3D movie experience

September 5th, 2010

Yesterday, I decided to watch a 3D movie for the first time since 1997. I was fighting with myself if I really should watch 3D movies as I still remember the last time: I felt sick for the whole day afterwards. But I said to me: They must have made some progress since 1997…And yes, they really made some progress. No problems this time.

But having no health problems,  doesn’t mean everything was perfect:

  • sometimes, I got the feeling that scenes were added just to show you what 3D effects they can create
  • bright colours were too bright (it was like looking at the sun)
  • things in the foreground and in the background were very blurry (more than in 2D)
  • switching the focus from a further away object to a closer one would in real life make it look sharp. But in the movie the focus is given by the director
  • 3D effects into the audience’s direction are flickering
  • people look like they were stretched when ‘coming out of the screen’ (it seems no one cares about what you learn in school…)

Nevertheless, some 3D effects where really cool. But there’s still the question: Do we really need 3D movies (and 3D television)? The first 3D tv channels start this autumn, let’s see how successful they are. In my opinion, 3D doesn’t add more fun to a movie and not to forget: you always have to wear these glasses.

Although, more and more 3D movies are entering the cinemas, I prefer to watch them in 2D.

Drifting down the Rhine

August 2nd, 2010

It’s already a tradition. Whenever the weather allows it, we go for a boat cruise on the Rhine on the national holiday. This year, we had perfect weather and only the water temperature could have been a bit higher (it was only 19 degrees…). Nevertheless, it was big fun.

In the early afternoon, we arrived in Stein am Rhein, our starting point. After exhausting thirty minutes to pump up the boats, we finally set off. Some minutes later, I was already in the water. But it wasn’t intentionally…When I tried to get a ball with the rudder, I lost the balance (as I was alone in the boat, there was no one to balance out my weight…) and I fell into the water. Luckily, the boat didn’t turn over. The only thing that went missing were my one-month old sunglasses. Annoying but it could have come worse…

Fortunately, this was the last negative highlight of the day. From then on we had quite a relaxing cruise, except when we had to row away from the big tourist boats.

Approximately six hours after we left, we arrived in Schaffhausen. And everyone agreed: It’s way a fantastic day.

«Zurich City Beach»: where people come together on warm days

June 5th, 2010

Zurich’s located on the shore of Lake Zurich. Depending on who you ask it’s situated on the top end or on the bottom end of the lake (most Zurich people say on the top end but as the water flows out of the lake in Zurich it’s the bottom end). Despite this perfect location, there is not much access to the lake as most land is privately owned (all around the lake). So, many people go to some of the rare spots on warm days. Although it’s very crowded, people enjoy the warming sun and the cooling water of the lake. They come together to  babble, to play games or to have a barbie.

Here are some impressions from Zürihorn and «Rentenanstalt»:

And it continues…

May 24th, 2010

As most of you might know, I recently moved to Zurich. Although, I’ve been working in this city for nearly five years already, there is still a lot to discover. That’s why I decided to continue with my blog. I will blog about things in Zurich or trips to other countries. I don’t know yet how often I’ll be writing and I’m also not yet sure how the Zurich posts will be like…Let’s see…

Is South Africa ready for World Cup 2010?

January 6th, 2010

This is one of the questions I ask myself quite often. And my answer is: it’s still a long way to go!

I came to this conclusion when having a look at the following points:

  • Stadiums: I’ve so far seen five stadiums and all have one thing in common: construction companies are still working. But let’s have a closer look…
    • Soccer-City-Stadium: this stadium has been renovated completely. It’s the stadium that has most work left to be done. Streets around it are still being built and most of the stairways do not yet exist. The stadium itself is ready.
    • Ellis-Park-Stadium: the stadium is ready. Some minor work is still ongoing.
    • Loftus-Versfeld-Stadium: it’s the same like for Ellis-Park-Stadium.
    • Green-Point-Stadium: around the stadium work is still going on
    • Nelson-Mandela-Bay-Stadium: Although they are already playing a football match in the stadium next weekend, the area around the stadium needs a lot of work.
  • Transportation:
    • Public Transport: New bus stops have been erected in Johannesburg. Several hundreds of buses have been bought (although they still look very old…). But I doubt that they will be enough to transport 94.000 people to Soccer-City-Stadium or 70.000 to Ellis-Park-Stadium.
      The Loftus-Versfeld-Stadium already has a railway station. So, I guess that it is capable to transport the spectators to the stadium and back.
      Cape Town: Green Point bus terminal is there but not yet in use. On the nearby Main Road buses are circulating but they will not be able to transport all fans.
      Port Elizabeth: Um, is there anything near the stadium? I only saw the stadium from one side, so I cannot tell if there is anything like a bus stop.
    • Streets: The highways around Johannesburg and Tshwane are still being upgraded. I don’t think that work will be finished by June. The existing highways have not the best standard. Especially when it’s dark and raining, it’s nearly impossible to see the road marking. Holes in the streets don’t make driving easier. Very positive is the fact that there are road signs for the hotels on the highway as well as in the city.
      The streets in Cape Town are much better than in the Jo’burg area. Driving comes close to what I am used from Europe.
      Port Elizabeth’s streets are something in between Jo’burg and Cape Town. Sometimes they are really good, sometimes they are crap.
  • Safety: If you ask white people everything is extremely bad, if you ask black people it’s not too bad except from some areas. My personal feeling is that you really have to know where you can go and where not. Tourist areas are quite safe, in all other areas you have to be really careful. Even in the city centre of Tshwane I didn’t feel very comfortable. But if you follow some rules, you will be fine.
    In Cape Town, the general impression is that it is safer than in Jo’burg or Tshwane. But still you have to be careful.
    Port Elizabeth: Well done! Place the stadium into a warehouse district where you cannot feel safe at all. I didn’t feel comfortable at all when getting to the stadium (and I was in the car!).  Port Elizabeth CBD is said to be quite dangerous (good chance of  a robbery…).

On my trip, I will be in two more host cities (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth). What will the situation there be like?

Post updated with impressions from Cape Town.

Post updated with impressions from Port Elizabeth.

Horror stories

January 4th, 2010

On today’s flight from Sydney to Johannesburg, I had quite a lot South Africans around me. So, I asked them about the safety in South Africa.

I expected they would tell me that it’s not as worse as described in the guide. But I was wrong.

One guy told me about two incidents in his family:

  1. the husband of his niece was shot three times in his stomach in a robbery (the man died within no time)
  2. he once was in his cottage near Cape Town with the family when he heard something. His daughter went into the living room. There a burglar shot three times. Luckily, the first two attempts were not successful as no bullet went off. The third was successful but the daughter had already left the room. He then went outside to house where the guy shot at him but hit only the car which was in between

I was also told that car hijackings are common all over South Africa and people are killed for just a mobile phone.

For me this was quite a shock as they described the situation even more dangerous than in the guide. But they always said: use common sense, that’s the most important.

So, I keep fingers crossed!

Smash a Kiwi

December 25th, 2009

Okay, that might sound a bit rude but I was really angry about what happend on my last day in New Zealand.

First, when I checked out at the hotel, nobody wanted to remember that we agreed a reduced charge of 15 kiwi dollars instead of 34 for the internet. But finally they agreed on a charge of 15 kiwi dollars (although I was charge for seven days instead of four).

But the more annoying happened at Wellington International Airport. At the check-in counter the lady wanted to charge me for my second bag. I insisted on not paying as the ticket includes two bags. So, she checked with another guy who confirmed her view. He said that only flights via US are on the piece concept (2 pieces, 23 kilos each).

As I know the terms & conditions, I wanted her to look up terms & conditions on staralliance.com. So, she called the supervisor. He took me to his office where he first showed me the included luggage per booking class. But that didn’t interest me as it was not valid for my ticket. Then he opened the Air New Zealand-homepage which again didn’t help for my ticket.

Finally, he went to the staralliance.com and read the terms & conditions. As he could see there, I was right. So, he once again checked my itinerary and then said: “You went via Honolulu. That’s in the US. So, the piece concept applies”. Sorry but I never heard a more stupid excuse than this!

This really left some bad feelings.

Birds dislike me

December 23rd, 2009

Last Sunday, I was on Somes Island for a walk. Just when I took my camera out of the pocket to take a picture, a gull was flying in my direction and making a lot of noise. So, I decided to leave the spot without taking a picture.

As I continued my walk around the island another gull attacked me. This time it was a serious attack. I even had to get down on the soil otherwise it would have hit me.

But these gulls learn fast. Back at the harbour they doubled forces to attack me. Luckily, there were some trees.

This was the last attack for Sunday but it continued on Monday. My tour guide and I had lunch in a picnic area of a park as suddenly a duck (!) was flying just above my head (it would have hit me if I had not ducked down my head). It tried it for a second time but I could escape.

So, I think birds dislike me.

Tonight, I gonna do the ultimate test: I go Kiwi watching. And if one of these birds attacks me (for those who don’t know: Kiwis can’t fly), something is wrong!

Black Water Rafting and Glowworms

December 14th, 2009

You might know River Rafting but do you know Black Water Rafting too? For those who don’t know it, I gonna describe it.

Black Water Rafting is rafting inside a cave. As there is not as much space as on a river the boat is replaced by a tube.The only light you have is either the one of the lamp on your helmet or the one from the glowworms inside the cave.

I can tell you: this is big fun. You walk or slide or jump never knowing where you will end up.

The tour guides also tell you something about the glowworms.

Did you know that:
– glowworms aren’t worms
– the glowing part is shit (sorry for the word)
– they sleep some weeks and then only live 2 to 3 days
– they have sex during one of these 2 to 3 days
– the first born eats his/her brothers and sisters (Darwin would say: survival of the fittest)

I like Hong Kong

December 8th, 2009

Hong Kong was my favourite destination so far. Here’s the why.

Hong Kong is…

…clean

Surprisingly, Hong Kong is very clean. Quite high fines have to be paid for littering. Even on public toilets you have a guy whose job is to keep it clean. A lot of sanitizers are placed on public spots to disinfect your hands.

…safe

I never felt unsafe in Hong Kong. No matter what time of the day or how crowded, I never felt that someone could try to steal something.

…perfect organised

When you take the MRT (tube) from Causeway Bay to Central during rush hour, you realise how many people live in the relatively small place. But thanks to a highly efficient public transport system, people get to their work without problems.

…a melting pot

People from many places in the world, especially Asia, live in Hong Kong. This is reflected in all the different restaurants offering food from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam or Australia.

…a shopping paradise

Why do you want to go to New York for shopping? You get everything you need in Hong Kong in one of the countless shopping centres. And if you have some money left, you can take the ferry to Macao where you can lose it in one of the casinos.

…vivid

I don’t know how to describe it. Just go their and get the feeling!

BTW: the order of appearance is not reflecting the importance! ;-)