Eagles and Angels 
Monday, 06 .June, 2005, 19:27 - English Entries, Literature

During the flights to and from Canada and the stay in Quebec I read the German version of Eagles and Angels (German edition: Adler und Engel) of Juli Zeh

It is hard to judge this book. Juli Zeh is a German writer and she for sure has the most poetic language that I have read in any modern German book. The book is never anything like boring - it is a crime and a brutal love story (nothing romantic for sure), it is the European version of a drug delirium report and the disillusioned selfexamination of a man willing to die but not knowing how to do. Yes, it is not exactly a funny story - you better read Harry Potter if you dislike the thought that people on the edge do really exist in your country.

Zehs language, as already said, is pure gold. She puts sentences, paragraphs, chapters one after the other and every metaphor hits right into the back of the brain, makes it impossible not to listen further to the words. One could say this is brilliant, that is for sure right, but most of all this is new and daring. This is a tongue never tried for such purposes.

The characters are all described with the care that they need, because they are all maniacs, drug addicts, self-centred and mentally ill. The perfect community for a good read. Frustration about life and society drops from every page, mixes with Zehs sarcastic humor and the few true feelings that are left for overfed and bored-to-death consumers.

I do not know how Juli Zeh (22 years old) found out about the lightless depths of a middle-aged mans mind. Her descriptions of the main characters thoughts are in many places well-known to me. It makes me afraid to see that a mans mind seems to be so obvious to a 22 year old woman.

But this is where the fascination is in this book: in the words and the personalities. The story is good, but the more it comes to an end it seems constructed. The whole case has one or two coincidences too many, the bigger background picture just seems too unrealistic. The story leapes over the beautiful frame of the book and leaves a strange taste.

Nevertheless a book for sure worth reading. If it would not be summer, it would get 10 out of 10 points, as it is so beautifully depressed. But the temperatures are over zero, so I am only able to give 8 out of 10.

And for those of you who know and love Vienna I especially recommend this book. The bigger part of it is settled in the Austrian capital. There are sentences that describe the city better than anything read or heard up till now. One example may be allowed "The city lay flat like a person awaiting death from fever, without movement, dryed out, halluzinating under the surface" (see German edition, page 97, last paragraph).



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The Meeting Room 
Wednesday, 01 .June, 2005, 19:26 - English Entries, Thoughts


For meetings that go on over several days, only one meeting room exists in time and space. That room has seeral rows of tables and chairs, a white projection screen and no windows. Sometimes there are microfones on the tables, sometimes they are located on the walkway between the tables. Sometimes there is a carafe of water on every table, sometimes you can get water in the back of the room. These things change from meeting to meeting, but that is only done to make the participants think, they would sit in a different meeting room than last time. But that is not true. It is always the same.

Usually outside the meeting room the sun is shining. That's why there are no windows. An urban legend reports, that there once was a meeting room with a window front, but the curtains were closed all the time in order to make the projected picture of a laptop screen visible for the participants.


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Notes from Quebeck City 
Tuesday, 31 .May, 2005, 19:07 - English Entries, Travel, Photographs

Greetings from Quebec City, Canada, where I arrived yesterday evening and will stay until Friday evening.

The flight yesterday was very relaxing - no hurries, no troubles, just go to Vantaa airport, check in, fly to Munich, change the gate, fly to Montreal. I took a car and went from Montreal to Quebeck city in something around three hours. The street was straight, the music good, the night fell gently and what was visible from the land gave the eye enough room to let loose any wrong thought into the far distance.


Note: This is still (somehow) Canada...


...but certainly not a typcial Northern American City

Today I have one of these inbetween days. The meeting starts tomorrow, the working day ended in Europe when I opend my eyes. Looking down from the 20th floor, where my room is located, on the world showed me that everything here is golden in the sunlight. There seemed to be also enough wind to move the flags in an adequate way for taking pictures of them.


The Parliament

After a long breakfast I took a walk into the old city and sat down at the promenade that follows the river Saint Laurent. An couple was singing jazz songs, the guy played the saxophone, people were walking. I started wondering whether my mind got severly damaged at some point, as the last weeks had so many nice days, but then decided that such illusions arise from the beginning of the summer time. Knowing that everything was fine with my mind helped me to walk the promenade further down.


The Promenade and View from it

There are certain questions that come to my mind. One is, why do people work. I know there are some smart answers to this question - they better exist - but I just forgot them while strolling around through the park here. Our ancestors worked for tens of thousands of years. On days like these it seems time for a big break - just some two hundred years of leaning back and forgetting about the skin cancer that one can get from sun rays and all the other things that extend our lives until we all feel miserable and fall off the tree. Let's just rot in the sun.


Local Artists

Time did not move forward. The sund stood for several hours at its highest point and only the pages of the book, that I currently read, turned over the minutes.

People are talking French here in a way as the Americans talk English. I do not speak French at all, but the language sounds different here than in France.

There is more to come - but don't hope for anything reasonable.


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Theresa visits Helsinki - part 2 
Sunday, 29 .May, 2005, 19:06 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Photographs, Family

Yesterday we were able to fulfill the most important task of the whole week. We again walked to Seurasaari and looked out for the crazy squirrels. First they did not show up and a major desaster was already approaching the little island and our day. After a coffee I was finally willing to go to the center of the island. I first refused to do so because ... well, we were there the second time in a week. Anyhow, we went (of course) and found the squirrels (of course) and after a little training Theresa was able to feed one of them (wow!!).


Feeding Squirrels

Also on Seurasaari we saw a men who fed the birds from out of his hand. He just stood there, whistled, held his hand full of nuts out and the birds were coming and picking the nuts. He was really happy and surprised about that, he told me in Finish and although I do not speak the local language it was obvious what he was trying to say.


Feeding Birds


Windmills of my mind

We went by bus (#24) to city center, where I bought a set of cycle maps at Stockmann - the biggest department store in Helsinki. They had exactly what I wanted and the day became better and better. We had sun, a little bit of wind - everything was perfect.

During the next hours we walked around 10 kilometers through Helsinki. From the Esplanad, where we saw and listened to a xylophone player, to Eira and into Kaivopuisto. We tried to eat in the restaurant in the park, but it was looking so expensive that we escaped, further along the shore until we reached Karuselli where we eat sandwiches and I had coffee.


Music in the streets

But the Karuselli could not hold us - on we walked, right through the middle of Ruholahti until we reached the Hietaniemi cementary. Theresas feet began to hurt and we made another break. She was brave and when we came to Hietaniemi beach every pain was forgotten and we made it happily to my home in Töölö.



All around Helsinki


On the Beach

After that we both know all the hidden paths and secret ways through Helsinki - we walked where no bike has ever gone.

The evening again was filled with musik (Avril Lavigne - sk8er boi, Beatley - Help and Penny Lane, Abba - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Mama Mia and Money, Money, Money, Tocotronic - Pure Vernunft darf niemals siegen, Die Welt kann mich nicht mehr verstehn und Es ist einfach Rockmusik) and long talks about cycling tours and other religous phenomenons.

Unfortunately I thought Theresas plane would leave around 16:00 today. It left already at 13:25 and so we were in quite a hurry in the morning. But everything went well and I brought her to the airport in time.

It was a great time - everything was just right and the sun gave her blessings.


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Theresa visits Helsinki - part 1 
Friday, 27 .May, 2005, 19:04 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Photographs, Family

My bike went to the bike shop for repaire on Wednesday - it will be ready on Tuesday June the 7th, which is two days after I'll come back from Canada. Fine fine.

I'm currently on holiday. My daughter Theresa (12 years) is visiting me and we are both taking loads of pictures all over Helsinki. These will go into a separate German blog - but some I decided to put here with a short report.


Theresas Arrival at Helsinki Airport

On Wednesday we visited Seurasaari, an outdoor mueseum on a beautiful Island in Western Helsinki. We just had a relaxed day there. The squirrels there are very daring and Theresa enjoyed feeding them.


A lake on Seurasaari and our contribution to the Einstein Year 2005


Some wooden houses on the island of Seurasaaari

Afterwards we went to Hotel Torni, which offers one of the best views over Helsinkis city center.



View over Helsinki from Hotel Torni

Thursday the weather was good but very windy and therefore quite cold. We went to the Suomenlinna sea fortress by boat and took a walk over the island. It was nice, but after two hours we felt tired from walking around all the time and decided to go back home.


Inside Suomenlinna Fortress


Anybody home?


The young girl and the sea

More Information about Suomenlinna can be found on the Suomenlinna Website. Impressive picutres of the seafortress, with Helsinki in the background, can be found here and here.

Today the wind had more mercy and we went to see the Zoo at Korkeasaari island. A good place to visit not only for children. Again we went by boat there.


Korkeasaari - Another beautiful Island


The Watchtower on Korkeasaari


Sourrounded by Dangerous Animals


A real Kangoroo (I did not see one in Australia)

Helsinki in summer: there's no better place to be!


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