All pictures © Fabian M. Suchanek
Trip Around the World
One year ago, we went to Australia. Our plane was 10 hours late. EU law grants us 600€ compensation. Air Malaysia refused, saying the delay was an act of God.
But they gave us a free ticket to go anywhere. Anywhere? We chose the farthest point an airplane can go from Paris: Auckland "
Image from VectorTemplates
Today, our flight to Auckland is 6h late. Air Malaysia gives us a free stay at Ibis. Besides, EU law grants us 600€ compensation...
Welcome to New Zealand! We arrive after 30 hours of flight, and plane changes in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
For my readers in the northern hemisphere, I have turned all pictures around. 1/3 of New Zealand's people live in Auckland, the largest city.
People are refreshingly friendly, but without being invasive or superficial - much like in Canada and Australia. The architecture looks similar to California's.
Christchurch was badly damaged in the 2012 earthquake. The entire city center is destroyed, only the ugly buildings survived.
The church is in a desperate state. The same is true for the building.
But some areas were nicely restored, even with a pedestrian zone.
On the road
Today, we are on the road.
We pass by lakes...
... and rivers.
New Zealand's economy is mainly based on agriculture.
This means that almost everything else has to be imported. This creme sells for 10 € - more than twice the price in Germany.
Milford Sound is a fiord landscape. A kind of sub-tropical Norway.
It is overrated in my view, so this picture is a summary: Clouds, mountains, waterfalls, seals, and fiords.
We go on a hike to the Key Summit.
70% of the flora is unique to New Zealand. Here are some examples.
The Key Summit is the watershed for 3 rivers.
The mirror lake has its name for obvious reasons.
(The log is inside the water, the clouds are not)
We are on our way North.
New Zealand has no shortage of lakes. This was the one we saw from our hotel room in Queenstown.
Apparently, they produce the water in this type of waterfalls.
Then they use it to fill up the lakes (here: Lake Hawea).
Franz Joseph Glacier
We go by helicopter to the Franz Joseph Glacier. (No worries, the pilot is the person on the right.)
We land on the glacier...
...squeeze through the ice...
Picture by Nicoleta Preda
...to see mountains of snow and rock...
...and bizarre formations of ice.
Picture by Nicoleta Preda
Trip to Murchison
We leave Franz Joseph and are on our way North.
This bridge serves traffic both ways plus an active railway.
We pass by mountains and rivers...
...to arrive at our lodge in Murchison.
Today, we visit the Abel Tasman National Park,
a place with really nice beaches,
really cool vegetation,
and really blue water.
We arrive in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
To protect against earthquakes, Wellington's old government buildings are entirely made of wood (yes, that's right, what you see here is a wooden building).
This beautiful material allows for magnificent interiors.
The new government building is entirely made of concrete. This beautiful material allows for... Well, forget it :-)
Following the advice of a friend, we are touring New Zealand from the South to the North. Since nearly everybody else does it vice versa, we have free roads our way.
The Huka Falls carry 200,000 liters of water. Per second.
The enclosed air bubbles amplify the blue color of the water.
We are now in the geothermal area of Waiotapu. These smokes come from hot springs spread across the area.
Small hot springs like these spit out boiling water.
There is a also a mud version of this available...
... as well as a colored version.
Sulfur, graphite, and iron color the ground.
The Pohutu geysir erupts once an hour. Most things here have Maori names. The Maori are reasonably well integrated.
They appear not just in this museum, but across society, with high intermarriage rates.
We are happy to refute the theory that all swans are white by this counterexample.
We are also happy to refute the theory that all cows are purple by these examples. Note that they eat not grass, but salad - that may be the reason.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
These tiny white dots are glowworms. They attract insects with their light...
... and catch them by sticky strings. Glowworms are the size of a match and very ugly. That is probably why they prefer to live in the dark.
The caves also have some of the more classical formations.
Flight to San Francisco
Nicoleta goes back to Paris with an Air Malaysia Boeing 777 (but a different one).
I have a conference in Stanford. Hence, I continue right away to California.
Picture by Wipolo
I leave at 19:00 and arrive the same day at 12:00 noon. So I became 7 hours younger. Picture shows San Francisco.
Welcome to California! This is a great place to be, with fantastic weather,
top-notch institutions (here: Stanford University),
and tasty and healthy food (healthy part on the right).
The architecture is similar to New Zealand's. I am taking the opportunity to meet friends from my Silicon Valley time.
I give an invited talk at Stanford at the workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge.
This workshop brings together nearly all important researchers in the area of computer knowledge (plus myself).
Welcome to San Francisco!
The Navy demanded that the Golden Gate Bridge be painted in yellow and black, so as to prevent ship collisions. Fortunately, red prevailed.
San Francisco has a beautiful mix of architecture.
Cable cars have no motor, but are pulled up and down the hills by a cable than runs under the street. (Background: Alcatraz)
Search Engine Day
Today is Search Engine Day. I give a talk at Yahoo,...
...visit my former colleagues at Microsoft Search Labs...
... and meet friends at Google, ...
... which accumulates access stickers.
Many things in Silicon Valley seem transient. A large number of projects are considered hot, but are then discontinued.
75% of startup companies fail.
Picture from Wikipedia
Ownership seems transitory, ...
as seem houses.
Maybe that is the reason for a desire for continuity, roots, and history. It seems that Silicon Valley can be proud of its future, but searches its past.
France seems to be the opposite in that respect.
Although in some things, the US...
...and France appear strikingly similar.
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