“Nice to see you…………”. Manila, October 4th, 2011

Leaving North and South America as well as Cuba behind on to Asia the regular flights all go via Europe and I decided (as so often) to squeeze a few stops left and right into it. So I ended up in Düsseldorf, where my old McCain colleague and good friend Daniel lives now. His “nice to see you.” was so simple but yet came across so honest that for a moment I felt like staying and starting my new “after trip life” right away. We catched up on our lives and as always had good laughs about the strangest jokes.

The next day I left for Newcastle in the UK. Here James picked me up from the airport. His “nice to see you.” was more with a surprised tone of voice. We met in Syria almost a year ago and he invited me over. Warning right here, do not invite me anywhere if you do not mean it because I make it happen. James meant it, yet admitted to have been surprised that I made it happen so fast. In typical English weather we walked along the coast of Tynemouth near Newcastle, had fish and chips (of course) and started to follow our passion immediately. Like me, James is a photographer, only that he is 20 times better than me and on the edge of becoming professional. That he uses Canon I forgive him at this point as well as his BMW, which went on strike for 2 hours and just when the mechanic was about to arrive it worked fine again. A wonderful conversation completely undisturbed with rain dropping onto the roof, I will not forget it. The following Saturday we spent entirely in his simple but effective studio within his house. I learned a lot and he got a free and patient model. The results are decent I think.

Sunday we took a little trip to Holy Island up North, enjoyed the wind and scenery. I love England and everything reminded me about one of the best years I ever had, my student year in Kingston upon Hull.  The houses, the streets, the food, the weather, the way James says “water”, his humour and the fact that he speaks of “over in Europe”, smile.

Monday, James had to work, I spent some time in downtown Newcastle itself but was not too impressed I have to say.

Impressive, however, is Dieter who I met on my flight to Bangkok. Four years ago at age 47 he decided to move to Thailand for 8 months of the year. The remaining 4 months he spends in Germany working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week as a telephonist doing questionnaires for research institutes. Now, thanks to modern times, he soon will be able to do this work just as well from Thailand. He will have strange working hours (Germans do not want to be called at night) but won’t mind a suppose. He also impressed me in a way when he got hungry and eat 250g of M&M within 15 minutes. Two days in Bangkok I more or less only relaxed in the hotel, had a hair cut and a fantastic massage every day., so no photos. The clouds over Singapore however I needed to capture as well as David and his girlfriend Deborah.

David was the third “Nice to see you.” and he did it in his ever mysterious style of intensity, humour and coolness. It leaves you always in that uncertainty of how he means it. He knows that, he loves it and he plays with it but buddy, after so many years, I know you happy to see me, smile. Different this time around is Deborah, his girlfriend. I only know David as a single and its good to see him with someone, especially as Deborah is a great girl. Over a nice dinner we catched up on things and took it easy. I have to say, David knows how to grill a good steak and also he introduced me to Oysters, believe it or not, I like them.

Saturday, September 24th 2011, was quick around and so the reason for the timing I had chosen. David with the help of Deborah actually got tickets for the Formula 1 race here in Singapore. Not just for the training, no, also for race day itself. What I did not know is that these are not just race events but also entertainment venues. So we started with Boy Jorge before heading to the race.

I would summarize my F1 impressions as such: Its loud, its fast, impressive too, but its nothing for an audience. Such an event is about seeing and to be seen with Singapore being the perfect location for such a race. This city is similar, no money, no blackberry, who are you? I have a love hate relationship with this city. I love it, its diversity, its style but at the same time I can not stop thinking I am in a Disneyworld for rich people. But hey, who am I, travelling the world, being able to judge on Formular 1 in Singapore, by the way, seeing the end of the race from a reserved lounge on the 70th floor of the Swiss hotel? I would say I am fortunate for the least. Thanks to my adventures drive and thanks to the great people I met in my life, like David.

Another person with adventures drive is certainly Thorsten and his “nice to see you.” in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, Sep 27th,  was as deep as it can be. He has not seen a familiar German face since he left more than a year ago. On top of that his world trip has become a trip deep into India and the Hindu culture. His western friends, including me, are typically worried about him.

After spending 2 days of talking I still can not deny the danger of him doing something very different with his life than all of us, maybe meditation or intense yoga. But is it a danger? He is very aware of what he does, he knows  the pros and cons, he is in a process of deciding what is good for him and he is happy. What more can you ask for than being happy and knowing what to do or knowing how to find out what to do. I left Thorsten being impressed,  having learned more from him than he from me for sure and my fear has turned into eagerness to find out what he will do. Personally I would love to see him back in Germany profiting from his Hindu experience in a western world, maybe touching other peoples life for the better.

Somebody has had a positive influence when he came up with the bus design you see below. I love it. The cat is by far the most relaxed creature I have ever seen and that the west influences the Asian world Thorsten and I found out at “KFC University.” Here we are in a fast food restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, talking about Hinduism, meaning of happiness and next to us a group of business people (including one Sigh from India) discussing the Boston Consulting Grid Chart with Cash Cows, question marks, poor dogs and stars. How sick is that???????????? Smile.

I moved on to Manila, Philippines, to meet up with David again. He has a business meeting here and so we decided to spend the weekend before partying and diving together. The diving part had to be cancelled, two Taifun within a week made it impossible but the party part worked well as you can see. Check out David’s face when he looses in the Casino against Ed.

Ed, David’s friend from Hong Kong, joined in and I got another “nice to see you.”…………………..

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  • gabor says:

    Nice to see, your second picture … welcome to Germany :-) .

    Nice to see you – in a couple of days …

  • Hi FRank,

    wir wollen dir natürlich noch alles Liebe zum Geburtstag nachträglich wünschen!!!! Wir hoffen du konntest deinen Geburtstag in einer dem Jubiläumstag angemessenen Umgebung begehen und hast viel Spaß gehabt:-)!!!!
    Alles Liebe von deinen Osnabrückern Yvonne und Benny

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