I'm on what I believe is the main shopping street in the city, it's wide but free of cars with shops and restaurants all along the sides. Despite being a fairly sizable city, all the shops are closed; the lights are on but the doors are locked and not a soul inside. Out in the street there are a few stragglers but otherwise it's deserted. At this hour, when the light has started to fade but the street lights have yet to turn on, the feeling of emptiness becomes profound, like the entire city is dead. And there, for a few moments, I flash back to the deserted airport with its long corridors and waiting halls nearly devoid of people. In the back of my mind I know that this is normal for Germany, but for a brief moment I can't help but think that this is due to the pandemic.
I have just left the passport checking counter and I’m walking towards my gate. I turn a corner and walk a few meters down the corridor, idly remembering what it used to be like here, and that’s when the emptiness of the place hits me with full force. There were a few other passengers at the security checkpoint, and at emigration there were the border controls officers who checked my passport but here I am all alone. The long, wide corridor with its conveyor belt walkways and information sign hanging from the ceiling, normally so busy, is completely devoid of … Read the rest
The sun is shining merrily, heating me up despite the early April chill. Across the river a marching band is playing Highway to the Danger Zone, the brass section really putting in some extra oomph. All around the cherry trees are in bloom, their flowers white with just a hint of pink; a sea of blossoms against the pale blue sky. A light breeze caresses the branches, sending some delicate petals raining down on me. It is simply a perfect moment.
The gorge is like a deep fissure in the ground, carved by the water over thousands of years. The walls are uneven, shaped by the flow of the water, with patches of moss growing here and there. In front of me is the waterfall, a stream of white water that comes crashing down into the creak below, throwing spray high into the air and filling the cave with mist that makes it nearly impossible to take a photo. I let my gaze follow the walls upwards to the small hole high above where the stream flows into the cavern. As the water tumbles over the edge it breaks into little droplets, forming clouds that billow in the air like smoke in time with the rush of air and whoosh of the water as it comes down.
The sign at the door said no photo so I’m on the balcony trying to take it all in. Below me is the main floor of the casino, a large hall with plush red carpets, brown panels on the wall that look like leather and all around the room the fixtures and fittings are polished to a golden sheen. About 50 gambling tables, topped in green or red cloth depending on the game, are spread out in the room. At each one of them sits a dealer clad in dark green a jacket, buttoned all the way up, with golden … Read the rest
Everyone has seen it in some movie or other, the cast stand in front of that fountain in Las Vegas looking at the show in front of them. This is just like that, except it’s not a movie. In front of me is a large pond bordered on this side by the promenade and on the opposite, the Wynn Palace casion with the central building right in front and the wings set at an angle like open arms welcoming you in, it’s facade bathed in a warm golden orange. From the middle of the pond dozens of water jets, lit … Read the rest
I have wandered into the central square of a European city. Around me are old, European style buildings in pastel colors, their facades covered in the kind of decorations you might see in Italy or Spain, their lower floors fronted by arcades. The ground is covered in worn down, black and white stone tiles laid out in a zebra stripe mosaic. In the center is a fountain surrounded by tourists with their cameras. It’s quite astounding how European the place looks, the only thing indicating that I’m in fact thousands of kilometers from Europe are the Chinese characters on the … Read the rest
I’m sitting here in the lift, waiting for it to bring me to the top, contemplating my situation. It’s really quite strange when you think about it, you travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometers to some small town somewhere where everything is overpriced. When you get there you spend a large portion of your time sitting in a chair that’s suspended several meters above the ground with nothing but a thin metal bar keeping you from falling out, and you get get slowly pulled towards the top of the hill, all the while being exposed to the elements. When … Read the rest
The walkway is raised above the road, allowing pedestrians to navigate the streets without having to deal with the heavy Hong Kong traffic. It’s a couple of meters wide and covered but with open sides, and follows the street for several hundred meters, branching off here and there to follow the smaller side streets. Normally it’s nothing special, just a convenient way to get around, but today is Sunday, when all of Hong Kong’s maids (most of them Malaysian migrant workers) have their day off. Since they have no place of their own they can’t go home, and since Hong … Read the rest
The room looks like the basement of a school or something, thats been temporarily converted to a disco; an open space with low ceiling, bare white walls and a couple of support pillars. Against the back wall is a DJ booth on a raised platform and behind it, the letters “XXX” painted in white on a black background. On the left wall is an LED matrix display showing the words “Absurd TRAX – dj sniff”, and on the right wall is powerful light. The entire place is awash in red and blue light and the air is imbued with the … Read the rest