29 May 2014 Toronto

Towers and Eye Movements...
Celebrating our grandson Tien’s 5th birthday, conquering Toronto's CN Tower together and re-discovering those awesome neuro-linguistic findings about the power of eye movements: a tall building will hoodwink the people to look up to its top and, as a result, their upwardly eye movements trigger powerful internal visualisations like memory pictures, dreams and visions of the future. 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you've imagined.”
(Henry David Thoreau)

Riding the glass-fronted and glass-floor panelled high-speed elevators to the top of Ontario ("Yours to Discover") in only 58 seconds (admission: C$ 24.00 per senior citizen, children under four [!] free of charge), testing our nerves with a thrilling view through the 2½-inch thick glass floor in the 346-m high observation deck and feeling a very stiff breeze on the Outdoor Sky Terrace at 342 m above ground.

Counting the number of high-rising telecommunication towers which we have climbed between our first visit (together with grandson Raoni in August 2010) and our second visit (together with grandson Tien in May 2014) of the 553-m high Canadian National Tower: (i) the 165-m high Menara Alor Setar, (ii) the 509-m high Taipei 101, (iii) the 433-m high Canton Tower, (iv) the 480-m high N Seoul Tower, and (v) the 378-m high Tuntex Sky Tower.
“He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.” 

Going back to Barrie by means of reliable and convenient GO Bus (80 km, 1 1/2 hours, C$ 6.50 per senior citizen) and being cockered up with Konni's garlic-powered, famous fresh garden salads: (i) sort of organically farmed Canadian veggies from Southern Ontario, (ii) sort of WMD-free tofu from Toronto's Chinatown and (iii) positively home-grown herbs from our safe house's balcony garden.

For Raoni, Tien and Ronja:
Wir waren in den vergangen Jahren auf vielen hohen Bauwerken. Meistens waren es Telekommunikations-Tuerme mit grossen Antennen obendrauf. Vielleicht aber sind die technischen Anlagen auch bloss eine faule Ausrede, um das Geld fuer den Bau solch hoher Tuerme zu bekommen. Denn in Dubai ist es uns zum ersten Male aufgefallen, dass die Leute auf der Strasse sich haeufig den Hals verrenken und vor allem die Augen verdrehen, um bis zur Turmspitze hinaufzuschauen. Bewusst und unbewusst. Vielleicht wollten die Erbauer, dass die Menschen beim Hochschauen zu traeumen beginnen und kuehne Visionen entwickeln. Vermutlich ist das der wirkliche Grund dafuer, dass Tuerme bis zum Himmel gebaut werden, von Babel ueber Dubai bis Toronto. - Welche bunten Zukunftstraeume habt Ihr?

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06 May - 14 May 2014 Bohol

Tarsiers, Filipinas and Jeepneys...
Matt: Making intense eye contact with Bohol’s very distinguished mascots thus (i) spotting quite a few cute, big-eyed Tarsiers, (ii) meeting umpteen beautiful, dark-eyed Filipinas and (iii) admiring hundreds of gaudy, glass-eyed Jeepneys.

"I love mirrors. They let one pass through the surface of things.” 

Matt: Exploring the chaotic markets, adventurous back lanes and hidden parlours of Tagbilaran, the untouristy, noisy and friendly capital city of Bohol where 3,000 plus tricycles roam the potholed streets (PHP 8.- per person), bypassing resorty Panglao Island and its Alona Beach, the infamous rip-off ground zero of Bohol’s desperate tourist industry, and learning about Tagbilaran’s two major historical events: (i) the blood compact between Datu Sikatuna, a local native chieftain, and Captain Miguel López de Legazpi, the Spanish explorer and coloniser, which took place on the coast of Bohol on 16 March 1565 CE, and (ii) the 7.2-magnitude earthquake which struck Bohol on 15 October 2013 CE with damage to numerous old and new buildings.


Matt: Taking a minibus from the bus stop in downtown Tagbilaran to Dao Bus Terminal (5 km, ¼ hour, PHP 8.- per person), right opposite Island City Mall, and hereafter a colourful jeepney from Dao Bus Terminal to Loboc (24 km, ¾ hours, PHP 27.- per person).

Matt: Exploring the friendly one-horse town Loboc, home of the world-famous Loboc Children's Choir, and enjoying tremendously a daytrip to the nearby fishing town Loay (inter-village Jeepney: 5 km, ¼ hour, PHP 8.- or US$ 0.20 per person). 

Matt: Spotting a few exemplars of tiny and cute, nocturnal Philippine tarsiers (Carlito syrichta), one of the smallest primates on the planet, in the Philippine Tarsier Foundation near Sikatuna (jeepney from Loboc: 15 km, ¾ hours, PHP 20.- per person, one way, entrance: PHP 50.- per person) and in the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Area near Upper Bonbon (big bus from Loboc: 12 km, PHP 10.- per person, one way, entrance: PHP 50.- per person) and learning that they (i) fit in your palm yet leap five metres, (ii) rotate their heads 360 degrees yet can’t move their eyeballs which are 150-times bigger than a human’s, in relation to body size, and (iii) gave Steven Spielberg the inspiration for E.T. and many other of his freakazoid alien creatures.

Matt: Marvelling together with travel buddy Tanya at the geological wonder of c. 1,500 famous Chocolate Hills (which vary in size from 30 metres to 120 metres in height), a rolling terrain of haycock hills, mounds of a generally conical and almost symmetrical shape, spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres near Carmen (big bus from Loboc: 35 km, 1 hour, PHP 35.- per person).
“The legend of the Chocolate Hills tells of a soldier named Arogo who fell in love with Aloya, a beautiful young lady from afar. Aloya's departure caused Arogo much pain and misery, and in his sorrow he could not stop crying. When his tears dried, the Chocolate Hills were formed.”

Matt: Taking an inner-city jeepney (5 km, ¼ hour, PHP 8.- per person) from the convenient Nisa Travellers Hotel +63384113731 (small and clean single bedroom with good wifi for PHP 500.- or US$ 11.30 per night) to Tagbilaran’s jazzy Island City Mall in Dao and admiring hundreds of genuine Philippine Jeepneys which are still in use on the island.


Matt: Flunking the Visayan sugar-daddy test (not old enough, not fat enough and no government-guaranteed pension from any of the lucrative Western welfare states) and learning about the rationale why many Philippine sugar babies prefer much older American, Australian or European "significant others": (i) usually, they have more dough than younger candidates since they’ve had more time to make money, (ii) commonly, they are more docile and easier to control due to their reduced mental and physical abilities, and (iii) obviously, they are only for a shorter period of time to bear with since their residual time is rather reasonable thus clearing space for the next love-stricken moron. 

"Are you single?"

Matt: Saying goodbye to the Visayas and flying uneventfully with Air Asia Zest (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) in a battered Airbus A 320-200 from Tagbilaran's manageable Airport to Manila’s vast Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Terminal 4) for US$ 37.30 per person, one way, all inclusive (plus the terminal fee of PHP 75.- or US$ 1.70 per person for domestic departures).


Matt: Leaving the Philippines, realising that besides coconuts (the Philippines are the world's largest producer of coconuts) smart and beautiful Filipinas are an important export commodity and one of the economic mainstays of the country as (i) affectionate spouses for American and European sugar daddies, (ii) adoring nannies and reliable domestic helpers for the oil sheikhs in the Middle East and (iii) skilled sex workers for clients all over the world, flying one-stop with Philippine Airlines (“Your Home in the Sky”) in a neat and tidy Boeing 777-300ER wide body from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, via a short refuelling stop in Vancouver, to Toronto Pearson International, for US$ 1,325.- per person for the complete return ticket Manila-Toronto-Manila-Bangkok, all inclusive (plus the terminal fee of PHP 550.- or US$ 12.60 per person for international departures from Manila), and booked over the internet, already in December 2013 CE, with Philippine Airlines +6328558888, changing my watch over the Pacific from Philippine Time, GMT/UTC + 8:00 hours, to Eastern Daylight Saving Time, GMT/UTC - 4:00 hours, being issued with a 6-month visa-free visit permit to the People's Republic of Canada on arrival, free of charge, and arriving in Ontario ("Yours to Discover") for a very long summer break. 

“Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
Going home
To where it's better
Than before.

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore.” 

For Raoni, Tien and Ronja: 
Auf der Insel Bohol leben klitzekleine, nachtaktive, baumbewohnende Halbaffen mit riesengrossen Augen, die Koboldmakis (Carlito syrichta). Sie haben relativ zur Koerpergroesse die groessten Augen aller Saeugetiere. Ihre Augen sind groesser als ihr Gehirn! Der Name sagt es ja bereits – sie aehneln lustigen Kobolden. Die Koboldmakis schlafen tagsueber und jagen ihre Beute in der Nacht; deshalb brauchen sie so grosse Augen, um besser sehen zu koennen. Sie jagen Kaefer, Spinnen, Zikaden, grosse Ameisen und kleine Krabben. Dabei benoetigen sie keinen Rueckspiegel, denn sie koennen ihren Kopf muehelos bis ganz nach hinten verdrehen, um 180 Grad nach jeder Seite. Mit ihren großen Fingern koennen die kleinen Koboldmakis die Beutetiere aus der Luft fangen oder sie springen mit einem grossen Satz auf ihre Beute. Nachdem sie ihr Beutetier mit Bissen getoetet haben, setzen sie sich auf einen Ast, packen das Tier mit den Vorderpfoten und verzehren es mit dem Kopf voran. - Welche weiteren Moeglichkeiten, ausser grossen Augen, kennt Ihr, um sich im Dunkeln gut orientieren zu koennen? 
From the Philippines, with Love!

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