Doors in Bathrooms

One of the oddest things that I noticed about Germany was the number of doors I had to fight my way through to get to a toilet. Every (semi-)public toilet that I visited had at least two doors between me and a urinal, and three for a real toilet, irrespective of how inaccessible the bathroom was. In most places I’ve visited, the gents tends to have one door on the outside and some well-placed walls or corners to guard the sanctity of its urinals. It struck me as somewhat odd when I noticed it in the first German bathroom I visited, but every subsequent urinal I found had this same sequence of doors protecting it from the world. Is there a reason for the large number of doors in Germany? Is this common in other places? Please do share.

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Many Travels

I’ve just spent a good amount of time travelling all over the show. Just before leaving the US, I went on a two day trip to Amherst, MA to attend a mini-reunion, which was followed by a work trip to Darmstadt in Germany (with a small interruption to throw all my belongings into bags before leaving the US), and finally a much shorter trip to Eton in the UK. My travels in Darmstadt and Eton have both been full of rather interesting occurrences and observations, which will be coming in separate posts as and when I get all my thoughts vaguely organised and my photos off my camera. Be warned, however: you may not be as impressed or struck as I was when these observations first came to me.

Travelling

I am off to Orlando on Friday for almost a week on another work trip. The last little while really has been incredibly busy – I can only hope things quiet down once I get to the UK in six weeks’ time. I know for a fact that the next five weeks are going to be chock a block with goodbyes and events, so I am trying to squeeze everyone in before I leave.

This means that if you’d like to see me, please don’t allow me to forget you. 😛

Whoosh

To all my most sincere apologies: I’ve been increasingly caught up in work and my upcoming move to the UK. I’ve struggled to maintain any energy to read many blogs, never mind post to my own. In the last month or so, I’ve done far more travelling than I am used to and have found myself with increasingly less spare time as a result. I’ve managed to squeeze a five-day trip to Florida, eight full days of visits from my girlfriend, a day trip to New York and a six-day trip to the UK into the last four weeks, and definitely feel the need to slow down. Unfortunately, that’s looking unlikely, given that I have a business trip to Florida looming next week. Sigh…

I do have a less whiny personal update, however: I will officially be leaving the US in the first few days of May, so please do get in touch with me if you’d like to see me before I move across the Atlantic. (For those of you already in the UK, I will only be moving properly a week or so later, when I get back from Germany – the travelling won’t quite be finished.)

At some point soon, I will be officially reviving my feeble posting rate. [Please hold me to this.] So please do keep me somewhere near your radar.

Flickr Update

As you may have noticed, I updated my Flickr stream with photos from my recent trip to Seattle. Here is a nice photo of the Space Needle:

The Space Needle

Back in Action

I am now back from home and actually have a meaningful connection to the internet and all its denizens. I still need to process all my photos from the trip around the US and South Africa, but I’ll notify people of that as and when such things come to pass.

For the time being, I still need to find my feet in my new apartment near Davis Square in Somerville, MA. I also need to get myself into work mode for the first time in my life. My first week has been very interesting so far, and I think I am really going to enjoy working for Intersystems in Cambridge. I’ll keep my work thoughts to a minimum, though. I’ll try to keep us all sane. Let’s hope I have thoughts beyond the scope of work.

Some travels: Colorado, Kansas and Overkill

After mentioning that I was travelling with my parents, I think I should point out the highlights of our trip. We flew west to spend some time in Colorado. We ended up seeing a lot of Colorado and some of Kansas as well.

We spent two days driving in the Rockies, with my personal highlight being the Independence Pass. It’s not all THAT high for the Rockies at 12 095 feet, but it was incredibly impressive and bleak nonetheless. (See below.) I also really enjoyed seeing Aspen, which was surprisingly gorgeous: it was really green and pretty. At the same time, though, it was clearly a playground for the wealthy. Not every small town in the Rockies can claim quite the same number of designer stores as Aspen, that much is certain.

From the Independence Pass:
Landscape

After Aspen, the next highlights were the Kebler Pass, which lies very close to Crested Butte, followed by the Monarch Pass. The western slopes of the Kebler Pass were spectacular. The vegetation and the landscape had me entranced. The pass was much lower, but the highlands leading up to the pass were something to behold.

En Route to the Kebler Pass:
Mountain Landscape

From the Monarch Pass:
Photographer in Action

After the Rockies, we descended to Colorado Springs, where we saw the Garden of the Gods. Again, I would suggest seeing the amazing sandstone formations if you can. The snow on Pike’s Peak in the background provides a wonderful contrast to the reds and whites of the rock formations. From Colorado Springs, we wended our way generally eastward across the plains as far as western Kansas. Some of the country south east of Colorado Springs was desolate and broken, but the real farming areas in eastern Colorado and western Kansas amazed both me and my parents. After seeing that small sliver of the plains, I get some idea of how much food is grown on the plains. It was literally unbelievable: there were simply miles upon miles of cultivated lands filled with good-looking crops.

It’s hard to capture the flatness and the expanse on camera, but here is my best attempt at doing just that:
Wheat on the Plains

Last, but not least, my parents and I ventured into some outdoor megastores near Denver. After seeing entire walls covered with rifles, cabinets upon cabinets filled with binoculars and spotting equipment, multilayered racks of fishing rods and almost every other kind of outdoor equipment you can imagine under one roof, I was at a loss for words. I don’t know how best to sum up the experience, but the words of one store assistant are probably better than anything I could string together: in his words, the stores are “candy stores for big boys”. I would go further and say the stores are wondrous places for most people, even if that wonder isn’t necessarily that of a child in a “candy store”. Needless to say, all three of us were absolutely exhausted by the experience.

The next time you have a few hours to spare, visit an outdoor megastore. (We went to Gander Mountain, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Outdoor World, and any of the three would be worth a visit.)

P.S. I am working on my photography and will actually be posting more of my photos to my Flickr account after I get back from South Africa. I hope you enjoy what I have, though.