Category Archives: New run

Abschied von einem Freund.

Mein geliebter Aquarellkasten,

Heute ist der Tag gekommen, an dem ich dich mit blutendem Herzen und schwerem Gemüt zurücklasse. Drei deiner wichtigsten Farben sind leer und es ist nun an der Zeit, dich durch einen – immerhin auch russischen – Nachfolger zu ersetzen. Wie du weißt, ist dies ein furchtbar wehmütiger Augenblick für mich. Aber für alle außer uns beide ist es vermutlich schwer nachzuvollziehen, wie du mir so wichtig hast werden können.

Weißt du noch?  Vor ziemlich genau 4 Jahren habe ich dich für 30 Som (0,50€) in einem winzigen Magazin in Baetov, Kirgistan, gekauft. Weil mir deine stiftförmigen „Aquarell“brüder nicht mehr gereicht haben, um mich auszudrücken. Ich wollte weiter! Wenige Tage später habe ich dann mein erstes Bild mit deinen Farben (und chinesischen Kosmetikpinseln) im schneidenden Wind von der umwerfend schönen Song-Kul-Hochebene, ihren Bergen und Jurten gemalt.

Dieses Bild war nicht nur mein erstes richtiges Aquarell (und ist später sogar Motiv meiner Visitenkarte und Markenzeichen geworden). Als es fertig war, habe ich es in der untergehenden Bergsonne lange betrachtet. Und das war der Moment, in dem ich einen für mein Leben bedeutsamen Entschluss gefasst habe. Den Entschluss, endlich den Traum wahr zu machen, der schon seit meinen Kindertagen, trotz diverser Ablehnungen an Kunsthochschulen und einem darauffolgenden ganz anderen Studium, nie aufgehört hat in mir zu brodeln. In jenem Moment, mit DIR auf meinem Schoß, habe ich unumstößlich beschlossen: ICH WERDE KÜNSTLERIN! Koste es was es wolle.

Dieser Entschluss liegt nun vier Jahre zurück. Und inzwischen gibt mir mein Umfeld das Gefühl, mich zu Recht Künstlerin ohne Anführungsstriche zu nennen. Ich darf in der Künstlersozialkasse sein, habe einige Ausstellugen gemacht, bekomme Aufträge und verdiene sogar tatsächlich einen Teil meines Unterhalts durch die bildliche Kunst, an die ich durch dich zum ersten Mal WIRKLICH geglaubt habe. Ja, mit dir – und vielleicht nur durch dich – bin ich zur Künstlerin geworden! Du warst ein wichtiges Puzzleteil, das zum Bild meiner jetzigen Identität beigetragen hat.

Die zu verwirklichen hat mich tatsächlich einiges gekostet. Meinen „gesunden“, als „normal“ betrachteten Rhythmus und Lebensstil, der mich von einem Großteil meines sozialen Umfelds distanziert, bedeutsame zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen die kaputtgingen und immer wieder viel, viel Kraft, Hadern, Zweifel und Leiden. Was wohl alles zum Künstlerdasein dazugehört…. Du weißt, das es weiß Gott nicht immer einfach ist. Aber meistens wunderschön und oft ertrinke ich sogar fast in Dankbarkeit über dieses Dasein. DU hast alle dieser Stimmungen kennengelernt…

Vier Jahre lang habe ich dich benutzt und du hast mich immer treu begleitet. Durch Tiefen und Höhen, Freizeit und Arbeit, durch meinen Alltag und meine Reisen. Durch viele Orte Deutschlands, Schottlands, Englands, durch Ungarn und sogar bis in den Fernen Osten Sibiriens! Viele Menschen konnte ich mit Bildern erfreuen, die durch dich entstanden sind. Und wie oft hast DU MICH erfreut! Hast mir das Gefühl gegeben, nicht einsam zu sein, jemanden bei mir zu haben, der mich kennt, der mich wortlos versteht. Und du hast mir das Gefühl gegeben JEMAND zu sein. Jemand, der inzwischen nicht mehr ganz so verloren in der Welt ist, sondern einen Platz darin gefunden hat. Durch dich. Denn du hast mir stets Selbstvertrauen gegeben und Sicherheit. Was du mit meinem Leben gemacht hast, ist unglaublich!

Ich werde dich nie vergessen und dir für immer dankbar sein, du kleines kirgisisches Stück Plastik.

Tradition vs. die Vereinheitlichung der Welt

Es ist erstaunlich, wie sich das weit und immer weiter weg Sein hier, in Sibirien, (fast) nur noch in Bahnstunden, Ticketpreisen und Zeitzonen manifestiert. Kulturell könnte ich immernoch in Polen sein. Oder Weißrussland. Oder Moskau. Oder Novosibirsk.

Man erwartet, dass, je weiter man sich von Zuhause entfernt, die kulturelle Andersartigkeit zunimmt. In Russland aber, dem Land dass größer und ferner reicht als jedes andere Land unserer Erde, das sich über 9 Zeitzonen und zwei gigantische Kontinente erstreckt, stimmt diese Theorie nicht.

Abgesehen von ein paar mehr asiatisch aussehenden Menschen (Man entschuldige bitte an dieser Stelle meine politische Inkorrektheit. Beim Reisen in der Fremde gehört die Wahrnehmung „so und so aussehender oder klingender“ Menschen zu meinen einzigen Orientierungspunkten.), ein bisschen mehr chinesischem Tee, ein paar wenigen goldenen Stupas und einer Namens- sowie Größenveränderung der Pel`meni ist es hier, im burjatischen Ulan-Ude (5640 Kilometer auf der Transsib von Moskau), wie in Novosibirsk. Und abgesehen von ein bisschen mehr – ok, viel mehr – Wald auf den Bergen, ist es hier auch wie in Kirgistan (ehemaligen Sowietunion). Und abgesehen von den Dingen, die hier augenscheinlich anders sind als Zuhause, ist es hier auch wie überall.

Moderne Großbauten sehen heute weltweit ähnlich aus, überall laufen im Radio dieselben englischen Lieder und coole Kids sehen in Sibirien aus wie in Bangkok, wie in England, wie in Budapest, wie in Hamburg. Das alles hat nichts einzigartiges mehr.

Ich frage mich, wie 17-jährige Punk-Kids vor 100 Jahren in Ulan-Ude ausgesehen haben, bevor sie Gwen Stefani und Tokio Hotel im Fernsehen gesehen haben. Hatten sie neonbeschnürte Fellstiefel statt Chucks? Wie hat ihre Rebellion gegen Traditionen damals ausgesehen, bevor es einen medial verbreiteten internationalen Einheits-Codex für „cool“ und „modern“ gab?

Eigentlich finde ich es schade, dass die Welt immer mehr zusammenwächst. Ja, es macht vieles einfacher. Und vieles bunter, auf der einen Seite. Aber paradoxerweise auch vieles eintöniger, auf der anderen.

Ich sehe 20-jährige Burjatinnen mit ebenso „ash-blondierten“ Haaren, wie man es in London trägt und kaum mehr eine junge Frau in Deutschland ohne bunte Nike-Sneakers, die uns aus den USA zugespielt wurden. Ich sehe 14-Jährige auf den Philippinen Adidas-Thirts und Frauen in Mumbai Jeans mit Chanel-Taschen tragen, statt der farbenfrohen Gewänder ihrer Mütter.  Ich sehe gigantische Glasspiegelbauten aus saudischem Wüstenboden sprießen, Häuser, die in Frankreich oder Singapur entworfen wurden und die so überall stehen könnten. (Ich habe ein neues Ratespiel: Ich zeige dir die Luftaufnahme einer Großstadt und du rätst, welche es ist. Es ist – ohne die umliegende Landschaft zu sehen – fast unmöglich geworden!) Ich sehe Werbeanzeigen chinesischer Großunternehmen weltweit das Verhalten von Menschen beeinflussen und amerikanische Poptrends ihr Aussehen bestimmen. Und das Internet beschleunigt all diese Entwicklungen.

Wo früher per Schiff, Pferd oder Kamel Wissen langsam von Land zu Land weitergetragen wurde – von technischen Errungenschaften, Lebensmitteln und -weisen – transportieren soziale Medien heute in Echtzeit, wie man sich zu kleiden hat, was „hip“ ist, was „geht“ und was alles möglich ist. Trends, wie aufgerissene-Knie-Jeans, Undercuts, McDonalds, Tablets und Billigairlines verbreiten sich heute innerhalb kürzester Zeit an allen Enden der Welt. Und was an traditionellen Lebensweisen übrig ist, wird meist nur noch von der älteren Generation gelebt – bunte Klamotten, Kochkünste, kulturelle Besonderheiten. Die jüngere Generation hingegen vereinheitlicht immer mehr. Skinnyjeans, Smartphone, Sushi, Skyscraper. Everywhere.

Doch was wäre so schlimm daran, wenn wir weiter unsere Häuser im selben, regionalen Stil bauten? Wenn wir weiter Schlager hörten, Trachten trügen, nicht weltweit Burgerking, Pizza und Bananen äßen, sondern eben das, was es vor Ort gibt? Wenn wir aufhören würden, alles was „Tradition“ hat, als „uncool“ zu bewerten, sondern mit Stolz als Teil unserer regionalen, ganz besonderen Identität trügen, statt uns immer weiter in die Austauschbarkeit des internationalen „chick“ einreihen zu wollen? Dann würde die Welt im Ganzen doch viel spannender bleiben?

Was wird mit den Traditionen passieren, mit all der kulturellen Vielfalt, wenn die ältere Generation irgendwann ausstirbt? Wenn niemand mehr weiß, wie man Pel`meni zubereitet oder Semmelknödel, wie man Butter stampft, Natur-Balken-Häuser baut, Plattdeutsch spricht oder einen burjatischen Volkstanz tanzt? Wenn alle nur noch wissen, wie man in einem Supermarkt mit EC-Karte bezahlt und witzige Videos auf youtube guckt?

Werden wir zwangsläufig irgendwann rund um den Globus zu einer einzigen einheitlichen Menschenmasse? Mit denselben Klamotten, Speisen, Baustilen, Idealen, Lebensformen, und wenn, höchstens noch minimalen regionalen Unterschieden aufgrund von Klima, religiösen oder kulturellen Werten?

Ist das der natürliche Lauf der Menschheit? Und ist das sinnvoll und erstrebenswert? Bin ich nur altmodisch und perssimistisch?  Werden manche positive Unterschiede zwischen den Kulturen uns immer erhalten bleiben oder befindet sich die Vielfalt der Spezies Mensch, so im Ganzen, wirklich in einer ernstzunehmenden Gefahr? Und wenn ja, sollten wir gegenwirken? Oder einfach mitmachen und gucken, was daraus wird?

So oder so finde ich ja, McDonalds zu boykottieren, Smartphones und Lochknie-Jeans zu verweigern sind sinnvolle Handlungen. Aber die wenigsten von uns werden heute, egal wo, da es nun mal viele andere Optionen gibt, Lust haben, dieselbe Kleidung wie ihre Großeltern zu tragen und stundenlang alte Rezepte zu kochen. Und selbst dadurch würden wir, fürchte ich, die Vereinheitlichung der Welt nicht aufhalten können.

Busy London – In love with a headless capital

The other day I sent a memorable childhood-picture to my best friend. Her only reply to it was a simple “like” on facebook. I felt a little sad. When I mentioned it to her, she was really sorry and admitted she should have made more effort on a reaction. But when I visited her some weeks later in London, where she`s living, I suddenly understood everything.

I understood people living in this 24/7-city never ever have time for anything. She still doubted simply that was enough as a proper excuse and asked if it would also apply for someone living in Hamburg. Of course not, I told her. Hamburg is a city all right. But in London people even do their phone calls on headphones under helmets while they cycle back from work through massive traffic. Because no one has one single minute to waste. And almost every phone call I involuntarily witnessed during my stay involved sentences like “what time is your flight?” and “why don`t you get a cab?” – London people are always so on the move!

People are so busy and global and digital that they lose sight of the closest analog things sometime: In London most people don`t know any road names of their own neighborhood anymore. Because they never stroll. Because they only use buses and cabs and tubes and googlefuckinmaps. When I arrived, I thought I could get to the house of my friend easily – 8 minutes walk from the bus stop – by asking passengers, shop keepers, whoever. “Naaoooöüü, I`m sooöü soooorey, I dooöün`t knoooooöüü! But I have a phaaaoooööüüüne. Shall I look it up fooooor youa?” Yes, please. That would be very kind. Because I don`t have such a phone. I thought I`d get by asking local people. But apparently they have way more important things to deal with than road names. And I don`t blame them.

I blamed my friend though, a little, at the end of that day. When we stood in her yard with a pint, looking over the London night streets in which she has been living for seven years. And she said to me “Look at those number plates! It`s really weird, some of them seem to be yellow and some are white!” – I feared the worst and replied, giving her a hint “Yes, well, they are always yellow in the back and white in the front….” – WHAT? REALLY?? I didn`t know that!” – “Oh. My. God. How the fuck could you not have noticed THAT in seven years!?” I just smiled and gave her a kiss. London people must have a lot on their minds and backs for sure.

But so this is this capital then. A bustling filthy overpriced beehive where everyone is fighting, because it is not easy living there. But it is special and everyone seems to be pretty, fancy and very busy. At all times. There seems to be nothing not-cool in this city. Even the very normal has an inevitably stylish attitude in this trendy world of its own. Even the woman with the pram in Whitechapel looks cool. Even the stressed people on Victoria Line look admirable.

I came to wonder if this appearance is true. If locals still feels this London-spirit or if it`s just a projection because outsiders like me looking at it this way. Whether the coolness is only evolving in the very second someone is watching and falling back to normal again as soon as there`s no one caring? But then there`s always someone looking and always someone caring. Because this is London.

Everything appears random and careless. But in fact every tiny thing here is, or at least can be, a truly big deal. Maybe exactly because it pretends it isn`t. Everything is meant to happen along the way. Just beside the real deal. There is a universe of hidden sub eco systems which can only be understood from within. There are impossible rooms in wracked studio buildings in crappy side streets where foxes stroll at night, where people who seem to never have appeared on this earth before scream out their souls for nothing but for everything in their lives. And for those who coincidently happen to be in the same room at the very same time it makes a difference, strong enough to turn their world around. There are a thousand things to get inspired by.

London is something else. This place lives an everyday life that is different every day. Everyone here always seems to have a plan. Everyone seems to always have a way. Everyone seems to always do something. But the things you find aside the busy path are the true diamonds of this city. And even when you don`t have a plan, when you don`t follow a path and have nothing to do, you can be, whatever you want to be. Things happen, in this city. Things are possible, in this city. Everyone accepts everything. Although London is too full of everything already it seems it has a gap for anything and anyone more. And it already is an incredible collection of beautiful madness!

Shiva`s evil plan

Compassion with a strong and gender divinity, our Lord Ganesha, for that we all make mistakes. Actually a tribute to our great Lord Shiva, the father of destruction!

Preface

Hinduism seems to be one of the most complex religions there is. But in fact it`s not.

There might be over a million Deities existing in all, and to at least a dozen of them Hindus pray regularly. There is a particular God or Goddess for every occasion to worship. But, no matter how deep you want to dig into Hinduism or not, the basic thought, of the order of the world and all energy existing in it, is really simple.

In Hindu belief, there are three main powers, characterized through the three mightiest Gods: Brahma, who stands for creation, Vishnu, who is responsible for preservation and Shiva, who brings destruction. These three powers keep the world and all its beings moving and in order. Creativity, continuity and change. Birth, life and death. Not one could exist without the other.

Now, there are still many other Gods. Like there are many other important things in life, apart from creation, preservation and destruction. Things like health, wealth, loyalty, fertility. So there is basically a single God for everything humans could wish for. A single God, people can pray to when they feel they need to.

One of the most popular ones is Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is said to be the “Remover of obstacles” and also called the “God of wisdom”. He is prayed to at the beginning of a journey, for clearing the way of all problems.

Not as much known as Lord Ganesha himself is the fact, that he actually is the son of Shiva – the God of destruction. This is the story of a desperate father using his son to destroy mankind.

Ganesha on another mission

Lord Ganesha, the great and wise Remover of obstacles, the God of wisdom, was once on the beginning of another journey. He had spent much of the last time dealing with small tasks and had lost the overview about what was happening down there. It was time he paid another personal visit to mankind, to find out about their problems and helping to solve them.

Unexpectedly, this time he found many people unhappy and unsatisfied. Almost everyone was wining for something “more” they wanted to have and they were complaining about “so many things, which stand in the way”. Lord Ganesha was highly alarmed. That was him needed! But he was also overwhelmed by so much unhappiness he had never seen before. He didn`t have a clue, where to start and how to help them. Because this time, the problems of the people didn`t seem to be real and fightable. All the unhappiness Ganesha found lay in a haze of mysterious gloom. He was idealess. He sighed and sat down on a blanket on the floor.

Ganesha getting to know the Smartphone

Suddenly, he spotted some people walking down the road with a mysterious black tool in their hands – some holding it to their ear, some holding it in front of them, staring at it. He looked around and saw even more people carrying these strange objects. The people were walking, talking and laughing, attention-caught with these things, as if they were friends. Ganesha didn`t understand. So he asked someone.

„Excuse me, Sir. What are these mysterious things everyone is walking around with?“ The man didn`t look up from the tool in his hand at first, but when he finally did and recognized the Elephant`s head, he was excited that Lord Ganesha was speaking to him and replied „It`s a smartphone, oh great Lord. The best thing in the world!” Ganesha still didn`t understand. So he asked “But what are people actually doing with it? And why does everyone seem so keen on them?” Now the man realized, that Ganesha had never seen a Smartphone before. So he replied:

“Smartphones, oh great Lord, are the most useful tools of the modern world! People can solve every problem with them. You can talk or message to whoever you like, from everywhere. You can order whatever you want from wherever you are. You can picture everything you do and show it to anyone. You can share your whole life with all the people in the world, and you can find the whole world and all answers to any question in it…. Plus, you always got all your appointments neatly in order. I can tell you, it`s a hell of a great tool!”.

Ganesha wants a Smartphone

Ganesha was thrilled. His eyes began to sparkle. He smelled, this tool could be the clue to solve everyone`s problems and remove everyone`s obstacles in a much more efficient way. So he was sure he needed a Smartphone himself right away. “Where can I get one like this?” he asked the man. “Oh Lord, please, I would be honored if you allowed me to give you mine as a present.” Ganesha smiled and felt happy like a child on Christmas Day. Another man had witnessed the conversation and came offering his Smartphone as well. “Please Lord, take mine, too!”, “Yea, and mine!” shouted a third person, „And mine!“ yelled a fourth…. Ganesha took all of them excitedly, thanked the kind people and went straight to work.

Ganesha at work

He started making phone calls, messaging around and searching the whole internet to find solutions for the people`s sorrows. He was very busy, night and day. He compared information and offers, made calls, searched, he gave his best. But somehow, not a single problem wanted to get solved, despite all the work he did. He started to get worried and desperate.

Shiva is pissed

What the great, wise Lord Ganesha didn`t know was, that he didn`t come on this mission by accident. His father, the great, mighty Lord Shiva, had sent him, because he was angry. A while ago, people had started always wanting more of everything and therefore people had begun to dangerously exploit the nature. The prices for food and products of life were falling, because no one wanted to pay decent money anymore. So they produced more and more of everything and exported more and more of it, but the prices kept falling. And the greed increased. So did the unhappiness.

For all that, people had taken so much water from the holy river Ganga, that there was almost no water left for Shiva to reign and play with. Shiva was seriously pissed. He was furious with mankind, because they always claimed everything for themselves. So he made an evil plan to destroy them. But none of these boring, upfront destruction scenarios that were known already – like floods, earthquakes and so on. Oh no! This time he was really angry. So, his plan needed to be subtle and the most evil ever.

Shiva`s evil plan

What he came up with, was genius. He decided not to attack the humans directly, but manipulate their souls and destroy them from the inside. His plan was, to silently destroy the humanity within and among men, so they would slowly destroy themselves.

Therefore he invented a small and apparently useful tool – simple enough for everyone to use, but complex enough to keep both smart and dumb people distracted for ages. It was a tool so useful, no one could resist using it, so useful, no one wanted to live without it anymore, so useful, no one wanted to spend a single minute without it anymore! That was when the Smartphone was born. People loved it.

Getting Ganesha out of the way

But there was Shiva`s son, the great and gender Lord Ganesha, who surely – sooner or later – would discover the Smartphones being an obstacle to people. Shiva couldn`t let his good-hearted son interfere with his plan! So he kept Ganesha busy for a while with small but frequent tasks and he hid the Smartphone phenomenon from him until it was time again for Ganesha to visit mankind on another mission of removing obstacles and solving problems. But the misery among the people was already so widely spread, that Ganesha didn`t know where to start helping them. In that very moment, Shiva let the first Smartphone cross his son`s way.

Ganesha loved it immediately and started using it, because he did`t know this tool. He had not seen yet what it did to the people and had never been disappointed by its promises. Also, the people had told him it was the most useful thing in the world. So Ganesha started to love Smartphones, just like everyone else. But soon he got addicted to them, and trapped.

The problems grow

Now Ganesha was so busy using his Smartphones for all the problems to get solved, he suddenly couldn`t solve a single one of them anymore! There were more and more troubles, problems and obstacles among the humans and even the Great Lord Ganesha couldn`t remove them. And because the people saw Ganesha using his Smartphones all the time, they were even more convinced it was a good and useful tool to have. Everyone, without a Smartphone before, got one now. Everyone, including Ganesha, got entirely addicted and absorbed in using Smartphones. Everyone now tried to always be efficient, to always do and solve things. And the troubles and problems of the people grew and grew.

The destruction scenario

Humans started fighting. Humans stopped talking to each other. Humans stopped sharing things of their real lives, because they were so busy sharing all kinds of things on the internet already. Everything they had, they wanted for themselves. And they never seemed to feel they had enough of anything. People got egoistic. People always had no time. And especially, they never had time to simply be happy. As the time passed, the human race slowly developed into a species of emotionless egomaniacs, with brains only still responding to the orders of their black little tools.

Shiva`s plan worked

Shiva watched the scenario with pure pleasure. He sat back in his dry bed of the Ganga River and grinned his most evil grin. His plan had worked perfectly! He laughed, a loud evil laughter, which should shiver the whole Himalaya for centuries.

Ausstellung human. emotionen. absurditäten.

Ausstellung Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten. Janina Mau

„…Und dann bin ich ein Jahr durch Asien gereist. (…) Aber mit meiner Rückkehr hat mich eine der schwierigsten Phasen meines Lebens erwartet: Das wieder-Ankommen. In meiner Heimatkultur, in Deutschland. Ich habe gestrauchelt mit all dem Luxus hier, der es allein nicht bringt. Was früher normal für mich gewesen war, war mir plötzlich fremd. – Eine Kultur In der so vieles so durchstrukturiert und wohlorganisiert ist, von so extremem, aber unbewussten Wohlstand, der selten richtig wertgeschätzt wird. Ein Land, in dem Menschen selten wirklich glücklich sind mit dem, was sie haben. Und wir haben verdammt viel!

Durch diese Asienreise und mein ganzes vieles Rumgereise, habe ich einen anderen Blick auf unser alltägliches Leben und unsere Gesellschaft bekommen, der oft sarkastisch oder auch bissig ist. Der sich meist kritisch mit unserem Wohlstand, unseren Gewohnheiten, Erwartungen und Forderungen auseinandersetzt. Und der unsere Begehren, Emotionen und Normen hinterfragt.

Ich bin inzwischen angekommen. Aber ich empfinde immernoch – und werde es wahrscheinlich immer – viele Dinge und Gefühle, die wir als elitäre, westliche Gesellschaft haben und die wir als Selbstverständlichkeiten empfinden, als paradox und oft vollkommen absurd. (….) Und das ist die Geschichte dieser Ausstellung: Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten.“

Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten. In der Kunstbar Bremen
Human. Emotionen. Absurditäten. 25.03.-16.04.16 in der Kunstbar Bremen

Wealth

The ozorian mind – thoughts on a psy-festival

Culture flash, arrival, Budapest. Rich, decadent empires, Rome, Paris, high-above balconies, beautiful ladies waving their satin handkerchiefs, men, dazzled, loose their perfect manners on shiny horses, nervous, in stuffy evening sunlight.  Everything is melting into the other. Crumbling facades, birches on ruptured sills. Dour observers behind blinded windows, old widows carrying their shopping on cracked pavements, bored Roma kids playing on dusty roads, father’s fat bellies, pondering on doorsteps.

Cut. 140 kilometers. Speeding on the highway, bumping about back roads, through dozy villages, immersing into endless corn- and sunflower-fields. Arriving suddenly, in the middle of nowhere at what it says to be the official gate to Paradise.

Everything that comes behind this gate arose from pure love. It sounds like a quote, but it is true. We entered the Ozorian world! You feel it, everywhere, within everything. It’s baffling. All the little creatures and decorations made devotedly and everything human beings need for a week of camping and having the time of their lifes has been thought of carefully. Joy and Happiness, peace and love and harmony literally inflates us. People are curious and fraught and excited and overly friendly. A party, a gathering arises, with colors, cushions and comfort dotting it. Bass, lights, ecstasy. Power and abandon breaking loose. Food is plenty, music is on, everyone being exhilarated and nice.

When you’re looking for a one-week-paradise the Ozorian valley is definitely the place to be. There’s everything a more or less hippie-minded person could wish for. A full-on party, arts, workshops, finest international food, relaxing, inspiration, fun. It is a place of beautiful people and good spirits.

But after seven days of the “oh-so-beautiful-One-Love” you also see the facades crackle. People start getting tired of it. Not everyone is always smiling, always happy and caring anymore. After some days of having worn the full-psy-hippie-costume it becomes obvious that not everyone honestly has the inner peace and hippie-mind we were all pretending to have when the festivities where still at their beginning. People are littering. They get careless, get ensnared in their own problems, scream at each other on the campsite. Shopkeepers get grumpy, people in queues get annoyed and reckless and 200 plugs are full of smartphones.

We all came for the nature and the love-one-another-experience. And it has been amazing. But in the end most of us are still normal people from luxury backgrounds who get tormented by permanent baseline, the lack of retreat and comfort. That even the beautiful bees and fairies and pixies can’t turn into a happy smile all the time…

 

Liebster Award – 11 surprising answers, 5 excellent bloggers

The team of the great surf- and travelblog saltinmyhair was so kind to nominate me for the Liebster Award (“favourite blog award”). Thanks a lot! With that, they asked my 11 questions which I am going to answer in a minute. But what is the Liebster Award actually and how does it work?

The Liebster Award is passed forward from blog to blog for the reason of connecting and getting to know new blogs. Great thing! 11 questions are asked and after having answered them, the award is passed on again to different new blogs with new questions.

So these are the questions I got and my answers:

1. What drives you forward?  My natural curiosity to see places I couldn’t dream of to be real and to meet people whose lifestyle I couldn’t imagine before. My longing to feel, what I have never felt before, to be surprised and challenged in my mind by things that are far apart from the “norms” I know.

2.  What is your favourite post?  It’s China – a parallel universe. After many strange feelings for this fascinating country and not knowing how to define the reasons for it I finally managed satisfyingly to get it black on white. I like it to have some founded (political) criticism – or at least reflection – in posts, which is not often with me but worked quite well with China.

3. At which spot on earth did you think “this is paradise?”  It’s hard to admit (because I wasn’t totally convinced from Thailand as travel-destination and we disliked the existing tourist-patterns for everything) but it was on a small Thai island on the west coast, named Koh Phayam. Palms, fine sand beaches, warm crystal-clear water, colorful jungle bursting with life, very few people and a hut next to a beach bar with fresh-fruit-yoghurt, Phad Thai, beer and a kayak rental! It was a place where everything was given to feel comfy and not to worry about anything.

4. Which languages do you speak?  Unfortunately my laziness overtakes my motivation when I get to the point in a language, where I can make myself very basically understood and understand the other. I always feel it’s enough when I know the most important nouns, verbs, adjectives, one simple past, simple future and just put it all together.  That’s what it’s like with my Spanish and French. (I am a little more eager on English.) On our trip through Kyrgyzstan I learned a few basic words of Russian and I would like to continue learning it until my personal level of “making myself understood” is reached.

5. Flip Flops or Trekking boots and why?  Definitely Flip Flops! (If not even bare feet.) Trekking boots get smelly and wet in rain and make me a lot of blisters. And they’re heavy. I experienced that even worst paths can be walked carefully in Flip Flops or bare feet. (Watch how the locals do it!)

6. What is your treatment against homesickness?  a) If it’s possible: connect with back home. Skype with a friend, post a blog or read facebook posts of friends. Otherwise b) distract myself and get drunk with locals or fellow travellers. c) If alone in the wilderness: Make fun of myself. Sing stupid made-up songs about my feelings in another language flavored with a saxonian accent and record it on cam, look at it and laugh my ass off. Or, always welcome: Make friends with little animals or plants and talk to them.

7. Did you ever get stuck in one place?  Quite often! Mostly because of laziness after exhaustive traveling. I got stuck in Goa for a month because it was just too convenient after two months of Indian hustle-bustle and again in Kashgar, China, for two weeks, almost not leaving the hostel, because of the security, comfort and the laziness after 9 months on the road, just enjoying internet, fellow travellers, story-sharing and no need to rush on and “having” to see new things.

8. What was the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten on a journey?  It was probably the dog we accidentally had in Yangshuo for breakfast because of the lack of common vocabulary. In China we often just pointed at pictures of meals that looked good. And although the restaurant owner was reassuringly asking whether we really wanted that dish, we were only making an effort to understand what it was about, when the unusually high bill came. Some young passing-by Chinese guys took the time to stop and translate because we were loudly complaining about the price. In the end the surprising answer was ”Well, it is that expensive, because dog is that expensive…” After the meat had already been really disgusting and chewy so we had to leave half of it (what we NEVER do), that information really turned our stomachs.

9. What was your most impressing encounter while travelling?  It’s really hard to tell. Impossible in fact. I remember, letting different faces of people I met slide in front of my eyes, that I very, very often thought: This person – his lifestyle, his story, his responsibility – is so impressive! In a way, most of the encounters left me baffled and in deep thinking.

One of them was surely our friend in Nyaung U, Bagan, Myanmar, whom we met down by the river when the sun was rising beautifully behind thick haze. We shared not a single word of the same language, but he was really patient and generous. Living in a tiny straw-hut with his three children and wife, he let us store our luggage in the hut and promised to take care of it (again: wordless) while we were looking around. After he had fetched us with gestures from the village square for dinner, he and his family were rapidly improvising a pure luxury dinner-set: They were getting chairs and pillows (sitting on the floor or standing themselves), installed a light bulb out of nowhere and provided a reach traditional meal while they were not eating themselves but smiling about our happiness and giving….

Another impressive encounter was our selfless friend Mr. Li in Guangzhou, who lend us bikes and showed us around town for two days, inviting us for dinner, insisting on paying all the bills, and revealing after we had got to known him a little better, that he had another “hidden” child, living with his relatives some hundred miles away, because of the strict one-child-law in China. He showed us a video of his hidden daughter, sighing, because despite he and his wife were working fulltime they couldn’t afford to pay off the government for the second child, which is about 40.000 Euros.

We met many “children” in Kyrgyzstan working as responsible shepherds already, looking after siblings and earning money for the family, having big dreams in their heads. So did many youngsters in India, working hard, selling, making business, being clever and focused and very responsible at a very early age. There were woman with heavy burdens of poverty, responsibility and husbands they didn’t love, sometimes couldn’t even stand but they never complained and never neglected their responsibilities.

And then there is our friend Alek Leka, who is traveling the world on his bicycle since 20 years. Living on nothing, not having a bank account, nor insurance but being one of the happiest and funny and wise guys I’ve met.

10. Where is your “secret spot” in Europe?  In the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands; in its history and mystery. Somewhere between… nah, I wouldn’t tell 🙂

11. Catchword “Eco-tourism”: Do you travel thinking about sustainability?  Sure whenever it’s possible we rather leave kids with a repair-kit for their bike than with a handful of candies. Eco-tourism is a delicate topic. It’s much talked-about and definitely difficult to place oneself in it. When it is possible, we rather take a bus or bike than a plane. But we are no Messiahs – when the duration and expenses of an overland-journey overdo the price of a flight by far, we still take the flight. We always eat at small unknown places, stay in the hidden hostel and don’t necessarily follow the number one recommendations of the lonely planet, so at least we naturally spread the money around community.

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For the next Liebster Award I nominate Alek Leka of aroundtheworldnomad, Helen of Helenstakeon, Sara & Matthieu of aveloversl’orient, Thom of ThomsTravelTime and Stefanie of Kurzvordersonne.

The questions are:

  1. Three places you want to travel (no matter if realistic or not)?
  2. Which feeling does blogging give you?
  3. What differs you from others?
  4. What is always with you on journeys?
  5. How important are travel-companions to you and why?
  6. Something you wouldn’t recommend anyone to do?
  7. A situation you doubted to be real.
  8. What are you doing while traveling when you want to withdraw and switch-off?
  9. How is your relation of planning and spontaneity while traveling?
  10. Did anyone ever say anything to you about yourself on a journey, that is still lasting until today; that changed concepts about yourself?
  11. Something you experienced on a journey that you decided to never forget.

 

And the “rules” for enjoying and getting connected are:

  1. Show on your blog that you’re taking part in the Liebster Award.
  2. Name the person who nominated you and link him.
  3. Answer the 11 questions.
  4. Nominate another 5-11 people for the Liebster Award.
  5. Create 11 new questions for the nominated bloggers.
  6. Write this rules in your Liebster-Award-post.
  7. Inform your nominated bloggers about this post and their nomination.