28th June, 2012
connect the exclamation “awesome” with my former Australian
flatmate Zoe who used it quite often. I realised that this is normal
for Australians. And indeed I have to say: “Australia is awesome!”
I have seen a lot, thanks to my very competent and in-law travel
organizer. The country and the countryside are very diverse and
beside the huge cities of Melbourne and Sydney nearly deserted from
humans. And huge is this country. To fly 5 hours one way and 4 hours
back to see Petra for a long weekend is a bit questionable. But we
missed a bit.
was that we met quite often wild animals, more than we expected. And
such a Hoppedihopp (my nickname for a kangaroo) is a very special
animal. Also the birds deserve to be mentioned, especially their
voices. The loud laughing Kookaburra is well known. Then there is
also the bright bell or the carping child. How about a “whistle
after a girl”-whistle? In the office we had an alarm sound if a
ticket need immediate attention. During lunch we put this very loud
to hear it also in the garden while eating. But such a stupid bird
used the same tone (either by nature or learned) and so it happened
that we went back to the office for nothing. Finally we changed the
tone. Or when we stayed overnight on a caravan park where dogs were
forbidden. Still on the way back to the camper there was a dog
barking. When I reached the camper, I heard the dog barking from the
tree. As far as I know, dogs cannot climb, but in northern Australia live barking owls!
to Sydney. The city is ideal for water sports, but this is not my
thing. But I used the opportunity to do a bit more Tango. A good
teacher (Federico) and a dance partner (Yin) were soon found. I had
to get warm first as I was not doing a lot of Tango recently. But
Federico is a good teacher and could always exactly tell what has to
be corrected and Yin showed me a few milongas were we could train and
use what we learned. And soon it was fun again. As Petra arrived in
Sydney, she joined also the course. Maybe one day it will work with
us two and Tango.
there was also the work. About half of it was normal work
(programming). It worked quite well despite the distance as we had
split the work well in our team and I could work independently. A
video conference here in between helped us to keep the contact. The
other half was customer service. That was the reason why I went to
Sydney. In Zurich this part of the work is about 20%. In Sydney we
are four who have to cover the night. One is always the main
responsible for the customer service and another one supports him if
there is sufficient work. The other two do their normal work or are
off. At the weekend someone had to hold the line. The workload
differed. There were few phone calls, just if there was something on
in Asia. Most work was cleaning up what spilled over from the day
what could not be completed in Zurich. Mostly it was about some
changes on the customer installations or some problems to
investigate. Sometimes this leads to outgoing calls if we need
someone to do something so we see the problem live and are hopefully
able to nail it down. Cool was that we were a team wildly assembled
from different parts of the company. You get in closer contact to
colleagues you normally not have that much to do with. No further
details as there is following unwritten law: What happens in Sydney
stays in Sydney.
see, maybe in two years we go again.
27th June, 2012
the early morning we packed our luggage for the last time. We started
after a fine breakfast. We went to the market for antiques, but at
8:30am not many stands were already open. So we went to the nearby
pet market. Here birds, fishes, insects, hamsters, etc. were sold.
For Swiss understanding the market was close to animal cruelty. Often
the animals did have nearly no space in their cages. After we went
back to the antiques market where we had now more to see.
we dared to use the metro. Everything was also written in Englisch
and thus it went very well. After my handbag got x-rayed at the
security control we we could ride to our destination. From there we
walked to the Jade Buddha Temple. In this Buddhist Temple were some
statues of Buddha and from different gods. The most valuable one was
a two meter high Buddha and a lying Buddha, each made of one piece of
was not yet noon and so we walked to the Jing-An Temple. In the
middle of the city this temple is beside skyscrapers and shopping
malls. Also here a some statues for Buddha and gods were to see. Only
there were fewer tourists here.
lunch we picked up our luggage at the youth hostel and let us order a
taxi to the Maglev (Transrapid) station. With 300 km/h we travelled
the 30 km to the airport.
the check-in the lady explained us that we first have to go into the
next room as there is something with our luggage. I had to show the
clamping set and the raclette cooking gear and then the lady from the
security was content. Now we are sitting in the airport at the gate
and wait for our long trip home.
26th June, 2012
we wanted to go by train from Kunshan to Shanghai. But Caren told us
that we better take a taxi as it would be quite complicated by train.
a last walk in Kunshan the taxi was awaiting us. We started after our
destination address was rewritten in Chinese on the reception. We got
to Shanghai without any problems. At one point the taxi driver
explained us in Chinese that we are there. There were a few small
shops, but not a house which could host a youth hostel at the sixth
floor. We tried to explain that we are wrong. So we called the phone
number of the hostel and he called to ask for the way. He also asked
a few taxi drivers and other people. Konrad told me that we are wrong
as he drove through the tunnel to the other side of the river. Konrad
was already once in Shanghai ten years ago. He gave up after we went
back through the tunnel to the center. We were also glad to be able
to change the taxi. The new driver did not speak English either, but
with calling again the hostel she managed to find it. At the youth
hostel we got a very nice room with balcony.
a short break we went sightseeing despite the rain. On the way to the
Urban Planning Museum three young Chinese asked us if we could take a
picture of them. No problem and after they made some small talk with
us. Then they apparently got the idea that we might visit together a
tea house. The museum would anyway close at 4pm. We thanked for the
suggestion but wanted to go to the museum. Konrad told me that it is
part of Shanghai that students try to get you in a restaurant or an
exhibition. The museum was open until 5pm and so we could at least
see the city in miniature. In the museum Konrad found a bit an
expensive, but water-proof city map in English. With that map we
could explore Shanghai walking. On the way to the old town another
group of students started to talk to us. Konrad took kindly the
picture. I continued walking and also Konrad left out the small talk.
In the old town we walked over the Zig-zag Bridge. Then we went to
the Bund, the river promenade of Shanghai. From here we could see the
many colonial buildings on our side of the river and the new
skyscrapers on the other side of the river. Here we met another
ominous group of three, but I looked so grimly at the girl that it
did not dare anymore. And now we know why the skyscrapers are in
German called Wolkenkratzer (cloud scrapers). The really big ones
disappeared in the clouds.
dinner we had in a small restaurant in a side alley. We did not order
much, but we got so much rice that the leftover is sufficient for the
breakfast of tomorrow.
25th June, 2012
experienced our most beautiful day exactly one year ago. Now we
enjoyed our first wedding anniversary together with lovely friends.
the morning we strolled a bit through Wuzhen. We wanted to buy
something to drink, but it was a bit more complicated that expected.
Talking with hands and feet to the lady we managed to get a cool
we drove to Lake Tai. On a small island we enjoyed a fine lunch. We
were glad that Caren mostly ordered the meals.
Lake Tai we stopped to walk a bit on a boardwalk. Back in Kunshan we
experienced a traditional massage. First we enjoyed a warm foot bath
with a neck and arm massage. Then it started, at the feet were
kneaded, pressed and a few points were hurting a bit. It continued up
the legs to the bottom and then the back. It was very nice to get the
tense muscles kneaded. After 100 minutes we were relieved and felt
light like a feather.
was our last meal with Caren and her family. We got Peking Duck and
many other tasty things.
24th June, 2012
with the family of Caren we drove to the water town Wuzhen. The town
was founded more than 1300 years ago. It is located beside the Grand
Canal which starts in Beijing. Parts of the historic center were
renewed in traditional style and are now a tourist attraction. We
were also a bit a tourist attraction as there are only very few
get to our rooms we used a wooden ferry to get to the other shore.
There we were in another time. Konrad and I explored this small
Venice on our own and learnt a lot about life in China. We walked on
the left side along the water way until the canal and to the pagoda.
Back we went on the other side. Many small alleys lead to interesting
places like temples, memorials and workshops where old crafts were
showed and explained. And there are also Chinese version of
a dinner together we strolled together through the alleys back to the