Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Isle

Here are some memories from our vacation in January. I wrote this post a while ago and stumbled upont it the other day, when I was sleepless and started writing this blog again. I was surprised by the number of posts I already had written and found some unpublished ones, one about liposomes (how boring).  

We started the new year with a trip to Kaua'i. Being spoiled, I hardly could imagine, that it could be prettier than San Diego. However, as soon as we landed I joined the oohs and aahs that were advertised in the travel guide (which I was accused to be married to). The green mountains that rise at the periphery of the island invite you to build a tree house and be a cast away. Each time I gaze at them I dream away into their green wilderness.

My next favorite were the roosters and chicken that run free across the whole island. Why they run free? Our tour guide joked that the hurricane "Ikini" blew away all the chicken cages and since then they run free. They don't have any predators on the island and so they stroll free. Also absent were poisonous spiders or snakes, which makes the island even more attractive. The roosters start early in the morning with their cock-a-doodle-doo (the German word for that sound is kikeriki) and keep going the whole day. Of course Kaua'i is famous for its many sea birds and tropical birds, but I find the chicken very charming. 

We went on many hiking trips to see the Na'pali coast, water falls and the "Little Grand Canyon". We zipped above the crowns of the forest, canoed along the river from Indiana Jones movies, jumped in swimming wholes and were eaten up by mosquitos. As some of you might know, Kaua'i is the scene of many movies and our guide motivated the rather shy women in the group to swing into the same swimming hole as Johnny Depp jumped into in one of the many Pirates of the Caribbean movies. 

Really troublesome are the Hawaiian words. Everything sounds the same and it is really difficult to keep a name in mind. The Hawaiian alphabet has only 12 letters: a,e,i,o,u,h,k,l,m,n,p,w. The most famous hawaiian related word you might know is wiki, which stems from the word wikiwiki - quick, fast, but is now better know as a website that can be collectively edited. Of course Aloha is also widely known. 

What is surprising in Kaua'i? For me the architecture. You might expect some traditional indigenous buildings, instead you find small wild western towns. Saloon style wooden houses garnish the two, sometimes three lane roads. The architecture also perfectly reflects the laid back mentality of Kaua'i. Only after a few days we passed a Wallmart and a Macy's, after all Hawaii is a US state. The travel guide clearly warns you to refer to the other states as the "mainland" and not as "back home"! But as a foreigner I may be allowed to be a little bit politically incorrect.  

If you ever have the chance you should go and see a little bit of paradise....

Thursday, June 14, 2012


It seems my blog is outdated, because I have not written a new post in almost a year. This was pointed out to me a little while ago by my good friend Catje, who diligently posts a new blog entry every day and is rewarded with many followers. Even the layout of blogger seems all changed since I last logged in. To be honest, I was missing writing my blog, but I also found myself in changing moods and did not want to spread them on the internet.

However, yesterday I saw a TED talk by Neil Pasricha, who also started a blog in times of feeling blue but telling the world about awesome encounters in his life. One day, after he already had thousands of followers, he got a phone call that he was awarded with a prize for the best blog in the world. Which he published into a #1 bestseller as well. Now this is not my ambition, but it reminded me again that I should pick up writing once more and see if the handful of followers still remember me. More than inspiring, the talk and blog was actually amusing to me, thinking of my two dutch friends who find that awesome is "such an american thing". Well, it is...

Since a few weeks I suffer from insomnia, also tonight. I tried TV, reading a book, trying to meditate and even working for some time. Loosing hope I wanted to revert to my last secret recipe: audiobooks. The audiobook I usually abuse for this cause is called: Die Seide (silk), a kind gift from my dear roommate from Utrecht. I listened to this book thousands of times and it is the most awesome thing to help you fall asleep. Not that the story is not interesting, I actually took the time to listen through the whole drama once, however, I was satisfied with knowing only a few minutes for at least two years. Althoug its impact is starting to wear off.

So just a few minutes ago, deciding to use my last resort to get some sleep before my alarm clock would go off, I had the whim to try a new book. One in English, so I would learn something. I turned to itunes, choose a book appealing to me and click, bought it. The download only took a second. That was strange, before I had to wait minutes to download the hours of lulling background noise. Something must be wrong, which brings me back to my title. I downloaded a book, not an audiobook. How annoying. I can read the book only on a mobile device, why not on an old fashioned computer? I don't have a mobile device so sophisticated that it can display books, only only numbers. I even did not anticipated that itunes, as the name would imply has to do something with sound, could have books other than audiobooks.

After having spent a fortune for my useless book, but not wanting to give up I downloaded good old Sherlock Holmes for only three bucks. So while waiting for the download of my new sleeping pill to be finished, I thought now is the time to write my blog....