The Grand Lisboa Casino – beautiful on the outside but terrifying on the inside!

It’s located in Macao.

Chinese casinos are scary, intimidating places. When I first entered one, I was not sure if it was a casino or a conference of snipers and assasins. For the casinos are filled with intense looking ultra-affluent Chinese people sitting silently at the various gambling tables, never moving more than the required muscles for hours at a time.  Nothing even casually reminiscent of Las Vegas.

Würm flowers

I took this snap in a field in Alsace,

What’s amazing to me about it are two things. The plants are stuck on the ground and remind me of starfish.

And the high number of flat, polished rocks is certainly a vestige of the last ice age in this area, in which a massive glacier (known as the Würm) covered this area.


My feet on the ladder of death

Or it could very well be the ladder of death, if you fall off.

Here is a picture of my feet on said ladder, and as you can see the drop is many thousands of feet below:

This is along the world-famous Hindelanger Klettersteig, a mountain route through the Alps of Southern Germany, where you don’t even want to think about coming unless you have the right equipment and know how to use it. Interestingly, this was my first such expedition, so I didn’t have the right equipment (I had to borrow it) and I didn’t know how to use it (but I learn fast).

And where you can get some very impressive views if the weather is nice:

Nanjing Road in Shanghai

Today it is one of the busiest streets in the world, but when I visited many years ago it was still quiet – it was unempty until at least noon, and you’d have to struggle to meet any foreigners there at all.

Interestingly, while visiting Shanghai as I scientist I was followed on at least two occasions by the Chinese secret police (actually, nothing unexpected since I had a background in nuclear physics, and the Chinese goverment made no secrets about following nuclear physicists whenever possible). And (as many, many people over the years have asked me) this is where my path first crossed with a man I only know as Mr. Tradecraft.

This was back in the days before China was open to the west: for example, all incoming flights had to stop in Beijing, where the passengers would get out and pass through immigration, before re-boarding and heading to Shanghai.

Another interesting story is that I shared a train cabin with a team of business leaders from Motorola, who at the time had no footprint in China and were considering opening their first factory there. So unknowingly I may have helped contribute to their business decision!

Cubbon Road Cows

Good cows, bad picture – I hardly think it’s possible. Here’s a snap of a few cows enjoying a quiet moment outside of Bangalore’s Cubbon Park.

Although it happened rarely, it did happen from time to time: cows are herd animals, so if given the chance they will spontaneously come together and form a herd. That’s OK if you are in Moneta, Wyoming, population 6.  But it ain’t so OK when you are in downtown Bangalore, and the cows stop traffic for over six hours.

Train operators

I don’t remember where I took this snap exactly,

but it was a few years before I joined the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB / CFF / FFS) so in many ways it was probably a harbinger of things to come!

I guess they didn’t get many American tourists here, because they invited me in and allowed me to watch them doing their operations!