My best shrimp, ever

My best shrimp, ever

Late October in South Korea, does not seem to be a good time for a beach seafood barbeque. I imagined myself shivering due to my body’s exposure to cold outdoors. But it was surprisingly warm. Maybe being in front of barbeque kept me warm, I guess. Equally surprising was my experience at the BBQ. Copious amounts of fish, mussels, lung-shaped shells, shrimps and even a steak were piled up.

Large, fresh shrimps from the nearby market, where the fishermen women ply their trade in getting customers from nearby and as far as Seoul to buy the freshly caught fruit de mar.

The sun was setting and the bbq fire was roaring, us hoping it would settle down, so that charcoal could be added. The shrimps were unpacked. Large, green, juicy.

Some were peeled and, to my horror, offered uncooked. Yes, I never eat uncooked shrimps, so internally I recoiled. But being good sport, I took one and ….survived. In fact it was not so bad as anticipated and with a swing of beer and Soju, the Korean schnapps, it went down very well.

But then came the cooking experience. The shrimps were, not “thrown on the barbie’ as the Aussies may say.  A pan appeared, laced with seasalt. On top of the layer of salt, the skinned and unskinned shrimps were laid out. While they slowly changed their colour in the delicious reddish tone, the salt transformed into a concrete-hard layer, acting as an insulator against the strong heat from the steel bottom of the pan and at the same time enhancing the sea-saltiness of the shrimps. But the salt does more. It prevents the shrimps drying out. So when one of the unskinned ones was offered to me, I could smell the saltiness. But then, sliding the shrimp into my mouth, biting into it, I felt I was in heaven. Sumptuous, juicy and outright delicious. I never, ever had any shrimp as delicious as these ones. The freshness of the catch and the preparation with the salt base was just the ideal combination.

Try it, just travel to the West coast islands of South Korea and have a dining experience,
second to none.
This particular island is also famed for its beautiful flowers full blossom in spring.
It hosts a flower festival.
Another excuse to go there again

in a different season.

Autnum in Korea

We see South Korea usually through a different looking glass. We tend to see a highly technical society which engages in mobil communication, in densly populated cities.

We see a society which has managed with tremedeous effort the step from a poor, dictator driven society to one of the leading technology countries in less then a generation timespan.

We see Korea as a country of the DMZ, Korean BBQ and BimBimBab, Korean Air (and some of the headlines in recent years), or the crash of Asiana in SFO (retold several times in the media). The home of…….. .IMG_2337

We usually do not associate South Korea as a beautiful tourism destination. But visit South Korea at any time during the year, leave the bigh concrete and glass filled cities and venture into the countryside, you will be as surprised, as I was, about what this country has to offer. Admittedly communication can be problem at times, but English is tought in schoold nowadays and more and more young Koreans can help you to get around. They may just be a bit shy trying their English.

So it is worth to venture into some of the unknown and discover a diverse and colourful country with a long history and history sites. It is worth it.

By the way, this is not an advertisment of the Korean Tourisn bureau.

Korea L1000126

Drought

97% of the state of New South Wales in Australia are in drought. Even if it rains along the coast, inland it is bone dry, with towns and villages running out of water.

Now, this is not new. The above picture was taken on a friends farm about 25 years ago. Another drought. As bad as the current one, at least for the farmers involved, but not as bad as the current one, which covers large parts of the continent.

Global Warming has been blamed for this devastating and prolonged event. Now, there are lots of disbeliever. But last week I saw a virtual reality presentation at the National Museum of Australia about Antarctica. Right at the end of the show, a graph was presented, showing the link between carbon dioxide and fluctuating temperatures on earth, over a hundred of thousand years time span.

Highly consistent. But what got me were the last 100 years, where the average level of particles in the atmosphere increased. Where the chart started to spit from the consistent link.  This massive increase of carbon dioxide particles makes it all to clear that we are heading into unknown.

Any doubter of climate change must surely be convinced that something is is happening, after seeing this graph. Only that I do not remember having seen it like this anywhere before. Over a long time span not an enlarged 100 year one.

Of course, we can not stop the earth, nor the industry, nor life as we know it. And any ‘hau ruck’ action, may make things only worse. Only affluent societies will have the means to invest in new technologies and better solutions. Going back to a lifestyle 100 or 500 years ago, may equally not be sustainable, because at those times we have had much smaller populations. Burning timber for heat and cooking, may in the end produce more gases and problems.

We can not stop flying. Even if aviation is creating a lot of green house gases right up in the atmosphere. At fuel consumption of 4.5-6 ltr per passenger per 100 km, this is still much less, then  the 8-15 litre the average car consumes in the city with just one person inside.

What we need is investment in cleaning up currently ‘dirty’ polluters. Filtering the coal burning power stations, deploying alternatives where it makes sense and does not harm the environment otherwise (such as bird killing wind turbines or environment damaging lithium harvesting).

Yes, we need to force the politicians and masters of the industry to act. But logical and well thought solutions will solve the issue. Anything else may just lead to the opposite and we may have even longer droughts.

Drought 1 v

 

 

 

Catching the Moment

Catching the moment is critical for any photographer. If it becomes a good or interesting picture can be decided in a fraction of a second.

Recently I found myself waiting for a friend who decided to walk through 15 cm of snow to the top of Mount Kosiosko. Since I did not have the right shoes with me, I did not go with him and rather spend time in the late winter sun and watch the surrounding.

On the table next to me a crow was looking for leftovers. But rather then flying, it hopped down to the ground. My Leica CL was in my hand. So, while I missed the first ‘hop’ here it is on the second one to the ground.

Rather neat and while we may have all seen it somewhere, never observed.

 

 

The Prefect Croissant

The perfect Croissant

On a cold February first I entered Toulouse main railways station for a daylong TGV trip. A trip that should provide more surprises and be rather longer then expected, but that at another time.

Having grown up in Germany and lived in Australia for a large part of my life, with extensive travel to Asia, Japan and South America, I have always regarded a Croissant as a lovely, flaky accompiament to a good cup of coffee in the morning, but could never see the same enthusiasm in it, as described in so many articles and books, the French do.

In fact I just had the Australian variety and, while nice, it just did not have the same appeal.

But at this frosty morning the wafting aroma of a patisserie stuck my nose and seeing all the beautiful, brownish, sometimes sugary concoctions of various creations from the bakers hands, I could not resist. I bought some Croissants.

I could not wait, I ripped open the paper bag, took out one of these flaky, buttery shapes, bit into it and….I could have died here and then. A flavour exploded in my mouth. Beneath the crust, of which small bits fell in small flakes to the tiled floor, was a flavour filled interior I never had expected from a simple croissant.

This was heaven and it did not take long until the second one went where the first one did.

Now I understand the fascination the French have with their creation and how…. this one delicious bite can make not only your day, but have your mouth watering after if for weeks to come.

A Visit to Airbus Toulouse

Nothing lets an aviation fanatic’s heart beat faster, then the sight of a new aircraft, a new airport or the visit to an aircraft manufacturer.

So, today I took the opportunity, being in Europe to visit Airbus in Toulouse, the birthplace of the legendary A380, which sadly will not being build after 2021.

A visit starts at the Airbus Aviation museum, Aeroscopia, where the visitors are being received. There are several tours in different languages and for different tours. Being mid winter it was not so busy and the tour was conducted at a leisurely pace.

Understandably, but unfortunately, photography was not allowed at the Airbus site.

The A380 tour starts with an audio-visual briefing, showing the first flight of the aircraft and a recording of instruments and telemetry data.

Of course this is a bit of a letdown for an real fanatic, since most of the footage has already been shown on TV and YouTube.

Though some additional background information was still provided, but maybe this part of the tour could be made more exiting by giving information, which are not so common knowledge.

Following the briefing, we boarded a bus and entered the actual factory area. Since Airbus manufactures all over Europe, not much assembly work could be seen. A variety of semi-finished aircraft were on the ground from A330neo to A350 and A380.

It is a pity that it was not possible to get on board of any of the aircraft, even the first A380 which was used for testing.

As a further part of the tour we went to an hangar which housed three A380, which consisted of the second build A380 which was being prepared for the museum and two more aircraft for Emirates. But again, almost no activity was visible.

While we had a look down to the aircraft, additional footage was shown on three LCD monitors.

What would have been real interesting is the screening of issues which appeared during testing and how Airbus dealt with it.

In the end we were carted back to the Museum, which requires an extra entry fee if you want to visit. I believe that the museum should be included in the tour price.

Summary, yes, it was interesting to see Airbus, but to a point it was a bit of a let down. In all fairness, it may be difficult to show people around on the factory floor for security reasons or the fact that part of the assembly takes place in other locations.

But to make this visit more interesting, maybe Airbus could consider setting up some multi-media or multi-screen show, which immerses the visitor and gives a stronger insight into Airbus, its philosophies and the way how the aircraft are being designed, assembled and tested. Resulting in not only a great Wow effect, but also instil, in particular in the European visitors, a level of pride, having such manufacturer on our continent.

Even for an expat, a German now residing in Australia, Airbus is one of the great achievements of Europe, having combined the forces and skills of different countries to build a company which could not only compete against the almighty US corporations, but set new trends and directions.

Last, but not least, it would cost the company only cents to provide each tour participant with a small momentum, maybe made from recycled aircraft skin, etc.. But it would provide lasting impressions.

one year on

One Year on, almost, I received a Cochlear Implant after having lost hearing in one ear to a virus infection. It was an interesting experience. Not quiet achieving what we expected, since some of the hearing nerve end seem to be damaged beyond recovery, but on the other hand, I would miss the device if it was not there (something my surgeon predicted).

So if you have hearing issues and a Cochlear implant can help, do it. In Australia it is deemed to be a prosthesis and covered largely by health insurance (pls. check wit your own fund). I paid less the $1,000 for a $30,000 operation and technology.

And, what I was fearing did not come true, nobody ever made a comment about the cable, which apparently comes out from under my hair and leads to the hearing device…a great relieve.

 

One year on…..sure you have your own stories to tell. So enjoy the New Year and make the best out of it.

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