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St. Louis Diary

Time flies.


Time flies. Just two diaries ago I wrote about Christmas and now we already had spring break. But before we go into leisure time, I will me summarize what happened during this semester. I have been very occupied lately with the seminar paper for my law and technology seminar. It is about cyberpayments and the new payment schemes for the Internet, which at first caused a big hype among the Internet community but so far have been not much more than a huge flop. Some of the high-flying experiments were ceased without giving a reason others went bankrupt. However, the race is not yet over, new competitors enter the virtual arena every day and it will be worth following things. I'll keep you updated on this matter and on where you can find my paper.

As to my other classes, things go pretty well. Besides my regular curriculum I also participate in the meetings of Prof. Nevins' Law and Film Seminar. The seminar deals with the role of law and lawyers as portrayed in movies. Legal matters always were a big issue for movies, and it is amazing how the perception of law and especially of legal practitioners in the public is influenced by those movies. Just think of classics such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" or the 1962 original of "Cape Fear". And what would be today's television without shows like "Moonlightning" (remember Cybill Sheppard and Bruce Willis) or "Law & Order"? During every meeting a movie is shown and later analyzed and discussed by the class. Moreover the law library maintains a collection of mayor motion pictures that deal with legal issues and that can be checked out.

Apparently my presence in Saint Louis has a somewhat beneficial effect on the local sports teams. - Well, maybe it's not exactly like that but anyway. Not only the Rams won the Super Bowl but also the Saint Louis Blues Hockey team is among the leading clubs of the league. Two weeks ago I went to the winning game against the Philadelphia Fliers - no fights but a pretty good match.

But now for Spring Break. If you have ever heard something about American college life, you have probably heard about Spring Break. And if you haven't heard about it imagine this: thousands and thousands of underage-drunk American college students loudly occupying the beaches and bars of Florida and Mexico. Not a pretty sight. One could tell that this special time of the year was close, since the university gym was more than packed during the last weeks. Everybody was working frantically on getting rid of the extra body weight

Nevertheless, I decided to avoid the crowd and therefore went to Los Angeles to visit friends. On the flight there I had a layover in Minneapolis (that's what you get when you book these "can't beat" Internet offers) and that gave me time to visit the world's greatest shopping mall, the Mall of America. And although this might sound pretty exciting (and that was what the guy t the information desk at Minneapolis St. Paul airport told me), it is completely unspectacular. The place is, well, just a mall. They might have an indoor roller coaster but that still doesn't impress me much. I guess to really being able to appreciate this place one has to live in Minnesota for some time.

However, eventually I arrived in LA and was ready to hit the road. My friend Ken whom I met there and me have some kind of tradition of going on road trips. We already did the LA-Las Vegas-Colorado 16 hours driving nonstop tour and explored Germany and neighboring countries by car (Amsterdam-Munich in 8 hours). This time our trip took us from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area where we met with Chris, another friend, and from there to the Biggest Little City in the World - Reno. The whole city is a second-class gambling parlor but the $4.99 prime rib buffets at one of the casinos was a really good deal. After spending the night with exploring the magic of the slot machines we took off early to Northstar at Tahoe for skiing. When you think of California, skiing might not be the first thing that comes to your mind but the conditions were excellent. The whole resort consists of 2,420 skiable acres and over 60 trails and with a mid-mountain elevation of 6800 ft. there is enough snow throughout the entire season.

Yet, since driving was a must on the trip we eventually hit the road again and after making pit stops in Concord and LA we reached our final destination, Tijuana Mexico. This was my first time in Mexico and if you have never been there all I can tell you is not to expect too much. The city is dirty and constantly somebody is begging you for money or trying to drag you into his store. But if you only stay for a day and don't mind cheap $1 Mexican beer (the same stuff they sell you for DM 8,- in Germany) and stores that have not much more to offer than fake Rolex watches and Ray ban sun glasses, this is the place to go.

Later, Nils