Jul 13 2014


The aerial view of FFM – Frankfurt am Main. The Lufthansa imprints. More pix on piwigo

My long trip starts from Frankfurt. Do I still feel the same way when I hear German? The language synonymous of power, competence, strength and, most importantly, prosperity?

The country is still breathtakingly beautiful and romantic, the quality that pulled me in in the first place. However, what’s wrong with Germany? Have their southern cousins Greeks, Italians and Spaniards dragged them down? How long can it sustain the rest of EU? The alliance eliminated the possibility of war, as some Germans think but seriously I don’t see any wars between or among them any time soon, prior the formation of EU. Trade war yes.

My gut feeling is Germany is at its wits end. It’s no energy nor mean to lift the sinking boat (of southern neighbors).

The security point (at the transfer from the flight LH 721 fm BJ to LH404 to NY) was rude. It’s an empty area, I was surprised to even find a check point. The women were just simply rude. One of the men harassed me with my two bags of sesame, asking if he could test it. As it happened, I have two separate identical containers in two separate bags. He tested one. To me, untrained in the national security, it looks like harassment to me. The public sector is faltering. The private side seems ok, although most businesses away from Frankfurt accept cash only.

我一直喜欢德国尤其法兰克福。但是昨天那一刻我真想告诉那不礼貌的女人,你小破国一个. … 直觉强盛一时的德国,不知道还能支撑南方的邻居多久?

The varied classes of Lufthansa. Renate came to pick me up at FRA. The escalator at the Frankfurt airport didn’t work and the trains were messed up between platforms. Renate was mad and cursed out loud! You go girl! We ended up taking taxi home. The escalator failed to work again when I returned to FRA from Beijing on the A380. Carrying the carry on climb the steps is not fun. Mechanical failures in Germany, seemingly odd given their reputation.

Went for a walk on Leipziger Str and dinner at Falkstr 45. Meeting their friends at dinner: Paul who knew Yue Xu (she married a French, last he knew). They all knew about the song the East is Red 东方红.

Breakfast at Falk Hotel on Saturday, 5/24; bike washer and walked around the neighborhood. I walked the Bockenheimer Str to town, passing by the Alte Oper. Getting wifi in the Apple storeFood fair n cost of pears, by the water. Falungong 法轮功; downtown, Roemer

IMG_4721More than 140 friends from over 35 countries – Yes, I’m the only one from the USA – come to celebrate Renate’s birthday and anniversary, includes the Maliks

Thank you for having me !!! It’s a blast !!! Our little after party ..

We went to Kassel, an of course stopped by the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, climbed up the Herkules Monument on Sunday, passing by Fritzlar on 5/25

The following morning, I went for a walk around the neighborhood. After the breakfast we did Fulda trail walk, which was a great pleasure. Less people use dryer outside of the USA (and the German engineering – toilets), which is the right thing to do – making our earth a better place to live. The Sunday newspaper on Wilhelmshöhe. We left Kassel heading to Hann Munden. First visited the point where Werra meets Fulda at Hann Munden: the covered bridge; the church; the town’s buildings; B&B and more.

Caught a concert at the Alte Opra, the old opera house.  Renate’s flowers, orchids. Visiting Elisabeth (1924-2011), the last day in Frankfurt.


Jun 27 2014

Germany, Paris, China

IMG_2975On Lufthansa, NY-FRA-BJ-NY $1,722.70

Jun 25 2014

Going home

在外招摇撞骗 蹭饭一个多月,激起民愤是溜之大吉的时候了. 非常感激亲朋戚友的热情招待 令我 好吃好住好玩好开心. 35年 弹指一挥间,有缘再见到好多童鞋,激动不已。友情万岁 微信万岁

谢谢难忘的一晚 友情美酒佳肴,人生顶峰,谢谢。纽约见?

Three pathways to the aircraft, to the same one that just landed (from Frankfurt that’s lands at 8:10am). We pulled out of gate at 10:25am. Waited for 30 minutes than take back to the gate, to repair a bathroom heater. Left the gate at 12:04pm. Finally take off at 12:20pm – scheduled at 10:30am. There is an annoying noise to the right side – 57K, window seat. Not full. We land at Frankfurt at 3:40pm – scheduled at 2:45pm. The Airbus 300 is pretty comfortable.

The 747 Frankfurt to New York route is decidedly shabbier and full. At 7:45pm – scheduled at 19:50 or 7:50pm, we land at JFK. The trend, I see regularly is the flight always arrives early. Don’t know if the airlines purposely extend the flying hour to hide the delays. Wait for a gate for more than 45 min. And another hour for our luggage.

Something needs to improve.

The airlines can hide delays .. but how can they deal with those delays?

Jun 25 2014

Aerial view of Frankfurt

July 24, from Beijing to Frankfurt, with 晶晶’s cell phone – my battery had died.
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May 29 2014

The orchids

Renate’s flowers. Her advice is, put them under the sunlight. Plenty sunshine is good.
Oh well.

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May 29 2014

The popularity of zhacai 榨菜

On the flight from Ffm to Beijing, I sat next to a young man who was nice enough to ask if I’d like some homey food. He was on his way home after touring Europe for 10 days, and still has so many homey food from China. I wondered how many did he bring. “A lot,” he laughed.
“Is this your first trip to Europe?”
“Where did you visit?”
“I don’t know …”
“Why? ..”
“I, or we shopped mostly.”
His tourmates all have so many red bags, just liked his.
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After we landed in Beijing, waiting to exit the plane, he called his parents in Tianjin, to tell them he’ll be home for lunch and his sister would pick him up from the train station. A considerate son.

May 29 2014

Heading to BJ

It’s only May but the hot spots – the tourist traps are already crowded to a point as too gaudy and tiring, reducing the enjoyment. Which makes the off beaten track so much more appealing. But the hot-spots are no brainers and the off beaten tracks need a little digging to find and to plan: they even out in the end?

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23kg in one pc of luggage is the limit for Lufthansa at Frankfurt airport, but 24kg is tolerable. I have exactly 23kg but after shopping at the supermarket with 2 bottle of wines and sausage it’s bit over weight. I’d to take the green shoes and the Coach bag out.

Carry on bag checkers are really work hard at looking at our belongings. The macarons are problematic and already broken up in small pieces. Really dumb of me to even bought this.

The passengers on the flight are predominately Chinese. They quietly lined up at Gate 54 which is next to 52 – our indicated gate. The Lufthansa females agents were laughing at it. But in the end we indeed gone through Gate 54 instead 52. Not sure it’s for the ease or they intended that way.

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The airplane is noisy, the Chinese tourists are all speaking at the same time. Obviously they all knew each other. Few are talking about drinking together. The overhead cabinets are loaded up to the max. A few costumers came bit late had trouble to fit theirs in.

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It’s cute to see Chinese pickled veggies on the airplane that is heading back to China. They’ve loaded up their favored snakes for the trip and have those many leftovers. Don’t they want to try the local cuisines?!

The massive Chinese seems to buy buy buy and buy, everywhere. A boy in his late 20s or early 30s sitiing next to me, offered me a small bag of pickled veggie 榨菜.
“Where did you get those?” I wondered. Hoping he did not bring those from China.
“From China.”
IMG_2976So he carried those snakes and local delicacies on the trip.
“Are you a tourist?” I asked him.
“How long was your trip?”
“Ten days.”
“Where did you go?”
“I don’t remember.” He looked vacant.
“What did you do?”
“Buy .. watches and (hand?) bags ..”

When we landed in Beijing, he called his parents to report safely return and went on to say, he’d catch a train to Tianjin and sister would pick him up.

May 29 2014

Visiting Elisabeth

We walked to Elisabeth (1924-2011) grave which is by the national library, passing by Grüneburgpark .. The Rothschild. She’s buried with Renate’s aunt. The cemetery is under going renovation. It offers no new plot. The existing site can take in new tenant every five years. It’s really convenient, in the city. We took the U Bahn that first runs on the street then into the tunnel back home.

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On the way to her grave, we passed by rows of housing that used to be occupied by USA servicemen. It’s called the golden ghetto because when the USA dollar was strong, the soldiers had good life. Every pay day they populated the bars, especially in Sachsenhausen, (Schweizer Straße is the main street there)which is crying now.


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Norbert said the right wing of France wants out of EU; and the Germans didn’t really want to give up their Deutsch Mark – remembered the Deutsche Mark was only second to the US$, far ahead of the British pounds. The east Germany produces or contribute only about 70% as vs the 100% of its own capacity. Germans don’t really regret forming and joining the EU, it’s more of cultural alliance. He said look in the past, there were wars between Germany and France. It’s impossible to have war now.

We had 夫妻肺片 for lunch. They liked it. It tastes bit sour for too old. They still haven’t eaten the 驴打滚 yet. Not fresh any more. But they will eat. Renate said they’re Europeans, they eat whatever.

In their backyard, there is a rake for cloth hanging, which is good. The way it suppose to be. In USA it considers kind of eyesore. In that sense, Chinese and Europeans are same, all from the old culture while the Americans area from new. Yes dryer is convenient especially when you wash sacks, etc.

Do I need some kind of vindication or confirmation to live the Chinese way?
Left the gate at 5:20, taxing then take off on 5:43pm, Ffm time. The pic is taken at 5:45 wherever it is. 8:24am landed.

For one hour flight, train is the better choice. Getting to the airport is usually farther than the train station. 1.5 to 2 hr prior to the departure, the flying time plus landing, it’s usually two hours event. Paris/Frankfurt is 4 hours train ride on TGV. No need to jet out of the city. Frankfurt airport costs 4.35€, Paris 9.75€, those tickets entitles you to an one way subway ride.


May 28 2014


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May 26 2014

Alte Oper, the Old Opera

We drove back to Frankfurt after the late lunch. It poured a little here and there, and some part of the country didn’t rain at all. We didn’t talk much. Got home at 6:30 and I headed out to the Alte Oper.

It’s the second time I’m inside of the Oper. Nothing is really spectacular and striking. It’s nice.

The concert is €28 euro (1, 2, 3, 4). There were many tickets left (so are Daniel Barenboim on Wednesday)

Frankfurter Opern und Museumsorchester
Sebastian Weigle leitung direct
Radu Lupu piano
Beethoven piano concerto No 3 c-Moll op. 37
Bruckner sinfonie Nr. 9 d-Moll

Play bill/program cost €2.05, sold by the young women ushers in red jackets and skirts: they don’t usher, they sell the program only. (Are you kidding me? They’re all free in New York! … Not sure the German way isn’t good, the waste should be limited.)

The awnings or canopy over the boxes by the stage look like having a thick layer of dust, OMG.

The claps are long, more than five minutes. One woman in red gave Radu Lupu a bouquet when he re-emerged the second time. He promptly gave to the concertmaster. He obliged an encore. The piano chair looks like the ikea stuff. Radu Lupu has to use the piano to get up after giving a nearly 10 minutes long encore.


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