35mm – Around the world
Hamburg – London – Los Angeles – Cambodia
Around the world? „Normally people take off half a year to do this!“ was one of the reactions I got beforehand. Well I didn’t have the time. Simple as that.
So I took most of December 2015 to make that journey.
I got the opportunity to go visit Los Angeles and forever I wanted to go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. So I combined both stops and lost a day while crossing the dateline. Gone forever from my life without living it ;).
I was thinking about buying a more than decent DSLR before the trip, but couldn’t settle on one. So I took my Nikon put film into it and had some point and shoot with me besides a GoPro. This first post will only showcase the story shot on 35mm film in black and white.
Thank you for reading.
First stop Heathrow Airport
It has always been a place of confusion to me. It felt like I were in a place with no time zone or trying to solve a puzzle. Different terminals connected with buses and as soon as I entered the bus I lost my orientation. The tower didn’t help much getting back on track. The only way to get my grip back has been the expensive coffee break.
I consider this a classic move, just like back in the days when one would fly with PanAm to the USA. The whole plane felt like US soil from the beginning, the plastic they have chosen, the stewards and the smell made a well sorted representation of the US lifestyle in the air.
Second stop Los Angeles
Entering the US gave me nightmares before I started the journey. To my surprise it went so smooth it felt actually the same as entering Cambodia. Apart from a long waiting queue which was quickly rerouted it was easier than entering the GDR.
When you fly to California, one would expect a sunny day, but as soon as I got picked up it started to rain. Very much a familiar feeling coming from Hamburg and London. It was almost freezing at night, at least that’s what it felt like.
The next morning I started exploring Culver City. First thing that went out of the window was my distaste for Starbucks. I had breakfast at Starbucks to feel like almost everybody else. Standing in line for coffee and catching free Internet. There are actually people in that place who seem to live there. Free WiFi and a desk. What do you need more in LA making your way into the movie world?
Downtown Culver City is manageable without a car. Right around the corner from the Star Buck’s is the Kirk Douglas Theatre. Doesn’t seem to be in use regularly. And across the street is the Sony Pictures Headquarter. I took a long walk around the whole studio complex. Like always the only dude walking around in US cities.
I walked around the whole studio complex, which is currently in use. The moment I arrived at the entrance of the headquarter a tour started and I jumped in. Quite impressive to see that first hand. There are some vehicles on the premises, for example the mobile home used in Breaking Bad.
Culver City was the birthplace of Hollywood. MGM founded their studio right there. The gated community I was staying at was built on the soil where „Gone with the wind“ among other classics was filmed. The guide told a lot of the history of the studio complex on the tour, too much to write down for now.
There were some visits in Venice, but they were captured in Kodak color. So you’ll see them some time around. Let’s talk about Hollywood, the Chinese Theatre and all that. It was the day of the Star Wars premiere. Half of the Boulevard was under wraps. Quite impressive to see what kind of a hoopla they are doing. To me the part of the Blvd. where it’s located looks kind of worn out, in fact the whole strip looked worn out. Maybe the same as the Reeperbahn is looking in real life after you saw all those fancy pictures in magazines and online.
It’s about business. A business about illusions and stories made mostly to entertain and at parts to make you reflect on life. At the Boulevard the tours into Beverly Hills and what not at every corner. No real street cafes or bars, where you could it have a decent drink and watch. I was looking for that kind of place and couldn’t find it. A lot of stars you trample on literally, the iconic Capitol Records building and The Roosevelt. That hotel where Prince had some shows, some very cool classic buildings there.
I’ll leave you with some impressions I took away.
Third stop Guangzhou
After a 15 hours flight with an Airbus 380 from China Southern I landed safely in China.
I stayed in this, I call it „Twilight Zone“ between worlds for 5 hours for the connecting flight to Phnom Penh the Capital of Cambodia. I will write something at a later date together with some photographic impressions about this place.
Fourth stop Phnom Penh
Arriving in Phnom Penh was a relief. It was quite warm with 25° C and humid. Just my kind of weather.
Immigration was a bit smoother and faster that entering the US, although the procedure is basically the same. Prints and a photo. My Visa was registered and there were not many people entering the country.
A driver with a car from the hotel picked me up. I unpacked and got on a Tuk-Tuk to explore the city immediately.
The hold up is that there are no black and white pictures of Phnom Penh. So I will come back in a later post to this part of the travel.
I took the bus to Siem Reap, because everybody I talked to advised me to take it. Initially I wanted to travel with the boat. I found out later in Paris from a german couple who took the boat that this decision was a wise one. So six hours on the bus with one stop for lunch. I was knocked out at arrival. So glad it was the day ride not the night ride.
Fifth stop Siem Reap / Angkor Wat National Park
I arrived at the bus stop which was the one I told my local guide I’d arrive at, so I had to wait, but not too long to get picked up.
I went around the city for a bit with my luggage, trying to buy some stuff and to catch first impressions.
The next morning, like early around 7 we went to the first of many drives into the National Park of Angkor Wat with a myriad of temple from Hindu and Buddhist origin. Following are the impressions that I took in b/w from that day. It was a first very busy visit of a few temples to get an impression. I was still dealing with jet-lag and somehow exhaustion from the bus trip.
I came back for 5 days altogether into the National Park and you’ll see in a later post the whole beauty in color. I hope you’ll enjoy the photographs.