OST-EUROPA-MOTORRADTOUR #33: Die Bühnen Odessa’s: Markt, Gotteshäuser, Oper, Bars…

Samstagmorgen. Die Hotelangestellten sind auch heute unfreundlich. Es scheint hier Pflicht zu sein, den Gast zu ignorieren. Wenn er doch Auskunft will oder Hilfe braucht, ihn mit so gekonntem Widerwillen zu strafen, dass man sich in einer Komödie wähnt.

Ein Markt, ebenfalls Bühne des Lebens, wo gefeilscht wird, dramatische Geschichten übertrieben wiedergegeben werden und noch zappelnde Fische entschuppt werden. Das riesige Dach überm Markt erinnerte mich sehr an eine Theaterkuppel. Damit gab es mir den Anstoss, das Leben als Theater zu sehen, das sich auf vielen Bühnen abspielt. Mit dieser Metapher gehe ich weiter durch Odessa. Gotteshäuser, zum Beispiel, in denen sich Menschen verkrampft an überholte Regeln und Rituale halten,die dann im nächsten Wirtshaus gleich wieder mit Bier runtergespült wird. Die Fassaden an den Strassen sind überzogen mit bunten Graffitis, verstecken die grauen, eintönigen Wohnbunkern. Davor kreuzen weisse Stretch-Limousinen und schwarze Nobelschlitten mit Stern auf der Kühlerhaube. Sie halten vor dem Opernhaus, was ich sehr passend finde, und inszenieren mit dem Fotografen eine romantische Szene in Kleidern, die sie den Rest des Lebens nicht mehr tragen werden.

Es wird Abend in Odessa, doch das Leben geht weiter, schläft nicht. Besonders nicht Samstagnacht. Also gehe ich in eine Bar, bestelle mir, nach längerer Wartezeit, ein Bier. Das Wechselgeld behält er grad bei sich. So spart er sich das Suchen von Kleingeld und mir die Überlegung, wieviel Trinkgeld ich da lassen soll. Auf dem Bildschirm zappelt ein Mann aufgeregt mit dem Mikrofon in der Hand, während aus den Lautsprecher eine schrille Frauenstimme ihren Hit rausbrüllt. Warum bringen sie in der Bar nie die Musik, die am Bildschirm als Video gezeigt wird? Ist es ein technisches Problem oder steckt da was anderes dahinter, sinnierte ich. Da wurde ich aber auch schon von zwei Frauen abgelenkt, die sich gleich neben mich setzten. Ich erinnerte mich gelesen zu haben, dass in Odessa, obwohl offiziell illegal, viele Prostituierte in Bars und Nachtklubs auf Kundenfang gingen. Davon zeugen auch die vielen Stripclubs und Cabarets, denen ich auf der Strasse vorüberging. Nach dem zweiten, oder dritten, Bier gehe ich aber ins Hotel zurück. Alleine, denn auf dieses Theater kann ich nun wirklich verzichten.

Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest

A dense jungle on both side of the road. A few times a steep slope gives the view free over the green, lush forest. Morning mist crawls up. Despite my early start this morning, i was too late for the chimpanzee tracking. A canopy walk would be an option, but too pricey. I decided to go for a guided hike instead. With only my guide, i walked trough the huge green. He explained about the plants, spotted some smaller animals, as frogs, birds and also mountain monkeys. A bat flew off when we approached its hide too close and some squirrel crossing in high speed our path. Not quite an adventure, but nice hike after cities and long road drives.

Kigali Genocide Memorial

At entrance gate every passenger has to get off the vehicles for security check. After the car is parked a friendly staff at reception welcomed me with a smile and explained me there is a photography fee of 20 US$ inside the museum building, but outside it’s free to take pictures. Due the low light in the exhibition rooms i decided to focus on the stories, and taking only few shots from outside.

Just behind the welcome hall a room with rows of chairs is prepared to show an introductory movie. A brief overview of the history and some heartbreaking stories of survivors of genocide brings the viewer goosebumps.

In the museum a path leads from display to another, shows photos and and explanations on big boards or short movies on screens. Another room displayed stained clothes, broken skulls and piles of bones from victims of this horrible time.

The head full of thoughts and impressions i took a short walk trough the area. There are mass graves on terraces just beneath the museum. Some dried roses laying on the concrete  lid of the graves and names of victims are carved in the stoney board next to it.

In the small, but pretty rose garden a few blossoms are left. And almost as sign for the future, the sun breaks finally trough the clouds and shines on the red flowers.

Kenya; Ngong Hills

Just out of the city of Nairobi are the Ngong Hills covered with windmills, satellite antennas and communication towers. Can’t cost anything to hike there around, i thought. In the village on the way to the hills were children playing. Some hide shyly, other ones showed up curiously about the stranger passing trough. Just a few adults were around, as curious as the young ones. A father peeks over the fence and ask me to take a photo from him with the kids. Over the village circling the blades of the massive windmills, making a sonorous, deep sound. You get used on it, the villager told me.

Despite the forest is almost gone, replaced by a wide access road and the wind generators, it’s called still a conservation park and a fee is to pay. With Ruth, a new friend and model, i entered the park and hiked around the huge generators. Some women and children followed along a trickling creek. Near the source of it they scooped water into buckets and carried them back to the huts.Three siblings got curious about the white/black couple doing a photo shooting. The youngest got scared, start to cry out loud, but got then overwhelmed by his own curiosity. With the support of the older sister he dared to get closer and play with the cam and the looked at the photos i made of him. At the end we all had a laughter about funny pictures.

Fun Group Hiking At Mt.Longonot

Mount Longonot a quite volcano about two hours drive out of Nairobi, is the destination for a group of friends for a hike. I got invited and joined it with pleasure. Too long time i didn’t hike, and with that funny, open minded and nice people it’s pure pleasure too.

There’s many photos in purpose of giving the people of the group the chance to see them and download it. Have fun along the „photo story“  …and many thanks for the group letting me join in for that day!

with Solita at hot springs

Early morning gives us a clear sight of Mt Kilimanjaro, while the natural hot springs are still deserted. Perfect condition for a photo shooting with Solita (instagram: @solitacruz), the queen of selfies, as she called herself. And indeed, she put herself in great poses and i just had to push the shutter. But yes, you wanna see the results now…

visiting ticino – southern switzerland

It’s a day trip over the Swiss alps by motorbike to reach the region of Ticino, the southern part of Switzerland. With the early golden morning sun i picked up a good friend who gave me nice company for this trip. At a lake just before the ascend to the alps started we had a coffee. From there it’s a winding road up to the heights of the mountains. Small, narrow roads, old, stoney bridges -as the „devil’s bridge“- and even a Russian monuments from the war at 1799 shows how busy this route was the last 2000 years.

By motorbike it’s a pleasant journey to lakes surrounded with mountains and palm trees. After a refreshing swim and some original Italian ice cream just over the nearby border, there was a nice stroll trough ancient alleys of town and visiting the castle of Bellinzona. Just before the night fell in, we were already back on the way north, letting the palm trees behind us.

Petrified Forest

I talked about the desert elephants and how rare they’re to see, as i noticed a car parking next to the gravel road. And yes, the couple in that car spotted two elephant bulls roaming in nearby bush. Along the road we’ve been lucky with more attractions as a black cobra, once alive since there are many dead snakes on the road, more of the unique welwitschia plants or huge termite hills.

A guide explained the origin of the wood and how it came many thousands years ago down to Nambia, covered by mud and clay and turned slowly to minerals and stone. The colors, the structure of the bark and even the year rings look still like the wood, but if you touch it you feel cold, hard stone.

Yufuin, Japan / The Flora-House

The Flora House is not only the name of a traditional Japanese hotel, so called ryokan, but the concept of this family run accommodation. The cosy rooms and an ‚onsen‘ ( a hot bath with water direct from hot springs) with view of mount Yufu is worth to stay a couple days. The food too is absolutely delicious. The owner explains proudly how they use all ingredients from own garden and greenhouses or at least from nearby area. When the belly got satisfied, a bath in the scents of the most beautiful flowers and orchids is another delight.

Flora House nennt sich das Ryokan (traditionell japanische Unterkunft) zu recht. Blumen und Orchideen finden sich überall um’s Haus und in den Gewächshäusern. Diese liefern auch die Zutaten für das leckere Essen. Stolz erklären die Besitzer, dass alle Zutaten aus eigener Produktion oder zumindest aus naher Umgebung kommen. Und so schmeckt das Essen auch; frisch, lecker und authentisch. Gemütliche Zimmer und ein heisses Bad ( Onsen genannt), gespeist von den heissen Quellen der Umgebung, machen den Aufenthalt zur Kur.