my small world

Alternative ways to leave a skyscraper in Seoul

Like most Asian cities, Seoul consists of many modern skyscrapers. It is fascinating and impressive when you are lucky enough to check into a hotel that is housed in one of these glass palaces, where the room numbers have five digits and the first rooms can only be found from the 83th floor, and then discover that there are 50 more floors above with the most luxurious accommodation options. However, the individual floors can only be reached by elevator if you have the appropriate electronic authorization, which you usually only get for the level on which the room is located and also only for the period of your stay.

So it gets a bit complicated when you want to visit fellow travellers. When I tried this one time and explored alternative options to the elevators to get around the building and went to the staircases or emergency exits, I quickly realized that this was not one of my best ideas.

Not that the escape routes were blocked or even locked by any obstacles, the safety regulations are far too strict and are also monitored far too carefully. No operator of these high-rise buildings would allow himself to violate it. On the contrary, the escape routes are well signposted and easy to reach. And once you get to the staircase, there’s only one way down and out. You can’t go back. Neither the floor you just came from, nor any other floor.

For the security reasons mentioned above, I had no choice but to climb down the stairs to the ground floor. In the end I was glad that I was only in the 112th floor and not in the penthouse in the 187th. So it took me a while to reach the reception of the hotel again. That day I decided not to visit the gym on the 145th floor and as far as I can remember I also cancelled all other appointments because, after the experience, I was no longer the fittest on my feet.

Back in my room I at least wanted to enjoy the breathtaking view from my window. While trying to find the control unit needed to control the electronically controlled curtain in order to push it aside, I discovered an eggshell-coloured plastic box with a schematic representation shown on it, which in conjunction with the carabiner in the wall showed another way to leave the building in an emergency situation.

After my experience with the staircase I was not really eager to get to know this possibility. The Koreans all seem to have taken a basic course in acrobatics, otherwise there is no other way to explain to me how to abseil down from the 112 floor with a wire rope in order to be able to leave the building safely. And if you travel with small children, they must be carried in their child carriers. Of course, older children are allowed to abseil on their own.

with the Trabi through Berlin

For over 30 years the Trabant P601, Trabi for short, was the means of transport of the GDR. Since 1958, the quality standards of VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau have been famous and notorious beyond the then still existing antifascist protective wall. After all, it usually took more than 15 years before such a vehicle was completed and could be delivered to its customers. But then it faithfully brought its owners and their families to Lake Balaton and the Black Sea. Only the Ballermann and the Wadden Sea remained inaccessible. The hurdles for this model series simply could not be overcome.
Today, the Trabi is very rarely found on the streets of reunified Germany, although most obstacles have been removed. Even in regions such as Leipzig, Halle, Dresden and Chemnitz, where the largest stocks existed, the vehicle is almost completely extinct. This is the reason why a few dedicated trotting protectors are working hard to ensure that the motorized grey plastic mouse does not completely disappear from the urban habitat of the new federal states, thus offering sightseeing tours in its natural environment. So in Berlin, mainly in the eastern parts of the city.
The chugging and smelly two-stroke column with plastic fairing, which comes up, could hide itself in times of diesel gate and fine dust discussion perfectly in its own exhaust cloud, all the same whether in pastel grey or pastel green. Nevertheless, it is a unique life experience to sit in one of these vehicles and chug through Berlin. The 3.5 m long vehicle makes you feel mercilessly how clammy it is about the household in Berlin. Every pothole in the underfunded infrastructure strikes a blow to the driver to remind him and his backside. Tuck and squatting and more than driving you cross Lichtenberg, Marzahn, Hellersdorf and Treptow to return to the TV tower in Mitte after one hour with a slipped disc and in a good mood.

Translated with

Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a country full of rules and regulations and yet a country full of freedom and diversity. The country where I am officially living at the moment.
Even to travel to this country is a world trip in itself. There are the Frisians in the north with their harsh and arid character adapted to the weather. Then there are the very traditional Bavarians in the south who advertise this country worldwide on postcards with their knee socks and Lederhosen. Or the Swabians who supposedly can do everything except speak High German. Further in the east you can find the Saxons who are not to be missed in any satire because of their notorious dialect.

So you can travel this country and drift with more dialects and dialects as there are nations in this small world. In the Swabian language alone, there are over 19 different words and terms for dandelion, depending on the region. No wonder that the citizens of this country can not always communicate as desired.

But as you can quickly see, it is not always just the different dialects that make communication difficult or impossible. Also the various characteristics of the different ethnic groups often play a decisive role. This can also lead to very curious and for outstanding accounts hardly comprehensible quarrels, if for example in Berlin suddenly bread rolls instead of ribbons are sold.

Translated with (free version)



Nigeria, an African country on the Gulf of Guinea, offers many natural attractions and wildlife reserves. Protected areas such as Cross River National Park and Yankari National Park are home to waterfalls, dense rainforests, savannahs and habitats of rare primate species. One of the most famous natural sites is Zuma Rock, a 725 m high monolith in front of the capital Abuja, which is also shown on the national currency.

Coming from Niger it was the unexpected last stop of our small travel group and at the same time the entry into the Anglo-Saxon territory on the African continent with everything that belongs to it. From left-hand traffic to golf and teatime, almost everything here was just like in Great Britain. But only almost.

The roads were a little less well developed or not at all. Left-hand traffic existed, if at all, only on paper and in a country with 90% illiteracy hardly anyone would have understood it anyway. Therefore, the various road users drove, walked, cycled or trotted criss-cross and also gladly back and forth in this most populous country in Africa, with corresponding traffic density.

Also fascinating are the golf courses with their greens, fairways, bunkers and other obstacles. Old car wrecks and other rusting scrap metal were cleverly draped on the right and left side of the terrain instead of imposing trees to mark the fairway. You should also know that at the time I visited this country there were almost no greens, only browns. Due to the lack of water the idea was born to mix sand with oil instead of grass in order to create a suitable area for putting. Only the sand bunkers, which in Europe have to be integrated artificially into the golf courses, the goods of naturally occurring real desert sand on the Nigerian golf courses.

The Teatime, that really worked brilliantly. After all, there are plenty of tea plantations in southern Nigeria, which supply the world market with the most important ingredients for the hot drink. Of course, this also produces plenty of leaves for the local market. Worth mentioning is here, actually, only that what the Englishmen, as already mentioned, rather as a hot drink around 5 pm to the teatime after according to ceremonial preparation to eat, in this nevertheless very hot country then rather coldly is drunk and mostly the whole day and not only around 5 pm and mostly also without ceremonial preparation.

Those who now want to learn more about this country can experience what happened to me in this country by clicking on the following cities.

passport photos in lagos

If you travel a lot and visit exotic countries, you have to apply for a visa. The following items must be brought to the consulate or embassy of the country you would like to visit:

  • 1 x passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • 1 x completed visa application
  • 2 x passport photo
  • if necessary, health certificate or vaccination card
  • appropriate powers of attorney when applying for visas on behalf of accompanying persons.

It does not matter whether you order a visa in Berlin or Lagos. The procedure is almost always the same. However, the way you get to the documents is not always the same.

As someone with a lot of experience in traveling and dealing with consulates and embassies, I was selected in the 90s to apply for visas for myself and my small travel group at the embassy of Cameroon in Lagos/Nigeria. This usually takes 24 hours, provided you have completed and signed all the documents as described above. Well prepared I made my way from Kano, a city in the north of the country, to the then more than 1000 km away located capital Lagos. I had thought of everything and checked twice, because a return without visas would have completely exceeded our travel budget and the time frame.
Assuming I had not forgotten anything, I filled out the documents at the embassy, handed in the passports and passport photographs and waited for confirmation that I could collect all the documents on the following day, when an embassy employee approached me and announced that I had only handed in one passport photograph for each application, but that two passport photographs were absolutely necessary.
That was expensive good advice. For me it was no problem to organize another passport photo, since I could always go to a photographer to make another one, but what about the others from my small travel group? They were 1000 km away and we are talking about the 90s, there were no e-mails yet, let alone “just scan them and that’s it”. With a heavy heart I had to leave the embassy to find a solution. And as I step outside the door, I see the man shown above with his camera. Shortly decided I went to him and asked him politely if he would be able to photograph a picture from the passport in such a way that he could make a new passport photo out of it. As you can see from the picture above, he could.
And I actually returned to Kano after 24 hours with three valid visas.