this corner of the earth it smiles at me
From there, we wanted to head towards the Indian Ocean to St. Lucia Wetlands, then driving with our first rental car to Durban, jump on a plane to PE (Port Elizabeth), and pick up our second rental to continue to Capetown along the coast, passing the Drakensberge, the Garden Route, and the famous wineyards around Stellenbosch and finally Capetown, and of course the Cape of Good Hope itself, the most southern point of Africa. The first couple of pictures are from our first day, which we used just to pick up our rental in Jo'burg and drive out of town, east towards Kruger. We passed very nice landscapes, and in particular the spectacular God's Window in the Blyde River Canyon area, the "Three Rondavels" (the three round rocks, couple of hundred meters vertically above a smooth green and red valley with a huge view), and the Bourke's Luck Pot holes. The day was misty, and, all of a sudden, cloudy foggy so we couldn't see ten meters, and God's Window was unfortunately "closed". The nature here above the plains of the Kruger were real rough, pure and fresh, a real headstart into South Africa. We stayed overnight in the Blyde River Canyon, and continued the next morning to Kruger, entered and started our safari in our own car (don't step out the car!). Breathtaking!
© Georg Wagner 2015

Down Under in South Africa, May 2004

Our trip to South Africa in May 2004 was a dream come true voyage for both of us, and it therefore was planned in all details long time ahead. Actually this was necessary, as we had planned to cover more than 3600 kilometers in two weeks time, flying down to Jo'burg and returning from Capetown. We intended to spend four days in and around world famous Krüger National Park , then heading south through Swaziland and Hluhluwe (speak Schluschluwe) National Park.
We don't have pictures but some film, you won't believe it, but we ran, it was almost getting dark, and we were allready heading back to the Lodge, into a jeetah family, the mother and three curious cubs - note that Kruger, as big as Portugal, is thought to be home of roughly one thousand lions and leopards each, however "only" little more than one hundred jeetahs, and here they were, laying down on the street and collecting the last warm sunrays for the day. And of course there were lots of elephants, giraffes, gnus, wilderbeasts, zebra, antilope, eagles and hyena, very close and hugely exciting, an unforgettable day, and this as only the start. The next two days (unfortunately we had some interruptions due to my backpains that had built up after the flight and limited my movement and my appreciation of it all, luckily after half a day searching we found a, accidentally german, physiotherapist who cured me in a one hour massage which was excellent), we soent in two different private game reserves. There is many private game reserves around Kruger, and they promise even closer safari experiences - and it is true. Our first stop in Akeru lodge proved little revealing, we were hunting lion traces for the whole safari, but still quite lovely to sit on the open Landrover and cruising through the bush. Nkorho Lodge turned out to be one of the Top-10 places and days of our lives! One evening and one erly morning safari brought us within meters of a bunch of lionesses cracking the bones of a recently killed antilope, some leopard hunting in the night using the landrover search lights and engine noise as protection to get close to the game, and in the morning let us stand alongside a lazy sleeping leopard, who we could study in all detail before he got up and disappeared in the bush.
We make a big jump forward now, just mentionning briefly that we could not enter Swaziland as Macy would have needed a Visa about what we had been informed wrongly - with the consequence that we had to drive around the little kingdom, an additional 300 kilometers at nightfall (strongly not recommended by our tour organizer and everybody else we asked). We spent one and a half day in the wonderful Hluhluwe National park, observing elephants and rhinos from sometimes a little to close-up, quite exciting when you have to drive your little Toyota at fast pace backwards to escape a running elephant on the street! Beautiful St. Lucia Wetlands, where we relaxed from the first safari week, went to see some hippos, crocs, and kingfishers (the latter being far less dangerous than the first two). Drakensberg area south-west of PE (Port Elizabeth), where ostrich farming is big business, and the ostrich steaks are delicious. Complementary pictures are from the smooth Indian ocean coast around Knysna, where we had some magnificent oysters mornay, and show one rather big diamond, as they lay along the streets quite often. Again, skipping the wineyards, and the lovely garden route, we arrive already in Capetown, and actually on Robben Island, surrounded by sharks and strong currents and waves an hour away from Capetown in the Atlantic Ocean, straight in Nelson mandela's prison cell where he spent 13 years of his life during Apartheid. The last section of pix is from the Cape of Good Hope, the southern most point of Africa, where Atlantic and Indian Ocean truly collide. South Africa is an exciting place to visit, and Macy and me are already dreaming of returning to Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe National Park or the Tsitsikamma Forest, where we had such a magnificent time. Or else, shall we visit some other exciting safari places in Namibia, or in Tanzania and Kenia? Maybe some day we will be there, the three of us, and enjoy another unforgettable wildlife experience.
LENSFLARE
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From there, we wanted to head towards the Indian Ocean to St. Lucia Wetlands, then driving with our first rental car to Durban, jump on a plane to PE (Port Elizabeth), and pick up our second rental to continue to Capetown along the coast, passing the Drakensberge, the Garden Route, and the famous wineyards around Stellenbosch and finally Capetown, and of course the Cape of Good Hope itself, the most southern point of Africa. The first couple of pictures are from our first day, which we used just to pick up our rental in Jo'burg and drive out of town, east towards Kruger. We passed very nice landscapes, and in particular the spectacular God's Window in the Blyde River Canyon area, the "Three Rondavels" (the three round rocks, couple of hundred meters vertically above a smooth green and red valley with a huge view), and the Bourke's Luck Pot holes. The day was misty, and, all of a sudden, cloudy foggy so we couldn't see ten meters, and God's Window was unfortunately "closed". The nature here above the plains of the Kruger were real rough, pure and fresh, a real headstart into South Africa. We stayed overnight in the Blyde River Canyon, and continued the next morning to Kruger, entered and started our safari in our own car (don't step out the car!). Breathtaking!
2001 was my first year with an airconditioned christmas celebration. Actually 2001 was for me a tremendously happy, event-packed, colorful and contrasting year, and in its final moments, suddenly i had time to review and judge this particular 2001 for myself. Following my godfather, i want to try for the first time to put some lines together to formulate some important ideas for me on that last year - and in that way let you guys participate in my- our life a little bit more than i did during my frequently lazy email replies. So, we got married. Not once, but three times we had time to celebrate, and the plans for our honeymoon to Japan for the Sakura (cherry blossom) in April are practically finalized (we are looking forward to see Gouda-San and Mount Fuji and we will have our one-year wedding celebration there, trustfully). When we understood in November 2000, that there may not happen anything better to us than living together, and when the occasion arose fittingly, just a few more hours flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok and back for preparations separated us from finally being together. After some ultimate arrangements, right on time although without contract i reached Bkk on April 1st 2001. Chonmasri (Macy) and me got married on April 12th in Bangkok, colorful exotic thai style, facing nine buddhist monks and Macy's assembled family. My parents and my brother Martin and sister Gabi were there as well, we won't forget. Macy and me got married on July 6 in W&oumlrth, Germany, german style with english translation facing my family and friends, and german officials representing the law. John, my former boss, then best man and always a friend, made us understand in english to fulfil our duty of not only sharing the good times but also the pain and sufferings laying ahead of us. Following the next day our celebration in "palatina" style, lively and joyfully, i believe. We are grateful that quite a few of you guys could be there with us. We had more time to celebrate our wedding on September 15th, Macy's birthday, in Bangkok with some of our friends here. Getting married means to become a different person. Love is joined by responsibility, and two people suddenly create new disciplines. One discovers new common interests - like cultivating a three-square-meter balcony-jungle, one emphasizes new intimacies - when fighting for dominance in the kitchen and who makes the better curry or separating the fat from a delicious, sun-dried italian ham, one celebrates new trust and tolerance - like forgiving a painful defeat in card games, one sets new priorities - like sharing a good bottle of red wine. This is close to happiness, i believe. Re-reading this it sounds like a playful time itself, and this is what this year was about for us, and obviously important interesting questions are waiting ahead of us. I am proud that my family and friends do love us. I am proud that Chonmasri's family and friends do love us. This is important to emphasize because it is unusual, partly unexpected and definitely very important for both of us. To put it in a poetic way, like a ship needs the harbour, so does a wanderer need a shady tree (ok, i admit, i won't become a poet anyday soon). Macy and myself will have a long path ahead with many decisions, hinderances and possibilities. We do not know where we will be the next five years. This is our choice and we will be on the way. My family is important to me and the distance does hurt sometimes. Unfortunately i could not be there for Lilly's, my god-daughter to be, birthday. Unfortunately i do not know well enough, how Gereon, my god-son, and Tom grow and evolve so fast. Luckily i know that my Grandmother is doing fine, that Sabine has a little sister, and that most things go their divine way, the eternal cycle, so to say. To our delight, my parents came to visit us in december and we had time to refresh all stories. Yes, and then i was admitted to a new family as well, the Patcharapimon family. Although i still hardly speak thai, Macy's father and myself go along very well, he is a partyman and philosopher as i wish to be, sometimes. Macy and myself started to take some responsibilities for Macy's youngest brother, Natapon, who studies chemical engineering in Bangkok. Macy's oldest brother, Sitichai, married on December 8th in Nakhon Pathom, and my parents were there as special guests from overseas. Macy's cousin May stayed with us in November looking for a job position in Bkk, but finally found work in her hometown Chiang Mai. My friends are important to me, and as usual during my past fifteen or so years, living here and there, all distant friends get from me but "silence". As usual i am thinking of being here and there and trustfully hoping that when together the common understanding is always alive. Anyhow meeting here and there on this seemingly small planet is great and last year Jochen and Markus showed up here in Bkk, and before moving to Thailand some of us met in Tuebingen and Duesseldorf. Please remember that Thailand is a beautiful country and if tempted you are greatly welcome anytime! My job is important to me and what seemed to be an unknown challenge in the beginning is developing into an opportunity right now. It may be that my luck, my intuition and my carefreeness combine once more and still to the better, as it has been so often in my life so far. Ok, i have been 12 times in Manila since May this year, but sooner or later also this has been finished. Principally i am still working in the spacy niche between product development and customisation requirements, between project management and consultancy, between computers and people, between tools and processes, between making profit and making customers happy, playing around and gaining experience. Something of everything and nothing in to much detail, as i like it. Being at the frontlines it is true that working life seems even more uncertain than in good old-fashioned R&D, and worrying about the security of the job in the immediate future did consume some of my energy earlier in the year. But yes, being at the frontlines the learning experience is real big, and one is learning new things all the times, it is even definitely fun. My holiday is important to me and this whole year was holidays for me in the sense of holiday being travelling, visiting, meeting and understanding new countries and new people. I love thinking back of the Great China Wall that i saw in June, the coral gardens of Philippines and Thailand, the wonderful seafood all over the place, parks, temples and palaces, the Thai water festival Songkran in April and the moon festival Loy Kratong in October, the various big fish and aquarium fish ponds, cactus and orchid farms of the Patcharapimon family.