Archive for the ‘observations’ Category

Yangon’s circular railway – 50 cents for a three-hour ride

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If you’re in Yangon, Myanmar and you have three hours to spare, take a ride on the circle train. This slow, rickety train goes around the city and stops at 39 small railway stations along the way. The whole loop is about 46 km long and will take approximately three hours to complete.

At every station, people get on and off and vendors sell their wares. It’s a whirlwind of colors, sounds and smells. As the train pulls out, different neighborhoods, villages, rice fields and pastures drift by. It never gets boring. And the whole trip doesn’t cost more than 50 cents.

But go quickly. Rumor has it that the circle train will be modernized. That may be good for commuters and for progress, but Yangon would lose a truly unique and wonderful attraction.


Written by Thorsten

February 24, 2016 at 9:02 am

At Bangkok’s Temple of the Coffin

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Only a few steps from the sinful streets of Patpong in downtown Bangkok lies Wat Hua Lamphong. It’s known as the temple of the coffin.

Visitors to Hua Lamphong temple can earn merit by giving donations to sponsor coffins for the poor and homeless. The temple mixes Thai, Chinese and Indian rites. There are Buddhist shrines, you can pray through the joss sticks at a Chinese looking altar, and there’s a shrine to Ganesha, the Indian Elephant god.

The temple is also home to about a dozen cows and a cow shrine. People visiting the shrine write down a prayer and pray in front of an ornately decorated statue of two cows right next to the cow pen. Then the faithful buy some food for the cows and feed them. But even though the cows seem to lead a very privileged and sweet life at the temple, at least one source says that they’re only there to be sacrificed some time in the future.

Written by Thorsten

June 28, 2015 at 4:18 pm


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What can I say about Chicago except that it’s one of my favorite cities? Do I need to tell you that it’s home to almost ten million people and the third-largest city in the U.S.? Do I need to mention that it has the second busiest airport in the world? No. You can read all that on Wikipedia. I’ll just let these impressions speak for themselves.

Written by Thorsten

August 8, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Fiji impressions

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I was able to spend two weeks in Fiji in 2013. It was an amazing experience. Loving, friendly people, beautiful beaches, unbelievable coral reefs and colorful tropical gardens.
But Fiji is also one of those places where the luxury of the tourist resorts is worlds apart from how the locals live. Towns like Nadi and Lautoka are sad and uneventful places. Life’s no beach for the people of Fiji.

Written by Thorsten

January 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Posted in observations, travel

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Feels like fall (2012 edition)

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This year’s autumn has been spectacular in Germany. The weather has been perfect and we’ve seen some amazing fall foliage.

The pictures in this slide show were taken in different places: near the Rhine and along the Sieg river in the west of the country, and in Bad Brückenau in the southern federal state of Bavaria.

Btw: a few years ago, I posted another autumn slide show here on this blog and called it “Feels like fall“. That slide show was created on slide.com and then embedded here in this wordpress blog.

Unfortunately, slide.com no longer exists. If you go to their website, you’ll see a notice “Slide.com closed its doors on March 6, 2012 and is no longer available.”

So when you read my original 2008 wordpress post “Feels like fall” today, all you see is the text. The slide show is gone forever. So that really does feel like fall…

Written by Thorsten

October 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Posted in observations, this and that

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Seagull statues in Helsinki

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One of the nicest things about the people of Finland is their love of animals. In the Finnish capital Helsinki, for instance, they’ve erected a number of statues to celebrate the strong bond between man and seagull.

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Now who ever said that dog was man’s best friend?

Written by Thorsten

July 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

My sister was a gardener

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My sister lived in Portugal, where she worked as a gardener. She died earlier this year. This was her garden.

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Good bye, sis. I miss you.

Written by Thorsten

February 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Posted in observations, this and that

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