Pure laziness…

Today I did only the unavoidable.It was not hot or anything but I felt encompassed in such a thick layer of laziness that I could not break through it. Like a virus or so.

Only in the afternoon I managed to get dressed and get out of the apartment at least for a short stroll in our street.

From morning on I heard loud music from the street that to me sounded like Chinese. After half a day of it I had had more than enough and this was one of my reasons to go out: to check where this noise was coming from and what I could do against it.

I was quickly silenced when I realised that the music was part of the rites of a funeral that was going on all day:

In my mind I quietly apologised to the deceased and his family.

In a neighbouring shop a lady burnt bundles of fake dollars (also a common funeral practice) to insure that the deceased would have enough money for a good life where he was now. After the money paper sheets with golden print were burnt (some of them with pieces of leave-gold on them)

I watched all the action from a café, sipping my inevitable iced coffee:

Being the only guest the young and good looking waitress volunteered to sit at my little table and asked me if I would/could help her to learn some English. They are not so shy here! :) I tried to explain to her that I would be better qualified to teach her some French than some English – but she did not understand…:)

In the meantime the “restaurants” around us were beginning to prepare for the dinner onslaught and I strolled back home.

Now I am finishing the rest of my milk (I ran out of all alcohol yesterday) and will be going to be early! Having gotten up at 5.30am takes its toll…:)

Banana Culture!

One of the things you learn rather quickly when you are with Vietnamese people is how to peel a banana!

This is a very serious subject as it separates ignorants from people with a sense for Vietnamese culture :)

And, of course, there is a difference in how people from Southern Vietnam and Northern Vietnam peel their bananas.

Regardless of the fact that there are more than 100 different kinds of bananas here (in all different kinds of sizes and tastes), they have one thing in common (in Northern Vietnam):

you break them in half before you peel them

The saying used to be: only Americans and monkeys peel a banana from top to bottom and then eat it. (Now that we have a lot of European tourists as well the phrase “Americans” has been reworded ;)

I did a lot of research into why you would break a banana in two before you would peel it. Obviously, this tradition is so old that there are very few articles about it.

The “oldest”  view is that it was not decent to show such phallic symbol as a banana entirely naked. Another (more pragmatic) thinking is that you would not want to touch the banana with your dirty hands and so you peeled it section for section while eating it.

I go for the phallic symbol! In addition, I find it a cultivated twist to break your banana in two pieces before you peel it (not as easy as you think it is, because it requires a certain wrist movement)…

…and where would you start peeling it from? The blossom or the root side? Hehe, got you! Where is the blossom side of the banana? Well, I am not gonna tell ya. Check the internet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend in Hanoi!

After a year away and looking at Hanoi from Bansko it all looked quite exotic in Vietnam. Being here now brought last year’s experiences and memories back and made me feel at home quite quickly. There is, of course, always a danger in that. The danger being that you still have only a very superficial knowledge about the real life in that country – but you believe you know it all already and therefore are not open anymore. I believe I am humble enough to acknowledge that I have not penetrated the Vietnamese much more than below their surface :) But I am working on it (hoping, that I didn’t hurt them that much so far)  ;)

I have made good progress. Yesterday I rented a 135cc motorbike for two months (a little bit over the limit because foreigner are not supposed to drive motorbikes with more than 125cc). But I felt since my body-weight is about twice the average Vietnamese man’s size that I needed their most powerful bike :)

Having a bike gives you the independence you need. Don’t forget, Hanoi is like Sofia when I cam there last century. If you are not an experienced local you won’t know where to buy what! No big super- and hypermarkets (apart from Metro). So you need to be flexible.

On Saturday evening after dinner I also had my first coffee “da”  (iced black coffee) in my little street:

Something (as I said already last year) you can’t find anywhere else in the world. A unique taste!

Sunday started with a not perfectly traditional breakfast of Japanese ramen and shrimps, the portion being far to huge for a breakfast but too tasty to leave anything behind :)

I sacrificed myself and ate it all and went back to bed for a little nap (considering that breakfast took place at 6.45 am this was acceptable).

After recovering, the next step was a Sunday morning excursion to Ban Trangh – a ceramics/pottery village maybe 16km outside Hanoi.

They specialise in Chinese style vases two metres high and more… people use them mainly for their altars in their houses were they worship their ancestors. As I was more looking for a perfectly sized “sake” container – these were slightly too big for my purposes. But being so close to Hanoi everything was overpriced anyway :) Even the parking fees for motorbikes (10,000 Vietnamese Dong)…

On the way back I did not even get lost once! And I was bloody proud of my driving perfomance. Yesterday I took the bike to my apartment from the centre and today was my first ride-out! And I did not cause a single accident! You know, last year I decided not to drive in Hanoi EVER! And now I am in the middle of the flow! Amazing.

After coming to Bulgaria I was under the illusion: if you can drive in Sofia you can drive anywhere! Until I drove in Cairo for the first time! After driving for only four hours in Cairo (looking for my hotel – the Meridien near the Pyramids) and starting to drive single-handedly, filming with the other arm, I thought I am the master of all masters! Until I came to Hanoi last year! There are an estimated 1,5 million motorbikes on the Hanoi streets at any given day-light time! You have to see it to believe it. Traffic-lights are only suggestions. Police never interfere with the traffic. Maybe I will manage to take a video while driving these days :)

Dinner was hefty tonight – all kinds of vegetables whose names you have never heard, accompanied by a (non-vietnamese but) very tasty cherry-tomato, avocado salad and loads of fresh,fresh squid…washed down with a 2010 “Anna Davide” Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile with “only 13.5%alcohol  (the chef’s choice, bought at the diplomats’ duty fee shop in town :) .

Life is not so bad in Hanoi, the capital of the “socialist republic” of Vietnam if you are connected (no comparison to the socialist times in Bulgaria intended :) )

The next two days will be busy, catching up with last year. On Wednesday I will be off to Thailand for two weeks: Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, as I have to look for a new manufacturer of good massage oils (for Pirin Lodge, Bulgaria and myself), since the one I found on Phuket last year let me down! But not only for that, of course, but also to catch up with passionate Thai food…:)

I will be back on Hanoi on the 16th and we will see what will happen then!

Isn’t life s struggle? ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are an estimated 1.

 

 

 

The Essence of Viet Nam

Whatever way I look at it, regardless of how much I am contemplating – I always come back to one thing that encompasses the spirit of Viet Nam:

The glorious, omnipresent Pho Bo.

Its physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional qualities go far beyond a simple beef noodle soup. The pho bo is probably a Vietnamese person’s next best thing to a partner in life :)

As was the case last year I do not expect a single day in Vietnam to go by without having had a soup at least once. I do this of course for the better understanding of nations :)

This made me hungry and as I have not had my daily soup yet I’ll just step outside and slurp one in…

 

Checking out the neighbourhood

When you are not on a tourist trip your rhythm of life automatically changes in Vietnam. Public life starts at 6am. That’s when you hear all the motorbikes leaving home. But by that time you are quite awake already as you will have been woken by some rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo not later than 5.30am. You hear them even in the central areas of Hanoi :)

By 8 am the street food places are in full swing as the people who went to work at 6am are hungry by now :)  My apartment is in such a typical neighbourhood. A mixture of people who live and work here.

 

This is the entrance to my little side street from the main Cat Linh road:

The building with my apartment. I have a hairdresser downstairs and a beauty parlor next door :)

My sitting room area:

Kitchen/dining area:

Bathroom:

Bedroom:

I am posting pictures of my apartment because I have been ordered to by my caring sister. She wants to make sure that I spend my time in adequate dwellings :)

As you can see, Hanoi may still be socialist – but people have arrived in the 21st century here (not everywhere in the countryside, I agree). Of course, it takes some adapting. Priorities here are different!

People sleep on their floors in hot summers! No wonder, that the Vietnamese are the only ones that can produce 8cm mattresses that are harder than concrete! – I have to be careful when I sit down on the bed not to hurt myself! But that’s part of the package! Why would I come to Vietnam if I want to live like in Germany or Bulgaria?! That’s why I have declined to bring my “French press” for making coffee with me. Because I want Vietnamese stuff for breakfast!

And my little side street is full of street food restaurants. And all kinds of vendors. Here a few pictures:

The street as seen from the upper entrance:

The “big” veggie market on the corner…

Vendors, butchers and “restaurants” in our little street where people have noodle soups and other hearty things at around 8.30am here:

One of the things people my size definitely have to get used to is the size of the “stools” in street restaurants and bars…:)

Tomorrow I will tell you bout the essence of Vietnam…!

First Greetings from Vietnam!

Is arriving always more satisfying than leaving? I suppose so. No difference in our case here :)

The departure on Wednesday was a bit stressful. Because I was going to the Munich airport by tube and train. And, somehow, there were more last minute tasks left than foreseen :( In the end I huffed and puffed to the Metro station two heavy pieces of luggage. Well, the main thing is that I made it to the plane as everything was quiet at the airport and there were no queues – only very thorough customs and security people that checked passports with a special magnifying glass (and not only mine) and had their hangups with the electronic cigarette in my trolley :)

To choose Qatar Airlines was a good choice. For the first time in decades I saw champagne in economy! Thank you :) Even, though, they had only two bottles on board (one on display, the other in the fridge) nobody else showed interest and by the time I had finished the first bottle, the second was already cold. That was on the first leg to Doha. They also have the best on-board entertainment system on the market. With internet access, USB-docking station and so on. Unfortunately that requires a lot of cabling (not foreseen in the Boeing 787 Dreamliners) and in every seat row you had two boxes attached to the seat-legs – which dramatically diminished legroom!. But the plane to Doha was not full and I could spread out, nonetheless.

The stopover in Doha lasted two-and-a-half-hours…and I bought some Persian saffron (disputably the best on our lonely planet) and some Omani dates in chocolate for my Vietnamese friends. And a wee bottle of Guerlain’s “Homme”,  Eau de Parfum, for myself (these stop-over flights have a tendencey to cost more than the direct flights in the end!)…

The next leg took longer, of course, the plane was only a 777 with an older entertainment system, no internet etc. – but still with enough  cable boxes under the seats. I was lucky to have booked a seat that had enough leg-pace. Out of Muslim Doha, of course, they did not volunteer any champagne. So I had to take one of the stewardesses aside to where our conversation could not be overheard by the plebs in the cabin – and wield my refined Bansko charme. Well, that got the champagne flowing…I had, however, to go to the galley once to remind the ladies of their duties to serve me. During that visit we found out that we were practically all relatives: one lady from Macedonia, another one from Romania and the third from Marocco – but having lived in Germany for a long time. If Qatar would fly to Hanoi instead of Ho Chi Minh City I would expect some surprise visitors soon :)

So, I arrive in Bangkok at 7.40am local time – 18 hours after leaving my apartment. In good spirits (carrying at least 4 bottles of the bubbly in my veins). Only to realise that some moron had booked my connecting flight to Vietnam for 1.40pm …some six hours later!

That, somehow, wrecked the trip. There is nothing you can do at the Bangkok airport for 6 hours when you are tired and have all your luggage around you! Well, OK, somehow I survived (with a small bonus of 2 bottles Havana Club bought at the BKK duty free for less than what it costs in Hanoi) – I survived even the flight with VietJetAir (with my knees pressed into the seat in front of me) . The visa on arrival was a song (as I knew exactly how it worked from last year and had pre-organised everything) but nowadays costs twice as much as last year (for a three months visa with unlimited entries into the country – 95$). The luggage took much longer to appear on the belt and the taxi ride to Ha Noi was as bumpy, noisy and stressful as ever – which somehow gave me the felling that I had arrived “back home” :) – Obviously it does not take that much to make a guy happy.

A decent soul had “organised” my apartment, not only with all kinds of fruit, food and drinks – but also with towels, linen, crockery and cutlery and other such things that Vietnamese landlords don’t find necessary. Vietnamese priorities are slightly different  - but that’s part of the charm. Tomorrow I have to organise glasses, so I want have to drink my cuba libre out of a coffee mug :) .

Dinner was a pho bo noodlesoop, partly pre-prepared (the broth) and delivered by my local friend, the chef.  My, oh My! How good was this!

In fact, I am already completely set up for the whole day tomorrow with breakfast, lunch and a proposal for dinner…but we will see. I need to scout the area on my own tomorrow to get a feel for the place – and to establish contact with the shops and stuff around here. They will have to “endure” me for the next months and it will be better (for me) to become accepted and a local as quickly as possible :)

33 hours after leaving my apartment in Munich I am a little tired now, finally. Tomorrow I will shoot some pics of the hood for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Election Blues?

I really don’t want to sound too serious but I have been watching the deterioration of political ethics in our Western world far longer than I care to. But maybe there never were any ethics and I was just younger and more naive and believed that there must be such a thing ;)

It is fun to watch, however. Especially these German elections now. As long as you spend enough time abroad not to consider Germany the centre of your universe :) It is high-class entertainment. The modern times media make it possible. I was touched by the CDU-clip “CDU celebrates the election results”:

The positive side of the clip is that it shows you very clearly how lonely Angela Merkel is. The fate of every good leader. A sign that Mrs. Merkel has grown into the role of the “Übermutter” and feels responsible for the country! And the lovely sign at the end “We remain chancelor. CDU” shows that women in Germany since long are “first class” and not  “second class” human beings any more :)

I have always had reserved feelings towards women in power. In fact, I have never even accepted women as clients in my investment banking career. Don’t get me wrong, I did not throw them out but I handed them down to my assistants. But I can afford that because I am not a politic :) Maybe just a pragmatic, disillusioned man who has his own view. We all know that women are stronger than men – by definition. And now this is finally accepted even in German society. I don’t believe that women do themselves a favour by standing in the limelight of power. But somehow, in our Western world, women come across more credibly, less corrupt than men. More authentic.

And this is what I am missing in politics: authenticity! You have a vision and you stand for it! And people (the voting herd) feel it! Populism will get you only that far. In times like now when things go rather well (for Germany). Well, enough of politics…

I cooked a Thai fish curry for my ex-wife last Friday. She did not like it that much and said “you have cooked better things”…fair enough! But I had bought a load of Thai herbs and veggies at my new favourite Munich Asian shop. So, I invited my neighbours for another Thai curry night today, to get rid of all the exotic greenery. I made it a red Thai chicken curry.

The sad part is that I should have started packing my bags today. The good part is that they enjoyed cooking and that my guests enjoyed my food…and Siegi, my man, delved two times into his cellar to retrieve some Bordeaux :) – I am so lucky to have such cultivated neighbours, am I not :) A bottle of “Essence” 2000 from “Dourthe”. One of the “new generation” Bordeaux wines that I have not had any connection to so far. I remember “Frères Dourthe” as a wine merchant company in my Bordeaux heydays. This “Essence”  had a very elaborate taste, heavy tannin despite its age, a full blend of aromas (you name it – the wine had it) – a wine made with the foremost technology of the new century, made by “artists” with a phd in oenology – not by old fashioned simpletons who grew into mastership by becoming alcoholics :)

The bloody wine shocked me. You know, the youngest Bordeaux wines I still have are from 1986 (the year of birth of my daughter Nina). After that I did not keep up to date with the developments in Bordeaux (could not afford to :) ). And for the last 15 years I have been focussing on Bulgarian reds! Merlot and Mavrud. This “Essence 2000″ (it did not say on the label but I guess it’s Merlot and Sauvignon) tasted like the godfather of up-market  modern Bulgarian red wines! Like we have them since maybe 2007, 2008. Boutique wines! But without a future. Too expensive for the Bulgarian market but not unique enough for the rest of the world! Well, enough of wine, as could continue forever.

The evening with my dear neighbours was lovely. They are maniacs like me. Sports and endurance – like me (well, cut out the “sports”)…I am just blessed! Having a tiny but sun-lit garden-apartment in Munich, facing  a park, the metro 100 yards in the other direction, 15 minutes to the very centre of Munich but living like in the country, peaceful, no noise, only birds. Great neighbours (not just the ones from tonight but the others as well) – and the next beer garden maybe 150 yards away! That’s what I call life!

I better go to bed now as I have a commitment to my good friend Jochen, a ruthless construction contractor from Frankfurt, to meet him at lunch at the Munich beer festival! Which means I will have to get all my bags sorted before, as I will be flying out on Wednesday morning and meeting a friend at the Oktoberfest does not guarantee you that you will be able to cope with your luggage afterwards…

See ya…!

Beginning of Autumn…

The beginning of something new is also always the end or change of something “old”. Because our capacity is limited. We cannot live all seasons at the same time. Despite that this is the goal in our modern societies: to have everything available all the time…

Personally, I consider this a poor life. A life without values, truth and without happiness. Happiness comes from modesty, from putting yourself in the context of the world around you – and from seeing things with open eyes…

Yesterday I was at the opening of the Oktoberfest, the Munich beer festival and, in fact, the biggest public festival on the planet. To my great pleasure with Gaby, my ex-wife, who came visiting for three days. The last time I was really at that festival was 39 years ago (!) – also with Gaby – back then still my future wife to be.

I was much impressed by the perfect organisation of the whole event – and by the care and attention to detail everyone is putting in it. On the other hand this year is the 180th anniversary of the festival and one might expect some experience after such a long time.

There is the huge fair ground with 14 big beer tents and innumerable rides and fun places. Overwhelming. The official opening was at noon yesterday. We arrived maybe 40 minutes later – and the beer tents were already closed due to overcrowding. Amazing!

At the far end of the Theresienwiese (that’s where the Oktoberfest takes place) there is nowadays an “Alte Wiese” – an old-fashioned version of the festival. It’s separate and you pay 3€ entrance fee. That’s where we went. This is the place for the locals. The rides were the ones I remembered from my childhood – not the nasty new ones, with 3g accelerations and oblivion in the brain. We even found two seats in a beer tent there, the “Herzkasperl Zelt”. Very nice atmosphere. Authentic Bavarian music – but also some salsa…no Japanese or other foreign tourist groups!!! – They all go to the big tents in the “modern” part. LOVELY! After a few “mass’es” of beer  we went on some of the old fashioned rides (they were all at 1€!) on our way out without spilling any liquids from inside our bodies :) Gaby and I agreed that we had a great time :)

Today I am on my own again and the countdown continues. I did all my laundry. On Friday I finally got my most valued piece of furniture, my “Liegewiese”. It is more than a sofa or couch. It is like a landscape you can arrange for the needs of the moment. You can turn it into a relaxing fun bed for several brides and yourself (or the family, if you have one), you can also turn it into comfortable seating for half-a-dozen people. I had such an animal for 30 years and left it behind. Not only because it was worn out but also because my current apartment is smaller than anything I had since puberty.

The plan was to find a nice and sophisticated sofa in Munich. Alas, in July it dawned on me that I wanted my “Quatro” and nothing else. Now I have it! The sitting room is full with it. You can’t move around in it any more. But I have my life back :)

…the most comfortable place to “live”…ever invented…

This completes the furnishing of my Munich apartment. Now I can start to hang paintings and unpack other deco items to make the flat MY personal domain. It is not so easy because I can use only very few of my things due to space restrictions. I have two marvellous table lamps – but their wide and big shades are just too huge for my small sitting room…the same will apply to paintings.

…the finishing touches will take time. It is always the same challenge with a new “home”. You have to make it reflect your personality. Which includes your attitude towards life. Which changes over time. That’s why no two of your homes every will be the same. Just look at my apartment in Bansko. Completely different from the one in Munich. Because my life in Bansko is different. The context of the people around me is different. So, I have a different attitude towards life when I am there. Well, no, that’s not really true. My attitude is the same. But the environment is different there and so are my priorities – which reflects in a “simpler” approach (but “simple” only on the surface)…

Well, the countdown continues. I did three washing machines today. Tomorrow I have to pack for Asia and organise the apartment. In my infantility I invited my neighbours for a last supper tomorrow. A Thai curry because I have  a lot of Thai herbs etc. left over that I bought on Thursday. On Tuesday, my good friend Jochen will be in Munich for business and I have agreed to take him to the beer festival. That won’t leave room for anything else on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning I will fly to Doha, then Bangkok, then Hanoi. Not much time left to sort things :)

But, that’s the way I like it: enjoying life to the brim and move on with ease (and sometimes a little head-ache).

Good night and till soon…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bayern!

Today were Bavarian state elections. Since I am in Munich I have been looking at all the posters on the streets and read all the shmere in the newspapers. The social democrats had high hopes to conquer Bavaria (with a coalition partner, of course) from the blacks, the Christian social union that has been ruling Bavaria since 1962. Their candidate for Bavarian prime minister was Mr. Ude, the most successful mayor of Munich so to say. But Munich has always been “red”, as most big towns always were since democracy came about, and Munich is not Bavaria. This is a mistake that politicians often make these days. They live in the big cities and their attitude is a “big city lifestyle” one.

The election results are, of course, not all in yet. It appears, however, that the blacks got slightly less than 50% of the votes (you know, when I was a teenager, the Christian Union under Strauss ALLWAYS had more than 50% and could do what it wanted and I felt miserable and suppressed). The 48-49% they seem to get is as good as a carte blanche. But then, in all honesty, they had it easy. The current/future prime minister Seehofer exhausted himself in his campaign by telling people: just look at Bavaria and how it fares.

And de facto Bavaria is number one in Germany in basically all categories. An island. And while I have never been a fan of (or voted for) the CSU (Christian Socialist Union) my lifelong career in the stock market has taught me one thing: never change a winning system! And the system works for Bavaria!

I just wish so dearly that I could implement some of the Bavarian attitude and formula in the “management” of Bansko. This has been my dream since I have “adopted” Bansko as the Bavarian part of Bulgaria :) – at the beginning of the new century. I have given up on it now. “Aus Gesundheitsgründen” as we say in Germany (for health reasons)…and I am sad about it because the “Bavarian way” would hold the best possible future for my beloved Bansko: tradition with a future…

As it seems, the “Free Democrats” are out of Bavarian parliament. They are my party – I will miss Frau Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger (the wife of a friend of my father’s) with who I drank many a pint at our garden parties in the past. Not because of that. She was the German minister of justice – and she was the most straight and intelligent person I have ever come across in the German cabinet. She defended private data, ages before it “leaked” that the NSA has a clear picture of everyone of us. I have NEVER seen/met such a non-corrupt politician whose sole interest is the benefit of the nation with the frames of our constitution and our values. No Guantanamo with her! In addition she is a woman! Yak!  In my personal view far beyond Thatcher, Merkel and (lately) Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia.

By the way, Brasilia! Have you noticed how many positive things have been going on in Brasilia since Roussef has taken over? No, you haven’t! Because she dares to have her own national politics without always consulting the US :) And, like it or not, our leaders, the US government, are not amused and don’t publish anything about Brasilia in their media…and as we usually mainly copy what we get from them there is an information void…

Well, I am not interested in politics. Enough of this shite now. Politics (in Western countries) is for people who are not in balance with themselves, people that are torn between desires and inferiority complexes…

Bavaria shall survive! Now that the government is reinstated, and even with a higher percentage of votes. It would not be easy for me to face their self-congratulatory faces in the coming weeks – but I am heading off for Asia in 9 days – and when I come back in December things will be back to usual…

 

 

Biding time…

Arghhh…stranded in Germany. At 10 degrees C (during the day) – and permanent rain. This even makes the fact that all the supermarkets are already stuffed with Christmas items tolerable. Somehow the Munich shops have got it slightly wrong, however. Because they are also heavily advertising the biggest beer festival on the planet, the Oktoberfest. And while in one part of the shop (Aldi, Lidl included) it’s all about gingerbread, cinnamon chocolates and so on, in another part there are big signs with the Bavarian blue and white rhombuses, advertising special Oktoberfest beers, pork knuckles and whatever else the creative sales people can come up with!

I am just not so sure if the victims (say: clients) can cope with these conflicting messages. But probably since they are used to multitasking in these modern times (surfing in the internet while watching TV and so on) they are also capable of switching between different emotional statuses with a blink of the eye ?! While none of these messages have any meaning or value left apart from inviting people to have a “good time”. And, of course, every food that is sold here these days is labelled “premium” (the premium being an extra-fat margin for the distributor (not the producer, be sure!). With the dominance of only four retail food groups in Germany (Aldi, Lidl, Edeka, Rewe) the industry has become similar to the car parts supply industry. There the big manufacturers (Mercedes, BMW, VW and so on) dictate the price for the parts – and in the food sector it’s the giant retailers that command the price for the suppliers…well, being an old stock market analyst, I could write a book here now – but that’s not what this blog is about.

This blog is about fun! About the good things in life. My life mainly :) As a reminder that everybody can have a great, happy and satisfying life, whether he/she has money or not.

Because true satisfaction comes from other people, not from things you can touch or buy. At least for people like me that are emotional and get their kicks through their minds.This includes my lust for good food. All sensual pleasures go through the brain, don’t they?!

Well, here I am now, cuddled up in my unfinished guest room/”office” in my tiny apartment in Munich (only 80 sq. m.) with a view to my garden (when it is not dark like now), sipping some excellent Bulgarian rosé wine of which I brought 5 litres, thinking summer would stay with me, instead of drinking heavy red mavrud – or a wee bottle of my remaining Bordeaux. I have to sacrifice because in 12 days I will bugger off – and when I return it will be real winter. I would not want the rosé to hang in for another year – it was not made for that.

On Wednesday my dear sister and her friend came visiting and I cooked one of my notorious “Schweinebraten” with “Semmelknödel”, and a “shopska salad” (without cheese) from the tomatoes of the Pirin Lodge garden. The two ladies had a great time but they could not cope with the 4kg of meat I roasted. Now I am forced to eat the rest all on my own. I hope to be able to finish it off tomorrow. The cold weather supports me in this.

I still have loads of tomatoes and peppers left. But I am fed up with the salad business. I am just waiting for the pork to be gone to whip up a Thai coconut fish curry in which I will use the tomatoes and peppers (or at least part of them). If that does not take care of my organic Bansko veggies I will  cook a Bulgarian “mish-mash”. This is one of the most awesome Bulgarian dishes – if the ingredients and cooking are right!

Enough about food – as I am recently on my very last stretch trousers! Giving up smoking in Vietnam last year has added to my diameter – and nothing fits any more. Yesterday I went to the Olympic Shopping Centre in Munich to buy a few new clothes to take with me to Asia. Experience showed me that while they have inexpensive quality cotton clothes in Asia – they do not have my size! Now less than ever! Better to supply myself here and then not to worry and just enjoy (cultural) life there :)

Of course, what did I see at the clothing stores and departments? Oktoberfest is coming up and everything is full with traditional Bavarian costumes and dirndls! Because, this is the law nowadays, every tourist or expat (which includes all Germans from north of the Danube) have to wear Bavarian “traditional” clothes when they go to the beer festival. Of course, these clothes have as much in common with our traditions as Disney World has with Neuschwanstein Castle :)

Modern times? Globalisation? Better times? Who cares? I don’t, because I cannot change them. I just continue my very own life according to the values and visions that I have. And, so far, I still find people who share my view on life – be it in Munich or Bansko :) Am I not a lucky s.o.b.?!

Sorry for this monologue. It was just for exercise. To get back in the writing mood before heading off to Asia :)