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November 6th/7th to December 15th 2000

Updated July 26, 2003


During my stay in California I've posted the two pics below to the website, just to give a proof I'm having a good time (or was it to make everyone jealous? - Just kidding!)...

 Pismo Beach, California - Nov. 2000 
Even in the States I rarely was seen wearing something else but a Dr Feelgood t-shirt!

 Venice Beach, California - Dec. 3, 2000 
Surely the best shot ever taken from me. You can't imagine how beauti(and peace-)ful
the Pacific Ocean is. No lie, I was neither drugged nor drunk, but felt like if I could fly.


Every year when I was a school kid my parents went on vacation to Italy or Yugoslavia (at that time it still existed) while leaving me in Austria, where my little sister grew up at my granny's house. So I can say I know quite a lot from Austria, especially the area around Salzburg, where Mozart was born. Was a very romantic place way back then. As a little girl I always dreamed of spending the honeymoon in Salzburg, well, I still can do so but definately would chose another place today!
I suppose I must have left my name in 50 of 100 books which usually lay out by the huge crosses which top the high mountains. We were wandering around like mad, up and down, up and down, day in day out. Surely the reason why today I am a very lazy person when it comes to walking...

In the early 80's, when I was about 10 years old, my parents took me with them to Italy (just 2 days or so) and then we spent about 2 weeks in Yugoslavia. Great food in Italy and a nice atmosphere. I like the Italian lifestyle and how the Italien people enjoy life. In Yugoslavia we unfortunately did no sightseeing (I think is a true shame not to check out the culture and tradition of other countries and people if you get the chance to do so) but spent the whole time on the (naked culture!!) beach. I was snorkeling all days long and had my butt burned so badly from the sun, I couldn't sit or lay on the back for 2 weeks! Some of those experiences you'll never forget!

The true "life as a travellin' girl" started right after I've met my friends, the British Rhythm'n'Blues band, Dr Feelgood for the first time, 3 days after my 28th birthday (1991). Quicker as I realized I fetched the "being on the road virus". This date I count as the beginning of my real life. Since then I'm touring with the Feelgoods regularly in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium. We've been in Luxembourg and France, although I had the pleasure to see beautiful Wales during a recording session of their guitarist Steve... Of course I visit England as often (and long) as possible. It's more a home to me than Germany ever can/will be. I honestly can say, meeting the Feelgoods has changed my life, or - better said - they have shown me what my life is about, what I was born for to do, you know what I mean? Being on the road with a band requires 100 per cent discipline from anyone involved, almost all the time. Something which can be really hard work sometimes! But it's great to be together and to work with (or for) people who are doing a great job and are nice guys too. Trust and reliability, respect and tolerance, understanding and (how I call it) even a kind of love between each other makes problems bearable and stress dissappear. It's a good life, if you love it. Well, I don't mind living in hotel rooms, getting meals without having to cook or wash the dishes, getting drinks for free and all this... It's great. And if there's sometimes the time and a place available where I can be on my own for a little while to "recharge my batteries", it's perfect.

After having spent 6 weeks at Canned Heat's Fito's beautiful house and place in sunny California, I MUST say: California is the best country I've ever been to! A beautiful landscape whereever you go. I love L.A. for the "vibrating energy of creativity" which you can feel in the air. It also is kind of perfect 'cause everything is so close, the mountains and the beach, hectic areas and peaceful places. This city gots a whole world in one, all the good and bad things, sun and shadow, joy and pain, love and hate. Driving around in California is good fun, huge motorways, overtaking allowed from left or right side (that's great but unfortunately would never work in Germany...), even if you're stuck in a traffic jam (as regular in and around L.A.) you can enjoy listening to good music on the radio. The food in California is highly influences by it's former owners, the Mexicans (bad for someone like me who doesn't like hot food). The 24 hours restaurants are fantastic and offer some good meals for any taste and recent prices. The people are nice (I even met some cops who fetched me driving the wrong way in a one way road in Long Beach, who let me walk away with that without charging or arresting me! - If they would have done so when knowing I had an open bottle of Butweiser in my bag at the passengers seat? Phew!!). The customer service in the shops is excellent (in opposite to how it is over here in Germany), it's impossible to describe all the stuff you can buy in the States. Anything you want it seems. Well, a person who likes all this (and can effort to live there) can have a damned good time in California. I can't wait to return and wish some day I can stay for a long long long long time. Maybe forever. Really. But I would miss my Feelgoods and England. It's so far away from CA! You can't have everything, my dear. (But it's nice to dream)...


(Can't remember which punk band this song played, but they were absolutely right!)

>>> More photos and comments to be added <<<


NOVEMBER 6th, 2000
Hannover - Frankfurt - London

Got up at 6am (after having kind of slept for 2 hours max., was simply too excited) to fetch the train from Hannover to Frankfurt airport for the flight to London. +++ Arrived in London at midday to learn British Airways has cancelled all flights to Los Angeles that day "due to computer problems"... Nice surprise, NOT!


The journey hasn't even really started and I find myself cueing up in the dam*ed longest cue I've ever seen. Believe me or not, it took almost 8 hours (EIGHT!!) to get through to the British Airways info desk. There it was told me I shall find me a hotel room 'cause it still wasn't clear if there will go flights to L.A. the next day. After I had not much money with me (and no credit card...) I asked whom in the end will pay for the hotel. BA ensured me they will pay all expenses (the room, taxi, dinner) immediately, so I went to the hotel reservation desk somewhere upstairs. Cued up for additional hour to learn all cheap rooms were gone since a long time, the only hotel left was the Heathrow Marriott. First class, high rates. But who cares for that when being tired and fed up from standing in rows of people for a day. I would have been close to California in the meantime - If the schedule has worked out...


Arrived at the Heathrow Marriott Hotel in London, felt a bit misplaced here, wearing the kind of clothes which ensure to feel comfortable at the long journey... What a lobby! Although I just wanted to rest after that horrible day I had to grab my camera to take a photo of the interesting decoration. - Below there's some impressions of my room. Nice and clean (but VERY expensive!). Unfortunately I couldn't really enhoy the ''luxury'' (ahem...) 'cause all I wanted was to fetch something to eat and then go to sleep. I still had the long flight to Los Angeles ahead the following day (fingers crossed the computers of BA would be fixed).



Back at London Heathrow Airport, early enough to return to the British Airways desk to claim back the expenses I've had for the hotel etc. What a shock they just gave me a business card of the customer service somewhere around Birmingham, where I should send the receipts and a photocopy of my ticket to claim the money back! Liars and bastards!!! Yesterday they've told me I would get the money back BEFORE I'll take off to L.A., they've known I've only had a very limited sum of money with me (due to my unemployment. Had no proper job since 4 years). Now I was ending up to go on a 6 weeks trip to the U.S.A. with 150DM / $70 in my pocket! I couldn't believe it. All because of ''computer problems''. Oh boy... Of course, I straight sent off all the paper stuff to the BA customer service to ensure at least to get the urgently needed money send to California as quick as possible. (I'll tell you later how this went out.)

Survived the last cue in Europe to finally be on the way to L.A.. I even survived being stuck in a small uncomfortable seat between two women in the middle row of the airplane. But the hardest thing to follow was the non-smoking instruction. Had a package of nicotine chewing gum with me, just in case I get the shakes. I'm proud to announce I haven't used it. Much to my own big surprisement!


That's it, finally. Los Angeles at night. What a big city and beautiful to look at with all its illumination.
First thing after the arrival was to hurry to find a place with an ashtray! Felt alien-alike while standing outside of the hall to have a fag or two. Seems everyone here has stopped smoking to now put all energy into sports (that's a far too healthy lifestyle for my taste). Anyway, I was positive amused the first thing I saw was some guys getting their surf equipment in and onto their car. Here's the Beach Boys, life and alive. Gabs, this IS California!

Head to check-in at American Airlines, the last step of the journey. A prop. machine (funny experience, by the way) savely flew me over to San Luis Obispo, a small airport close to Nipomo, where my friend Fito lives. With his nice black BMW he came to pick me and the luggage up. Shortly after midnight we arrived at his beautiful house in Nipomo where I straight felt like home (just much better!).

NOVEMBER 8th, 2000


Have you ever gotten out of bed around midday to get presented such a view? I've loved it on first sight. The hills of the Californian desert, a peaceful town, and lots of space and air around and above you. Fito has chosen a truly beautiful piece of earth to settle down! Probably a bit too quiet for someone who needs regular hectic, but to me it was the definate right place to relax and switch off the things I am responsible for way back home in Germany. I felt like in paradise.





Isn't this beautiful?!


Fito's house and a small part of its backyard. There I've found a clover with 5 leaves, really! Does it pretend double luck? Must so, I was so very happy to be where I was already.


Nipomo in the morning. That day a bit cloudy, though later the weather cleared up.


On the way to Los Angeles, where I had a date in Studio City in the late afternoon, I had a short (quick pee) stop in Santa Barbara. I should have stayed there for a bit longer 'cause due to the unexpectedly high traffic around and in L.A. I've unfortunately missed the date... Hung up in McDonalds and strolled up and down the streets to then drive around in L.A. before I could ''check in'' at Fito's manager's house somewhere around the corner of Van Nuys.

NOVEMBER 11th, 2000
Los Angeles


At Skip Taylor's backyard.


Same like above - This time using the sepia effect of the digital camera (a great toy!!).


At a motorbike ride through the California hills between Nipomo and Santa Maria. I couldn't belive it can cost a fortune to throw away a piece of paper or so...


Fito and his friends Pat and Bradley try to regularly come together for a cruise with their motorbikes. This part of California is like made for such trips, it's so beautiful and the roads are perfect. Of course also the fantastic weather is simply an invitation to get the ass off the sofa for a sightseeing tour.


We stopped to visit "Old Woody", one of California's bike and car collectors, who has some great stuff in his garage. Just look at the Rambler - those cars are not build anymore. He also owns a very old car which he has restorated(is that right?), it looks like brand new, out of the shop! His collection includes one of Fito's old BMW motorbikes, which today he would love to buy back, but that guy wants to keep it. - Don't give it up Fito, maybe he changes his mind some day...



Doing some sightseeing in Pismo Beach. That was the day when I saw the Pacific Ocean the first time in my life. I was fascinated and fetched by its beauty. More of the Pacific, California clouds and sun, Los Angeles (incl. some rare shots from inside the House of Blues, where I've met Dan Aykroyd) is soon to come. So check back!






© COPYRIGHT 1999-2005 BY GABI SCHWANKE (Design, Photos, Texts, etc. - as far as noone else is named.)

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