Splette's Travel Blog
  • Video
  • May19th

    One of the many great aspects of traveling is meeting interesting people. Some are more interesting than others. Scooter is the owner of the underground-hostel I am staying at and he falls into the first category. There are very few hostels in Texas. I found only one in Austin. An hour after the booking I receive an email from the hostel owner telling me it’s temporary closed but if I want to I can stay in an unofficial hostel in South Austin. I had little choice and agreed. The hostel owner said this place is run by a friend of hers. His name is Scooter and he is ‘one of a kind’. What can I say… yes he is. Scooter converted his apartment into a big dorm room with kitchen and bathroom. 100% IKEA style. He built the bunk beds himself. I did not want to challenge my luck and decided to sleep in one of the lower ones. The very colorful decor, linen, sheets and abundant cushions make it look a little like a kid’s bedroom. He shares the room with his guests, cooks for them and goes out. In his former life, Scooter was an aspiring star in the music business. How often do you get to meet someone who auditioned for American Idol? Don’t miss this video of one of his other auditions:

  • May12th

    This is where the Louisiana alligators hang out

    Swamp near New Orleans

    As you might know reptiles are my favorite animals. The bigger the better. So, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see some alligators while I am in New Orleans which is located in the Mississippi river delta and mostly surrounded by swamps. I booked a swamp tour which gave me the opportunity to share my alligator watching experience with other tourists, families, kids and retired people. How I love those tourist tours… But it was the only way to see the alligators from close up. Our group went out into a nearby swamp with a boat. The alligators there are quite used to people and the tour guides attract them by feeding them with marshmallows and hotdogs. Who would have thought alligators like marshmallows… Also interesting: Unlike crocodiles they don’t eat humans (usually…)

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  • March1st

    As usual (during traveling in general / me traveling in particular) unforeseen things happen. My plans change on a daily basis but then again that’s part of the fun…
    First, my almost new laptop broke which is why I am mostly offline for the moment, relying on the occasional free wifi to go online with my trusted Android. Getting the laptop picked up for repair would deserve a blog post on its own… In short, I spent much time on the phone with some nice but clueless kid in a call center somewhere in India. The phone connection wasn’t good and after endless spelling of my not-so-short surname, address, serial number of laptop, model number, date of purchase, phone number, etc… the guy suddenly asked: “You are from Germany. May I ask you a question, sir?” That’s after he asked my a dozen questions, so I was confused. “Do you know a band called Rammstein?”. I reply yes and what follows is another half a dozen questions about their popularity in Germany now and back then, their songs and especially the lyrics (“Du hast…”, “Du hast mich…”, “Du hast mich gefragt…”). Remind you, all this chit chat on a hotline where conversations are randomly recorded and reviewed for quality control purposes. Anyway, the laptop will be gone for a few weeks which feels like cold withdrawal to me…
    Second, my U.S. SIM card doesn’t work in Canada. Pretty harmless, especially since I rely a lot more on wifi (that’s easy to find just about anywhere) than texting/phone.
    Third, my credit card. When I shipped off the laptop at some FedEx, I forgot my credit card there. I realized that about an hour later. Thankfully, someone gave it to the manager and I got it back. Lucky me. However, since that incident the card is declined wherever I try to use it. No good. Did someone go on a shopping spree with it? Need to call VISA and find out…
    Four, might have some bigger impact on my plans. My visa waiver for the US is expiring sooner than expected. I got a three months waiver when I entered the United States. But I was hoping when I leave the country and go to Canada, then come back to the US I would get a new waiver valid for another three months. Apparently not. For certain administrative purposes the US and Canada count as the same. Now I have two options: cut my trip short and move on to Mexico (skipping Chicago, Vancouver, California etc.) or to leave the country by plane for a short ‘vacation of the vacation’ and then come back to resume the journey.

  • February19th

    Recently, one of my faithful blog readers suggested I should add a little sex & crime to my reporting. Here we go. Thursday night I did some major bar-hopping with a friend who is visiting from San Francisco and my couchsurfing host Akimbo in Manhattan. I don’t remember how I managed to spend those $100 on food and drinks in just one night. At some point I decided I was done partying and went home to my couch in Brooklyn. It’s a rather industrial area. While walking from the subway station to my place I caught those youngsters on tape stealing a traffic sign. I am pretty sure this is a criminal act – my work is done here. (Yes, I know I know, this is a little lame for a crime story. Hopefully the sex tape will be more exciting… 🙂 )

    PS. I cut the funniest part of the video which was my continuous burping in the background. It was just too embarrassing.

    Update: Due to high demand, I changed my mind. Here is the missing sound: