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Big Sur Wildflowers

Big Sur

Today we took a drive down to Big Sur where I found this beautiful patch of wildflowers. I think next weekend there will be a lot more flowers out thogh, but we were already pretty lucky today.

Returning from Mexico

Chichen Itza

We arrived back from Mexico one day after we were supposed to, because the flight by AA was delayed long enough that we missed our connection. AA put us into the cheapest Motel they could find, without any food vouchers. After killing a huge bug or roach, we felt very uncomfortable there. Early in the morning their shuttle picked us up again and we had to wait for hours at the airport in Dallas again.

The picture shows Chichen Itza. Lots of things have changed there. For once, people are not allowed to climb the pyramid anymore. Thank god, I have been able to do that a couple of years ago. It was unbelievably hot there. People were mostly hiding in the shade.

The Balance of the Universe

Coba

Seems like the Universe is always trying to get into balance again. After our Hotel upgrade, we now got a Hotel downgrade in the original hotel. They didn´t have the room we booked available and they asked us to move back to the other hotel and then move again tomorrow. We declined and got a downgrade on the room. So everything is balanced out again.

Our car is a water purifier. After driving around with the AC on for a while, the rear foot compartment will completely fill with water. I assume its condensation from the AC but I have no idea where it comes from. It will be interesting to hear what they are going to try when we return the car. Looking forward to my next discussion.

Beware of Scams

Mexico Truck

I rented a car in Mexico. I think I prepaid it, but I am not 100% sure. So the guys at Hertz charged me the full amount again. I sent an email to the Travel Agent, but I haven´t heard from them yet.

Today I got gas. I knew I had to get out of the car in order to look at the meter, to see that they reset it properly. Then I asked for an ATM. It turned out the ATM was broken, but 3 of the attendents kept me busy explaining all kinds of ATM locations in Playa del Carmen.

When I came back to the station I noticed the guy had reset the counter. I almost freaked out, since I knew they were going to scam me now. So the attendend asked me for 600 Pesos. I told him I don´t think thats correct and I want a receipt. So he went to his little receipt machine, punched something in and was holding a receipt under my nose that said 500 Pesos (notice the difference) and 80 Liters !!! So again, I told him that I don´t believe my car can even hold 80 liters and I got into the car, trying to find the specs. When I found the spec card, some other guy was already back. Now it was 50 Liters and something around 330 Pesos (already down 50%). Again I told them the spec card (it was spanish anyways), says 40 Liters and I showed them. They got nervous and got the manager. I got into a fight with him. He showed me, that the receipt shows the current time, and that that was proof it was correct (yeah right, the other one did too). To make a long story short, I told him what I was thinking of his little operation, paid the 330 and got out of there. Back in the car I said to Dani, that I would rather not bother myself with police at the time.

I will go back to this station for my gas now and tell them that they already got their tip from me ;-)

Playa del Carmen

Royal Porto Real Hotel Playa del Carmen

Today we arrived in Mexico. At first there was some trouble with the car, as we thought we already paid for it, but Hertz claimed not. I will have to sort this out with our travel agent. Then our Hotel was full, and they sent us across the street to another hotel, for 3 out of the 5 days. Well we accepted since it was a better hotel, but when they told us they are going to put us from one room to the next every day I snapped and told them to get of their lazy buns and get me a room for 3 nights in a row. After all I will be talking at a conference and not be able to move around.

Turns out we got a second upgrade (see above).

Lessons learned: Always complain, sometimes you get lucky.

Going to Mexico

Mexico
Early tomorrow morning I am going to Mexico again. Just as I did on my Peru trip, I will try to write an article every day with a picture from Mexico.
I will be speaking at a conference there but I should also find some time for Photography.
I am already excited although I hate packing.

Goodbye Dear Friend and loyal companion

Tigger

Tina

Our precious friend, companion and family member Tigger (see picture left) aka "Tiggs" has now been released from his pain after 5 days of fighting for his life. Tigger has left his earthly vessel today at around 10am with the compassionate assistance of our vet. His last day was full of suffering and pain and in a moment of clarity from his fatal condition his eyes were telling us what to do. It was a heartbraking moment, but we knew what we had to do and we are happy that we found the courage to give our friend his last wish.

Tigger (upper picture) and Tina (lower picture) are our two beloved friends and best buddies. When we were travelling they spent time at home and had each other for company. Tina is especially hit hard by grief. She is mourning Tigger deeply. We hope she will be able to recover from her agony. Right now Tina has her head burried between her forelegs while she lays on the bed with us. Sometimes she lifts her head looks around and cries.
During the last view days we have learned many new things from my dear friends, things I would not have thought possible in a cat. During his ordeal, Tigger had moments of clarity. During these precious few moments he used to come to us and calm us down, although he was the one suffering the pain. He knew exactly when it was time and he was smart enough to let us know.

Tiggs was a gentle, yet incredibly strong cat. He was a very sensitive guy, always fully aware of his environment. He used to follow us around the house and was always greeting us at the door as well as saying goodbye when we left. No matter what we did and where we sat, Tigger used to come and snuggle up to us really close. He especially loved to cuddle with Dani on the bed during TV. It is evening now, when Tigger used to be most cuddly. He came every night and would watch TV with us while he was purring and making us feel comfortable. He was a gourmet who loved the occasional treat and he was a very playfull cat.

Tigger has left a hole in our hearts that will be impossible to fill. He will never be forgotten and his gentleness, kindness and wonderful nature has deeply touched our lifes. We take comfort in the knowledge that Tigger has now left his pain behind and will be happy on his new playing grounds where he can roam freely without restraints.

Tigger has not yet seen his 5th birthday and was far too young to be taken in such a violent eruption of suffering.

Goodbye dear friend.

EDIT: Tina is looking everywhere for Tigger. Poor baby.

Andre

P.S.: This article has been edited from its previous version describing Tiggers Condition during his fight for his life.

Donate to Unicef or Flood Victims and get Pictures

I have gotten many emails from people wanting to buy some of my pictures and I feel honored by the interest that my photography has sparked among so many.
Currently I hear a lot of devestating news from all over the world, so I would like to come forward with a special offer.
  • The fabulous baroque city of Dresden is once more struck by a flood. Many priceless works of art are in danger and as usual money is tight.
  • Niger faces a famine of immense proportions. 2.5 Million people are threatened and 150,000 children face immanent thread of starvation.
  • The recent earthquake in Pakistan has left many people homeless. Due to the strong Winter many lifes are in danger.
Famine in Niger
Maybe some of you will find it in your hearts to donate to any of the three causes outlined above.
If you can show me proof that you have donated at least $20 (or 20 Euro) to any of the above, I will send you a digital picture of high resolution that you can use to get a large print for hanging on your wall. All I require is that you electronically sign a copyright form, protecting me from theft and that you show me any form of receipt.

Also lets not forget that donations are tax deductible.

Disclaimer: Not every single picture on this website is available in very high resolution but most are.

This offer is valid for the month of April. Depending on how many people take part in it, I may choose to extend it beyond that timeframe.