concierge service is old fashioned outstanding – there is nothing which can’t be done! Seventh: If you travel by boat, the stop is just alongside of the hotel. Summary: I can’t think of a better place to stay in Venice, but have a close look at their price policy: The room rate might change from almost 400 Euros (ca. US$ 470) to 130 Euros (ca. US$ 150) for the same room during the year, depending on the events in town like the Biennales. Oh, by the way: For a visit to the Art Biennale you should book the „Bucintoro“ a year in advance to get a reasonable rate, but book it – it’ located right in the center of the activities (you don’t need a vaporetto or any transport to get you to the exhibits). When I reserved a room, I contacted booking.com, but a friend of mine just called the „Bucintoro“ directly and managed, I’m almost ashamed to admit, a better room rate. But he didn’t like it. You know why? The storing capacity for his toilet articles in the bathroom was too small, he said! Oh, what a tragedy …

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TRAVELS A Nice Discovery In Alsace

It's a one-room-accomodation only – but better than some posh suites ...

The cottage close to the channel ...

... the one and only room

... the nostalgic bathroom ...

... the cottage with the garden ...

and the location in Alsace

MY ADVENTUROUS FRIEND JÜRGEN* FOUND IT (well, he finds a lot all over the globe, from Slovakia to Sichuan, Galicia to Gilgit), and as always I don’t hesitate to use his informations, they are always to the point for the modern traveller (but possibly not for the tourist). This time: The „Schleusen-Häuschen“ La dantelle in Eglingen (adress: Ecluse 25) in the department Alsace (France), 45 km from Colman. „Schleusenwärter“ means „Lock-Keeper“ in German (Alsace was a German province for ages), that’s the guy who operates the locks on the inland-channels, connecting rivers and lakes, making an overland-waterway possible, despite different shipping levels. They had nice little cottages close to their locks, and since some (maybe most) of the channels are computerized, work automatically or are not un use anymore, lock-keepers are not needed nowadays but were allowed to keep their cottages. This one in Eglingen is one which still belongs to the lock-keeper, he just moved a bit further on, he and his wife take care of the accommodation, service it and if you are in need of anything, just call them (for the traditional French breakfast for instance) – and Jürgen writes: „Absolutely super cosy, just one big room, splendidly furnished with antiques, a wonderful traditional, nostalgic bathroom with all modern comforts, whatever you need – the lock-keeper will supply you with, he is a great frenchman and his wife a treasure. La Danielle is absolutely quiet, fairytale-like romantic and a real lovenest.“ The price varies (season, weekend, holidays), but the minimum seems to be 88 Euro (ca. US$ 95), the maximum 118 Euro (ca. US$ 130) per night. The booking is easy, just ask at Google for „Schleusen-Häuschen in Eglingen“.

* Prof. Dr. Jürgen Aschoff, Neuropsychiatrist, Publisher, Antiquarian, Author, Photographer, Tibetologist and Burmese Tattoo Expert.

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The Art Of Fumiko & Hiroshi

Bonsai and pottery on the highest level ,,,

One of Fumiko's Bonsais ...

... and a tipical Hiroshi ceramic

MY FRIEND HANS, whom an unexpected and unjustified stroke of fate (because he didn’t cause it by doing anything wrong) shackles to his bed forever, told me the following story from his second fatherland Japan (his wife Yoko is Japanese and he has written most valuable books about this country): „I’m doing everything, to make an exibition of my friends Fumiko and Hiroshi in Tokyo a success. I know Fumiko for more than 30 years. Nowadays she is probably Japan’s most famous Bonsai artist. No wonder – she comes from a well-known Bonsai family, her grandfather was the founder of ‘Bonsai cho’, the Bonsai village in the outskirts of Omiya. Up to his death, her father Kato San took care of the Bonsai trees of the emperor and almost once a week he went to the imperial palace. For many years now Fumiko lives with her husband Hiroshi in Nasu. She has a beautiful nursery there and Hiroshi produces pottery and ceramics. He has studied his profession in Finland which might explain his unusual style, never seen bevor in Japan – and so delicate, that one hesitates to touch his wonderful works of most fragile art. One even wonders, how Hiroshi manages to manufacture things like this, which – so far – only Mother Nature was able to produce in form von rare orchids or deep-sea creatures.“ I don’t know, if the creations of Fumiko are more admirable than those of Hiroshi. But I convince myself that there is no need to compare Bonsai with potterey …

 

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