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Aloha Kona!

In Sina's Posts, Tamás' Posts, Trips on May 29, 2012 by SN

Many people told us that Hawai‘i is beautiful: Colleagues, TV shows or films, and vintage postcards, etc. But they were all wrong. Hawai‘i is simply STUNNING!

The flight from Los Angeles LAX over the Pacific took 5,5 hours. The only color combination we saw during the flight was blue-white-blue, ocean-clouds-ocean. Flying to a random island in the Pacific Ocean is indeed a bit different from flying from continent to continent. Our first sign of Big Island was the dark blue top of the Mauna Kea, the highest mountain and volcano of our destination. The mountain top throned majestically above a sea of water and clouds in the yellow afternoon sky. As we got closer, Mauna Kea revealed its real brown color and we got a clear view of the observatories on its summit. We flew around the island to see fresh green grass, waving palm trees, and dark lava fields from the early 1800s eruption until we landed at the airport which is a mere agglomeration of tropical pavilions.

Tropical Paradise by the Sea: Kona Magic Sands Resort

Our crib Kona Magic Sands is located right next to the Magic Sands Beach with its own swimming pool and palm-tree lined terrace. It is as close to the ocean as you can get, as you can see. In fact, we heard this complex could not have been build as it is today, because new tsunami-related construction rules supposedly exist. At least we have tsunami sirens and the hills are right behind us ;)

Almost to Ourselves, Especially During the Week.

The Pacific waves are very prominent at this ocean-front condo, they put us to sleep at night and wake us up in the morning. Alice, our landlord provided us with everything we need: spices for meals, snorkel gear for the beach, and even a medium-sized library with all things Hawaiian. The first book we both read was Mark Twain in Hawaii: RoughingItIntheSandwichIslands, a collection of newspaper essays he wrote during his stay on the islands in 1866. Even the fridge was filled with two beers and sparkling wine. Whoever claimed „Es gibt kein Bier auf Hawaii“ was just fundamentally wrong and did not know what he was talking about. Our crib is absolutely fabulous and upon entering the condo, I already thought about when and how I could get back here in the future.

The Adjacent Magic Sands Beach at Night.


Kona Magic Sands on Dwellable

Photos

Cubist Perspectives: Vicky, Kevin, and Sina as Art Objects.

Shout Outs to Vicky and Kevin for their wonderful hospitality. Shout Outs to Elizabeth for kindly connecting us with each other!

I really enjoyed my stay in El Paso!

Be Your Own Artwork: El Paso Art Afternoon.

on May 28, 2012 by SN

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Articles

La Frontera/Borderlands: Observations in El Paso, TX.

In Sina's Posts, Trips on May 27, 2012 by SN

Before we post more on our Hawai’ian dream getaway, let me quickly wrap up the last stop on my Texas Trail. El Paso is the Western-most part of Texas, squeezed between the cactus-littered Franklin Mountains, the state of New Mexico, and the country of Mexico. Poor El Paso! Indeed, the 650,000 people city does not really feel like Texas or at times even the United States for that matter. The landscape looks like it was taken from a Western movie, the language and the street signs are predominantly Spanish, and almost all of the residents are Hispanics. The desert city is certainly a lot different from the Metroplex Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, but also San Antonio.

“Western Landscape”: Franklin Mountains.

The border was the most defining spacial marker during my stay in this sprawling desert city. When I met up with my dear friend Beth’s brother Kevin and his wife Vicky for dinner in the northwestern part, the bus drove on the I-10, which runs along the cute Rio Bravo/Rio Grande, the river that marks the U.S.-Mexican border. It is amazing to see how close the border is while it keeps people apart at the same time. The 1.3-million city Cuidad Juárez right across the border basically forms the other half of this giant sprawling ocean of low-rise houses sparkling in the sun.

Borderlands: El Paso (lower left) and Ciudad Juárez (upper right) Divided By the Concrete Channel of the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande.

El Paso and Ciudad Juárez are like urban desert twins separated by a huge concrete channel aka. the border. Although they appear to be from the same family, they are radically different in their characters: The former is one of the safest cities in the United States, the latter is one of the most violent and dangerous cities in Mexico.

Highrises of Downtown El Paso, Ciudad Juárez in the Background.

The drug war, which has violently erupted in 2008 after newly elected Mexican President Calderón had declared to fight the drug cartels, has pretty much put an end to the endless flows across the border. While in early 2000s, the border constituted this constant ebb and flow of locals, workers, military personnel, and tourists going back and forth between the two countries, this stream has pretty much dried out in the wake of the drug war.

Crossing Over? Friendship Bridge between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez.

Nobody I spoke to prior to my trip recommended me to go there. In fact, one of the business men I met on the airplane to ELP even urged me: “I REQUIRE you not to go across the border.” My Austin host Ariam explained it would be difficult for me as a White person going over because of the kidnapping industry in addition to the countless shootings and senseless killings. The Border Patrol which can be distinguished from other police cars by its signature white and green-colored SUVs is lined up every hundred meters on the border to ensure that the drug war does not spill over to the U.S. It is shocking to see what happened to the great country that I traveled to in 2002.

Border Patrol SUVs at Good Neighbor International Bridge, El Paso.

Although I could not cross the border, Mexico was everywhere in El Paso: In the shops that sell Mexican soccer shirts, on the streets where the dusty and rusty cars have predominantly Mexican license plates, and at the El Paso Museum of Art which had an exhibit on Mexican Modernism. Reading on the recent U.S. Census in the Dallas Morning News which announced the historic shift that White births are in the minority for the first time in U.S. history, El Paso already foreshadows how the US will continue to transform towards the latter part of the 21st century.

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View From our Condo.

Just Another Regular Kona Sunset

on May 25, 2012 by Tamás

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Big Island

In Status, Tamás' Posts on May 24, 2012 by Tamás

The view from our ocean shore condo is priceless :)

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Flying Out III

In Status on May 23, 2012 by SN

Aloha, Here We Come!

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… SIT in this Pretty Chair.”

Texarre: “Please DO NOT …

on May 23, 2012 by SN

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