Donnerstag, 22. November 2012

Aloha from Hawai'i

After almost two years traveling around the globe as a Flight Attendant, it was high time to take a break. I've never regret that I did this job because I was able to meet a lot of inspiring people. Waking up in another city almost every day and getting a taste of other cultures teached me a lot. Nevertheless, I was simply bored asking two hundred people in a plane if they want a chicken or a cheese sandwich. On the other hand, I never lost my fascination for traveling and all the beautiful things it brings with it. It was time for me to calm down a little bit and it felt that the right moment came to fulfill a longtime dream. 

In early september I had finally enough money in my pocket to leave home towards the country of nonsense smalltalk and political wierdness called USA. A country that spents billions of dollars for military but sill isn’t able to provide health care for all its population. As you may feel I am not the biggest fan of the so called land of unlimited possibilities, however, I decided to spend my first three months here in the states. Well, luckely Hawaii is only geographically in the United States. 

Unfortunately, Waikiki wasn’t like I expected it to be. I stopped counting how many times I was asked the question „Where are you from?“ during the first week. At the moment you answer with a polite „I’m from Switzerland“ you’re already in the middle of a superficial conversation about nothing more than nonsense. „Oh, nice, my aunt used to live there.“ „Cool, and I have two monkeys on my balcony dancing the Hulla, Hulla every evening.“ Frankly, the first time you’re in the United States you maybe think people are nice and interested here but after a while the ‚american politeness’ just annoys you. If you ever have the chance to come to Hawaii, don’t waste your time in Waikiki. There is nothing more than a crowded beach with tons of tourists. Not even the nightlife is worth spending more than a day here. Dj’s changing songs every 30 seconds from Rihanna to 50 Cent and back, people dancing with each other in an animalic way that it feels you were in the middle of a bad softporn movie. Food is expensive as hell and comparable to Switzerland. If you try to live healthy, your decision is easily made. You either buy two apples or a tripple whopper meal at Mc Donalds for the same prize.

However, once you’re out of Waikiki the real adventure I was looking for starts. The nature here is simply breathtaking and I truly can’t think of a more beautiful place on earth than Hawaii. There is no need of photoshop anymore because the colours on these islands look so intense. Driving around the island feels like you were browsing a travel brochure that wants you to leave home immediately! It’s just incredible to see such a big diversity of nature. People here seem to be in a 24/7 happiness-mode. I really can’t remember meeting one single unfriendly local. Pretty impressive because almost everybody has to do two jobs to pay for Hawaii’s high living expenses. In the end it’s probably the combination of a laid-back lifestyle and the unique nature what make this place so worth living. The list of things to explore is neverending: A large canyon, vulcanos, miles and miles of beautiful beaches, waterfalls, cliffs to jump off, lava pools, hikes and last but not least the ocean. My playground fort he past two and a half months. I am lucky to live just a few minutes away from the beach. I'm thankfull to feel salt water in my face every day and to paddle out on my surfboard to catch some waves. If you ever went for surfing during twilight you know what I’m talking about. I have the chance to experience this ultimate feeling of peace day by day. 

In two weeks I’m going to take my final exam at school. Although it is sad to leave Hawaii, I’m happy to meet Simon and to start with the adventure we’re both looking forward to for such a long time!


Trip to the island Kauai with my school friends. From left to right: Jiyun, Ladina, Juliette and me.

View of Na Pali coast on my favourite island Kauai.

Same coast, different view. On the right side one of the wettest points on earth.

The Na Pali coast is inaccessible by car. The only way to get there is a 18 kilometers long hike. You're crossing a couple of valleys and waterfalls, always accompanied by the smell of passion fruits.

After a long hike... Swimming underneath a 100 feet waterfall and feeling how the water drops on your skin. Priceless.

'Kauai Group' fooling around at Polihale Beach which is only accessible with a 4x4 car. Otherwise you get stuck in the sand.

Another great beach. Poipu Beach on Kauai.

'The Grand Canyon' of the Pacific Ocean, Waimea Canyon on Kauai. Formed by the volcano, which created Kauai, and the process of erosion.

Classic view of Kauai. 

Sunset at Secret Beach. 

Taking a swim at Waimea Falls, Kauai.

A seal monk relaxing at Poipu Beach.

Another endangered species of Hawai'i. A sea turtle on my 'home island' Oahu.

Just a few minutes away from my apartement. Army Beach.

If the waves aren't good enough for surfing, beach volleyball has second priority. Army Beach, Oahu.

On the way to...
Lanikai Beach. My favourite Beach to hang out.

Getting up at 4am, hiking to Koko Head...

...and enjoying the sunrise...
with Daniel, Beni, Jasmin and Lea

The rail track was used by the military back in the days. Nowadays its a popular spot for workout. My father visited me and one of his many challenges was going to Koko Head.
This time to watch the sunset.

Halloween at school. Won the price for 'funniest costume of 2012'! Yey!

In the middle my teacher Ellen who would have won 'sexiest teacher alive' if there had been such a category.

Finally, found my lost friend Mario in the streets of Waikiki.

Trip to Maui with my dad. Halaekala Crater.

Yes, it was freaking cold on the 3050 meters high Halaekala Crater! The temperature can decline to 2 degrees in the early morning hours.

Back on the road...

...and enjoying the coastline of western Maui.

Olivine Pools. Natural pools which are located on the lava shelf stretching along the coastline. My father felt like a olympic gold medalist diver after his huge dive!

Blow hole.

On the road to Hana.

The 'seven sacred pools'. A playground for small...

...and grown up kids.

Checking the waves...

paddling, paddling, paddling...

...and get the orgasm!

My buddy Moritz and me out in the ocean near Diamond Head.

Sunset surfing.
Skyping with my lovely family.

Hola de Montañita

Dream becomes reality
The dream of a world trip is one me and Manuel share with many people all around the world. Who doesn't like the idea of leaving all the stress and obligations from home to travel without bounderies and time limitation to all your favourite destinations? While for many reasons it stays a dream to many people, me and Manuel are lucky enough to fullfill this dream. With a legendary goodbyeparty we said farewell to all our friends, packed our bags and left home in September 2012 to the greatest adventures the world's got to give.

The first part of our world trip we decided to stay in two separate locations. Manuel perfectionalising his english skills in Hawai and me starting to learn spanish in Ecuador. I remember spending hours  looking for the perfect place to learn spanish from the wide offer all over latin america. With a village called Montañita at the coast of Ecuador I thought to have found the perfect place: few tourists, calm village, lots of sun. What I encountered was the complete opposite.

Montañita is a lively and in many ways crazy and unique village at the coast of Ecuador and within the last 2 months has become a second home to me. And despite not really being the kind of place I looked for, I love Montañita. School and Beach are both just 200m away. Every day i either go running barefoot at the beach or in the hills just behind the village or visit the gym just around the corner. Whenever walking down the streets of Montañita I feel like a local for knowing all the people. I have somewhat become a part of the comunity.

Here the best things about Montañita:

#1 Family: The spanish school in Montanita gives the students the chance to choose between living with other students in Cabanas or with a local hostfamily. I decided to pick the latter. What a good decision! I got to live with the sweetest and most lovely family I have ever met! They treated me as a part of their own family right from the start. Cooking, football, church, familyreunions, whatever they did, I was part of it.

Cooking for my host family
Mama Yolanda and "sister" Deborah cooking a swiss meal: Älplermakronen

Alejandrita, getting dressed for the sweet 15th birthday of her cousine

60´000 spectators, dressed in yellow

Borbor family at Monumental, Stadium of Barcelona de Guayaquil

dinner in the streets after the game
at church with Saul
Belfort and Alejandra with puppies Bobby and Escooby
more Alejandra, coz she's the cutest girl ever

#2 Funny People, Party: Two things that are easy to find in Montañita!!!

all students dressed up for Halloween


Batman and Catwomen (Sabine)

playing crazy and painfull games in the streets with cousin Carlitos

Mixing cocktails with Coctelero Eugenio
#3 Mantañita Lifestyle: or Surf, Party, Beach. Some fotos to try to show the way of life in this part of the world. 

Whirl pool at the cabañas

school classroom
Cabanas with pool, stay of most of the students

beach, two blocks away from my home
Hostbrother and Surfprofessional Hambor teaching his nephew how to become a pro

good restaurants, bars and cheap hostals all around the village

# 4 Nature: On the weekends I had time to visit the incredible nature at the coast of Ecuador

Scubadiving with Mikael

I truly am amazed by the underwaterworld
weekend with students in the rainforest of Machalilla Parc

horsebackriding in the rainforest
meeting farmers gathering oranges
Ecolodge in the middle of the forest, our stay for the weekend

harvesting Grapefruits. Nothing better than fresh fruits
roasting coffe the traditional way
beach in Puerto Lopez

a blue foot with two babies

on Isla de la plata

Agua blanca, National parc Machalilla

And despite not having showered with warm water for 3 months, sometimes being without electricity or water, not being able to sleep because of the music from the clubs, I will miss the Montañita way of life and especially all the new funny, crazy and lovely friends and family.

Time to say goodbye to Montañita and start travelling. Manu, get ready for the ultimate adventure! :)