Archive for the Category »USA «

Pearl Harbor

Yesterday we visited the National Historic Landmark of Pearl Harbor on O’ahu, Hawaii. In the “Bay of Pearls” the USA joined the Allied Forces of WWII after the Japanese attack on December 7th, 1941. The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites offer a detailed history not just of this tragic event but of WWII in general – interesting for Germans to see this from a different point of view.
Our combo ticket led us first to the USS Bowfin which was one of the most successfull submarines in WWII, according to the number of ships it sank. It’s almost unbelievable how “much” comfort there was on a submarine and how space was used the most efficient way.
The second ship we saw was the USS Missouri or “Mighty Mo” – a huge battleship that served the US till the 1990s and became famous as the Japanese instrument of surrender was signed aboard in 1945. Seeing the furnitured offices, kitchens and bedrooms you’re always reminded that 20 years ago this ship was still on duty and in war.

- Isabell -

Memorial in Pearl Harbor (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Memorial in Pearl Harbor (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Memorial with submarine USS Bowfin in the background (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Memorial with submarine USS Bowfin in the background (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View from inside the submarine (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View from inside the submarine (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing around in the engine room (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing around in the engine room (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The crew`s beds (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The crew`s beds (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell again…damn it, our architect has to touch everything!! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell again…damn it, our architect has to touch everything!! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The same bowl before (right) and after a 4.000-feet-dive (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The same bowl before (right) and after a 4.000-feet-dive (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
You remember that scene from the movie “Pearl Harbor”? ;) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
You remember that scene from the movie “Pearl Harbor”? ;) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Patriotic? Nooooooo! Trail to the USS Missouri (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Patriotic? Nooooooo! Trail to the USS Missouri (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The USS Missouri (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The USS Missouri (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Spot on deck of the USS Missouri where Japan`s surrender was signed (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Spot on deck of the USS Missouri where Japan`s surrender was signed (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
USS Missouri`s canons (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
USS Missouri`s canons (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
 


Ooops, I did it again!

…and this time, Isabell did it either! And guess what, after she got comfortable with the noise she even liked it!! :-)
I`m so glad she faced her fears because this was probably the only chance for her (and for me) to shoot with real assault rifles in the States: We tried the U. S. Army standard rifle M16 (yew-ha!!) and a Russian AK-47, better known as Kalashnikov. We also tried the shotgun again, you can still see black and blue proofs on Isabell`s shoulder ;-) But like I said, she really liked it – and if you look at her target she did even better than me…

- Bernd -

Bernd shooting the M16 (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Bernd shooting the M16 (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Smiling Isabell, holding the M16…a little more professionally than the shotgun! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Smiling Isabell, holding the M16…a little more professionally than the shotgun! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell shooting the Kalashnikov (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell shooting the Kalashnikov (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bernd with the AK-47 (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Bernd with the AK-47 (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Any questions? ;) (© 2010 JG)
Any questions? ;) (© 2010 JG)
   


Aloha…

…from America’s 50th state – Hawaii!!!
For the last 4 days we’ve been strolling around on O’ahu, Hawaii’s main island,
starting with a nice evening chill-out on Waikiki beach, eating a fresh papaya and enjoying the sunset. When Waikiki get’s dark the place to go is the International Market Place where you can buy any hawaiian souvenir you can imagine, try some asian food and watch traditional hula-dance performances. Another place to shop is the Ala Moana Center, the biggest outdoor mall in the United States. Of course this is kinda uncool if it’s raining ;-)
On the third day we went to the highly recommended Hanauma Bay east of Waikiki – and were totally disappointed! It’s not just that tourists pay the highest entrance fee (residents/seniors/children/militaries get discounts) but the so-called “beautiful” coral garden with hundreds of fishes is more likely a dead rocky beach with apparently crossing fish – even the introducing video couldn’t help save the reef!
Now, if you want to explore ancient hawaiian history there are places like the Bishop Museum, which is closed on Tuesdays (what we found out standing in front of it so we’ll do this another day), or the ‘Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s royal family before the United States took over.

So, this is what we’ve done so far…but we got two days left.

- Isabell -

Waikiki Beach (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Waikiki Beach (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell on Waikiki Beach reading a book…something about a guy who travelled around the world in 80 days ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell on Waikiki Beach reading a book…something about a guy who travelled around the world in 80 days ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Iolani Palace – the palace of Hawaii`s former king (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Iolani Palace – the palace of Hawaii`s former king (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
My sweetheart Isabell :) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
My sweetheart Isabell :) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Honolulu at night (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Honolulu at night (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
   


San Francisco II
One of San Franciscos landmarks: The cable cars (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
One of San Franciscos landmarks: The cable cars (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Pier 39, SF`s amusement center (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Pier 39, SF`s amusement center (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell with a Coke and “clam chowder”, a very tasty clam soup (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell with a Coke and “clam chowder”, a very tasty clam soup (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View onto Pier 39 (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View onto Pier 39 (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
No, it`s not a dead crab, that one was still alive! (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
No, it`s not a dead crab, that one was still alive! (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Colorful kites at Pier 39 (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Colorful kites at Pier 39 (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sea lion colony at Pier 39 (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sea lion colony at Pier 39 (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
This funny guy appeared unexpected when I took pictures of the sea gulls (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
This funny guy appeared unexpected when I took pictures of the sea gulls (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The sailing ship from the BECKS commercial ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The sailing ship from the BECKS commercial ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Boats (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Boats (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Yes, we can! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Yes, we can! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Submarine and warship in the harbor of SF (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Submarine and warship in the harbor of SF (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Fire engine, they look so much cooler than the ones we have in Germany (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Fire engine, they look so much cooler than the ones we have in Germany (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Detail of the fire engine (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Detail of the fire engine (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell walking the Golden Gate Bridge (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell walking the Golden Gate Bridge (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sea gull – a very cool bird, allowed me to take the photo from a distance of only one foot! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sea gull – a very cool bird, allowed me to take the photo from a distance of only one foot! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)


San Francisco

Although it looks like, we`re not in San Francisco any more – we`ve left almost one week ago! Unfortunately, there was so less time to view and develop the tons of pictures I took there that I`m still busy…
To keep in the flow we will go on with blogging about our next destination and I´m going to upload the missing S. F. pictures as soon as possible! But don`t mind, I got one picture for you already – it`s my favorite one, a night shot of the giant and impressing Golden Gate Bridge – hope you like it as much as I do!

- Bernd -

The Golden Gate Bridge (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

“Break the rules and you go to prison…

… break prison rules and you’ll go to Alcatraz.”  (Quote of an inmate)

A ferry from Peer 33 brought us to the island which is only 2.4 km / 1.5 miles offshore of San Francisco. Even though the distance doesn’t seem far escaping was almost impossible due to cold water and strong currents.
Inmates like Al “Scarface” Capone, Robert “The Birdman” Stroud and George “Machine Gun” Kelly were the most famous criminals Alcatraz has kept in its 29 years of duty – and now we’ve been there as well ;-)

- Isabell -

Sea gull at Peer 39 and Alcatraz in the background (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sea gull at Peer 39 and Alcatraz in the background (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Alcatraz (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Alcatraz (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Floor with jail cells, “The Broadway” (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Floor with jail cells, “The Broadway” (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jail cells in Block D (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jail cells in Block D (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View into a jail cell (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View into a jail cell (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bar-spreader made by an inmate attempting to escape (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bar-spreader made by an inmate attempting to escape (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
 


Universal Studios

Universal globe at the entry (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)I think no L. A. trip will be complete without visiting the Universal Studios Hollywood. We did, together with Jake, Amber and Eric!

We spent most of the day with the awesome movie-related rides and shows like Terminator 2: 3D, the House of Horror,  the Revenge of the Mummy rollercoaster and the Jurassic Park Ride that ends with a 26 meter almost free fall. People who have been to an amusement park with me before know that I LOVE rollercoasters and especially free-fall towers ;-) Honestly, when we rode the rollercoaster – like Amber told me afterwards – I screamed like a little girl. Car from Jurassic Park (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)But what really scared me to death was The Simpsons Ride which is not even a real ride but just the most realistic 4D simulation I have ever seen. I promise, if you`re afraid of heights you`re gonna die on that ride!!!

At last we did the Studio Tour where you can see all the sets and stage props from world famous movies and TV series. We saw the wreckage of a crashed Boeing from War of the World, the Motel from Psycho, cars from Jurassic Park and the whole Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives! House in Wisteria Lane (Desperate Housewives) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)There is another 4D simulation with the world largest 3D screens, special effects like exploding cars or an earthquake in the Metro and of course – my parents already told me before – the Great White from Stephen Spielberg`s Jaws.

- Bernd -

American life

Well, I know we haven’t been blogging for the last week but that’s because we’ve been busy getting to know what it’s like to live in the States… maybe one day ;-)
We were invited to stay with our friends, the Schulzes, who just moved to Palmdale, a city 1 1/2 hours away from Los Angeles, about a month ago. The time we spent with them was just awesome – when you take a look at the pictures you’ll understand.
Thanks again to Amber and Eric for your invitation and hospitality!

Now, when you leave the big cities and go out to the smaller towns you get to see what everyday american life is like and I can asure you: it’s a lot different compared to Germany: you get free refills at restaurants, if you walking you’re kind of “out” and you get your groceries packed in supermarkets. (I’m just saying this because one of us didn’t know this stuff and wouldn’t let the grocery packers do their job, scared they might steal the groceries).

Besides that, there are as well some shops and fast food chains, you won’t find in Germany, but everyone in the States goes nuts about them, so we had to go there: Places like Target, Kohl’s, Costco, Michaels, Old Navy, Bath & Bodyworks, Victoria’s Secret…oh my, I could go on and on. Now about the fast-food chains, there is Sonic, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, …and some more we still need to hit!

So the last few days we’ve been shopping, relaxing, eating and playing – a lil’ trick on you as you know by now ;-) !

- Isabell -

Jake (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell, Amber & Eric skyping with Susanne (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell, Amber & Eric skyping with Susanne (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake & Eric (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake & Eric (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Raider (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Raider (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake playing beachball with Isabell (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake playing beachball with Isabell (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sign in Amber`s backyard – do I need to say more? ;) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Sign in Amber`s backyard – do I need to say more? ;) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Amber after the first Margarita (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Amber after the first Margarita (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake & Bernd at the pool (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Jake & Bernd at the pool (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Isabell & Jake (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell & Jake (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing with Brooke (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing with Brooke (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Jake with his GIRLFRIEND Claire, her sister Brooke and Bernd in the hot tube (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Jake with his GIRLFRIEND Claire, her sister Brooke and Bernd in the hot tube (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
   


We’re sorry, folks…

…it was really fun blogging for all you who have continued reading for the past two weeks.

We saw a house a today, we went to look at it for fun – and we fell in love!

So, I guess this is probably the last entry…

We’re staying here, we have a house and Bernd will have a job interview in two days.

As I said: it has been a lot of fun with you guys – see ya in the States someday!

Our new home in the States (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

- Isabell & Bernd -

Things you can NOT do in Germany

Germany has one of the most restrictive weapons laws in the world. That`s good because as there is almost no legal way to get a real gun the risk for you to get shot down by criminals, angry neigbours, classmates or your own son/daughter is very low. On the other hand if you are a responsible person who is interested in firearms it can be a little bit annoying that you`re only offered the boring stuff like airguns, blank firing guns and the plastic airsoft crap. For everything else you need a licence, have to be a permanent member in a gun club and so on…but wait a minute, aren`t we in the USA these days!?

On a beautiful sunny day ;-) we went to The Los Angeles Gun Club which is much more a public shooting range than a club. They have a wide choice of rental guns including all popular pistols and revolvers and a lot of rifles. I decided to rent a .45 pistol (Beretta 92F) and a 7.62 mm Saiga rifle (based on the Kalashnikov assault rifle), got a short instruction and then…well, what do you think? PARTY TIME!!! :-)

After 50 shots with the pistol and 20 with the rifle I decided also to try a shotgun so they gave me a Remington 870, one of that cool pumpguns and YES, it is fun to pull back the stock for reloading and feel the strong recoil, although your shoulder starts hurting after some shots ;-)

But what about Isabell, did she also have fun with the guns? Have a look at the last gallery picture to find out!

- Bernd -

P.S. Dear brother, next time you have to come along!!

The Los Angeles Gun Club (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
The Los Angeles Gun Club (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Rental guns – Colt, Glock, H&K…everything! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Rental guns – Colt, Glock, H&K…everything! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Just before the first shot (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Just before the first shot (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Loading the rifle with big 7.62 mm bullets (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Loading the rifle with big 7.62 mm bullets (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Firing the Saiga rifle (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Firing the Saiga rifle (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
The Remington shotgun (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
The Remington shotgun (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Good work – only two shots were not on target! (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Good work – only two shots were not on target! (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Isabell – Scared of the noise, holding the rifle professionally ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell – Scared of the noise, holding the rifle professionally ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)