zur deutschen Version
(translation to English by BabelFish, improved manually)
Black & White pictures and report by Francis Tang
On Sunday we rented a car and went to the coast, where there are interesting rocks and also sandy beaches. On Monday, while most conference participants attended tutorials, I went to Washington State, in order to visit Mount St Helens, a volcano whose last eruption was just 20 years ago. The miles-long devastated mountain-slopes with trees twisted like straws, which however already experience heavy revegetation, are quite impressing.
Next we had the four main days of the conference, which not only is the most interesting one in my field of interest, but also at this occasion very nice people meet practically every year. I "incidentally" even met a dear elder American colleague, who also is a Christian, and whom I wanted to get into contact by email anyway in order to discuss things concerning work as well as faith. The meal, often Mexican-sytle, was not only very tasty but also a pleasure for the eyes. One day we had an excursion with a historical railway to the foot of the Mount Hood, another (less active, but beautiful) volcanic mountain, with a barbecue in the late afternoon.
Moreover there are loose bears and moose, which we did not encounter however, as well as bisons, which we experienced partially from a proximity not quite harmless. We spent four nights in the tent, two of them in the park, where the main season was already over such that we had no problems getting a vacancy. Once we had the special experience to bathe in a place at the northern edge of the park where a cooking hot source and an ice-cold mountain stream join. However you should try and keep on the 2-3 feet wide intermediate line, as otherwise you are either scald or freezed.
After four days we left, whereby this time we were allowed to use the south exit, where one could see a bushfire from approximately a mile distance. We had still a few hours left to try out the corkscrew effect in the Great Salt Lake which is however only about half as strong as in the Dead Sea, but is sufficient for floating without paddling. Since an extra driver would have cost additional fees, I did all the driving myself, but due to the usually well-developed and mostly empty roads there, this was no problem at all.
The highlight for me was our visit to the Statue of Liberty located on a small island facing the downtown. One may climb within the statue into the crown and then have a direct view to the skyline of the city. Most prudently we went with the first boat in the morning and struggled to be among the first hundred of visitors such that we did not have to wait in the queue for hours. Very interesting was also the neighbouring Ellis Island, where from the beginning to the middle of the last century immigrants to America arrived and were inspected. Of course we have been also to the two highest buildings of the West, the World Trade Center (420m) and the Empire State Building, mainly in the evening. At that time one enjoys excellent views of the lit neighbour towers, the widespread lights of the city with the pearl chains of the cars on the 5th and 6th Avenue beneath, as well as the airplanes from the three main city airports flying above your head.
Moreover we visited the Central Park, which is reminiscent of the English Garden in Munich, an aircraft carrier (converted into a museum), which had been used in the Second World War against Japan and among others received several Kamikaze attacks, the Museum of Natural History, which could be called the "elder sister" of the "Humans and Nature" museum in Munich-Nymphenburg, as well as the extravagant Guggenheim museum and the Museum of Modern Art. I'm not too fond of art museums, but the City Pass reducing the horrible entrance fees to the skyscrapers includes them.