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Feels like fall

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It’s strange to be back in Europe after six weeks in Asia. No more heat and humidity, like in Thailand. Instead, it’s autumn in Germany.

The days are sunny and the skies are blue. It’s dark by six p.m. and the evenings are turning cool. The last remaining leaves on the trees have turned red or yellow.

When you walk through a forest or park, there’s a smell of fallen leaves and moist earth in the air.

It’s all very beautiful and somehow sad. Winter is around the corner. The dark season. The trees will be bare, the sky will be gray, the days will get even shorter.

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Written by Thorsten

November 7, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Posted in observations

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Fly your flag

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It\'ll sell if it\'s black, red and yellow Germans really went wild during the past weeks of the European Soccer Championship. They’re a soccer-crazy nation. And they showed it by proudly displaying the colors of the German flag: black, red, gold.

It was their way to show their support for the German team at the championship.

Everywhere you looked, you saw black, red and yellow during the tournament that ended last weekend.

the colors of the flag on a little fanthe national colors on a little soccer fanPeople painted their faces black-red and yellow during the games, they wore black-red and yellow Hawaiian-style necklaces, they hung German flags out their apartments and flew the flags from their cars.

Anyone selling these patriotic paraphernalia must have made a fortune.

Guilt-free flag-waving during the 2006 World Cup

Proudly waving the German colors is still pretty unusual in this country. Patriotism doesn’t come natural here on account of how the Nazis abused patriotism and national feelings to reach their goals between 1933 and 1945.

black red and gold on a german carThe soccer world-cup in 2006 was probably the first occasion since the war, when Germans happily waved the national flag. And the European Championship this year saw a repeat of that phenomenon.

I’d only like to add two little observations. black-red-gold soccer wallets from 2006

One is how this year, a clever vendor of all things black-red-gold unashamedly tried to sell some leftovers from 2006 .

I saw these wallets with an embroidered 2006 at a shop in Bonn earlier this month. Maybe soccer fans were so enthusiastic about the little soccer balls and the national colors and that they didn’t even realize the wallets were commemorating the World Cup two years ago (where the German team came in third).

Cars and airplanes

German airplane proudly displaying the flag The other unusual thing I saw was how a flight captain hoisted the German flag on his plane at Mallorca airport in Spain Sunday afternoon. This was shortly before the final between Spain and Germany was due to begin (The German team later lost the final 0:1).

The flag is a little hard to see in this picture, so I’ve made a close-upThe pilot hung the German flag out the cockpit window of the same shot.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering: yes, the flag was pulled back into the cockpit before the plane took off from that Spanish airport.

Written by Thorsten

June 30, 2008 at 7:14 pm

Trees on Fire

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Blossom of a flame tree May and June are beautiful months in Hanoi. Because that’s the season the Flame trees are in full bloom.

It’s not hard to guess where they got their name: this time of year, the orange or bright red blossoms make their treetops look like they’re on fire.blossoming Flame tree in Vietnam

You can find Flame trees throughout the city of Hanoi. Many streets of the Vietnamese capital are lined with them.

The Flame trees are most beautiful, however, around the city’s Hoan Kiem Lake. Here, their lower branches gracefully bow to the water, which reflects and doubles the bright reds and greens.

Fire and water by the lake

Hoan Kiem Lake lies at the south end of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. For many people, this lake is the heart of Hanoi.

On the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, the Vietnamese meet for their morning Tai Chi exercise. During the day, tourists and locals alike stroll around the lake promenade. And when the sun’s going down and temperatures cool down, joggers begin to make their rounds.

At all times of the day, you’ll find young lovers, who have nowhere else to go, here. They sit together on the benches at the lakeside, holding hands, kissing, making plans.

And at this time of year, the bright red flowers of the Flame trees add an especially romantic touch to their dates.

Written by Thorsten

June 1, 2008 at 4:36 am

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