You Won’t Believe This – But

A lot of stories in Texas begin with the words “Sumbitch, you won’t believe this – but” and then the tails tend to grow from there but what I am about to relay to you is absolutely true and it happened on my way from Yap to Düsseldorf for the BOOT Show.  I left an island full of the colors green and blue and entered a land that was white.

Winter Wonderland

My trip so far has taken me from Yap to Guam to Manila to Hong Kong to Zurich, Basel and now Düsseldorf.  I arrived in Zurich at 6:10 AM and was met at the airport Starbucks by my good friend, Capt. Tommy Kormalis of Swiss Air.  From there, it was a Swiss Rail train to Basel where I was met by another great friend, Chris Heim owner of Sea Explorers diving centers in the Philippines and Pura Vida Hotel in Daumagheti.  We went to Chris’ mom’s house for lunch, which was fabulous and included dessert of cherries, whipped cream, ice cream and homemade cookies.

Chris & Mom

Afterwards, Chris and I were joined by his manager Lee and good friend Benji for a tour of Basel, including the mountains and the old city.

Chris, Bill &Lee

We crossed the river Rhine on a ferry boat that has been operating for centuries and which has no motor or moving parts.  It’s tethered to a cable stretching across the river and moves from bank to bank via the current.  Here is a picture of me with the “new” guy operating the ferry.  He has only been there for 20 years and, as you can see, towers over me.  He is a giant of a man with a wonderful disposition and outlook on life who enjoys his job.

This is a BIG man

One of the more interesting stops on our tour of Basel was the “Tri Corner Pole” marking the boundary of France, Germany and Switzerland.  In this picture, if I step to my right, I would be in France and I am standing with one foot in Switzerland and one foot in Germany.  Pretty neat stuff and I can’t thank my good friend Chris enough for a wonderful tour of “his” city.

Tri Nations


We also saw the smallest house in Basel which is one window wide!

One Window Wide


The next morning, the trip got even better.  After a short 1 hour flight on Air Berlin, I was met at the Düsseldorf Airport by Herr Schneider, aka James Bond as in “Bond, James Bond”.  Seriously Frank is one of the world’s best photo journalists and underwater photographer and boy did he have a treat in store for me?  We first went to his house outside the city where his lovely wife Uschi prepared coffee and traditional German cakes and then he took me to the “cheapest” hotel he could find.  We drove about 30 minutes from his home and entered the grounds of the Schloss Lembeck (  A castle surrounded by a moat and built over 1,000 years ago!

Schloss Lembeck

As I write this early in the morning before heading for the BOOT Show, I am the only guest in this GIANT building and am in a room which is easily 70 feet by 70 feet with a 30 foot ceiling, not counting the modern bathroom.


There is a fireplace, a four poster canopied bed and original wooden floors.  Breakfast is served downstairs in the formal dining room and I am off to meet Frank momentarily.

My “Room”


As I said above, “Sumbitch, you won’t’ believe this – but it’s true.  Nen, I sure wish you were here to share with me.

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