Author: aziehen

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Actually not true. I’m just sitting on my couch and dream of whale sharks, turtles & co. But my site seems to have gone under while I’m switching to another web host. It will all be worth it, but in the meanwhile please excuse the mess here –  The Midnight Blue Elephant come back up shortly!

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I’m not a big fan of inspirational quotes. Some speak to me, but add a sunset or ladybug as backdrop and you have lost me. Mind you, I’m also not a big fan of poetry in general. Maybe I’m lacking a gene that you need in order to appreciate the description of silence or water meandering. Then again, while not being a fan of poetry, I’m a fan of poetic words, especially when they are travel related. Anaïs Nin comes to my mind and if you read something here that sounds so otherworldly clear and beautiful, you can be pretty certain I’m quoting her (not that I would try to sell it as my own, I wouldn’t dare…). Another person is Charles Baudelaire. I would be utterly in love with him if he was alive just by reading him. „Astonishing voyageurs! What splendid stories We read in your eyes As deep as the seas…“ While a poem, I kind of like it, but what really hit me is why he wrote it: „Astonishing“ voyageurs“ is …

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I think love and travel go hand in hand. You meet places, you leave places, you miss places. Just like you meet, leave, miss people and everything that happens in-between which you may or may not call love. There was no love between me and Bangkok when we first met, it was really just a drunk one-nightstand Quite literally because I had just stumbled from a plane onto Khao San Road, landed in a bucket full of nondescript alcohol, and left the next morning with a queezy stomach and not much memory of what happened the night before. A regular occurrence as it seems with Bangkok nights and one-nightstands all over the world. But as it sometimes goes, even with those one-nightstands, some stick with you and once you recover from the boozy haze you may even remember them fondly. I liked this one night in Bangkok enough to return within a year and then another year. You may say I have a crush on Bangkok. Of course the beginning of meeting someone new is …

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It’s Monday and time to address the elephant in the room. And yes, that was lame. And yes, I am also jumping on a band wagon here after a recent incident that was in the news, but after all this blog is called The Midnight Blue Elephant, so I won’t apologize for either. If you care to read my little about me page, you will learn that a) my favorite animals are in fact not elephants, but giraffes. Nevertheless I still really like elephants and so b) I would never ride an elephant (or wear elephant pants, but that’s neither here nor there). Till very recently I couldn’t even have given you a proper reason, it was more just a feeling that there was something about the concept that felt wrong to me. Mind you, I am not a vegan so I guess it is a little hypocritical and I never made a fuss about it, never told other people not to do it, and just decided for myself it wasn’t something I wanted to …

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The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. Sorry, I actually hate this expression and hope you do too. But holiday life has indeed been somewhat busy and while I’m trying to decide where my sandy little feet will go for dinner I thought to give you a picturesque overview of what has been happening. I took full advantage of the business class flight that Emirates bestowed on me and changed my return ticket in order to add a week to do my Advanced Open Waters in Koh Tao. So after yet another day of getting up early, catching a plane, waiting, catching a ferry, I have arrived back in paradise and giving New Heaven’s diver’s hut a go. So far so good, because while it is a simple little accommodation I do have my own office porch including sea view and the hugest banyan tree to watch over me. And more importantly tomorrow I will be off into the blue again and while a bit anxious, it has been ages it seems, I cannot …

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I thought I would panic once submerged in water. And if I did what would happen to me? I will hold on to you and you will breathe slowly, says Erkan, my dive instructor. Not the answer I am hoping for, because really the only thing worse I can imagine than panicking under water is panicking under water while someone is holding on to me in that panic. But of course he is right, because that is the only thing you can do under water. Just breathe… Luckily it doesn’t come to this, because after my initial, slightly shaky giant stride I am hooked. Insert a, to fish insensitive, hook, line, and sinker joke here, but I immediately feel like Arielle, only unlike her the underwater world is calling me, pulling me under. Though I am slightly relived to realize that the water is not literally pulling me under. In fact it is harder than it seems to get there and while breathing with my regulator becomes second nature to me within a moment, neutral …

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I wanted to title this post Why travel is bullshit, but then I thought bullshit was a rude word, I shouldn’t use in a headline and so I changed it. But really, it is bullshit. You would think that I couldn’t dislike something that makes me so unbelievably happy, gives me butterflies like no guy ever has, and turns me into a better version of myself with each step I take out into the world. But I do. Oh, how I wish I could have been content with what I had when I was little, alas I wasn’t. I always wanted something, I was always curious, and had parents who supported me, eventually lovingly pushed me out of my nest, making me go and explore the world. Yes, of course I am grateful, but sometimes I wish I would have stayed home. Now I have the daily dilemma of wanting more. More to see, to explore, more new, more same same but different, less ordinary and more ordinary away from home. I hate it, but …

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For all the years I lived in Cape Town whenever I would fly home or go on a trip I wrote an airport post for my old blog. Something about being at the airport always got me musing about moving from one place to another and life in general. And really what else is one to do than ramble and drink a couple of gin tonics while wait for a flight to board? Please don’t judge, while I certainly never wrote a masterpiece at the airport, gin tonics are perfectly legitimate drinks at any hour! I would also write on the plane, but usually no more than a snarky commentary on a Gossip Girl re-run, which I sort of hate to love, not sure that counts. But if I had time to write and drink it also meant that I was having one of the better travel days. A better travel day consisting of actually having gotten to the airport on time with all documents in order. Not a given. Though I have forgotten my …

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When I was sixteen I came to Cape Town for the first time. A big part of my family lives there and over the years all of my cousins from German had gone for a visit except for me. So when my older sister wanted to go I asked for a Christmas present in form of a plane ticket and begged her to take me with. For our week in Cape Town we stayed with my aunt and her husband in their little Claremont cottage. Claremont is part of the Southern Suburbs and that says it all – you are in suburbia. While it boasts some good schools and is close to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, it is truly not a very exciting place when you are a teenager or even when you are just looking for a decent place to have a drink as a grown up. As this was my first Cape Town impression, it could have gone horribly awry and who knows where I would be now. But it didn’t. With that first …

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I’m not a girly girl when it comes to beauty things. I think sitting at a salon, getting my hair cut, is really boring, the few times I got a manicure I managed to immediately mess it up as soon as I was done, and I think the only great thing about being single in the winter of Germany is that you don’t have to shave your legs. So with that baseline established I was actually surprised that from my very first visit I was a big fan of the Moroccan hammam. The hammam is more than a place where you go to to get clean. It is a ritual, an experience, and above all a place to socialize for men and women alike (obviously separated). For a foreigner like me a visit at a real hammam was absolutely terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Mind you, it might be easier if you speak more French than I do, because anything more than l’eau was lost on me and so I’m sure I missed …