Monday, June 30, 2008

Espana Wins Euro 2008

We rushed home yesterday noon from the weekend getaway to catch the final match between Spain and Germany. I was supporting Germany all the way for the reason that I am here at the moment and it will be great to experience the celebrations of the die hard fans.


Although the original plan was to join the Public Viewing, we went to St Pauli instead and managed to secure a seat at Vic's which is just downstairs from the office. We were quite lucky as merely 15 minutes later, people were denied entry due to crowd control.


V
Anxiously Waiting For The Game


We were about 3 hours before the game starts and the place was already jam packed. We ordered a generous amount of food as we can slowly dine till the game starts.


The performance of Germany was poor in the finals and spain was the well deserved winner this time around in the final match in Austria.


That's all for now!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lüdinghausen Germany

"Lüdinghausen is a municipality in the district of Coesfeld in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the Dortmund-Ems Canal, approx. 25 km south-west of Münster. It is known for its three castles, among them Burg Vischering." courtesy of wikipedia.com.

After breakfast, we continued our mini trip to the next city. Our first stop after the short drive was Burg Vischering.

Burg Vischering
With Harry And The Castle in The Background

Burg Vischering is one of the largest castles in northern Germany. It was seriously damaged in World War II, leading to minor alterations in the design of the castle. It consists of a small courtyard enclosed with low stone walls, a long wooden bridge over the moat, and the main building. There was a museum whereby I had some fun with wearing a helmet and trying the saddle on the wooden horse.

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Look Like The Bounty Hunter From Star Wars

Wooden Horse
Giddy Up!

We continued to stroll to the other castle but the pics on my hard disk seem to be corrupted now. :(

Click here for the official website but it is only available in German.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Münster and Senden

To see more of Germany, we took the high speed ICE train to the city of Münster. I have to mentioned that we traveled on First Class tickets as it worked out to be cheaper than two regular journey tickets at time of booking. I will never have thought about coming here but it was thanks to my University friend who suggested for me to see him via this route.


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City Center of Munster


The weather was a bit cloudy and there was a bit of rain. Munster has a river running through the city called "AA". A very short name and it will always be the first river listed in the world river directory. :)
City Hall
The City Hall Where Our Walking Tour Began
We joined the English walking tour and was given a historical tour of the city before heading to Senden where my host Harry lives. We took an afternoon nap before walking around the neighbourhood.

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A War Memorial With St. Micheal


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River Through Senden, Don't Even Ask What Barbara was doing!


We ended the day with a nice barbeque in the garden for dinner.


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Garden Barbeque Dinner

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pork Pork Pork

Deon, a colleague of ours from South Africa dropped by Germany as well and what a better time to catch up with a dinner. Grogniger was the choice once again because of it being a perfect restaurant to bring guests.

We jump into the opportunity to order a huge platter as there was six of us all together for dinner.

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Enough Meat To Feed A Whole Village

We admitted defeat to the meal served as the portions were indeed far beyond sufficient. After dinner, we took a nice stroll to St Pauli where my hotel was. This at least helped with the digestion I believe.

I will seriously need a diet in the upcoming months. :)

Cheers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Hidden Tribes Of Brazil

This is just amazing. I was skeptic when I first saw the pics in the press but after a few search on the internet, I am a bit convince.

Here are the sequence of aerial pictures captured.

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The elaborate colours are those of painted body. Most of the women and children has gone into hiding when they saw the plane. You can see some of the tribesmen attempting to use their spears to bring the helipcopter/small plane down. (Bless them!)

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Who can imagine that you can be away from civilization in such modern times? It was first mentioned as undiscovered tribe but later clarified as being in the records. Their actuals whereabouts are being protected to maintain their anonymitiy. Apparently you can find a forest opening using Google Earth bordering Peru where they are based. The pictures were published with the objective of creating awareness against logging which are invading the homes of the tribes.

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It is said that there are about 100 uncontacted tribes in the world and half of those live in Brazil and Peru. Their way of life is under threat with the vast amount of logging. There is a campaign going on to protect them which is run by Survival International.

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To Digress a bit, Did you know that the ocean remains the largest undiscovered part of the world? Who knows what lies beneath?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Panoptikum Wax Museum

A stone throw away from the office is the Panoptikum Wax Museum. It is of course nothing to the standard of Madame Tussauds.


Wax Museum
The Current Pope


All the description are in German and I have no idea what some of the wax figures are for like this fat dude below. I assume that he might be the fatest person or something.


Wax Museum
The Random Fat Dude


You can see James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis in the background.


Wax Museum
The German Hero, Michael Schumacher


You may want to give this place a skip as the standards are not as good as the ones I have seen and also there are bariers preventing you from getting close to the figures.


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The Beatles
The Beatles used to play a lot in Hamburg before they struck big time.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cheapest Cruise On River Elbe Hamburg

With nothing planned for Sunday, we randomly took a stroll along the harbour and we reached Landungsbrucken whereby there is a regular ferry service that takes you to stops along the bank. The great thing is that the service is included in your daily travel card.
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On The Ferry


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Beach By The River Bank


We also found a sandy beach front next to the river bank at the Neumuhlen dock.


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Docklands
Docklands was another spot that caught my eye. The building shown in the picture was designed like a cruise ship. I manage to make my way all to the top.


You can get more information by going to the official Hamburg transport website along with the ticket prices.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hashing In Luneburg

I am a virgin to Hashing at what a place to start than in the beautiful city of Luneburg where according to the friendly bunch I met with was one of the four cities that survived the world war.


Luneburg
The Beautiful City of Luneburg


There was a festival going on in the city center which covered most of the facade of the buildings. Luneburg was a major city which is popular for its salt production.


Hashing at Luneburg
Running


It was indeed a privillege to do my virgin run where we started from the train station through the city with a beer stop and then ending at a parking lot.


In The Circle
Me In The Circle


The hash session ended with a circle and I was brought in and innitiated as a new member to the community.


Down Down at Luneburg
My First Down Down!


I was made to do a down down which is a bottoms up for a variety of reasons from being the newcomer to holding Song Yia's hands. All and all it was a day well spent. I will be looking forward to my next run!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hamburg Harley Days 2008

One of the main benefits of being able to be based in a central location is the amount of events that is happening around. This weekend, Hamburg is hosting the annual Harley Days event at the open space next to the office. I could see the whole preparation through the office window.


Hamburg Harley Days
View From The Top


The event attracted tons of Harley enthusiasts. There were rows and rows of tents set up to sell merchandise, accessories and typical biker clothes (leather boots, jackets and printed t-shirts of skull images)


Harley Days Hamburg
Center Stage


The weather that day turned out pretty bad towards the evening and I was all drenched when I arrive back at the hotel.


Harley Days
Vroom Vroom Stylish Red


There are scheduled to have a drive around the city on Sunday but every where I turn, I could see the bikers around.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Euro 2008 Open Viewing

Just next to the Hamburg office is an open space and I believe the largest open viewing in Hamburg for the Euro 2008 football fans. I was a bit reluctant to venture in the last time as I had the fixed image in my mind of drunken people and a football match which did not appeal to me. The last records showed an estimated of 40,000 people in the KIA sponsored open viewing.


The Mascots of Euro 2008
Euro 2008 Mascots


However, we finally decided to join the crowd as this could be the last game that Germany is playing this time around. And what an opportunity to miss watching the home team playing.


We had to go through the security barrier whereby we had to give up our water bottles. The guards on duty were very patient and kind when we decided to finish up as much water as we can before giving up the bottle. She spoke good english as well.


Once through the gates, the atmosphere was different and we felt safe as there were many security officers around to ensure that there was peace I guess.


Hamburg Kia Fan Fest
The Screen Was Huge


We stayed on for the first half whereby we got to see 3 goals. 2 from Germany and one from Portugal. This gave us the opportunity to experience the energy of the crowd. It was very civilized and there was no pushing around. This could be a testimony that the Germans enjoy their space as everyone seem to be leaving fairly huge gaps away from each other.


Some Of The Many Tents
Tents Selling Delicacies From Participating Countries


We also wandered around the compound and discovered various tents and beach bars. If Germany wins, it will happen to be the second country that I happen to be in when they became Euro Cup Champions with the last one being Greece.


and I will most definately be at the open viewing for the next Germany match...


That's all folks...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Groniger Pork Feast in Hamburg

If you enjoy your meat like I do, then Groniger is the place for you. Like most restaurants in Germany, they seem to specialize in pork and beer.

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Ready For Our Meal



The atmosphere at the restaurant was an old pub and you have the option to buy your beers by the barrel. The serve the beer from an old wooden barrel. Not sure if it is authentic but it looks like it.

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The Display At The Restaurant



They are famous for their pork knuckle but seem to have some consistency issue as they taste different the both times I had the opportunity to dine there. The portions are enough to feed an asian family for weeks but the serving was actually intended for a single person.

Prok Knuckle
The Pork Knuckle



The serving costs just a little over 11 Euros and makes it a great dining experience. The waiters that we had was friendly as well which made our evening pleasant!

That's all for now!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Reeperbahn Hamburg

A trip to Hamburg will never be complete with an experience in the red light district, Reeperbahn. Apparently, it is the oldest red light district in Germany.

The street is filled with many restaurant, sex shops, theatres and brothels.

Street prostitution is legal during certain times of the day on Davidstraße. The Herbertstraße, a short side street of the Davidstraße, has prostitutes behind windows waiting for customers. Unlike De Wallen, the red-light district in Amsterdam, it is closed off with a large gate and juveniles and women are not allowed in. Despite the sign which says women are not allowed to enter the street, it is not officially prohibited, only strongly discouraged by the police.

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Herbertstraße: For Men Only!

Entrance to Herbertstraße; sign to the right of the gate reads "No entrance for juveniles under 18 years of age and women".

We ended the night for a show in Safari, one of the many places for adult entertainment. Our table was a main target as we were the only group without any girls accompanying. I went without any expectations but ended up being part of the show when one of the performers decided to give me a boob rub on the face. (Song Yia, where were you when I needed you!) All I remember was the sound between both of my hears on impact while the spotlight was shinning on our table.

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Ear to Ear: After My Experience

It was certainly an experience. I was a bit traumatised but recovered within days.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alter Elbtunnel

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At One End Of Alter Elbtunnel


From the harbour, you can walk though Alter Elbtunnel from 1911 to the other side of the river Elbe and have great views from there. A lift or stairs bring you the 24 meters down into the tunnel. You then walk through one of its two 427 meter long pipes having 12 meters of water over your head. The tunnel is decorated with ceramic arts of maritime motives (e.g. fish, mussles, seals, old boots). At the other side you again walk up the stairs or take a lift. Go out and back to the river to "Aussichtspunkt Steinwerder" for great views on Landungsbrücken and the sights behind. Even cars can pass though the tunnel (only Mon-Fri, 5:30-20:00, for 2 Euros) being brought down with 4 lifts. You find the tunnel at Landungsbrücken in the building having the biggest green dome. Signs to "Aussichtspunkt Steinwerder" also point to it. For pedestrians and bicycles it is free and open all day and night, every day.


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The View From The Other Side!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Talk Slower!

It has been the third day working in the Hamburg office and things are moving at a calm pace. I went into another meeting today whereby the team was obliged to speak in English as I was the only non German speaker.

Everytime I made a point, there will be a moment of silence that follows. Someone will then advise me to speak slower. It is not that hard but I have to keep reminding myself over and over again.

However, I felt that I was slowing the conversation down and things moved faster when everyone was communicating in German and I was give periodic updates on things.

I just got back from dinner with my colleagues in a Chinese Restaurant operated by fellow Malaysians from Ipoh. Malaysians are everywhere I tell you! There are a handful running restaurants in Southampton and Hamburg is not short of them.

I went to some tunnel for a walk with Joe and his "friend". The sun sets after 10.00p.m. nowadays and you always feel like you have a long and productive day.

I have not manage to upload any pictures as of yet but will endeavour to it in the next few days. Song Yia has shared some on facebook.

Till then, take care everyone and catch up soon. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Plantem und Blumen, Hamburg

With longer daylight, you get the sense that you achieve more within a day. After work and dinner, we took a short stroll to a park that has a daily musical fountain show at 10.00 p.m.


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The Musical Fountain


The fountain lasts for about 25 minutes and apparrently the performances differs each night.


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And It Is For Free!


Song Yia has a post on her experience as well.


Cheers,


Benny Ong

Monday, June 09, 2008

Deutschland

Greetings all,

I will be in Germany for a couple of weeks before I return home to Malaysia to be faced with reality with the fuel price increase. Yesterday evening, we saw Germany winning the match against Poland, 2 - nil for Euro 2008 and the noise of the crowd could be heard from the hotel room.

I am in the office now and am looking forward to the upcoming challenges and busy days ahead to sort out the situation and environment here. Will make myself proud as I always tell myself "No One Can Deny You Anything!"

Do apologize for the lack of updates you may experience in the coming weeks but I have had took heaps of pictures of my first full weekend in Hamburg which I can't wait to upload and share.

Stay tune for updates chaps!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Picnic At Stadtpark Hamburg

The weather was perfect and what better way to spend the day with a picnic at Stadtpark. Hamburg's Central Park which is also known as the lungs of Hamburg.


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Me Busy Eating


There was a lady sun bathing topless a stone throw away. She was a bit old, hence, the barbequed meat looks more tempting. :)


Click here for more information. Be Warn! Achtung! It is in German!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Miniature Wonderland Hamburg

So here I am in Hamburg, Germany. The last time I was here was for a brief trip during the companies zone meeting.

Hamburg
Hamburg

I took loads of pictures but it is inconvenient to load them all using my office laptop. Will somehow start sharing them when I am back in Southampton or KL. I joined Song Yia and family on a day trip around Hamburg city and doing the touristy stuff.

Song Yia bought the Group Hamburg Card which allows us to travel on the public transport at a group rate and also offers discount at some of the attractions such Miniature Wonderland which was my most cherished and favourite visit of all.

Miniature Wonderland
The Display Spans Two Floors

It is a collection of ellaborate models of mini cities such as Hamburg itself, Paris and various major european cities. The trains are also inter connected within one another. The cars in the city are also smart enough to obey the traffic lights and also avoid from hitting one another. There is so much attention to details from the weather turning to dark, signal lights by the vehicles and also the customizations of the city for the 2008 Euro Cup.

Miniature Wonderland
Miniature Version of Hamburg

As you might know. I am a sucker for miniature stuff and models. I could spend days here admiring the amount of effort put in. It is a must visit for all!

Take care.

Benny Ong.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Heathrow Terminal 5

I finally made it to Heathrow's newest terminal! It was good timing as well after all the mess that BA got itself into with missing baggages and flight cancellations. (Their on board service was still as bad though!, they feed us pretzels, breakfast bar + a glass of apple juice)

I left work in the London office via Heathrow Express to arrive at the spanking new airport. As most airports, it was freaking spacious.

Heathrow Terminal 5
Fully British Airways Depature

I checked in online to save time but the queue to deposit my baggage made it a time neutral effort. So nothing special and I did not get ahead of the line or crowd.

Heathrow Terminal 5
More Dining Places and Shops in the Terminal

It is a lucrative business to run F&B outlest with the ban to carry in any liquids through the security gates and passport control into the departure lounge. Even Gordon Ramsay has make his footprint.

Heathrow Terminal 5
Plane Food by Gordon Ramsay

Thats all from me now. Stay tune for more of my adventures in Hamburg, Germany!

Cheers,

Benny Ong