David von Oheimb's USA 2000 Journey Report

DE zur deutschen Version
(translation to English by BabelFish, improved manually)

Black & White pictures and report by Francis Tang

Oregon, USA, August 12-19, 2000

On 12 August I flew together with my colleage Stefan to Portland/Oregon (NW USA) in order to participate at the TPHOLs'00 computer science conference and to present my work on the poster session there. The journey started a bit unpleasantly, because our Delta flight to New York had been cancelled and we had to wait almost two hours, until - just time - we got the opportunity to go with Lufthansa via San Francisco. On the plane I incidentally met a girl I knew from the Baptist church in Puchheim working as a flight attendant! Thus we were provided (and fed) in the best way :-), and because we flew a rather far northern route, we had a phantastic view of the ice above Greenland and northern Canada. With a favorable Alaska Airlines link flight we arrived practically at the same time at Portland as with our original route, on which we would have had to transfer twice.

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.

Yellowstone National Park, August 19-23, 2000

On Saturday Stefan and me together with Francis, a further colleague originating from Hong Kong but living in England, flew to Salt Lake City. From there we went (again by rented car) about 400 miles to the north into the Yellowstone NP, whereby we had to make a detour via the west entrance due to bushfires in the Grand Teton NP neighbouring in the south. Besides that - thanks God - we experienced almost no impact by the many bushfires in the north and the west of the USA, and the weather was mostly beautifully sunny with temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius. Yellowstone is the area with the most and largest geysers and hot springs world-wide, and we visited almost all until we were almost sick and tired of them. Very spectacular are also the sinter terraces in the north, which are reminiscent of Permuckale in Turkey (yet unfortunately they contain quite few water at present), and the canyon in the middle of the park - bordered by predominantly yellow rock, from which the name of the park is derived - with a large and a smaller waterfall.

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.

New York City (Manhattan), August 23-26, 2000

We arrived in New York late in the evening, but even at that time we had a smooth ride by underground from the JFK airport to the center. It is said that one easily gets attacked in the underground in the late evenings, but we felt quite safe and also had a black girl with us who works at the airport and looked after us pathetically. Then we separated from Francis, and Stefan and I had almost three days at our disposal to have a quick look at Manhattan. We stayed at the YMCA hotel, which - like everything in New York - is not quite cheap, but (by the way in the proximity of UN headquarters) is situated so favorably that one can reach almost everything on foot, whereas the underground offers very good and frequent connections, too.

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.

URL: http://David.von-Oheimb.de/gallery/Oregon/report.html, Last modified: Wed Feb 6 09:42:48 CET 2008