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  • 22 Oct 2017
    stylish-homes: Modern houseboat in Berlin via reddit
    11465 Posted by Shirley McLean
  • stylish-homes: Modern houseboat in Berlin via reddit
    Oct 22, 2017 11465
  • 22 Oct 2017
    6534 Posted by Shirley McLean
  • Oct 22, 2017 6534
  • 07 Feb 2019
    La premisa básica de las metodologías Six Sigma puede parecer simple en la superficie, ya que se enfoca en la eliminación de variaciones dentro del proceso de negocios que lleva a la eliminación de desechos. Poner la metodología en práctica implica el despliegue de estrategias de gestión estratégica y también asegurar el apoyo y la cooperación de todos los empleados. Antes de comenzar con la implementación de las metodologías, debe haber una familiarización con las estrategias.   Estas son algunas de las estrategias clave de Six Sigma que ayudan a mejorar la gestión de la calidad;   Entendiendo DMAIC DMAIC es la metodología principal de los proyectos Six Sigma que la mayoría de las organizaciones implementan. El acrónimo se refiere a los cinco pasos del proceso que incluyen; definir; Medir, analizar, mejorar y controlar. Las empresas comprometidas con la implementación de las metodologías deben poder definir los problemas o desafíos que enfrenta la empresa. Deben tener una comprensión clara de las preocupaciones de los clientes y la claridad de los objetivos del proyecto.   Los encargados del proceso de implementación también deben poder medir los puntos de datos clave que se relacionan con el proceso comercial actual y también analizar sus hallazgos con el objetivo de determinar el aspecto de causa y efecto en relación con los procesos empresariales. La implementación de estrategias Six Sigma debe realizarse con el objetivo de optimizar y también controlar los procesos de negocio, evitando desviaciones y variaciones a medida que la empresa progresa.   Tomarse el tiempo para dominar esta metodología es un paso esencial hacia la realización del éxito.   Proceso de Mapeo de Negocios Esta es otra estrategia Six Sigma que es bastante esencial e implica la elaboración de un diseño preciso de cómo funciona el negocio y las personas responsables de los procesos en el camino. Esta estrategia también se enfoca en los estándares que deben seguirse y cómo debe medirse el éxito. Este es un paso crítico que debe implementarse para la implementación exitosa de las estrategias Six Sigma, ya que garantiza que no exista ninguna variación a lo largo del proceso empresarial.   Cuando todos los empleados conocen bien lo que se espera de ellos, los estándares que deben seguirse y cómo deben medirse los resultados, la implementación se vuelve más fácil.   Poner en uso seis herramientas sigma Los profesionales que trabajan en seis prácticas de gestión sigma deben comprometerse a utilizar las herramientas de forma regular. La capacitación Six Sigma es un activo invaluable que cualquier persona interesada en avanzar en este mercado empresarial competitivo debe considerar emprender. La metodología ayuda a evitar suposiciones y al mismo tiempo facilita la resolución de problemas clave que conducen a una mejor calidad de los productos o servicios dentro de la organización.
    4172 Posted by Perno Wrights
  • La premisa básica de las metodologías Six Sigma puede parecer simple en la superficie, ya que se enfoca en la eliminación de variaciones dentro del proceso de negocios que lleva a la eliminación de desechos. Poner la metodología en práctica implica el despliegue de estrategias de gestión estratégica y también asegurar el apoyo y la cooperación de todos los empleados. Antes de comenzar con la implementación de las metodologías, debe haber una familiarización con las estrategias.   Estas son algunas de las estrategias clave de Six Sigma que ayudan a mejorar la gestión de la calidad;   Entendiendo DMAIC DMAIC es la metodología principal de los proyectos Six Sigma que la mayoría de las organizaciones implementan. El acrónimo se refiere a los cinco pasos del proceso que incluyen; definir; Medir, analizar, mejorar y controlar. Las empresas comprometidas con la implementación de las metodologías deben poder definir los problemas o desafíos que enfrenta la empresa. Deben tener una comprensión clara de las preocupaciones de los clientes y la claridad de los objetivos del proyecto.   Los encargados del proceso de implementación también deben poder medir los puntos de datos clave que se relacionan con el proceso comercial actual y también analizar sus hallazgos con el objetivo de determinar el aspecto de causa y efecto en relación con los procesos empresariales. La implementación de estrategias Six Sigma debe realizarse con el objetivo de optimizar y también controlar los procesos de negocio, evitando desviaciones y variaciones a medida que la empresa progresa.   Tomarse el tiempo para dominar esta metodología es un paso esencial hacia la realización del éxito.   Proceso de Mapeo de Negocios Esta es otra estrategia Six Sigma que es bastante esencial e implica la elaboración de un diseño preciso de cómo funciona el negocio y las personas responsables de los procesos en el camino. Esta estrategia también se enfoca en los estándares que deben seguirse y cómo debe medirse el éxito. Este es un paso crítico que debe implementarse para la implementación exitosa de las estrategias Six Sigma, ya que garantiza que no exista ninguna variación a lo largo del proceso empresarial.   Cuando todos los empleados conocen bien lo que se espera de ellos, los estándares que deben seguirse y cómo deben medirse los resultados, la implementación se vuelve más fácil.   Poner en uso seis herramientas sigma Los profesionales que trabajan en seis prácticas de gestión sigma deben comprometerse a utilizar las herramientas de forma regular. La capacitación Six Sigma es un activo invaluable que cualquier persona interesada en avanzar en este mercado empresarial competitivo debe considerar emprender. La metodología ayuda a evitar suposiciones y al mismo tiempo facilita la resolución de problemas clave que conducen a una mejor calidad de los productos o servicios dentro de la organización.
    Feb 07, 2019 4172
  • 24 Feb 2019
    Want to expand your dental technique? You require dental SEO services from the leading oral marketing firm in the USA top dental marketing agency.   Most likely to Google and search, "dental experts near me" or, "ideal dental experts in [your city], [your state]" Are you in the top 3 search outcomes? Otherwise, you're losing business to other dental experts as well as dental practices-- ensured.   An increasing number of grownups are going online to look for services for their clinical needs-- 89% of consumers rely on a search engine when they're seeking to resolve their medical care inquiries. Once there, 55% of searchers click on one of the initial three access.   Our team of SEO specialists has substantial experience aiding dental professionals obtain more professional website web traffic and also transform more internet site visitors right into leads and clients.   WHY YOU NEED AN SEO COMPANY THAT SPECIALIZES IN THE DENTAL INDUSTRY   Not just do you need these solutions, however you additionally need SEO specialists that recognize the ins as well as outs of the dental advertising and marketing sector. We know:   - How to browse via raising laws as well as follow client personal privacy techniques - How to develop long-lasting partnerships with both clients and wellness professionals - How to ideal position your practice's brand in your industry If you desire extra people while optimizing your marketing expenses and also enhancing profits, it's time to see what Blue Corona can do for your oral practice. Prepared to start? Everything begins by contacting us below >>   What's Included in Our SEO Services for Dentists The finest dental SEO firms (like Blue Corona) manage the everyday of monitoring as well as boosting your online impact, including making your internet site more visible in the search engine result and also differentiating your brand name throughout the web. We do this by following the procedure listed below.   EXECUTING A COMPETITIVE DIGITAL ANALYSIS   Complete a competitive electronic advertising analysis to see how you compare to your leading 3 rivals in the search results utilizing our exclusive data monitoring software   Perform keyword study and also identify the leading sales-driving search terms as well as search phrases in your market location as well as market   Establish your baseline for internet site code and also structure, web content, neighborhood exposure, as well as off-site citations, then contrast it to your rivals to create an actionable, sales-driving strategy   -Create workable earnings goals and also matching SEO plans   OPTIMIZING WEBSITE CONTENT AND CODE   Install progressed Google Analytics and also call tracking   Make your oral website fast, safe and secure (optional but suggested), as well as mobile-friendly   Edit your oral website's code as well as structure to be in-line with best SEO practices   Edit and maximize your existing web site pages for search exposure and imaginative web content   Perform conversion price optimization on all web site components (like contact types, buttons, navigational web links) to ensure an optimal experience for your consumers   DEVELOPING NEW DENTAL WEBSITE CONTENT AND CREATIVES   Publish targeted, well-written site web content that boosts your regional search rankings as well as gives a smooth customer experience   Create SEO-optimized innovative web content assets like oral infographics as well as video clips   Optimize and create content for voice search and also digital aides attorney website design
    3986 Posted by Samuel Jhon
  • Want to expand your dental technique? You require dental SEO services from the leading oral marketing firm in the USA top dental marketing agency.   Most likely to Google and search, "dental experts near me" or, "ideal dental experts in [your city], [your state]" Are you in the top 3 search outcomes? Otherwise, you're losing business to other dental experts as well as dental practices-- ensured.   An increasing number of grownups are going online to look for services for their clinical needs-- 89% of consumers rely on a search engine when they're seeking to resolve their medical care inquiries. Once there, 55% of searchers click on one of the initial three access.   Our team of SEO specialists has substantial experience aiding dental professionals obtain more professional website web traffic and also transform more internet site visitors right into leads and clients.   WHY YOU NEED AN SEO COMPANY THAT SPECIALIZES IN THE DENTAL INDUSTRY   Not just do you need these solutions, however you additionally need SEO specialists that recognize the ins as well as outs of the dental advertising and marketing sector. We know:   - How to browse via raising laws as well as follow client personal privacy techniques - How to develop long-lasting partnerships with both clients and wellness professionals - How to ideal position your practice's brand in your industry If you desire extra people while optimizing your marketing expenses and also enhancing profits, it's time to see what Blue Corona can do for your oral practice. Prepared to start? Everything begins by contacting us below >>   What's Included in Our SEO Services for Dentists The finest dental SEO firms (like Blue Corona) manage the everyday of monitoring as well as boosting your online impact, including making your internet site more visible in the search engine result and also differentiating your brand name throughout the web. We do this by following the procedure listed below.   EXECUTING A COMPETITIVE DIGITAL ANALYSIS   Complete a competitive electronic advertising analysis to see how you compare to your leading 3 rivals in the search results utilizing our exclusive data monitoring software   Perform keyword study and also identify the leading sales-driving search terms as well as search phrases in your market location as well as market   Establish your baseline for internet site code and also structure, web content, neighborhood exposure, as well as off-site citations, then contrast it to your rivals to create an actionable, sales-driving strategy   -Create workable earnings goals and also matching SEO plans   OPTIMIZING WEBSITE CONTENT AND CODE   Install progressed Google Analytics and also call tracking   Make your oral website fast, safe and secure (optional but suggested), as well as mobile-friendly   Edit your oral website's code as well as structure to be in-line with best SEO practices   Edit and maximize your existing web site pages for search exposure and imaginative web content   Perform conversion price optimization on all web site components (like contact types, buttons, navigational web links) to ensure an optimal experience for your consumers   DEVELOPING NEW DENTAL WEBSITE CONTENT AND CREATIVES   Publish targeted, well-written site web content that boosts your regional search rankings as well as gives a smooth customer experience   Create SEO-optimized innovative web content assets like oral infographics as well as video clips   Optimize and create content for voice search and also digital aides attorney website design
    Feb 24, 2019 3986
  • 15 Dec 2018
    Deluxe tours has released its 2019/20 announcement, supplying guests the opportunity to explore the two historical French colonies of Vietnam and Cambodia, whilst cruising the Mekong River. The unforgettable 16 day Vietnam & Cambodia Tours Shows explore specializes in the beautiful elements that produce these countries so one-of-a-kind, with trips to small tributaries and neighborhood villages. Visitors can anticipate to get a more deeply knowledge of the high cultural history of Vietnam and also Cambodia, as they learn around a lot more intimate information on custom as well as day-to-day Mekong life.     Relax at Angkor Wat to start to see the sensational dawn, watch local people make art pottery under their stilt homes, and get a standard blessing from Buddhist monks at a monastery in Oudong. Additional highlights add seeing the fascinating and enchanted ruins of Angkor located in Siem Reap, cruising the Mekong River and touring in Sai Gon (now is Ho Chi Minh City). New to 2019, travellers are invited to enjoy 5 star accommodation from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap including the famous 5 star hotel brands. Adding to the luxury tours, you also have 7 nights fully-inclusive cruise on board one of Pandaw's cruise including daily guided journeys, as well as all meals & drinks.     Like a seven-night deluxe Mekong River luxury cruise aboard the cruise through the excursion, with delicious food as well as drinks. Each collection includes two terraces, ideal for enjoying the colourful floating marketplaces go by. For all those that plan and to explore Asia even more, Contact me to have wide range of tours package and unique deals. One of famous tours that is China including a cruise along the Yangtze River.
    3072 Posted by Sian Marsh
  • Deluxe tours has released its 2019/20 announcement, supplying guests the opportunity to explore the two historical French colonies of Vietnam and Cambodia, whilst cruising the Mekong River. The unforgettable 16 day Vietnam & Cambodia Tours Shows explore specializes in the beautiful elements that produce these countries so one-of-a-kind, with trips to small tributaries and neighborhood villages. Visitors can anticipate to get a more deeply knowledge of the high cultural history of Vietnam and also Cambodia, as they learn around a lot more intimate information on custom as well as day-to-day Mekong life.     Relax at Angkor Wat to start to see the sensational dawn, watch local people make art pottery under their stilt homes, and get a standard blessing from Buddhist monks at a monastery in Oudong. Additional highlights add seeing the fascinating and enchanted ruins of Angkor located in Siem Reap, cruising the Mekong River and touring in Sai Gon (now is Ho Chi Minh City). New to 2019, travellers are invited to enjoy 5 star accommodation from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap including the famous 5 star hotel brands. Adding to the luxury tours, you also have 7 nights fully-inclusive cruise on board one of Pandaw's cruise including daily guided journeys, as well as all meals & drinks.     Like a seven-night deluxe Mekong River luxury cruise aboard the cruise through the excursion, with delicious food as well as drinks. Each collection includes two terraces, ideal for enjoying the colourful floating marketplaces go by. For all those that plan and to explore Asia even more, Contact me to have wide range of tours package and unique deals. One of famous tours that is China including a cruise along the Yangtze River.
    Dec 15, 2018 3072
  • 18 Sep 2018
    A clean house is quite important particularly regarding health is concerned. The method your house shows up also has a method of mirroring your real individuality with easy cleaning being all you require in some cases to have that favorable overview reflected all over you. The reality is that despite having all your efforts in the cleaning process, you may not constantly be in a setting to attain impressive outcomes as any kind of cleaning professional would. If you are still asking yourself why you require professional house cleaning company occasionally, the following factors will open your mind. The experts recognize cleaning strategies This is essential in guaranteeing that every part of your house gets the focus that it requires and ultimately is left sparkling. You will discover that some areas in your house are problematic for you merely since you do not utilize the best deep cleaning services techniques for them. Your home is made up of various surfaces and they all cannot use one method of cleaning to achieve the wanted results. With cleaning services, you won't need to stress over getting it right. The specialists have the ideal equipment One of the reasons you have actually been failing with cleaning around the house is because you do not know your cleaning tools or you do not have them. The experts on the other hand recognize what devices are required wherefore areas and they are fully outfitted to quickly move around your house effortlessly throughout the cleaning procedure. You will be stunned at exactly how simple the job is to achieve with the right equipment in hand. The specialists know the right and most safe cleaning products The fact is that some people wind up damaging their house things as well as floorings by using the wrong cleaning products or items which include dangerous chemicals. Such items can even be unsafe to your health when you are not conscious and aren't sure ways to manage them. The house cleaning pros on the other hand know which cleaning products are safe and high in high quality. Most will even make use of environment-friendly products to make certain that you and the environment are safeguarded at the same time. They will also know which items are best for which kinds of surface areas or spots. The specialists use a range of cleaning company The majority of people have the tendency to fail to remember some locations when cleaning their residences. They include locations such as the air vent covers, ceiling followers, shower stalls, rails and banisters. Nevertheless, when using cleaning services from a reputable company, you can be certain that all these items and locations will be regarded. In the long run, as a result, you will have a house that is excellently clean. You can pick from the list of services provided by your favored company to guarantee that you have all key areas handled to your taste. You can in fact judge a best Kansas City house cleaning services by the list of cleaning company it needs to offer you.
    3006 Posted by Samuel Jhon
  • A clean house is quite important particularly regarding health is concerned. The method your house shows up also has a method of mirroring your real individuality with easy cleaning being all you require in some cases to have that favorable overview reflected all over you. The reality is that despite having all your efforts in the cleaning process, you may not constantly be in a setting to attain impressive outcomes as any kind of cleaning professional would. If you are still asking yourself why you require professional house cleaning company occasionally, the following factors will open your mind. The experts recognize cleaning strategies This is essential in guaranteeing that every part of your house gets the focus that it requires and ultimately is left sparkling. You will discover that some areas in your house are problematic for you merely since you do not utilize the best deep cleaning services techniques for them. Your home is made up of various surfaces and they all cannot use one method of cleaning to achieve the wanted results. With cleaning services, you won't need to stress over getting it right. The specialists have the ideal equipment One of the reasons you have actually been failing with cleaning around the house is because you do not know your cleaning tools or you do not have them. The experts on the other hand recognize what devices are required wherefore areas and they are fully outfitted to quickly move around your house effortlessly throughout the cleaning procedure. You will be stunned at exactly how simple the job is to achieve with the right equipment in hand. The specialists know the right and most safe cleaning products The fact is that some people wind up damaging their house things as well as floorings by using the wrong cleaning products or items which include dangerous chemicals. Such items can even be unsafe to your health when you are not conscious and aren't sure ways to manage them. The house cleaning pros on the other hand know which cleaning products are safe and high in high quality. Most will even make use of environment-friendly products to make certain that you and the environment are safeguarded at the same time. They will also know which items are best for which kinds of surface areas or spots. The specialists use a range of cleaning company The majority of people have the tendency to fail to remember some locations when cleaning their residences. They include locations such as the air vent covers, ceiling followers, shower stalls, rails and banisters. Nevertheless, when using cleaning services from a reputable company, you can be certain that all these items and locations will be regarded. In the long run, as a result, you will have a house that is excellently clean. You can pick from the list of services provided by your favored company to guarantee that you have all key areas handled to your taste. You can in fact judge a best Kansas City house cleaning services by the list of cleaning company it needs to offer you.
    Sep 18, 2018 3006

New Blogs

  • 16 Jun 2021
    Mathematical formulas are my forte, and I can solve most daily riddles with ease. The amount spent on my weekly shop are in my head before reaching the checkout desk, surprising the cashier with my accuracy. Numbers were my friends. Until now. Sitting in front of my laptop with dates and very precise timings, my mathematical dexterity evaporated. I couldn’t calculate 72 hours before my flight departure in order to book the infamous PCR test needed to enter the UK. A paranoid search across the internet didn’t help, as there was no site to calculate it for you. An Excel sheet didn’t help either. Do you calculate 72 hours backwards from your departure or the arrival time? What if the flight is delayed? How long does it take for the test to come back? Do they work on Saturdays and Sundays? What if it turns out that I am positive and find it out at the airport or, God forbid, midair? Is the airline going to do an emergency stopover and charge me for the unscheduled stop, maxing my already over-maximized cards? The worst-case scenarios were ruining my grey matter, making me think of just staying put until the number of deceased came below at least 500, which, judging how the whole pandemic situation has been run, may last until autumn. But then, the dog had already forgotten my face. The last time I got back home, he was biting me every time I tried to sit in his lounge or sleep in his double bed with cotton sheets. A long session of bribes in the shape of annoying squeaky toys and luxury dog food persuaded him that I am not a bad mother and there was no need to call the RSCPA. Now, he bluntly refuses to show his face on WhatsApp. The test clinic website was neat, with very inviting color coordination, and for a brief moment, I was under the impression that I was booking a flight to some exotic destination, not a swab. Tense, I chose Friday at 11 am, duly filled in my details, and got confirmation immediately. Quite efficient for this country where legal documents are still not valid without a rubber stamp. Do not ask me about the palaver of finding someone with the rubber stamp. Proud of booking a swab date without too much hassle, I called friends to confirm dates of arrival, and then the whole nightmare began. My appointment on Friday meant the test wouldn’t be ready, even when I landed in the UK, according to one. The idea of spending a night on the airport floor didn’t seem appealing. “You should book a hotel, just in case,” she added nonchalantly, like I was arriving in the Maldives for a seven-day break from it all.Instead of looking for a hotel, I tried to rebook my appointment, but the highly sophisticated site couldn’t give me a different option. The feeling of being cheated made me secretly want to deal with people and their timeless rubber stamps. After a few undelivered emails requesting a change to the appointment, I restored my anxiety by looking for a phone number. There was none. Twitter did not yield any results, and even the prime minister of the country just tweeted praise for their IT department for having the best website in the world as far as making PCR appointments goes. I almost felt privileged for using it, thinking if only it had a phone number on it. Spirits low, I called the institution itself, hoping for nothing. After a few bitten nails, a calm voice answered the phone, listened to my Gordian knot, and transferred me to the Cabinet. The idea of speaking to the PM of the country me jump and stand up straight, worried about my inappropriate attire. With the phone on speaker, forgetting that it wasn’t a ZOOM meeting, I checked to make sure I didn’t have breakfast leftovers between my front teeth, got a glass of water in case my mouth got dry, and closed the window in case the traffic got loud and intercepted a conversation between me and the PM. That was enough time for the line to go dead. Invigorated and proud at the opportunity to speak to the PM, something that doesn’t happen often—ok, never—I called again, and the same kind voice answered the phone. “Oh, yes, they do cut people off. Will transfer you again.” This time a young, disinterested, almost childlike voice, without the seriousness of a PM position, explained that this had nothing to do with the Cabinet and gave me another number to call. It looked like the one you find on lamp posts scattered around the city offering dubious freelance jobs. Desperate, I dialed the number, only to fail to endlessly get through. After a winter coffee, even though it was only 10 am in the middle of the week, I rang again, and again. God bless the redial button. Somewhere between coffee three and four, I managed to get through to a young gentleman, ready to talk. I was a bit drunk to make much sense, but he managed to get the gist. They did work on Saturdays and Sundays, and the test would be ready in 24 and 48 hours. They couldn’t guarantee results within 24 hours as the samples were sent to a laboratory, which was confusing as the best institution in the country should have their own lab, right? You got the notification by email. And according to him, I would be fine with the chosen date, Friday at 11 am, even though my flight was on Sunday at 10 am. If I didn’t get the results, I could always rebook my flight for another day. Very simple, according to my new friend. The fact that changing flights would mean having another PCR test, which would cost me the same amount as a seat in business class, didn’t bother him. Why would it? I just paid his monthly salary by booking my PCR test. And what if I find out somewhere high over Europe, courtesy of the dodgy Wi-Fi in business class, that I am positive? He didn’t have an answer. I asked if they provided free parachutes for positive PCR tests. They should for the amount they charge. He laughed. Apprehensive, yearning for some kind of reassurance, I wanted to ask him if he was free for a drink after work, to show him my gratitude for a long, albeit not very helpful, conversation, but that seemed inappropriate. A slightly drunk, disorganized, scared foreigner chatting him up while he was doing his job is definitely inappropriate. Instead, I said, “Thank you very much.” He added patriotically, manly, almost militarily: “No problem. We are here to serve the country.” I attributed the idea that he stood up and saluted to my alcohol-saturated brain. After the conversation finished, I switched the TV on to check if a war had started. Maybe in my madness I had missed something. The only news was about Covid-19. As published on IntrepidTimes.   
    38 Posted by bossgate
  • Mathematical formulas are my forte, and I can solve most daily riddles with ease. The amount spent on my weekly shop are in my head before reaching the checkout desk, surprising the cashier with my accuracy. Numbers were my friends. Until now. Sitting in front of my laptop with dates and very precise timings, my mathematical dexterity evaporated. I couldn’t calculate 72 hours before my flight departure in order to book the infamous PCR test needed to enter the UK. A paranoid search across the internet didn’t help, as there was no site to calculate it for you. An Excel sheet didn’t help either. Do you calculate 72 hours backwards from your departure or the arrival time? What if the flight is delayed? How long does it take for the test to come back? Do they work on Saturdays and Sundays? What if it turns out that I am positive and find it out at the airport or, God forbid, midair? Is the airline going to do an emergency stopover and charge me for the unscheduled stop, maxing my already over-maximized cards? The worst-case scenarios were ruining my grey matter, making me think of just staying put until the number of deceased came below at least 500, which, judging how the whole pandemic situation has been run, may last until autumn. But then, the dog had already forgotten my face. The last time I got back home, he was biting me every time I tried to sit in his lounge or sleep in his double bed with cotton sheets. A long session of bribes in the shape of annoying squeaky toys and luxury dog food persuaded him that I am not a bad mother and there was no need to call the RSCPA. Now, he bluntly refuses to show his face on WhatsApp. The test clinic website was neat, with very inviting color coordination, and for a brief moment, I was under the impression that I was booking a flight to some exotic destination, not a swab. Tense, I chose Friday at 11 am, duly filled in my details, and got confirmation immediately. Quite efficient for this country where legal documents are still not valid without a rubber stamp. Do not ask me about the palaver of finding someone with the rubber stamp. Proud of booking a swab date without too much hassle, I called friends to confirm dates of arrival, and then the whole nightmare began. My appointment on Friday meant the test wouldn’t be ready, even when I landed in the UK, according to one. The idea of spending a night on the airport floor didn’t seem appealing. “You should book a hotel, just in case,” she added nonchalantly, like I was arriving in the Maldives for a seven-day break from it all.Instead of looking for a hotel, I tried to rebook my appointment, but the highly sophisticated site couldn’t give me a different option. The feeling of being cheated made me secretly want to deal with people and their timeless rubber stamps. After a few undelivered emails requesting a change to the appointment, I restored my anxiety by looking for a phone number. There was none. Twitter did not yield any results, and even the prime minister of the country just tweeted praise for their IT department for having the best website in the world as far as making PCR appointments goes. I almost felt privileged for using it, thinking if only it had a phone number on it. Spirits low, I called the institution itself, hoping for nothing. After a few bitten nails, a calm voice answered the phone, listened to my Gordian knot, and transferred me to the Cabinet. The idea of speaking to the PM of the country me jump and stand up straight, worried about my inappropriate attire. With the phone on speaker, forgetting that it wasn’t a ZOOM meeting, I checked to make sure I didn’t have breakfast leftovers between my front teeth, got a glass of water in case my mouth got dry, and closed the window in case the traffic got loud and intercepted a conversation between me and the PM. That was enough time for the line to go dead. Invigorated and proud at the opportunity to speak to the PM, something that doesn’t happen often—ok, never—I called again, and the same kind voice answered the phone. “Oh, yes, they do cut people off. Will transfer you again.” This time a young, disinterested, almost childlike voice, without the seriousness of a PM position, explained that this had nothing to do with the Cabinet and gave me another number to call. It looked like the one you find on lamp posts scattered around the city offering dubious freelance jobs. Desperate, I dialed the number, only to fail to endlessly get through. After a winter coffee, even though it was only 10 am in the middle of the week, I rang again, and again. God bless the redial button. Somewhere between coffee three and four, I managed to get through to a young gentleman, ready to talk. I was a bit drunk to make much sense, but he managed to get the gist. They did work on Saturdays and Sundays, and the test would be ready in 24 and 48 hours. They couldn’t guarantee results within 24 hours as the samples were sent to a laboratory, which was confusing as the best institution in the country should have their own lab, right? You got the notification by email. And according to him, I would be fine with the chosen date, Friday at 11 am, even though my flight was on Sunday at 10 am. If I didn’t get the results, I could always rebook my flight for another day. Very simple, according to my new friend. The fact that changing flights would mean having another PCR test, which would cost me the same amount as a seat in business class, didn’t bother him. Why would it? I just paid his monthly salary by booking my PCR test. And what if I find out somewhere high over Europe, courtesy of the dodgy Wi-Fi in business class, that I am positive? He didn’t have an answer. I asked if they provided free parachutes for positive PCR tests. They should for the amount they charge. He laughed. Apprehensive, yearning for some kind of reassurance, I wanted to ask him if he was free for a drink after work, to show him my gratitude for a long, albeit not very helpful, conversation, but that seemed inappropriate. A slightly drunk, disorganized, scared foreigner chatting him up while he was doing his job is definitely inappropriate. Instead, I said, “Thank you very much.” He added patriotically, manly, almost militarily: “No problem. We are here to serve the country.” I attributed the idea that he stood up and saluted to my alcohol-saturated brain. After the conversation finished, I switched the TV on to check if a war had started. Maybe in my madness I had missed something. The only news was about Covid-19. As published on IntrepidTimes.   
    Jun 16, 2021 38
  • 08 Jan 2021
    Contrary to my normal behavior of feeling terrified of flying, or terrorists, this time around at Terminal 2, my fragile inner self is frightened of an unplanned move, the one you make without any awareness and pick up Covid-19. Having done my duty by self-isolating as advised until 12 June and in the process suffering horrendous anxiety, I have decided to test my inner self and book a flight to Europe to visit my relatives. My pink rubber gloves, bought from Amazon rather than Victoria’s Secret, look like the latest fashion accessory, and are giving me swollen finger tips. My face mask, bought for my mother who suffers from COPD, is the latest piece of technology with HEPA and active carbon filters. It’s red, which attracts too much attention, but it could be a good thing; people would notice you early and follow the 2m distance requirement. Still, I feel anxious even before boarding the plane. All that idea of swapping a hoard of toilet paper for a short-haul flight during lockdown disappeared like my latest business plan. I am truly scared, but am pretending not to be. The only solace is that every single person I pass is scared, too. Their eyes are tense, no blinking, full terror mode. There is not much politeness going around, just military marching orders: Go Left, Next, Stop. Arriving three hours before the flight, as advised by the airline, brings extra anxiety. The airport staff, neatly tucked into crisp uniforms and surgical face masks, glide around the well-polished floor, checking on every single arrival who comes through the glass entrance, and directing them to the right gate. The whole sterile atmosphere looks like preparation for a lifesaving operation, not a flight to a different part of Europe. Because my gate hasn’t been opened yet, I am reprimanded for coming so early and advised to go outside the building to get some fresh air. That dismay when no one wanted to play with you in the kindergarten comes back instantly. Luckily, as a grown up, distraction springs to mind in the form of cigarettes, but the smoking zone is on the other side of the building, and two heavy cases, courtesy of Business class, make trekking over there impossible. Disheartened, I sit on the rail to get fresh air—well, really smog—only to be told off by a security guy to move further from the entry door. Apparently, I am a security risk. Of course, I am. My face is covered in a mask two sizes bigger than my face, with reading glasses as thick as the bottom of a jar. There is no security camera that would recognize me, not even my mother. After a whole chapter of Master and Margarita, the book I read a long time ago in a different language, I notice that it doesn’t make any sense in English. It seems it was translated by a person fond of Google Translate. Disappointed, I try my luck at re-entering Terminal 2, only to be let in without any custodians stopping me going into zone 1, where I am supposed to check in. With sweaty hands and forehead, and blurred glasses, hardly able to breathe, I go straight to the Business class lane. “Did you pay for the second bag?” the defender of the empty Business lane asks brusquely. “It’s included in the price.” “Are you flying Business class?” And this time she turns around to give a full-frontal view of her neat uniform and angry, maskless face. She is ready for a confrontation. Me, too. “It says on the ticket.” The young and inexperienced Z Generation employees at the local WHSmith on a Sunday morning are more polite than the lady with a big pretentious smile, squeezed into a too-tight uniform, pretending to be a female airline deity. An ugly one. Or maybe my unimpressive appearance makes her think that I am a little confused human being who has never traveled before? Or never used Business class? Does she expect people to dress up for a mere 3-hour flight in the middle of a pandemic? Yes, I have trainers with mud collected on long walks through the countryside to beat high anxiety. My hair looks like it was done by a 3-year-old, but it’s difficult to see the back of your head in the mirror. And my nails are not polished to the expected requirements of Business class and the airline deity, for a simple reason—I bite them. And I am in a very advanced stage of hypochondria, not because of my age, medical condition, or frustration with airline staff, but because the abnormality of the whole worldwide situation is dumped on my shoulders. “Can you please put a fragile sticker on the first bag?” And I think to add, “my head too,” but that would make her staple a sticker. “We don’t have them.” Instead of feeling bitter, the sensation of relief runs through my sweaty body. Looking at the airline rep in front of me, the idea of a hidden stapler under the printer seems plausible. “What about WiFi? Is it free?” “I don’t know. It would be best if you ask on the plane.” I begin to wonder if I know her. She is so casual, but the quick answer seems like a standard mantra as if the same reply had been recited over the phone and retweeted on my feed. It makes me wonder if any ground employee knows what services are offered onboard? I can forgive them for not knowing from which terminal the plane is supposed to take off as we are living in extraordinary times, but not knowing what clearly has been stated on the website is seemingly beyond staff training. The boarding pass is duly passed over without the obligatory eye contact, a thank you, or have a good flight. Instead, the tight and ugly deity quite proudly adds that the Business lounge is closed. Welcome to the hostile service of one the oldest airlines in Europe. Not to be beaten by the lack of service, stickers, closed lounge, and maybe unavailable Wi-Fi, I rush through security checks, almost naked, eager to speed up the process, and I curse the long queue, especially a mother with three kids, each equipped with a very expensive laptop, the size of a TV, stored orderly in their rucksacks. Some adults really should stay at home. The trek from security to the gate is a long passage through a graveyard. All the restaurants, once heart of the airport, are closed with the chairs neatly stacked on the tables, like gravestones. Two shops, WHS and Boots, are open. I already have a book and a home-made sandwich. It’s time to find somewhere with a socket and enjoy the extraordinary peace at Terminal 2. The only issues are that, even for the small number of passengers, there are not enough sockets. Living in extraordinary times makes you do extraordinary things. After jumping up over the locked gate of one of the restaurants and committing a crime with a mask like a professional burglar, I find a secret corner with a socket, pull up a chair, and enjoy my lunch by reading the latest death toll, announcing my location on Instagram, confirming my arrival with my sister, and managing a few pages of Master and Margarita, very much an appropriate satire for the times we are living in. Once the announcement is made, the rush to the gate becomes swamped with animal noises. Social distancing, one of the essential factors for staying alive, simply evaporates. At the gate, the only reason I know it’s time to board the plane is that my “tag” couple move. In order not to be late or get lost, I usually tag people who are getting on the same plane. And no, it’s not stalking, just a simple reminder when and where to go—kind of an alarm clock with a visual GPS built-in. It isn’t easy to see which lane is assigned to Business class, and with hordes of people, I and my tag couple push through. On board, we are coldly welcomed by staff in uniform and masks. No disinfectant. No distancing. No smiles. Just a long arm pointing the way, more military ordering to your seat. It seems the staff are as scared as we are. The Business class cabin, three rows of three seats, defended from the plebs by dark blue vertical blinds tied up in a knot, didn’t exactly scream “luxury.” People in the row behind Business class have the same space and probably paid half the price we did. The justification of the price doesn’t say “capitalism” and “free market.” It shouts “robbery.” It seems that each row in Business class has two seats empty, except for those occupied by an amorous couple. Pleased with my anti-Covid-19 travel plans, I pat myself on the back for not having a fellow passenger in the adjacent two seats. The service on board the flight is adequate for the worldwide pandemic situation. No meals, no WIFI, no drinks, except for a small bottle of water. Even the Business class toilet is closed, and we are redirected to the only two left on the other side of plane. Shiny suit, sitting next to me in row 3F, isn’t happy. Following his not-very-pleasant experience with an agitated, well-built member of staff, I sit with my legs crossed until we land. The time passes quickly, with me deleting photos from overindulging on a previous trip and thinking of a nice cold Stella when I land. There is no eye contact, no service, no usual chatter between fellow humans or deafening baby screams, just an independent silent bubble for each passenger. I am surrounded by people, but I feel so alone. Worried, I take yet another helpful pill, hoping to sleep the whole situation off and wake up in a pandemic-free world. That would be magical, wouldn’t it? Note: A story by Tara Goldsmith appears in the upcoming travel writing anthology Fearless Footsteps – True Stories That Capture the Spirit of Adventure, coming November 2020 and available for pre-order now.
    199 Posted by bossgate
  • Contrary to my normal behavior of feeling terrified of flying, or terrorists, this time around at Terminal 2, my fragile inner self is frightened of an unplanned move, the one you make without any awareness and pick up Covid-19. Having done my duty by self-isolating as advised until 12 June and in the process suffering horrendous anxiety, I have decided to test my inner self and book a flight to Europe to visit my relatives. My pink rubber gloves, bought from Amazon rather than Victoria’s Secret, look like the latest fashion accessory, and are giving me swollen finger tips. My face mask, bought for my mother who suffers from COPD, is the latest piece of technology with HEPA and active carbon filters. It’s red, which attracts too much attention, but it could be a good thing; people would notice you early and follow the 2m distance requirement. Still, I feel anxious even before boarding the plane. All that idea of swapping a hoard of toilet paper for a short-haul flight during lockdown disappeared like my latest business plan. I am truly scared, but am pretending not to be. The only solace is that every single person I pass is scared, too. Their eyes are tense, no blinking, full terror mode. There is not much politeness going around, just military marching orders: Go Left, Next, Stop. Arriving three hours before the flight, as advised by the airline, brings extra anxiety. The airport staff, neatly tucked into crisp uniforms and surgical face masks, glide around the well-polished floor, checking on every single arrival who comes through the glass entrance, and directing them to the right gate. The whole sterile atmosphere looks like preparation for a lifesaving operation, not a flight to a different part of Europe. Because my gate hasn’t been opened yet, I am reprimanded for coming so early and advised to go outside the building to get some fresh air. That dismay when no one wanted to play with you in the kindergarten comes back instantly. Luckily, as a grown up, distraction springs to mind in the form of cigarettes, but the smoking zone is on the other side of the building, and two heavy cases, courtesy of Business class, make trekking over there impossible. Disheartened, I sit on the rail to get fresh air—well, really smog—only to be told off by a security guy to move further from the entry door. Apparently, I am a security risk. Of course, I am. My face is covered in a mask two sizes bigger than my face, with reading glasses as thick as the bottom of a jar. There is no security camera that would recognize me, not even my mother. After a whole chapter of Master and Margarita, the book I read a long time ago in a different language, I notice that it doesn’t make any sense in English. It seems it was translated by a person fond of Google Translate. Disappointed, I try my luck at re-entering Terminal 2, only to be let in without any custodians stopping me going into zone 1, where I am supposed to check in. With sweaty hands and forehead, and blurred glasses, hardly able to breathe, I go straight to the Business class lane. “Did you pay for the second bag?” the defender of the empty Business lane asks brusquely. “It’s included in the price.” “Are you flying Business class?” And this time she turns around to give a full-frontal view of her neat uniform and angry, maskless face. She is ready for a confrontation. Me, too. “It says on the ticket.” The young and inexperienced Z Generation employees at the local WHSmith on a Sunday morning are more polite than the lady with a big pretentious smile, squeezed into a too-tight uniform, pretending to be a female airline deity. An ugly one. Or maybe my unimpressive appearance makes her think that I am a little confused human being who has never traveled before? Or never used Business class? Does she expect people to dress up for a mere 3-hour flight in the middle of a pandemic? Yes, I have trainers with mud collected on long walks through the countryside to beat high anxiety. My hair looks like it was done by a 3-year-old, but it’s difficult to see the back of your head in the mirror. And my nails are not polished to the expected requirements of Business class and the airline deity, for a simple reason—I bite them. And I am in a very advanced stage of hypochondria, not because of my age, medical condition, or frustration with airline staff, but because the abnormality of the whole worldwide situation is dumped on my shoulders. “Can you please put a fragile sticker on the first bag?” And I think to add, “my head too,” but that would make her staple a sticker. “We don’t have them.” Instead of feeling bitter, the sensation of relief runs through my sweaty body. Looking at the airline rep in front of me, the idea of a hidden stapler under the printer seems plausible. “What about WiFi? Is it free?” “I don’t know. It would be best if you ask on the plane.” I begin to wonder if I know her. She is so casual, but the quick answer seems like a standard mantra as if the same reply had been recited over the phone and retweeted on my feed. It makes me wonder if any ground employee knows what services are offered onboard? I can forgive them for not knowing from which terminal the plane is supposed to take off as we are living in extraordinary times, but not knowing what clearly has been stated on the website is seemingly beyond staff training. The boarding pass is duly passed over without the obligatory eye contact, a thank you, or have a good flight. Instead, the tight and ugly deity quite proudly adds that the Business lounge is closed. Welcome to the hostile service of one the oldest airlines in Europe. Not to be beaten by the lack of service, stickers, closed lounge, and maybe unavailable Wi-Fi, I rush through security checks, almost naked, eager to speed up the process, and I curse the long queue, especially a mother with three kids, each equipped with a very expensive laptop, the size of a TV, stored orderly in their rucksacks. Some adults really should stay at home. The trek from security to the gate is a long passage through a graveyard. All the restaurants, once heart of the airport, are closed with the chairs neatly stacked on the tables, like gravestones. Two shops, WHS and Boots, are open. I already have a book and a home-made sandwich. It’s time to find somewhere with a socket and enjoy the extraordinary peace at Terminal 2. The only issues are that, even for the small number of passengers, there are not enough sockets. Living in extraordinary times makes you do extraordinary things. After jumping up over the locked gate of one of the restaurants and committing a crime with a mask like a professional burglar, I find a secret corner with a socket, pull up a chair, and enjoy my lunch by reading the latest death toll, announcing my location on Instagram, confirming my arrival with my sister, and managing a few pages of Master and Margarita, very much an appropriate satire for the times we are living in. Once the announcement is made, the rush to the gate becomes swamped with animal noises. Social distancing, one of the essential factors for staying alive, simply evaporates. At the gate, the only reason I know it’s time to board the plane is that my “tag” couple move. In order not to be late or get lost, I usually tag people who are getting on the same plane. And no, it’s not stalking, just a simple reminder when and where to go—kind of an alarm clock with a visual GPS built-in. It isn’t easy to see which lane is assigned to Business class, and with hordes of people, I and my tag couple push through. On board, we are coldly welcomed by staff in uniform and masks. No disinfectant. No distancing. No smiles. Just a long arm pointing the way, more military ordering to your seat. It seems the staff are as scared as we are. The Business class cabin, three rows of three seats, defended from the plebs by dark blue vertical blinds tied up in a knot, didn’t exactly scream “luxury.” People in the row behind Business class have the same space and probably paid half the price we did. The justification of the price doesn’t say “capitalism” and “free market.” It shouts “robbery.” It seems that each row in Business class has two seats empty, except for those occupied by an amorous couple. Pleased with my anti-Covid-19 travel plans, I pat myself on the back for not having a fellow passenger in the adjacent two seats. The service on board the flight is adequate for the worldwide pandemic situation. No meals, no WIFI, no drinks, except for a small bottle of water. Even the Business class toilet is closed, and we are redirected to the only two left on the other side of plane. Shiny suit, sitting next to me in row 3F, isn’t happy. Following his not-very-pleasant experience with an agitated, well-built member of staff, I sit with my legs crossed until we land. The time passes quickly, with me deleting photos from overindulging on a previous trip and thinking of a nice cold Stella when I land. There is no eye contact, no service, no usual chatter between fellow humans or deafening baby screams, just an independent silent bubble for each passenger. I am surrounded by people, but I feel so alone. Worried, I take yet another helpful pill, hoping to sleep the whole situation off and wake up in a pandemic-free world. That would be magical, wouldn’t it? Note: A story by Tara Goldsmith appears in the upcoming travel writing anthology Fearless Footsteps – True Stories That Capture the Spirit of Adventure, coming November 2020 and available for pre-order now.
    Jan 08, 2021 199
  • 28 Jul 2020
    - Cutting the grass can be amazingly therapeutic. - Robins can be fed to become the size of pigeons. - Pigeons can get so fat that they cannot take off from the lawn. - The greatest invention after sliced bread is the fast-forward button on the remote control. - You don’t have to dust books. Just read them. - Cancelling things are okay. - Passing a kidney stone during lock-down is not recommended. - Playing chess against a computer is not fun. You always lose. - Home deliveries are the highlights of the day. - Footballers, actors, stars are not important. They are very boring people with lots of money. - It’s okay to cry in the garden, behind the summer house. - Trees can be a very good sanctuary. - The time is now. - There is never ever anything on any streaming service you are subscribed to. - “Small people” are the most important people. - Morning coffee is the most important drink of the day. - Anger as a form of expressions should be abolished by law. - Inner silence can be achieved without mediation, chanting or prayer. - Food tastes better when prepared at home. - Gardening is better than gym. And healthier. - You don’t have to look good to feel good. - The internet is good but social media platforms are soul destroyers. - Listening to the radio is like reading a daily newspaper. - Wearing designer clothes is a sign of weakness. Not money. Or power. - Be grateful for tap water, electricity, heating, the fridge and cooker. All in one place.  Home. - Alcohol is a terrific aphrodisiac which gives you a horrendous headache. - There is no priest, shaman, Buddha or tarot reader who can predict the future. You have to do it on       your own. And go for it.  
    273 Posted by bossgate
  • - Cutting the grass can be amazingly therapeutic. - Robins can be fed to become the size of pigeons. - Pigeons can get so fat that they cannot take off from the lawn. - The greatest invention after sliced bread is the fast-forward button on the remote control. - You don’t have to dust books. Just read them. - Cancelling things are okay. - Passing a kidney stone during lock-down is not recommended. - Playing chess against a computer is not fun. You always lose. - Home deliveries are the highlights of the day. - Footballers, actors, stars are not important. They are very boring people with lots of money. - It’s okay to cry in the garden, behind the summer house. - Trees can be a very good sanctuary. - The time is now. - There is never ever anything on any streaming service you are subscribed to. - “Small people” are the most important people. - Morning coffee is the most important drink of the day. - Anger as a form of expressions should be abolished by law. - Inner silence can be achieved without mediation, chanting or prayer. - Food tastes better when prepared at home. - Gardening is better than gym. And healthier. - You don’t have to look good to feel good. - The internet is good but social media platforms are soul destroyers. - Listening to the radio is like reading a daily newspaper. - Wearing designer clothes is a sign of weakness. Not money. Or power. - Be grateful for tap water, electricity, heating, the fridge and cooker. All in one place.  Home. - Alcohol is a terrific aphrodisiac which gives you a horrendous headache. - There is no priest, shaman, Buddha or tarot reader who can predict the future. You have to do it on       your own. And go for it.  
    Jul 28, 2020 273
  • 27 Jun 2020
    Sitting anxiously with a strong 'winter' coffee, checking emails earnestly looking for the confirmation of my flight with all the juicy extras of business class, like free Wi-Fi, business lounge, hot meal on-board, extra space, my fear of flying disappeared, like a medical condition wiped out by too much adrenaline. And alcohol. It’s not just my hatred of flying that disorders my already exuberant personality, but the mere idea of dealing with masses of people squeezed into the restricted metal can cleverly named an aeroplane, makes me claustrophobic.  Being in the middle of the worldwide pandemic and in self-isolation for 12 weeks seems like a dream compared to a short-haul flight to another part of Europe. The initial mistake, of booking the wrong direction, I put down to the combination of alcohol and excitement, was quickly rectified by getting in touch with the local office of the airline in question. The holding time was the average UK holding time, 45 min, with a very monotonous tune programmed on a loop every three minutes, killing my already damaged hearing. Eventually, a delightful young voice apologised for the waiting time, blaming corona-virus, but stopped short of saying anything about the fairground choice of music, and quickly offered to help me change the route of my flight. At an additional cost, of course. The new confirmation with the correct flight direction swiftly come into my inbox, together with an undesirable seat alteration to A1, the one with a hospital tray and a draught strong enough to give you pneumonia. My flight booking skills, carefully honed by years of traveling across the globe, had become a bit rusty during lock-down but they suddenly kicked in, and I spotted the mistake instantaneously. Having booked the destination I wanted, with a flight in the right direction, and the desired seat, and still slightly intoxicated to be on the move again, I decided to check my buying opportunities at Terminal 4, the one I was supposed to take off from three days later, according to the airline. Having been in isolation for 12 weeks, the desire for some retail therapy was overwhelming, not because of the desperate need for a perfume or massive bottle of gin, but to feel "normal" again. Covid19 has had an unprecedented influence on everybody's mind, challenging boundaries between normal, usual, abnormal. Within a few clicks, it was clear the shops at Heathrow were closed, including the business lounge in which I was looking forward to having a nice lunch and a drink after all that shopping. The second bottle of wine bought just because of the cute flowery label, tasted even better, but any alcohol tastes better once you sink in it. Somewhere between glass numbers 2 and 3, the full reality of the Covid19 impact dawned on me - only Boots and WH Smiths were open. The choice between buying sun cream or a book had as much appeal as a broken tooth during 12 weeks of lock-down! Slightly disappointed with the sorry states of the shops at Heathrow, I read about the European capital city I was going to fly to, and it seemed attractive enough. It mentioned a long, turbulent history, with adjectives which didn’t go over the top with enthusiasm. Still, after roaming the country so many times and that particular city on so many occasions, I decided to ignore the subtle put-down. This specific state of mind comes with age and alcohol. The curious mind of a drunk would not give up, and the quest for happiness on the Heathrow website continued. Somewhere between all the scary info about the invisible Covid19 and the latest glorious architectural developments at the airport, my fat finger clicked on the departures page. The one where you type in the flight number and date, and then you get all the info about your flight. My happiness didn't last long. The highly anticipated flight supposed to take off from Terminal 2, not Terminal 4 as clearly stated in my confirmation email. We live in the 24/7 information bubble, and we exploit it all the time. Well, I do. All my 23k followers on twitter know that. Without hesitation, the first 140 characters shot to the airline and another 140 to Heathrow. It was Saturday afternoon, an excellent time to kill a few hours before supper. The first, professional and straight to the point reply come from Heathrow. Terminal 4 is closed, and you need to go Terminal 2 for the flight to your destination. I took it with a pinch of salt, encouraging myself to wait for the airline's answers as they must know from where they are supposed to take off. The following day, having not yet received confirmation from the airline and in the process of booking a cab, I decided to spend another 60 min on the monotonous loops of fairground music redialling the London office.  The same delightful voice, without any apologies this time for the long wait, confirmed the departure from Terminal 4. After raising concern about the different information confirmed by Heathrow, the delightful voice turned into an angry bird and repeated, almost shouted, Terminal 4, Terminal 4, Terminal 4. Twelve hours later came a confusing message on Twitter from the airline, the one which supposed to know which Terminal they are using at the Heathrow, saying that my two heavy pieces of luggage, and my trendy but equally massive rucksack, should go to Terminal 4, not Terminal 2. The distance between Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, according to Google Maps, is 21 min by train and 16 by car. Imagine carrying two pieces of luggage and a rucksack wearing a face mask, gloves and glasses? What is the point of booking business class when you cannot get to it without sweating? Actually, when you do not know where to go in order to get your business class seat? The one thing I learned about Covid19 is that "small" people are heroes, the one you don't get to see on the front pages or recognise while shopping at the supermarkets: nurses, cab drivers, rubbish collectors, endless and selfless volunteers. My local hero, the cab driver, agreed to take me to Terminal 2, wait for me to check if we were at the right one, and if not, drive me to Terminal 4. With no extra cost. To be continued... OFF THE MARGIN: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein
    325 Posted by bossgate
  • Sitting anxiously with a strong 'winter' coffee, checking emails earnestly looking for the confirmation of my flight with all the juicy extras of business class, like free Wi-Fi, business lounge, hot meal on-board, extra space, my fear of flying disappeared, like a medical condition wiped out by too much adrenaline. And alcohol. It’s not just my hatred of flying that disorders my already exuberant personality, but the mere idea of dealing with masses of people squeezed into the restricted metal can cleverly named an aeroplane, makes me claustrophobic.  Being in the middle of the worldwide pandemic and in self-isolation for 12 weeks seems like a dream compared to a short-haul flight to another part of Europe. The initial mistake, of booking the wrong direction, I put down to the combination of alcohol and excitement, was quickly rectified by getting in touch with the local office of the airline in question. The holding time was the average UK holding time, 45 min, with a very monotonous tune programmed on a loop every three minutes, killing my already damaged hearing. Eventually, a delightful young voice apologised for the waiting time, blaming corona-virus, but stopped short of saying anything about the fairground choice of music, and quickly offered to help me change the route of my flight. At an additional cost, of course. The new confirmation with the correct flight direction swiftly come into my inbox, together with an undesirable seat alteration to A1, the one with a hospital tray and a draught strong enough to give you pneumonia. My flight booking skills, carefully honed by years of traveling across the globe, had become a bit rusty during lock-down but they suddenly kicked in, and I spotted the mistake instantaneously. Having booked the destination I wanted, with a flight in the right direction, and the desired seat, and still slightly intoxicated to be on the move again, I decided to check my buying opportunities at Terminal 4, the one I was supposed to take off from three days later, according to the airline. Having been in isolation for 12 weeks, the desire for some retail therapy was overwhelming, not because of the desperate need for a perfume or massive bottle of gin, but to feel "normal" again. Covid19 has had an unprecedented influence on everybody's mind, challenging boundaries between normal, usual, abnormal. Within a few clicks, it was clear the shops at Heathrow were closed, including the business lounge in which I was looking forward to having a nice lunch and a drink after all that shopping. The second bottle of wine bought just because of the cute flowery label, tasted even better, but any alcohol tastes better once you sink in it. Somewhere between glass numbers 2 and 3, the full reality of the Covid19 impact dawned on me - only Boots and WH Smiths were open. The choice between buying sun cream or a book had as much appeal as a broken tooth during 12 weeks of lock-down! Slightly disappointed with the sorry states of the shops at Heathrow, I read about the European capital city I was going to fly to, and it seemed attractive enough. It mentioned a long, turbulent history, with adjectives which didn’t go over the top with enthusiasm. Still, after roaming the country so many times and that particular city on so many occasions, I decided to ignore the subtle put-down. This specific state of mind comes with age and alcohol. The curious mind of a drunk would not give up, and the quest for happiness on the Heathrow website continued. Somewhere between all the scary info about the invisible Covid19 and the latest glorious architectural developments at the airport, my fat finger clicked on the departures page. The one where you type in the flight number and date, and then you get all the info about your flight. My happiness didn't last long. The highly anticipated flight supposed to take off from Terminal 2, not Terminal 4 as clearly stated in my confirmation email. We live in the 24/7 information bubble, and we exploit it all the time. Well, I do. All my 23k followers on twitter know that. Without hesitation, the first 140 characters shot to the airline and another 140 to Heathrow. It was Saturday afternoon, an excellent time to kill a few hours before supper. The first, professional and straight to the point reply come from Heathrow. Terminal 4 is closed, and you need to go Terminal 2 for the flight to your destination. I took it with a pinch of salt, encouraging myself to wait for the airline's answers as they must know from where they are supposed to take off. The following day, having not yet received confirmation from the airline and in the process of booking a cab, I decided to spend another 60 min on the monotonous loops of fairground music redialling the London office.  The same delightful voice, without any apologies this time for the long wait, confirmed the departure from Terminal 4. After raising concern about the different information confirmed by Heathrow, the delightful voice turned into an angry bird and repeated, almost shouted, Terminal 4, Terminal 4, Terminal 4. Twelve hours later came a confusing message on Twitter from the airline, the one which supposed to know which Terminal they are using at the Heathrow, saying that my two heavy pieces of luggage, and my trendy but equally massive rucksack, should go to Terminal 4, not Terminal 2. The distance between Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, according to Google Maps, is 21 min by train and 16 by car. Imagine carrying two pieces of luggage and a rucksack wearing a face mask, gloves and glasses? What is the point of booking business class when you cannot get to it without sweating? Actually, when you do not know where to go in order to get your business class seat? The one thing I learned about Covid19 is that "small" people are heroes, the one you don't get to see on the front pages or recognise while shopping at the supermarkets: nurses, cab drivers, rubbish collectors, endless and selfless volunteers. My local hero, the cab driver, agreed to take me to Terminal 2, wait for me to check if we were at the right one, and if not, drive me to Terminal 4. With no extra cost. To be continued... OFF THE MARGIN: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein
    Jun 27, 2020 325
  • 30 May 2020
    “I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.” Alain de Botton   How many times have you been seduced by reading an article on the 10 best things to do at the destination you always wanted to see? The flawless writing full of perfectly chosen adjectives, carefully punctuated into long, tantalising sentences made you feel ready to devour all 10 items on the list - amazing UNESCO sights, cruises on a magnificent river, a golden tan on a golden beach, deliciously cooked food or  a  trip across a desert… half way across the globe, killing a little of what is left of our precious world as we go. Once you have satisfied the urge to show your latest travel achievements on your social media accounts and retire for the night, you can sleep with an angelic glow over your contented head. But have you noticed anything else? Public transport for example? Or the lack of it. Like most of us, you prefer travelling in a car that you certainly can't afford back home, with a guide and driver. How about that sea fish you tasted at the famous restaurant listed as number 1 on the extravagance list? Have you actually noticed the country is land-locked and the sea fish has probably flown a longer distance than you? Or did you notice any locals enjoying the deliciously prepared sea creature? Of course not, because the average locals don’t have enough money to pay the bills let alone enjoy the best 10 from the list which you salivated over back home. You may find that the UNESCO site listed as number 3, for which you booked a car and driver to take you, is over commercialised and hence not “insta friendly”. The fact you failed to notice was that due to mass tourism it has been refurbished more times in the last century then in its whole existence. But who cares? You made your peace by posting your inconclusive findings on your social media profiles and made a lot of interactions, which is good for your quest to become an influencer. The luxury cruise with amenities better than at your own house, which you booked to visit the fine wineries along the river, is a five-star floating polluter but nobody dares to say it. The wine tastes good! That road trip across the shrinking desert is  covered with rubbish left by overzealous travellers who, luckily, you managed to avoid with your photographic skills. That selfie with the amazing background of rocks and through a filter looked like the perfect way to wish good morning to your followers on the other side of the globe. Apart from endless chasing, these "10 best" lists also give the wrong impression of the destinations! The latest example I come across is an article in an internationally recognised newspaper's travel section, giving a list of what to do in 36 hours at one of the capital cities of Europe. Within 36 hours the writer suggested a visit to a mere three sights and the rest around new fancy restaurants where the cost of the average meal is equal to the monthly salary of the average local. The city is blessed with a history longer than most, and so to suggest only 3 sights is either displaying a deep ignorance of the destination or is purely to make money by listing expensive restaurants. You decide! Who sets trends in travel? Why do we have to follow them? Does the travel industry need a revolution? A little bit of transparency wouldn’t be amiss. Don’t you think? [video width="3840" height="2160" mp4="https://www.readyclickandgo.com/rcng-blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Temple-of-Heaven.mp4"][/video]   In May last year I decided to volunteer at a refugee centre in East Europe. It was just my luck that it was Ramadan and none of the students turned up but I met a very nice bunch of fellow volunteers from the USA. They are travelling through Europe and volunteering at the same time. It’s an excellent way of getting close to real issues of today’s very messy world. My question and my travel anxiety are very simple: does holiday/travel have to be a hunting game of 10 whatever best, only to be able to brag about them back home and display them on social media platforms. Yes, we have been somewhere on the list and we have a very good insta photo to prove it. But did we actually enjoy it? Did we embrace just a little bit of local life? Top 10, 10 best, 15 must see, 8 must do, 20 things to do is the concept of whole websites, travel businesses are set up on them. In the process of salivating, wannabe travellers forget that writers have been paid a commission to feature these lists and that sometimes they haven’t even been there. The telling sign is the address of each establishment listed at the end of each entry or image credit given to a different person, not to the writer of the article. Who is to blame? Travellers looking for a unique experience? Businesses wanting to make money on clickable articles? Wannabe writers, pretending to be travellers, selling fog. We are all in it! And it backfires on the whole concept of travelling. While we chase all these never-ending lists, like a holy grail, across the globe, we forget the basic concept of travelling which is different for each of us, like happiness. Mine is to take a camera, not a mobile, and a map, and with my luck it usually turns out not to be in English, which I use to discover the city I visit. Yes, I get lost, endlessly walking up and down uncharted territory, swearing and cursing for being stupid but my God, do I see and experience much more than any travel guide can squeeze into 10 of whatever they think is the best. I go back to the hotel room invigorated, hungry and covered in blisters but happy to write pages and pages in my diary.          
    223 Posted by bossgate
  • “I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.” Alain de Botton   How many times have you been seduced by reading an article on the 10 best things to do at the destination you always wanted to see? The flawless writing full of perfectly chosen adjectives, carefully punctuated into long, tantalising sentences made you feel ready to devour all 10 items on the list - amazing UNESCO sights, cruises on a magnificent river, a golden tan on a golden beach, deliciously cooked food or  a  trip across a desert… half way across the globe, killing a little of what is left of our precious world as we go. Once you have satisfied the urge to show your latest travel achievements on your social media accounts and retire for the night, you can sleep with an angelic glow over your contented head. But have you noticed anything else? Public transport for example? Or the lack of it. Like most of us, you prefer travelling in a car that you certainly can't afford back home, with a guide and driver. How about that sea fish you tasted at the famous restaurant listed as number 1 on the extravagance list? Have you actually noticed the country is land-locked and the sea fish has probably flown a longer distance than you? Or did you notice any locals enjoying the deliciously prepared sea creature? Of course not, because the average locals don’t have enough money to pay the bills let alone enjoy the best 10 from the list which you salivated over back home. You may find that the UNESCO site listed as number 3, for which you booked a car and driver to take you, is over commercialised and hence not “insta friendly”. The fact you failed to notice was that due to mass tourism it has been refurbished more times in the last century then in its whole existence. But who cares? You made your peace by posting your inconclusive findings on your social media profiles and made a lot of interactions, which is good for your quest to become an influencer. The luxury cruise with amenities better than at your own house, which you booked to visit the fine wineries along the river, is a five-star floating polluter but nobody dares to say it. The wine tastes good! That road trip across the shrinking desert is  covered with rubbish left by overzealous travellers who, luckily, you managed to avoid with your photographic skills. That selfie with the amazing background of rocks and through a filter looked like the perfect way to wish good morning to your followers on the other side of the globe. Apart from endless chasing, these "10 best" lists also give the wrong impression of the destinations! The latest example I come across is an article in an internationally recognised newspaper's travel section, giving a list of what to do in 36 hours at one of the capital cities of Europe. Within 36 hours the writer suggested a visit to a mere three sights and the rest around new fancy restaurants where the cost of the average meal is equal to the monthly salary of the average local. The city is blessed with a history longer than most, and so to suggest only 3 sights is either displaying a deep ignorance of the destination or is purely to make money by listing expensive restaurants. You decide! Who sets trends in travel? Why do we have to follow them? Does the travel industry need a revolution? A little bit of transparency wouldn’t be amiss. Don’t you think? [video width="3840" height="2160" mp4="https://www.readyclickandgo.com/rcng-blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Temple-of-Heaven.mp4"][/video]   In May last year I decided to volunteer at a refugee centre in East Europe. It was just my luck that it was Ramadan and none of the students turned up but I met a very nice bunch of fellow volunteers from the USA. They are travelling through Europe and volunteering at the same time. It’s an excellent way of getting close to real issues of today’s very messy world. My question and my travel anxiety are very simple: does holiday/travel have to be a hunting game of 10 whatever best, only to be able to brag about them back home and display them on social media platforms. Yes, we have been somewhere on the list and we have a very good insta photo to prove it. But did we actually enjoy it? Did we embrace just a little bit of local life? Top 10, 10 best, 15 must see, 8 must do, 20 things to do is the concept of whole websites, travel businesses are set up on them. In the process of salivating, wannabe travellers forget that writers have been paid a commission to feature these lists and that sometimes they haven’t even been there. The telling sign is the address of each establishment listed at the end of each entry or image credit given to a different person, not to the writer of the article. Who is to blame? Travellers looking for a unique experience? Businesses wanting to make money on clickable articles? Wannabe writers, pretending to be travellers, selling fog. We are all in it! And it backfires on the whole concept of travelling. While we chase all these never-ending lists, like a holy grail, across the globe, we forget the basic concept of travelling which is different for each of us, like happiness. Mine is to take a camera, not a mobile, and a map, and with my luck it usually turns out not to be in English, which I use to discover the city I visit. Yes, I get lost, endlessly walking up and down uncharted territory, swearing and cursing for being stupid but my God, do I see and experience much more than any travel guide can squeeze into 10 of whatever they think is the best. I go back to the hotel room invigorated, hungry and covered in blisters but happy to write pages and pages in my diary.          
    May 30, 2020 223
  • 16 May 2020
    Frugality is the mother of all virtues. Justinian I In a country where tradition, history and legend are so entangled with the past, present and probably future, you don’t have to dig deep to find a day trip out of the city. A few searches on the internet and we found an absorbing read by a wanna-be travel writer who listed the 10 best things to see in Sirmium, or Sremska Mitrovica. With a population of less than 80000 souls you would think that 10 is overstretching things, but they were described so tantalisingly that you wanted to eat them, not just see them! Serbia has the largest number of Roman emperors born outside of Italy – 17 altogether, among them Constantine I and Justinian I but the determining factor, and listed as number one of the ten, was that Sirmium was the birthplace of not just one, two or three but ten Roman Emperors! How many cities in the world can brag of having given birth to ten Roman Emperors? The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus even called Sirmium “the glorious mother of cities.” That was enough to get our travel glands overworking and send us off to the western part of Serbia on an unusually sunny November day. The drive through the countryside was a perfect reflection of past centuries, despite the ravages and torments of the last one.  A bank, a coffee shop, churches, usually the Orthodox on the right and the Catholic on the left side of the road, duly followed by a grocer's, then a detached ruined house, followed by a new three-storey house made of the cheapest possible building materials imported from brotherly China. Then a huge space filled with freshly ploughed soil made it look like the enormous painting would melt into a different composition, only, unfortunately, it was to be just the same undeviating landscape…. a bank, a coffee shop…occasionally broken by a school or police station. There were no big-name companies. Or factories. It was Sunday and without people mingling on the streets the whole picture looked even more grim. Driving steadily through the countryside, I often wondered where the people worked. How did they make a living? “They deal with it.” One of so many phrases you hear from the locals very often. It means working at two or three low-paid jobs, paid cash in hand and, if they are lucky to be registered for at least one job, it’s usually at the lowest contribution level, killing in the bud any idea of a comfortable retirement. While we in the West are worried about the rising age of retirement, here they are ferociously fighting for any kind of pension. It is no surprise that Serbia is losing 51,000 citizens per year according to the OCED. Not to a high death-rate or low birth-rate but to pure emigration to any country in the world which would pay more than a pittance. Leaving numbers and reality behind us, we arrived in the early afternoon welcomed by empty parking spaces. The first stop was a regional museum which was number 5 on the travel writer's list. We didn’t plan to follow the list but the museum was right in front of us in a nice, white 18th century building so we decided to start from there.  Our excitement was short lived as the building was closed on Sunday. Luckily the Sirimium Palate Imperiale was just across a small roundabout located in a grey warehouse building which we dismissed upon arrival as another one of the architectural monstrosities raised in the name of the transition period from communism to capitalism. It was closed too, even though we had checked that it was open on Sundays! After cursing in a few different languages to the utter dismay of the local tramp, the only human on the empty street except us, we discovered big French windows which gave us a glimpse of what we were missing. The Roman ruins at Volubilus in Morocco or Leptis Magna in Libya simply dwarfed the ones in front of us. These ones were small. Simply tiny for 10 Roman Emperors. And whatever you might think - size does matter! If 10 Emperors had been born in and around any city in the world, that city would have been on the UNESCO list a long time ago! Slightly disappointed, we turned our backs and come across a monument to the sheep pig, something this area is very famous for. The Mangalica pig is international, well, Eastern European, a cross breed between Hungarian and Serbian stock with the small addition of wild boar who contributes the wool, although my knowledge of pig breeding is limited and I may be misinformed. But the meat is tasty as there is not much fat. Next to the pig statue there was a small creature which we couldn’t identify as a pig until someone recognised it as a dog. It was a type of dog called a Pulin. Yes, I heard Putin too. The Pulin is a traditional sheepdog from this area and it's immortalised next to the sheep pig. I know. I was confused too. We crossed number 3 from the list. Quickly, we moved on to the main pedestrian zone in quest of a sundial, wondering how to find it. By looking up at the buildings or down at the ground? There was no point asking anyone as no one was passing by. We crossed the whole main street to the other side of the modern town where we were surprised by another set of Roman ruins. Again, not on a huge scale but in good condition. A kid, hidden on a bench and immersed in a loud game on a new device, and annoyed at being asked for directions threw his right hand out towards the end of the road, with his eyes glued to imaginary friends on his tablet. Then sensing our confusion, he started shouting, still not looking at us: “There. Just there!” We quickly moved forward, leaving the distressed young human with his obsession.  Slowly, we come across the longest footbridge in Europe. Apparently. Later, at home we checked this claim and pages came up with the same  story. However, this one was also the prettiest one. The official name is St Irinej Bridge and its length of 262.2m connects two different parts of Serbia, Srem and Macva, over the River Sava. The views are amazing and we spent a considerable time walking up and down taking photos of different parts of Serbia, which actually looked exactly the same, flat. It’s worth noting that we didn’t need passports to cross from Srem to Macva. Not yet anyway. On the way back we haunted a young, tipsy woman, asking her about the sundial. She shrugged her wide shoulders, pulled her face while trying to retrieve any information from her intoxicated brain. Looking very far over our heads she remembered vaguely a clock somewhere in the city but that was in the museum now. What about the street art? Does she know where we can find it? It was on our list. Her face grimaced this time. It was the sign to give up. Slightly disappointed, we drowned our sorrows at an empty coffee-shop nestling in someone's garden. The waitress, a pretty young thing, didn’t know anything about Roman ruins, while an older lady sitting in the corner, cursed her bitterly for not knowing anything about her city. It turned out that it was not her city, that she had emigrated from Kosovo, in the south of Serbia which declared independence in 2008. We sit quietly worried in case we sparked another war. Impenitent, the old lady continued: “There are ruins, every time they build a house, the ruins burst up like popcorn.” Not sure she was convincing enough she added the urban legend how someone from the city found not one but two cups full of gold coins while building his house. Tired, we didn’t ask what had happened with the gold coins as somehow, we knew they were in the museum which was closed today. As it was Sunday. And tourism doesn’t work on Sunday.  
    264 Posted by bossgate
  • Frugality is the mother of all virtues. Justinian I In a country where tradition, history and legend are so entangled with the past, present and probably future, you don’t have to dig deep to find a day trip out of the city. A few searches on the internet and we found an absorbing read by a wanna-be travel writer who listed the 10 best things to see in Sirmium, or Sremska Mitrovica. With a population of less than 80000 souls you would think that 10 is overstretching things, but they were described so tantalisingly that you wanted to eat them, not just see them! Serbia has the largest number of Roman emperors born outside of Italy – 17 altogether, among them Constantine I and Justinian I but the determining factor, and listed as number one of the ten, was that Sirmium was the birthplace of not just one, two or three but ten Roman Emperors! How many cities in the world can brag of having given birth to ten Roman Emperors? The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus even called Sirmium “the glorious mother of cities.” That was enough to get our travel glands overworking and send us off to the western part of Serbia on an unusually sunny November day. The drive through the countryside was a perfect reflection of past centuries, despite the ravages and torments of the last one.  A bank, a coffee shop, churches, usually the Orthodox on the right and the Catholic on the left side of the road, duly followed by a grocer's, then a detached ruined house, followed by a new three-storey house made of the cheapest possible building materials imported from brotherly China. Then a huge space filled with freshly ploughed soil made it look like the enormous painting would melt into a different composition, only, unfortunately, it was to be just the same undeviating landscape…. a bank, a coffee shop…occasionally broken by a school or police station. There were no big-name companies. Or factories. It was Sunday and without people mingling on the streets the whole picture looked even more grim. Driving steadily through the countryside, I often wondered where the people worked. How did they make a living? “They deal with it.” One of so many phrases you hear from the locals very often. It means working at two or three low-paid jobs, paid cash in hand and, if they are lucky to be registered for at least one job, it’s usually at the lowest contribution level, killing in the bud any idea of a comfortable retirement. While we in the West are worried about the rising age of retirement, here they are ferociously fighting for any kind of pension. It is no surprise that Serbia is losing 51,000 citizens per year according to the OCED. Not to a high death-rate or low birth-rate but to pure emigration to any country in the world which would pay more than a pittance. Leaving numbers and reality behind us, we arrived in the early afternoon welcomed by empty parking spaces. The first stop was a regional museum which was number 5 on the travel writer's list. We didn’t plan to follow the list but the museum was right in front of us in a nice, white 18th century building so we decided to start from there.  Our excitement was short lived as the building was closed on Sunday. Luckily the Sirimium Palate Imperiale was just across a small roundabout located in a grey warehouse building which we dismissed upon arrival as another one of the architectural monstrosities raised in the name of the transition period from communism to capitalism. It was closed too, even though we had checked that it was open on Sundays! After cursing in a few different languages to the utter dismay of the local tramp, the only human on the empty street except us, we discovered big French windows which gave us a glimpse of what we were missing. The Roman ruins at Volubilus in Morocco or Leptis Magna in Libya simply dwarfed the ones in front of us. These ones were small. Simply tiny for 10 Roman Emperors. And whatever you might think - size does matter! If 10 Emperors had been born in and around any city in the world, that city would have been on the UNESCO list a long time ago! Slightly disappointed, we turned our backs and come across a monument to the sheep pig, something this area is very famous for. The Mangalica pig is international, well, Eastern European, a cross breed between Hungarian and Serbian stock with the small addition of wild boar who contributes the wool, although my knowledge of pig breeding is limited and I may be misinformed. But the meat is tasty as there is not much fat. Next to the pig statue there was a small creature which we couldn’t identify as a pig until someone recognised it as a dog. It was a type of dog called a Pulin. Yes, I heard Putin too. The Pulin is a traditional sheepdog from this area and it's immortalised next to the sheep pig. I know. I was confused too. We crossed number 3 from the list. Quickly, we moved on to the main pedestrian zone in quest of a sundial, wondering how to find it. By looking up at the buildings or down at the ground? There was no point asking anyone as no one was passing by. We crossed the whole main street to the other side of the modern town where we were surprised by another set of Roman ruins. Again, not on a huge scale but in good condition. A kid, hidden on a bench and immersed in a loud game on a new device, and annoyed at being asked for directions threw his right hand out towards the end of the road, with his eyes glued to imaginary friends on his tablet. Then sensing our confusion, he started shouting, still not looking at us: “There. Just there!” We quickly moved forward, leaving the distressed young human with his obsession.  Slowly, we come across the longest footbridge in Europe. Apparently. Later, at home we checked this claim and pages came up with the same  story. However, this one was also the prettiest one. The official name is St Irinej Bridge and its length of 262.2m connects two different parts of Serbia, Srem and Macva, over the River Sava. The views are amazing and we spent a considerable time walking up and down taking photos of different parts of Serbia, which actually looked exactly the same, flat. It’s worth noting that we didn’t need passports to cross from Srem to Macva. Not yet anyway. On the way back we haunted a young, tipsy woman, asking her about the sundial. She shrugged her wide shoulders, pulled her face while trying to retrieve any information from her intoxicated brain. Looking very far over our heads she remembered vaguely a clock somewhere in the city but that was in the museum now. What about the street art? Does she know where we can find it? It was on our list. Her face grimaced this time. It was the sign to give up. Slightly disappointed, we drowned our sorrows at an empty coffee-shop nestling in someone's garden. The waitress, a pretty young thing, didn’t know anything about Roman ruins, while an older lady sitting in the corner, cursed her bitterly for not knowing anything about her city. It turned out that it was not her city, that she had emigrated from Kosovo, in the south of Serbia which declared independence in 2008. We sit quietly worried in case we sparked another war. Impenitent, the old lady continued: “There are ruins, every time they build a house, the ruins burst up like popcorn.” Not sure she was convincing enough she added the urban legend how someone from the city found not one but two cups full of gold coins while building his house. Tired, we didn’t ask what had happened with the gold coins as somehow, we knew they were in the museum which was closed today. As it was Sunday. And tourism doesn’t work on Sunday.  
    May 16, 2020 264