Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Really Honey, the Airplane Doesn't Know it's Above the Clouds

It also doesn't know when it is over water. The Partnerin, on the other hand does, and absolutely hates it when I fly over open water or above clouds. During the weekend we did a little bit of both on our way to the North Sea.

Yes, somewhere under that deck of clouds lies Hannover. It was otherwise a fairly sunny weekend in Germany, so I was flying VFR, which meant that I had to either go below or stay above the clouds. I decided I wanted to go through the Hannover airspace rather than around it, and the most likely way to get the blessings of ATC would be to stay high and out of the way of the airliners. In any case, Bremen Radar was very accommodative in both directions, but then again I did ask nicely.

That over there is Foehr, an island surrounded by a sea of mud called the Wattenmeer, which is the mud left behind as the North Sea retreats. This sort of mud is all around a number of these North Sea islets. I wanted to buzz out to Helgoland, but the 32 miles (48km) was just too much open water for the Partnerin. Hey, we will work up to these things ... I will get her to cross the Atlantic with me, some day.

And that is the isthmus connecting Sylt to the mainland, which gives a better view of the Wattenmeer. Not the best shots, but we are getting the Partnerin's tolerance for looking through a viewfinder up to snuff. She still hasn't been airsick, but the danger is ever present, so I don't want to push my luck ... she hates it when I seemingly let the airplane fly itself while I take photos, so she now insists on being the photographer. Oddly enough, she also feels safer when I am flying by hand rather than by Autopilot ... hmmm! I guess that is a compliment.

Smoke on the Water

Montreux, immortalized by Deep Purple. Didn't really see much smoke on the water, though if you look closely you can discern some. Certainly didn't see any fire in the sky. Just three days of investment presentations punctuated by a very drunk rep who wanted me to put money into Viet Nam development projects. Did get to see an occasional Alp or two from the hotel balcony. Otherwise I did not see much the place because the presentations, networking and dinners and more networking pretty much went from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Silly me for not sneaking out, but after the far east trip I do have to at least give the appearance that I am serious about my work.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy VE Day

OK, so I need to close the loop in an upcoming post. I am back in Germany ... have been for two weeks, although I came back via three days in Montreux. Scenic. Definitely a different world from Asia. More on that later.

One of my French colleagues came into our larger common office waving his French flag, leaving the Germans somewhat baffled. So, I did the American thing and took charge of the situation:

"You know, Monsieur, the French are the only people on the earth who do more flag-waving than the Americans." Snickers around the room. "So, what are we celebrating?"

"Ah, you know what day it is?" he responds.

"Indeed. You know, one of my Russian friends asked me one time why we do not celebrate on May 9th, the day the Germans ended hostilities with the Russians, and I told her 'Because, silly girl, everyone knows the Americans won the war on May 8th.'"

French guy gets an annoyed look on his face. A couple Germans laugh, because someone has finally gotten the goat of Monsieur flag-waver.

"Yes, but you did not do it alone," he continues the game a little less smugly.

"You could have fooled us." This pisses off one of the Brit colleagues, but that's his problem, not mine. "You know, the last Army to march in victory under the Arc de Triomphe was the American army. Before that it was the Germans. When exactly was the last time the French had occasion to celebrate a real triumph?"

"Ja, it certainly wasn't 1871," one of the Germans chimes in. This has become a blood sport.

So, Happy VE Day, y'all. Take a few prisoners, if only to torture ... I mean interrogate them.