Montag, Juni 9

Das Farbamt!
Hong Kong has a significant number of public holidays including Christmas, Chinese New Year, Easter, Labor Day – but also some very special ones. One of these public holiday is today on the 5th day of the fifth month of the Chinese calender, and that gives us an unexpected timeout from a very busy last couple weeks. Whereas last year we were engaged in a typical activity for the Tuen Ng Festival - it’s quiet this year, at least for a day. Dean and Jack from Canada left yesterday after an action packed two weeks. We started two weeks ago from Hong Kong with a flight to Kunming in China’s Yunnan Province. It’s about a two and a half hour flight west from Hong Kong. Claudia speaks some Chinese by now – I studied for a year, did not learn anything and gave up. We only stopped there for a bit more than a night, but had the chance to look at the old market – and were impressed, not knowing that we were about to see other far more primordial places in the days to come ... While you read it, you might want to take a look at the 311 pictures I just uploaded to flickr… not that we picked up on our photography skills (despite a class that I took earlier this year), but the breathtaking scenery made amateurs look like professionals! Off to Dali with Lucky Air (!) – China Eastern apparently lost their license for this route after some flights were affected by pilots on strike. We met Jonathan, our guide at the airport (including driver). He took us to a simple but nice guesthouse. Almost all of the places we stayed at over the next 7 days were fully equipped with WiFi and Internet and China Mobile’s network coverage did not give me an excuse to go offline with the blackberry – so I found other excuses. Dali is very different from what we had seen in China before (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzen, Guangzhou, Chongqing …) – a beautifully restored old city with the Jade Mountains on one side and Erhai Lake on the other. We did both Erhai Lake with a cruise to the other side and a swim and the Cangshan Mountains with a day hike with spectacular views over the city and the lake. Food was tasty and fresh – sometimes fresher than expected: The dragonflies were alive when we chose them as a fried part of our dinner ... We ate them almost all. From Dali we took a public bus to Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site some 800 years old and home to the Naxi minority – mostly Taoist. That’s where we were a bit disturbed watching dogs being skinned… and chicken killed en masse…Sightseeing and Eating kept us busy and prepared us for the slightly more strenuous upcoming 2 day hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge, the world deepest river canyon with rapids 2000 meters below the cliffs (we actually went on a 2 hour rafting trip before). The surrounding mountains are up to 5500 meters high! A tiger – that’s the story – leaped over to the other side of the Yangtze river, hence the name. However: We hiked down to the rapids twice – and though not blesses with tigers’ strength I highly doubt that anyone can actually make it to the other side. Impressive! We stayed at guesthouses, watched the sun set on the cliffs on the other side and were guided to “dangerous rocks” close to the rapids by Naxi people with thongs (an Aussie expression for slipper) – Claudia chose to wait for us a bit further away. Breathtaking not only because of the sight – 1800 to 2500 meters is somewhat unusual for us as Hong Kongers! But we were up to something even higher when we left for Songzalin monastery Songzalin monastery at 3300m. Beautifully restored and renamed Shangri-la (previously Zhongdian) after James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon Shangri-la . We left for Hong Kong the next morning – back to reality, at least for us, as our visitors spent another week with us in Hong Kong enjoying a bit of the usual 200 hour continuous rain …not quite, but at least they did see black rain. Ahh visitors! Yes, we’ve had them and we had a great time with all of them: Ana, Conni, parents (2x), Soenke, Valentin, Kathrin and kids! We are now expert tourist guides for HK! The next trip with visitors is going to be slightly different: Early August is when we sail Scappare over from Singapore to Miri – with the Monsoon helping us, it’ll be a good 4-7 day sail across to Borneo. I’ll be taking her to a ship yard next Sunday – hopefully she’ll be ready until Milagros and Stephan fly down here for the cruise! I have been on a very heavy travel schedule these last weeks and months, I was recently given responsibility for all of Thomson Reuters Media business in Asia, including the nascent websites in China and India – a lot of fun, great people to work with but also simply more to do. So sometimes I do have a bandwidth problem … Claudia has been to Chongqing, one of Chinas largest cities just until the Saturday before the earthquake – Chongqing had only minor destructions, but still. The whole catastrophe is - I am sure - felt as much in Europe and elsewhere as it is here – but it’s simply a lot closer. I’ll be on another crazy travel schedule the next weeks, with Delhi, Singapore, Beijing and London on the list – but I am hoping to cool it down a bit after that. Anyway I got to pack…. Take care! Jo & Claudia

Donnerstag, Januar 3

Xin Chao!*
Panta Rhei - everything is flowing. That's very much true for traffic in Hanoi . And it's somewhat true for our life in Asia ... Let's start with Hanoi. We arrived here December 19th for our first real big vacation on the continent. And we were overwhelmed. Motorbikes everywhere, Hondas, Yamahas, Vespas and Russian Minsks (http:// www.minskclubvietnam.com/ ), with one, two, three or four people, holding on to water tanks, mirrors attached to the back, life pigs, geese, sledgehammers for transportation, on the big roads and the very, very small lanes, a constant "Wrrroooomm" in the air. We were especially aware of that traffic as we had decided long before to take a splurge - when in Rome do as the Romans do ... The next day we disembarked on a motorbike trip to Northern Vietnam with Caroline, a sympathetic French girl on her round the world sabbatical "ze tour du monde" (http:\\zetourdumonde.com), , and Minh, our guide (Claudia's driver). Jo was braver and decided his first day ever on a motorcycle would be drifting in a constant flow of hundreds of bikes on the streets of Hanoi. He was doing pretty well on his old Russian Minsk (we decided not to consider the additional carbon foot print we left). See more here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqxNEKF1_ms . It was a GREAT trip! We got to places we would probably never have been able to see by bus, train or car. We cruised the hills around Ba Be lake, passed through small villages, saw pigs and dozens of piglets running on the streets, water buffalo, goat and chicken, people weaving in the little houses along the streets, welding and working on the fields with the waterbuffalo (http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/ 2134842624/in/set-72157603534119175/ ), loads of kids crying "Hello, hello!" whenever we passed by. And we stayed with families in their homes (http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/2134756930/in/ set-72157603534119175/ ) overnight. They live in wooden houses on stilts. Legend has it that one of their ancestors got trapped in the woods during a heavy rain and he observed a turtle crossing a small stream. The turtle stood on its legs, the water running underneath. And the man decided that this would be a good model for his own house in the rainy areas of Northern Vietnam. Most of the homes are indeed built like that. Even though they are very simple - a wooden structure, the floor covered with bamboo, a fireplace in the middle of the one big room and places to sleep on rice mats in the corners - the places are clean and inviting. We sat with the locals right on the bamboo mats for their delicious dinners, lots of vegetables, some pork, chicken, beef, soup, noodles, all with delicious herbs. We had lots of home made rice wine with the families and learned about their customs with Mr. Lo and Mrs. Bong, Mr. and Mrs. Ding, Mrs. Nhat and Mr. Thung. We were back in Hanoi (driving into town with zillions of motorbikes around us late one evening) after four adventurous days and headed for a somewhat different festive season. We had a great Christmas dinner on the 24th in the Wild Lotus Restaurant while staying at the Hilton Hanoi Opera (Vietnamese food is indeed delicious) and wanted to continue with a Christmas mass. But we ended up in front of the Catholic cathedral with about 10 000 other people, waiting, cheering, laughing and looking around. The cathedral was closed so we just stood their, watched a giant flat screen with psychedelic religious movies and listened to "Best of christmas songs", surrounded by loads of kids in Santa Claus costumes, their excited parents, young Vietnamese (always wearing helmets). After a long wait outside we ended the night with a fresh "bia" for about 15 Cents. The next morning we headed for another not so Christmassy adventure, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/ 2148545334/in/set-72157603534119175/ ). Definitely worth a trip, "Uncle Ho" as he's called here is still very much admired. By the way the guide books told us that he's now being sent to Russia once a year for "maintenance" ... After Christmas in Hanoi we headed south to Hoi An, another beautiful place - no, we don't get payed by the Socialist Vietnamese Committee for the Encouragement of Tourism, we simply love the place!! We got hooked to the bike-thing and rented a scooter here to start our stay one morning at 5.30 am in the dark without a map to go to a historic place 55 km away. Sounds crazy?? It was crazy!! But miraculously we made it to My Son, a religious site of the old Champa kingdom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Son ) best described as a smaller version of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. And thanks to our early morning start we got there before tourists flocked in. Other than Vietnam to our floating life in Asia: We are in the process of buying a sail boat in Singapore that we are hoping to sail back to Hong Kong sometime next year. volunteers for the trip are still welcome. See pictures of "Scappare" here (http://flickr.com/photos/ joschmaltz/sets/72157602954684750/ ) ...yes, she needs a brush up from the inside... Claudia has tried to improve her Mandarin with an immersion class in Shenzhen for ten days in November. Man man lai - it all comes slowly - still holds true though. In Hong Kong the hiking http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/2120415486/in/set-72157600025715922/ or here: http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/753324276/in/set-72157600025715922/ )season is in full swing, we have done some trips with beautiful vistas without too much sweating. Nudge, nudge for anyone interested in outdoor activities: late autumn is a great time to visit Asia's world city. We wish you a great start for 2008 and hope to see you soon in Hong Kong! Hen gap lai**, Claudi & Jo
* Vietnamese for "Hello!"
** See you again.

Montag, Oktober 8

Man man lai

Nihao! „Man man lai“, says Kwan Laying, „slowly, slowly it will come.” My Mandarin teacher Laying – or Leann, her English name – refers to my progress in Putonghua, of course. But somehow this seems to be a good motto for this newsletter, too. It must be about half a year ago that we last sent news from this side of the globe. No worries! We will not bore you with a detailed description of everything that has happened in between, dim sum and Macao, typhoons and hiking (http://www.ftd.de/lifestyle/reise/258697.html) , termite prevention, the tropical heat, trips to Tokyo and China, parties and work. We’ll try to entertain you with the most exciting stuff. For example the most adventurous thing we have done in a while: a trip to Guangxi province in mainland China. First things first: A big clap for our first visitor in Fragrant Harbour (that’s what Xianggang or Hong Kong means in Chinese): Jo’s sister Ana was adventurous enough to come over here for three weeks to do some sightseeing and shopping. She seemed to enjoy it but if you want to enquire before booking: chschmaltz@gmx.net. Ana joined us for a week of hiking in Guilin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Guilin_in_Guangxi.png) . It was about 10 pm when we arrived at the airport and took off with Michael, our guide, for a two hour bumpy ride to Yangshuo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangshuo#Landmarks) . We had yet to find out that bumpy roads are the norm in Guanxi province … Yangshuo is one of China’s capitals of tourism and it was the night of an important public holiday for the Chinese, the mid-autumn festival (more info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-Autumn_Festival) The city was still extremely busy at this late hour and we had a barbecue right next to the famous Li River. We got lots of meat: chicken feet, a whole pigeon (head included), a few sweet sausages (not such a great treat), lots of marinated beef and more chicken feet. Yummy, said Jo. The next morning we took off for four hours of hiking through the famous karst mountains. Spectacular! Find out more at http://www.flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/1502521689/in/set-72157602293477798/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/57421000@N00/ But that was only the start – we still had western style toilets at the hotel and a shower. We continued further North to Dragon Backbone terraces, an area that was terraced about 700 years ago and still is heavily used for farming. They mostly grow rice on tiny paddies linked through steep stairs. Makes you appreciate the three bowls of rice we had every day. Several minorities live in the region – for example the Yao whose women have the longest hair in the world. Their custom allows them only one haircut at the age of 18. And they dress in beautiful pink jackets. After two days in the terraces we were back on the road again for another long and very bumpy ride. But these trips were not the least boring like driving on a German autobahn. It was more like sitting in a documentary movie: water buffalos walking by, motorbikes with three people plus a baby, hole-in-the-wall fruit shops and barbers in the cities we passed, road construction going on with heavy machinery and workers with a pickaxe right next to them, women carrying fresh vegetables in two baskets attached to a long stick over their shoulder, new apartment buildings between old wooden houses. But the best was still to come: For the next two days we were hiking to very remote Dong villages. Michael who’s a Dong ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong_people ) himself organised a lunch with a family in one of the villages. So we could explore their three storied houses completely made of wood: the ground floor is for the pig (“we keep the pig http://www.flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/1503265899/ inside. It gets even fatter, when it doesn’t run around”, explained Michael), a few tools, baskets, stocks. There are also loads of chicken, chicks, goose but they usually run around in the village. The idea of avian flu spreading in Asia is a lot more comprehensible now. The family – often including grandparents – lives on the first floor. We’ve been to several houses and it was always astonishing to see how little furniture they had. A few benches close to the walls, a foldable table and a great number of very low wooden stools, sometimes a chest of drawers. http://www.flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/1504144760/in/set-72157602293477798/ The latter usually doubled as a base for the TV, satellite dishes sure enough have found their way to the remote mountains of Guangxi. Right next to the living room is a kitchen with an open fire. German Feuerpolizei would certainly not like the idea of people cooking three meals a day on an open fire in a wooden house … The food we got was simple but delicious. Lots of vegetables grown nearby, sautéed with garlic and mixed with some chicken, pork and beef. And there always was some LiQ ready, the local beer that only comes in 630 ml bottles but is so light that you can easily have three of them without getting drunk . We also had rice wine, a not so strong variety with rice grains still swimming in the glass. Pretty good! It was only at night at the next village that we found out that people sleep on the third floor. Again we stayed with a Dong family. And were the great attraction in town. On our way to the small village a bunch of kids joined us on their way back from school. It was a constant “Hello!” and “Bye bye!” around us, screaming, laughing – and they were all very impressed when we took their pictures and showed them on the digital cameras. You wonder how fast these kids can run through the grass and over wet stones with their very simple plastic shoes … And you feel extremely mollycoddled with Vibram sole shoes and a big backpack with a special torsion system. Back to our hosts and their home: Little surprise that western style washrooms were nowhere around. A manure pile on the ground floor is all there was – right next to the pig that was sometimes jumping out of its shed and running loose. The other option was a minuscule outhouse at the edge of the village. In some respects it feels good to be home again … In the villages every family owns a small pond to raise fish. We could even witness the one of our family being emptied to catch about six carps for our dinner. Some of it we ate raw and pickled – it was a delicious treat. We had another day of hiking and one more long bumpy ride before coming back to Hong Kong on October 1st. Now we are checking out what other exciting destinations are around. Tibet, Northern Vietnam by motorbike and China’s far western Uighur province Xinjiang are first ideas … What else? The summer in Hong Kong was pretty hot and humid and it actually is still very warm right now, about 28° to 30°C. Nevertheless we did some hiking in July and August (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/753324276/ ). Sweating is supposed to be healthy … I’ve been to Macao a few times, a great place that not only offers Portuguese style Galao and Natas but also a little bit more historic feeling in the old town than Hong Kong does. Of course the casinos are worth a visit – Macao is now bigger than Las Vegas in gambling turnover! Jo has been travelling a lot to the cities of Asia Pacific– Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Tokyo, New Delhi, Beijing, Shanghai. I joined him for a long weekend in Tokyo, a beautiful place and I hope to soon go back to Japan … But we’ll let you know about more trips once the next newsletter is ready! Zaijian, Claudia & Jo

Dienstag, Mai 22

Farbamt - living up to it's name

Apologies for our completely inacceptable decision to postpone this Farbamt issue by a mere 3 months...well, it hasn't really been a decision but rather a lack of determination to overcome all this "everything is so new we need to settle down first" talk and start typing. Here it comes, and first things first, our new contact details:

Claudia Wanner & Jo Schmaltz

Sing Woo Rd 75A 2/F

Happy ValleyHong Kong

Cwanner@traviax.de and Jo@traviax.de remain the same and Claudia can now even access her email completely mobile with her brand new N95 (it still is a big blow to be technologically far behind her with my no frills company blackberry).

6 hours ahead of German daylight saving time we now also have our mobile numbers:

Claudia: +852 6341 5202

Jo: +852 6347 0524

Last but not least we are trying really hard to make it easy for you to give us a call: We both have Skype in numbers in Germany, so you can call us FOR FREE - depending on your call plan and depending on where you are: Claudia: +49 (40) 71668225

Jo: +49(40)71664776

These numbers are routed to our mobiles so you have a good chance of not talking to a machine...oh, you can certainly call us on skype at joachim.schmaltz and

What a long section about contact details...and I haven't talked about the instant messaging yet (joachim.schmaltz.reuters.com@reuters.net (MSN and AOL) or hamburgaa@hotmail.de Confused? Forget about all the numbers and just write down the real address, hop on plane to HK, take the airport express to downtown and a 5€ taxi to Happy Valley: we have a guest room and (very important) a dehumidifier and air conditioning....Seriously: HK is great and we'd love to show you around. Its only a couple of hours flight! You will even get your complimentary octopus card (for public transportation) as well as a local cellphone for you convenience...

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Just a reminder: Das Farbamt is not to give you a complete account on what we've been up to, but rather highlight a couple of events and situations that we thought might entertain you

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It is a coincidence that I just noticed: but I was seriously planning to write about Hong Kong sounds and colors before I realized "Farbamt" is not such a bad name for this topic.

I am surprised that apparently nobody uploaded any videos to youtube after the very colour- and soundful "2007 Reuters Annual Dinner" that took place in the Marriott Ballroom with round about 400 of Reuters staff with partners attending a couple of weeks ago. There were lots of colors & cameras (see my flickr photos here)... It was an event that took me by surprise not only the night before but already a couple days earlier. It all started with a mail from HR to all Management staff in Hong Kong, announcing that - like in the years before - the Management Team is expected to perform at this years annual dinner as well. OK. Like what? Didn't have to wait long for the next email expecting me to meet in a conference room the day after for rehearsal. So there I went. And found out that I along with about 20 others (including all senior management staff) were to perform a scene from the musical “Chicago” that starts with "Baby, why don't we paint the town...and all that jazz...I'm gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockinbgs down" and so on. Aha. "Dance, sing and make a fool out of yourself, that's what the rest expects" I was told.

And - this was really new to me - it's tuxedo time. Well, I could handle the make-a-fool-out-of-yourself thing (as you can see in this rehearsal here) but I was definitely not ready to stick out of this fool gang of management staff by being the only one not wearing a tuxedo. So I called Claudia right after the first rehearsal and asked her to put her logistics knowledge at work. Two and a half days left to get the tuxedo from Hamburg to Hong Kong. Easy. However I wasn't so sure that it would really work out so I went shopping just to find out it is impossible to find my size in HK. Now I was really getting nervous and I even called a guy I met the other day at an exibition (he was about my size) and asked him if he might have at least a white shirt for me to borrow. He had, and - along with a plastic gun and a hat, which he thought was a good idea for a Chicago style Jazz performance - he even brought it over to my office during my Mandarin class (here is another topic). - Thanks Kenneth! Well in the end, Claudia managed to get the tux here in time (cost us 160€!) and I was all set for the dinner (we've had three rehearsals with a professional dance instructor until then). For those really interested or planning to send tuxedos round the world: only UPS was able to do that on time from Germany, DHL will only deliver documents. No way to fold the tuxedo that small …

The Annual Dinner was something to remember. It was the best organized event I have ever seen. The program didn't stop once, there was always something going on: employees singing, dancing, the announcement of this years bonus percentage, the long service award for 20 years, the award for the best dress, the lucky draw (didn't win anything) and of course food in between. And evrything presented like for Saturday night's TV show, very, very professional. Well there is more ground to cover so I'll cut this story short. I was not over and not underdressed, that dance went all right, and I will try to get some pictures for you to actually see what was going on. And of course so you understand why this fits in so well with the topic Hong Kong colors!

I tend to believe Hong Kong people do like colors. And talking about colors, I mean COLORS. Take a look at the skyline at night (http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/369009606/in/set-72157594493855299/) - even without the nightly laser show with all the major skyscrapers changing colors and firing lasers at each other it is quite an impressive view. But the colors are crazy. There is no color in the rainbow missing. And the parade! Here is more colors:

Green: some of you might be aware that I started a company (helpster.de) a while ago with two friends, a health network providing rating functionality to users to rank doctors, therapies and so on. We've recently reduced our stake to about 5% each, we sold the rest to Holtzbrinck elab, which allowed me to support another web startup in Germany: I hope to be able to include a link to _____ .de in Farbamt's next issue - along with the details of this very promising venture.

Claudia has started to work. It only took her a couple days to embark on a journalists' trip to HK's container terminal...(Yes, I wished I could have come along) and has a couple of clients waiting for stories. She is a "feste freie" (a stringer) for the FTD but if you have pages to fill in you daily, magazine or book - she is probably willing to jump in (she's got a photographer at hand as well).

Businesswise I am still (and will be for the time being) travelling extensively: Korea, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Taipei and London have been on my itinerary already or will be in the next couple weeks - but that's exciting and I am absolutely enthusiasic about all the opportunities. I recently took over responsability for reuters.co.jp and I'll be in Tokyo more often I suspect. With Reuters possibly becoming Thomson - Reuters now, the opportunities will only become bigger (Yes, Thomson is based in Toronto - was someone asking?)

Oh, here is another invite: we still might have a berth or two when we go sailing with our Canadian friends sometime later this year of the Australian coast or Indonesia. Dean, Jack - you didn't know...well save the time anyway...it's a great place and I already bought the Imray cruising guide (look).

Still reading? With Claudia now being able to moblog with her N95, we'll both start posting more frequently and less comprehensively... Getting to this point, you must be either really bored or you are so interested that you should really comment. It’s all on our blog site, which we recently updated with the fabulous Reuters widget with News (we know you don't care, but do take a look, its on the right side). Very easy to find, but we didn't want everybody to be able to google it, so you'll have to remember:

http://www.farbamt.com/ (farbamt/farbamt) - for the illiterate: user name as well as password to access the site is farbamt.

You'll find Claudia's pictures here:

www.flickr.com/photos/jolle31

And mine are here:

www.flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz

Take care, keep us in the loop, and come visit us!

Claudia & Jo

We hope you want to keep your Farbamt subscription...if you don't here's the unsubscribe option...you are receiving this email because you opted in some time ago...

Samstag, Februar 10

Welcome to DAS FARBAMT


Hong Kong Skyline
Originally uploaded by JoSchmaltz.
I am glad the Farbamt Polizei let you in!

We had such an overwhelming response to our humble invitation to share our experiences from the Far East that we really feel we have to deliver now...Hope you will be entertained for a couple minutes. And do remember, you can log into www.farbamt.com (farbamt/farbamt) and comment on what we share with you. Please do not expect a detailed report on travel & living - others can do better on that. We are trying to put together stories an incidents that struck us as being interesting, unbelievable, or just plain funny - but we will add some personal information for those of you who can't wait to find out what we do, where we live etc...

Here we go:

Convenience

It's not the skyscrapers (http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/378011414/), it's not the Tsim Sha Tsui markets(http://flickr.com/photos/joschmaltz/370693148/) , it's not Lantau Island's biggest Buddha in Asia. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1RBx-zSH5g) No, it's the ultimative convenience that stroke us day in day out from our first minute in Hong Kong. Everything so incredibly convenient, that we really started to look for inconvenience, for the extra walk and the not so easy to achieve tasks. Really!! Start at the airport, which is conveniently located on a landfill right off Lantau Island and of course conveniently connected through the very convenient airport express. It takes you to downtown Hong Kong in just about 20 minutes or so. No doubt you have an Octopus card that can be used to buy everything from Hamburgers to MTR tickets - or better: you just move your wallet with the octopus card close to the octopus card reader and there you are: Inside the MTR, getting a phone card from the 7-11, paying your entrance to the museum... People get so excited about their convenient Octopus cards that the even go crazy about the dull commercials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyjgstCao1Y.

But hey there is more convenience. Take the serviced apartment we are currently staying in: Two TVs, towels and cleaning twice a week, laundry included. Workout studio on the 9th floor, restaurant on the 3rd, office installations right next to the entrance, 24 hours desk ... Goes without saying that from the MTR Station to our appartment you don't have to go outside. You mingle your way from the station through a supermarket (conveniently located inside the apartment building, which is also connected to the MTR station, which is also connected to the next huge big shopping mall called Cityplaza (http://www.cityplaza.com.hk/eng/exhibition_venue/360_view.htm) but - you guessed it - it is also directly connected to the office building where Reuters is.......And no I am not going to venture around trying to find out more places you can go underground, airconditioned and without seeing the sky....But I must admit: The apartment is...let's say convenient. I'll be working long hours for a while, so why go outside? Event the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com) is delivered right to your room every morning except during the upcoming Chinese New Year Celebrations – 10 days from now. But I will have no time to read, as I will be attending a 3 day Mandarin immersion class...Lets see if I can write the next Farbamt Newsletter in Mandarin.

But we'll get rid of the "serviced" soon - moving to an incredibly nice apartment in Happy Valley. Here is a video we actually took to remember and to decide on it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4koEUe0hc8c . Finding it was very convenient (!): Upon arrival we found a nice little folder with our tour schedule "in a silver Mercedes"... Yvonne from the relocation agency took us to some 25 apartments all around HK Island. Some of them were really incredible in terms of view (very cool was one overlooking all of Victoria harbour) or "facilities". We opted out of facilities, it was just too convenient for us: We were looking at swimming pools in huge big appartment buildings, buses that were operated by the appartment and took you to the MTR around the clock (for those appartments not conveniently located right above a station), and and and. But we wanted a little more "real life" and less convenience. So click on the google earth link to see where we'll be living from mid february on (or better me, since Claudia will only be returning to HK in April). As you can see in Google Earth it’s one of the very few low rise buildings with only 3 stories. We are on the top floor and the huge roof garden is shared between the tenants.

Convenience food has a different tongue to it here in HK. It’s not gas-station-pre-packaged food, but it's good food, that is - on top of that - convenient to get. Like the vast selection of fresh Sushi in the supermarket downstairs: I am aware that this is not typically Chinese, but ist really good, and for round about 2€ for a reasonably sized dinner it's a fair prized convenient option. Also the restaurants: If you want harbour view and nice atmosphere you'll have to find an international cuisine that is usually as expensive a NY. Forget the harbour view and the atmosphere, you can get really good stuff right around the corner. Well, you don't exactly know what you are eating, but it's fresh. It has lived not long ago. - (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd6_7XHL_VQ) I remember the market where you witness the death of around 10 chicken/minute. Hugh. But fresh. Oh, and no, we'd rather eat pork, veal, veggies or other stuff. In am not so sure about H5N1...

Reuters. I can't tell you how different it is. The most striking difference is, that everybody seems to be very happy and proud to be working for Reuters. No, they really are. "The world would not be such a great place to live in, if Reuters wasn't there" "Reuters is great in attracting global talent" "We have such a wealth of brand values" - And you know what, I don't even feel brain-washed, when I say: it really is a very cool company to work for. I am slowly catching up with products, responsibilities, faces, prices, commercial policies and I know how to order office supplies, Laptop and Data Card ("you'll get an email from the Oracle HR System, just click approve), I am finding the copymachine as well as the coffee machine and I scheduled my next two trips to Singapore and Tokyo. I have been attending a regional sales conference to get to know my team and will join an editorial management meeting next week ("ice-breaking event“ planned) both in Singapore. But mainland China is really in the focus for us, and we have hired already people to deliver on product, on reach and on sales - so Bejing will be next on my itinary. Do I sound like I am excited? Well I am.

Unless you unsubscibe after being bored by this newsletter you will get the next issue soon. It might not be as comprehensive as this one, but it will be worth the wait. It's going to be about: Brushing your teeth and holding the handrail!

Take care

Claudia & Jo

Sonntag, Dezember 31

Get ready for changes!

As the old year draws to an end, it's time to face the upcoming changes: A grey and snowless landscape like the one we hiked through today (see pic) is likely to be the last of it's kind on this blog. Get ready for pictures from far east: Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and others - as I am getting ready to move everything I have there. Including my camera, not including "Das Farbamt": Apart from my email adress it's about the onlything that remains unchanged. Have a very good 2007!

Montag, Dezember 4

Frankfurt


Audience,
on a recent visit to Frankfurt I got this shot waiting for the train on the very end of the platform. Having lived in Frankfurt for quite a while, I never got this view, this angle and these colors (which are not completely real of course) - but it's not because I wasn't there and not because the view wasn't there, but because I didn't look for it. But now I do. And as I will leave Germany behind in just weeks from now, I am already excited about new places, new views, new colors, news scenes. Now that I have learned a bit to look out for these.