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Trip Around the World

Flight

01airplane
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.
01globe
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

01ibis
Today, our flight to Auckland is 6h late. Air Malaysia gives us a free stay at Ibis. Besides, EU law grants us 600€ compensation...

Auckland

02auckland
Welcome to New Zealand! We arrive after 30 hours of flight, and plane changes in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
02flag
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.
02house
People are refreshingly friendly, but without being invasive or superficial - much like in Canada and Australia. The architecture looks similar to California's.

Christchurch

03center
Christchurch was badly damaged in the 2012 earthquake. The entire city center is destroyed, only the ugly buildings survived.
03church
The church is in a desperate state. The same is true for the building.
03nice
But some areas were nicely restored, even with a pedestrian zone.

On the road

04road
Today, we are on the road.
04lake
We pass by lakes...
04river
... and rivers.
04sheep
New Zealand's economy is mainly based on agriculture.
04nivea
This means that almost everything else has to be imported. This creme sells for 10 € - more than twice the price in Germany.

Milford Sound

05milford
Milford Sound is a fiord landscape. A kind of sub-tropical Norway.
05summary
It is overrated in my view, so this picture is a summary: Clouds, mountains, waterfalls, seals, and fiords.

Hike

06fungi
We go on a hike to the Key Summit.
06moos
70% of the flora is unique to New Zealand. Here are some examples.
06summit
The Key Summit is the watershed for 3 rivers.
06mirrorview
The mirror lake has its name for obvious reasons.
06mirror
(The log is inside the water, the clouds are not)

Lake day

07ducks
We are on our way North.
07queenstown
New Zealand has no shortage of lakes. This was the one we saw from our hotel room in Queenstown.
07waterfall
Apparently, they produce the water in this type of waterfalls.
07lake
Then they use it to fill up the lakes (here: Lake Hawea).

Franz Joseph Glacier

08heli
We go by helicopter to the Franz Joseph Glacier. (No worries, the pilot is the person on the right.)
08glacier
We land on the glacier...
08squeeze
...squeeze through the ice...

Picture by Nicoleta Preda

08view
...to see mountains of snow and rock...
08bizarre
...and bizarre formations of ice.

Picture by Nicoleta Preda

Trip to Murchison

09cows
We leave Franz Joseph and are on our way North.
09bridge
This bridge serves traffic both ways plus an active railway.
09river
We pass by mountains and rivers...
09lodge
...to arrive at our lodge in Murchison.

Abel Tasman

10view
Today, we visit the Abel Tasman National Park,
10beach
a place with really nice beaches,
10trees
really cool vegetation,
10stone
and really blue water.

Wellington

11wellington
We arrive in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
11old
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).
11stairs
This beautiful material allows for magnificent interiors.
11new
The new government building is entirely made of concrete. This beautiful material allows for... Well, forget it :-)

Huka Falls

12road
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.
12waterfall
The Huka Falls carry 200,000 liters of water. Per second.
12water
The enclosed air bubbles amplify the blue color of the water.

Waiotapu

13view
We are now in the geothermal area of Waiotapu. These smokes come from hot springs spread across the area.
13small
Small hot springs like these spit out boiling water.
13mud
There is a also a mud version of this available...
13champagne
... as well as a colored version.
13ground
Sulfur, graphite, and iron color the ground.

Te Puia

14geysir
The Pohutu geysir erupts once an hour. Most things here have Maori names. The Maori are reasonably well integrated.
14maori
They appear not just in this museum, but across society, with high intermarriage rates.
14swan
We are happy to refute the theory that all swans are white by this counterexample.
14cows
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

15glow
These tiny white dots are glowworms. They attract insects with their light...
15worms
... 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.
15stal
The caves also have some of the more classical formations.

Flight to San Francisco

16plane
Nicoleta goes back to Paris with an Air Malaysia Boeing 777 (but a different one).
16wipolo
I have a conference in Stanford. Hence, I continue right away to California.

Picture by Wipolo

16flight
I leave at 19:00 and arrive the same day at 12:00 noon. So I became 7 hours younger. Picture shows San Francisco.

California

17palm
Welcome to California! This is a great place to be, with fantastic weather,
17stanford
top-notch institutions (here: Stanford University),
17food
and tasty and healthy food (healthy part on the right).
17arch
The architecture is similar to New Zealand's. I am taking the opportunity to meet friends from my Silicon Valley time.

Workshop

18stanford
I give an invited talk at Stanford at the workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge.
18slide
This workshop brings together nearly all important researchers in the area of computer knowledge (plus myself).

San Francisco

19goldengate
Welcome to San Francisco!
19goldensun
The Navy demanded that the Golden Gate Bridge be painted in yellow and black, so as to prevent ship collisions. Fortunately, red prevailed.
19houses
San Francisco has a beautiful mix of architecture.
19cable
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

20yahoo
Today is Search Engine Day. I give a talk at Yahoo,...
20microsoft
...visit my former colleagues at Microsoft Search Labs...
20google
... and meet friends at Google, ...
20all
... which accumulates access stickers.

Silicon Valley

21projects
Many things in Silicon Valley seem transient. A large number of projects are considered hot, but are then discontinued.
21companies
75% of startup companies fail.

Picture from Wikipedia

21oakwood
Ownership seems transitory, ...
21house
as seem houses.
21historic
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.
21france
France seems to be the opposite in that respect.
21french
Although in some things, the US...
21english
...and France appear strikingly similar.
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