MONEY Absolutely, definitely worthless …

… but very beautiful: The Somaliland Shilling!

Somaliland

The beautiful money ...

Somaliland

… and the non-existing country ...

YES, YOU KNOW, THAT I GOT A KNACK FOR STRANGE BANKNOTES … – and the one I’m showing you here, is the strangest of all. Because it was issued by the government of a country, SOMALILAND, which doesn’t exist (officially). Is not recognized by any other state. But it is very well governed, maybe the best system on the African continent, you can even fly to the „capital“ of Hargeisa (from Djibouti or Addis Abeba), Somaliland is bigger than Greece or North Korea (neighboring Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia, from which it split), peopled by 4,5 millions (mostly Moslems), with her own flag,national anthem – and money, the beautiful Somaliland SHILLING. Being worth 0,0000 of any money, the moment, you leave Somaliland. Nobody will give you in London, New York or Berlin a single Cent for a suitcase full of SomShi. They really made an afford to produce money one is happy to look at, but the value is just like a cut-out from a fairytale book. That’s the oddity I wanted to show you – oh, and by the way: To the east, containing the Horn of Africa, there is a second country, which doesn’t exist in reality – Puntland, also a former part of Somalia, but that’s another story …

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ARCHITECTURE The ingenious Italians …

Look, what I discovered on Udine's rooftops!

Udine

The Piazza della Liberty ...

Udine

… and some of the ...

Udine

… penthouses and ...

Udine

… roof gardens

EVERYBODY WANTS A PENTHOUSE, YES? Or a roof terrace! Isn’t it so? But you can’t have it if the house is a 100 years old (or older), got 3 or 4 or 5 floors, the usual tile-covered roof and the high exits of the chimneys on top. End of the line. No, because when I sipped an espresso in a street cafe on Piazza della Liberta in Udine (Italy) and let my eyes roam, I saw the solution: posh penthouses or terraces with greenery on stilts! Growing out of the tiles, built between the chimneys, floors the original architects hadn’t thought of. A great idea. The waiter saw my wonderment and brought me down to earth: „Signore, 99 percent are illegal!“ Maybe and so what! Italy might be the last country of individual freedom on earth. The EU can’t chance this century old attitude: As long as something illegal causes no reaction of the legal system, it will exist! I love it. Around the Piazza della Liberta alone I discovered six sky scraping additions. „And this“, said the waiter and pointed to a garden terrace high up, „is where I live.“ I shook his hand: „Gratulation!“

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ADVENTURE They Swim Across The Pacific …

5500 miles, 8 hours/day, 180 days - from Tokyo to San Francisco!

Pazifik

The incredible route and ...

Pazifik

… the swimmers equipment

CAN YOU IMAGINE? NO, NOBODY CANa group of He-Men, not one a professional or Olympic swimmer, accompanied by a vessel, crossing the mightiest ocean, in the water, by muscle power alone! The boss of the team, Ben Lecomte, is (unbelievable!) a lawyer, who swam the Atlantic and the Panama Canal already. During those adventures and while swimming the Pacific, the 67ft US sailing boat „Discovery“ will join and in case of emergency protect them. They do it to experience marine environmental issues the direct way, with their bodies, skin-close, so to speak, collecting data, and therefore they are sponsored by the Explorers Club in New York, in addition to NASA, Universities, institutes and Scientific Centers. The crossing its the longest swim ever tried, and in the spring of 2018 the start in Tokyo is scheduled. You can easily contact Lecomte by two emails: thelongestswim.com and ben@the longest swim.com for further information and up-to-date-news …

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WILDLIFE A Country Counts The Killers

A strange thing took place in Botswana ...

Khama

Wildlife Minister Tshekedi Khama

IT HAPPENED IN THE PARLIAMENT, in the spring of 2017, in the capital of Gaborone, when the Minister of Wildlife, Tshekedi Khama (the brother of the president, by the way), had to answer this question: „How many of our animals were poached between 2014 and 2017?“ And Khama replied so detailed that it was suspected he made up the figures by a moments notion, allowing for a joke first: He couldn’t say unfortunately how many fish and birds were killed by poachers! Careful laughter in the house. But the figures of the mammals, so Khama said, were as follows: 513 animals all in all, 114 in 2014, 217 in 2015, 113 in 2016 and 17 so far in 2017. This adds up to 461, he said – but where are the 52 missing mammals? Nobody checked the figure in parliament, Khama got away with it. But nevertheless: I don’t think that 1) any other Minister of Wildlife in Africa has such a detailed account, and 2) would tell it publicly, if he had. Insofar it was a great moment in history (so to speak) and in the protection of wildlife. A question followed: „Where do the poachers come from?“ Khama’s clever answer: „Not all come from neighboring countries, but our borders are too far stretched to protect them properly since Botswana is so big and got two million inhabitants only.“ By the way: If you wonder why Khama looks like a white businessman – his grandfather came from Scotland …

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BOOKS A Modern One For US$ 62 500 – Why?

… because it's a special edition of Lawrence of Arabia's main work!

Lawrence

That's the rare book ...

IT WAS AUCTIONED AT SWANN’s IN NEW YORK in May (2017) and even the estimate was stunning: US$ 50 000 to 75 000. Not bad for a book which was published in 1926, not 100 years ago: T. E. Lawrence’s „The Seven pillars of Wisdom“. But it was a privately printed edition, complete with 65 plates or color illustrations by contemporary artists, bound in green leather – and the inspiration for the classic film „Lawrence of Arabia“. The stunning tome is even inscribed (see insert), with „Complete copy.“, the date „I.XII.26“ and his initials TES (the S stands for Shaw, Lawrence’s sometimes and in those years used pseudonymum), and was given to his dentist, Warwick James. The bidding went fast and an unknown collector bought it for US$ 62 500! A very high price for a „modern“ book, but a solace for all „Bookinists“ who lament that their darlings are not worth the paper they are printed on, the moment they are published. Which, in 90 % of all publication worldwide, is unfortunately true.

P. S.: They say that Lawrence had ordered six copies of this edition only, and where the other five are, is a mystery …

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TRAVEL Just A Quick Advice …

… if you want to see Udine, Trieste and the region

Friaul

That's the region of Italy ...

Friaul

… that's how the cards look ...

Friaul

… and these are the access possibilities

I KNOW, TOURIST CARDS“ ARE COMMON ALL OVER THE WORLD. Many cities and regions issue them. But what convinced me of the value of the „Friuli Venezia Giulia Card“ (look at the map of this part of Italy), was its diversity: You can buy it for 48 hours (18 Euro or US$), 72 hours (21 Euro/US$) or 1 week (29 Euro/US$). It’s covers a huge and highly interesting region, including the castles Miramare and Duino, the palazzi of Palladio, one of the oldest towns in Italy, Aquleia, and naturally the towns of Udine and Trieste. „It would be a crime, not to buy our cards“, said the guy, I bought mine from. After using it for a week, I contradict him: „It would be a sin …“. P. S.: I scanned the access possibilities!

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PUBS Hey, You Love Beer Mats …?

Then „The Edgar Wallace“ in London is the place for you!

Pub

Look at all the beer mats ...

Pub

… in this Pub

WALLPAPER, PAINT OR PICTURES? They don’t need that in „The Edgar Wallace“ in London, address: Essex Street No. 40/Devereux Place. Because the landlord assembled a vast collection of beer mats/coasters and displays them in his pub. Hundreds, I would say, maybe more than a thousand. I asked him how many, but he hadn’t the faintest idea. The beer, the food, the service and the opening hours (11-23 h) are as good (or bad) as anywhere, the facade is old fashioned chic and the landlady, as you can see in the small photo, has a green thumb. That’s nice, but not outstanding. Why go there? To enjoy the uniqueness of the beer mat/coaster interior! It’s a British curiosity and one must have seen it. And what has Edgar Wallace in common with „The Edgar Wallace“? It was his favorite … – well, well, what did you expect would have been the answer the landlord gave me? Oh, the famous English photographer Steve Vidler made the picture and sent it to his friends …

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POLITICS Let’s Phone the Minister …

Look, what I discovered in Botswana!

Sprechstunde

Make your choice of the Cabinet Ministers ...

I CAN’T IMAGINE ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT AROUND THE GLOBE, who would dare to do something like that! To publish an advertisement in the paper with the largest circulation, announcing 1. the date, 2. the hour and 3. the phone numbers to all citizens, so they can call the  18 Cabinet Ministers of the Republic of Botswana in their offices!!! For instance the Ministers of Finance, Health, Agriculture, International Affairs and Wildlife. The schedule I’m showing here (in two languages, Tswana and English) was for April 2017 (I was by chance in the country at that time), and it’s amazing that 11 of the ministers take the calls between 7 and 8 p.m.! Well, 60 Minutes per month and minister isn’t much, but Botswana only got 2,2 million inhabitants and how many of them dare to dial these numbers? But it is a splendid example of a functioning government with a great sense for public service, initiated by president Ian Khama. Congratulation!

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GOLF Get Lifted Between Two Holes!

In Radstadt (Austria) there is a „Birdie Jet“ from Green 11 to Tee 12 ...

Golf-Lift

Golfers use this Cable Car between ...

Golf-Lift

… the holes 11 and 12 ...

IT MIGHT BE WORLDWIDE UNIQUE and I present it to you, because I know, that golfers are collectors of unusual courses. Here I introduce a connection between two holes by – Cable Car! I know there are tees on mountaintops, reachable by helicopter only; boats ship you to island greens; elevators bring you to the next tee on another landscape level. But a cable car, called „Birdie Jet“ seems to be „one only“ and you find in Radstadt (Austria). Just look at the map on the left: You see the green of hole 11, followed by a straight line, ending at the tee of hole 12. That’s the route of the cable car which takes just some seconds, is for free and each cabin holds two players (it’s a shuttle). Well, if you don’t want it, don’t use it. Players in carts avoid it naturally. I didn’t, I wanted to experience the fun. With a fine view. Oh, by the way: The green fee is 79 Euro/US$ (as in July 2017) and the club has a fabulous website (radstadtgolf.at).

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ART Nobody Paints Africa Like Larry …

This Zimbabwean artist is the greatest, says me!

Norton

Larry at home in Vic Falls ...

Norton

… just finishing a huge canvas ...

Norton

… a leopard at the falls ...

Norton

… hippos taking a bath ...

Norton

… the Victoria Falls ...

Norton

,,, and that's his pricelist!

I WROTE A POST ABOUT HIM SOME TIME AGO, but I just visited Larry Norton at home in Vic Falls – and was so deeply impressed by this man’s ability to depict Africa on canvas that I have to present some of his latest works! An remarkable artist, who, when not in his study, roams the plains just by himself, sketching, noting details, collecting trivia and sharpening his senses. Some may call his paintings „Kitsch“, but Larry creates his works with the artistry of the Old Masters and whatever they painted, it’s never „Kitsch“. Just look at my large photo and discover, how Larry paints – the elephant (a real portrait!) and the trees first! The painting, by the way, was commissioned by an American fan. Larry knows what he is worth, of course, and therefore I show here the price list he has sent me: from US$ 2100 to 22 000, depending on the size (the large one takes up to 4 months) – and worldwide shipping is no problem, the DHL office in Vic Falls is around the corner from his study.

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