Mountain cable car in Guilin, Yaoberg, China and Li river

We had heaps of fun borading the cable car that goes up the hill Yaoberg. Actually, we had even more fun calling out to the Chinese children (and grown-ups) coming down the hill “Hello! How are you?” and listening to their delighted giggles when practicing their bit of English. Also it was refreshing having the cool breeze on the cable car after the heat farther down in the tea plantation.

We then went aboard a larger tourist boat to see the landscape of the Li river. As usual, we Germans were stared at a lot by the friendly Chinese. Many asked us to pose for a photo with them. Most speak quite passable English and we enjoyed the cultural exchange. We especially loved the bizarre mountain formations on both sides of the Li river.

In the evening we went to Guilin to see a dance show depicting the river, the rice planters, the rowers etc., with fusion music and hundreds of dancers with long, billowing, colorful scarves and local costumes with heavy silver headdresses.

Guilin is a quaint little town with market stalls and street vendors and even some “German” restaurants in one street. The Sauerkraut and sausages and beer tasted quite like the original. Of course, this quarter is rather “touristy”, but fun in its own way. Some Chinese ladies were wearing traditional costumes from different regions.

Total ticketing tourist tricksters

Okay, my Austrian girlfriend had put this tick into my ear: you ought to go to Bregenz and see the See. No, sorry, see the lake-theater (German: Seebühne) built right into the water. How cool can you get! Very!!

Yes, I can very much recommend it if you like Austria (CHECK, our backyard, unless our politicians come up with stupid ideas),

 

if you like operas (CHECK, especially if hubby is more into the mainstream operatic ones featuring real songs he can sing) (can he sing?),

if you don’t mind being cramped up for about 2 1/2 hours on the hard plastic seat (CHECK, don’t forget fat cushions and yoga class beforehand) (forget about breaks or walking or standing up in between),

if you had a yummy dinner (CHECK CHECK at La Scarpetta in Dornbirn and the Kleines Gasthaus am See, bliss, except fot the three screechers & wailers whose parents couldn’t care less about their offspring’s wails),

So, if you don’t mind all the above- mentioned things, then a weekend trip from Munich to Bregenz (about 2 1/2 hours cramped in a car) and lots of extra cash is just the thing!

Our Travel Agency took out a chuck by charging our credit card the minute we booked with them.- that is a NO-NO. Normally, your card gets charged for 20%  immediately as a kind of promise and the rest about a week or two ahead of the event. Our agency  pretended now to know about this etiquette, but I had a long talk with them. After all, there such things as a Terminüberweisung and the bank will make sure the money is transferred right on time.

The hotel chosen in Dornbirn was the right size and category and not too far off from the Seebühne, about 20 km along the B 190, but had definitely seen better days and did NOT have AC. Nor did it have appeal. However, it boasts a very good breakfast, albeit missing the more expensive choices, but I don’t breakfast that much anyway, and the employees are nice and offer cushions and shuttle bus and those things you didn’t know you’d need.

Our escapism took us first to the interesting Rolls-Royce museum in Gütle (8,-€ adult), then the Seilbahn/ incline up the Karren of Gütle (Oh yes, the view iS WORTH it! free overlook in plastic over the precipice) and a great lunch of Lumpensalat (a sausage – cheese – red-onion- vinegar – oil dressing kind) with good beer and even better Almdudler (what? you don’t know the famous lemonade with herbs?).

The hot afternoon was spent in the Waldbad / Gütleright next to the river or creek without much water in this drought, but interestingly full of big and small smooth rocks and pebbles. The Waldbad offers many treats for families, well run.

 

 

“Carmen” by Bizet is most certainly in all the operatic books and Wiki. The scoop was the fantastic Bühnenbild/ backdrop done by a lady from London with two gigantic hands tossing the cards of fate. At times, the cards will be lowered at ground level to go partially underwater, so the crowd gets emphatic with skirt tossing and head banging and running and splashing each other, which is just the build-up of suspense to Carmen’s tragic end (how did the singer manage that death scene???) – no, I’m not cheating, you go there yourself, please!

 

 

 

 

Bullying and histrionics

Be the girl on the right! is the caption of a pic with 5 little ballet girls at the barre. The one on the right refuses to do exactly what she is told. She is “told off” by her teacher.

IMG-20160104-be the girl on right

Marguerite, Margarethe or Gretchen from Faust and Marguerite (1900) also stands on the right. She is unsure of what to do:

„Nun sag, wie hast du’s mit der Religion? Du bist ein herzlich guter Mann, allein ich glaub, du hältst nicht viel davon.“  Goethe has her ask the seducer. When she decides to trust Faust, she is sorely betrayed and shall later kill the newborn ‘child’ – whom I also see as a symbol of her feelings of guilt and shame.

Have you ever considered the fact that your boss might be using the exact same ploy to “seduce” his employees to do exactly what they are told? Nowadays, such behavior is no longer considered seducing, but bullying. However, if any one individual offers a piece of constructive criticism, he/ she is immediately quashed?

Vae victi! We alle know what the consequences are, such as burnout, di-stress (as compared to eu-stress), feelings of insecurity and angst. Of guilt and shame that we are no longer standing up to our own convictions, but meekly accepting another ambitious person’s will  –  voluntas  –  over our own. Of no longer believing in ourselves!

When I hit upon the word HISTRIONICS on OWAD (One Word A Day, Paul does a fine job) the other day, I had to laugh, the definitions and examples reminded me sooo much of a certain person. A person I had trusted, believed in, considered a role-model for many years,  who suddenly turned the tables.

The word histrionics was either formed from the English histrion, meaning actor, or it was borrowed from the Late Latin histrionicus, which also referred to an actor, theatrics or pretence. (…)
Histrionics, which at its core means overly dramatic and superficial behaviour, can be a useful skill if one has chosen an acting career. On the other hand, for the layperson it can lead to a personality disorder called HPD, or Histrionics Personality Disorder.
(source: https://owad.de/)

How can you get out of this emotional turmoil?

Step One: Listen closely to what that person says and analyze the underlying meaning of those words. Did I accept these words at face value? Or was the said person’s intention quite another?  Write down those typical quotes and try to look at them from different angles.

Polonius: What do you read, my lord?      Hamlet: Words, words, words.

Step Two: Believe in yourself, your personality, your talents, your life’s goals again. No matter what anybody says to or about you. So what if you do not live up to someone else’s expectations? All it means is that you and him/ her were not meant to be – it takes two to tango. Find some more congenial surroundings, another job, another place, another hobby, other soulmates.

Step Three:  (The hard part!) Be patient. It took me many years to come to the realization that I hadn’t been the one with the problem, but that bully!  Start by feeling sorry for that person –  and then forget him/ her ASAP (as soon as possible). The feeling of relief is immense, be assured!

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pinchpot

So, now you can pretty well do as you like. My therapy was / is ballet and gym, music and instrumental lessons, choir, arts and crafts, friends’ support, being with children who are more spontaneous than adults : “Kinder und Narren sagen die Wahrheit” (Children and fools speak the truth).

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Don’t we all wish for a Happy End? Thankfully, I have found my Prince Charming   –  and my peace of mind.

Cuba – son, ron and cajón

“Havanna na-na-na”…. my new favorite. If you have just read my previous blog about my cajón, a large wooden percussion instrument you sit on and beat grooves with, then you will know that I fell in love with just about everything Spanish, Hispanic, mozárabe and Cuba in 2004.

Fidel Castro was still alive and featured on every wall that didn’t already have Che on it, Raúl was in the sidelines, US citizens were not allowed in, the embargo was still on, most Cubans worked for next to nothing in Cuban pesos and got a bit more in US dollars if they could work for tourism. Basic food stuffs, such as rice, black beans, milk and sugar were still rationed out on miniature cards, all our tourist guides were academics, engineers, teachers and the like. Those who had studied mathematics in Chemnitz or medicine in Leipzig or Russian in Moscow all needed a sponsor to enable their studies in East Germany or Russia. The Fifties still reign supreme in La Habana : those cool cruisers, the famous Tropicana, the cigar factories you may not carry bags into, the rum shops, “Granma” and other Castro vehicles from the Bahía de los Cochinos, the decaying houses with crazy electric wiring owned by colorfully clothed Cubans who cannot even pay for a bag of cement – which, historically, was a donation by Honecker in exchange for oranges too bitter for the Eastern Germans’ taste. The guagua (public bus) still comes around at odd hours – provided there is enough gasoline from Venezuela and spare parts from former Soviet trucks.

Notwithstanding, there is nothing more beautiful than watching Cubans dance to the son rhythm, hearing musicians play Buena Vista songs, observing affluent tourists smoke a fat cigar, breathing the salty, heavily scented, hot, humid air, standing in a cloudburst in Cienfuegos, miraculously evaporating in less than 20 minutes, watching laughing children jump into the saltos (waterfalls) and slide into the cool water below, sipping a pina colada or mojito and savoring the sunset in a tropical garden. Qué hermosa es.