Passed a rock that looked like it had a blood stain and I was riding around without a helmet
Three rusted wheelbarrows
Charger GX Touring in front of a Croatian village sign
The fifth largest Roman Colosseum in the world is in Pula
James Joyce was here!
Although unable to snap a few pictures of the olive farm we went to yesterday on account it was raining like crazy, at least we now have eight bottles of delicious Croatian olive oil to take back to Germany, which we will use for salads, flavouring and, as recommended, for toping vanilla ice cream. That’s right, dear worst-reader. Did you get that? That’s the advice from our friendly olive grower after I asked what I should do with olive oil that is too good and too expensive to cook with it. She said to get your favourite vanilla ice cream and eat it with a few drops of olive oil on top. Since I’m not a big vanilla fan I immediately asked if it will go well with pistachio ice cream. Although she never tried it with pistachio, she thought it a good idear. Btw, between the olives, the grapes and the truffles–and the things you can do with all three–Istria, Croatia, has got to be one of the finest places to hang out if you’re into all things fine that won’t break the bank. Even though the weather has kind of turned on us the past two days–it rained cats & dogs last night–we’re still enjoying it here. The air is fresh, the views are brilliant and if a neighbour gives you a few fresh Anchovies all you have to do is slightly coat them with flower, add a touch of salt and pepper, and fry them up in olive oil. After the little fish are browned to perfection, all that’s left is to add a fresh salad and glass of local red wine. While enjoying it all, though, I couldn’t help but think of the one more piece of advice we received from a very friendly olive grower.
“Don’t come here in the summer. It’s hell here in the summer. Too many tourists. Too many!” -A Croatian olive grower
I should consider myself lucky, I guess. I mean, if the Croatian police officer with the fine penmanship could read my mind about what I was thinking at the moment I received my first speeding ticket in this really, really, beautiful, picturesque country, I’d be in jail right now. But I kept my cool. I paid my fine by credit card and I moved on heeding the officers warning as he returned my papers and gave me the receipt: “you drive slower now.” Indeed. After driving around Istria for a few hours the other day, on the return to our villa, after about a five kilometre downhill trek, penmanship police officer waved me over at the base of the mountain. Of course I was going too fast. I was driving down a fcuking mountain! Although I can’t remember how many times within that five kilometre downhill stretch the speed-limit changed between 40, 50 and 70 km/h, I was obviously in a 50 zone doing 74 when his speed-gun caught me. Yeah, he was even kind enough to show me the speed gun. Did I mention that I was only a few hundred metres away from the base of the mountain? Oh well. So that’s what they do in Croatia, eh. Be warned those who might come here by car. They wait for the tourists to struggle between engine braking or over-heating your disc brakes and if you let go of either for a just a second or two, perhaps while conversing with someone in the car, the downhill slope of 10-15% degrees will rocket your vehicle to excess before you know it. There were at least four other cars behind me doing the same speed but not one of them was pulled over (Croatian plates?). In fact, at the top of the mountain I was passed by at least two cars doing excessive speeds and not one of them was pulled over at the base. Dumb me, eh, for getting caught and/or not knowing how the police fill the coffers of the state here. Oh well. No hard feelings.
Although there are lots of Das Volk out there that don’t mind long car drives, I ain’t one of them. So. On our way to Istria, Croatia, for a bit of R&R we stopped for two nights in Salzburg. Perhaps more on Salzburg later. Exhausted from the drive from Salzburg to Istria, we eventually found our way driving up and through winding, barely paved road-ways to a luscious Tuscany-like villa with heated pool and a view of the Adriatic that is to die for (pic not included YET). The only problem is the heated pool can’t get heated enough with the chilly fall winds that have suddenly turned on. In fact, after one or two tries and my better-half catching a cold we’ve given up on swimming in here. But enough bitchin’ and moaning (ranting).
Istria is gorgeous. Can’t recommend it enough. Even though you have to drive to get around, if you stay in the outer hills, as opposed to a village or resort hotel, there’s very little traffic–other than a few minor delays due to road work–to stop you from getting around. The only problem is, once you start driving around and looking at all the little walled-in, mini-towns built waaaaay back atop rolling forever hills (mini-mountains?), like Motovun (above), you’ll want to stop at them all.
And then there is the food. Or should I say: the truffles. If you like gorging on truffles, this is the place to be. I only wonder how long it’s gonna last as an affordable place to hang out for a week or two and eat this delicatessen–as opposed to how expensive it is in Italy or France. If you find the right place along one of them hill roads, all you need is a few Euros for plate of perfectly cooked noodles in a butter-wine sauce and then topped with dark truffle shavings (above). The cats seem to know what they’re begging for under your table, too.
And by-the-buy, check out the arrogant über corporate message from LA Times when I was trying to read up on some #SCOTUS bull$hit this morning. Even though the message is trying to be sympathetic and show interest in problem solving, any rational mind knows that what they’re really trying to say is that my grand & missed United Mistakes of #Americant is having a hard time getting-on with the EU’s attempt at reigning in on digital greed and abuse. The whole point of what the EU is trying to do (I hope!) is to right a long standing wrong–as long as the attempt is about users being the ones to decide what happens with their data. FB, Twitter and even the LA Times have no business whatsoever thinking they can own and manipulate what I do on the Interwebnets. That’s right, baby. You may own your software, you may own your website, but if you put it out there on a public network–which is what the Interwebnets is–then you have no right to own, sell or manipulate my data–even if it’s going through your website (or software).
Hilarryus, dear worst-reader. Seriously. I’m laughing my ass off right now at #United Airlines gettin’ in the newz. Of course, it need not be mentioned that more than ten or so years ago, I also got booted from a United flight. The good newz is I didn’t actually get booted like this guy did. No. I never actually made it onto the plane that was supposed to connect me to my destination. I got booted from the international transfer terminal because I was so unruly at the ticket counter where an automaton United employee turned on her corporate trained behaviourist defence mode and literally shut down her station to avoid facing reality. I was connecting at Dulles Airport from London to Orlando. When I got to Dulles though there was no record of my ticket even though I had just flown from London on a United flight with a ticket that had a destination of Orlando. When I told the automaton worker that I wasn’t gonna leave the line until she did something about what was obviously her, i.e. United’s mistake, she left the counter and told the people behind me that they should find another line. Of course they all did exactly that. I stood there dumbfounded, angry, but not surprised. I was in #americant. The land of in-order-to-get-ahead you MUST fail upwards. It was/is indeed some God’s country of monopolisation or die trying (to get there).
Long story short.
It turns out that #United had actually allowed me to board in London without noticing that they had put the wrong name on my ticket. By-the-bye, this was post nine-eleven! And so… I boarded in London as Thomas (wrong-name) and flew eight hours to Dulles. When in Dulles the #United automaton said there was no record of me, according to the name on my passport, nor was there a ticket for me from London to Orlando. There was a record of “Thomas (wrong-name)”, though–as printed on the boarding pass I received in London. And because that name didn’t match my passport they said it wasn’t their problem.
“But I just flew with you from London with or without the right name. Now I’m stuck in the transfer terminal in Dulles. What the hell do I do now?”
An airport employee ended up telling me that I had to exit the terminal and deal with United from the outside. The whole ordeal cost me a night in a hotel, a missed flight to my destination and the undue stress of having to deal with corporate #americant where “corporations are people too, my friend.” (Mitt Romney.)
So it’s no surprise to me that a monopoly industry would resort to this type of behaviour in its daily activities. And who facilitated the airline industry turning into a monopoly? That’s right, dear worst-reader. You guessed it. #Americant did. Now go vote your feelings and allow the conservatives to turn your country into the politburo corporate moneyed governing entity that it was always meant to be. And don’t forget:
No reason to be shocked. This flight, technically, I guess, has a “price” of “20.00 €”. And why shouldn’t it? Talk about a bargain. But then again, I did fly once across the Atlantic about thirty years ago–and for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the airline–that costs somewhere around a hundred dollars. Back then that was THE BOMB. It was the coolest flight ever, too. Everybody bought their own brown paper bag full of lunch and other munchies because there was neither service or stewardesses available. There were only these nice ladies dressed in purple that would provide water because there was some kind of regulation requiring the airline to at least hydrate passengers. Since the the entire fuselage was filled with economy class seats there was nothing but the boring sound of an a nine hour flight and the crunching of plastic bags, chips & doritos, and a few cracks of beer cans during the entire crossing. I think, if you paid (lots) extra, you could get those weird tube headphones and watch a movie from a drop-down cathode ray tube. And there is one other thing I can’t remember about the past (where my expatriation began). How much “Taxes and carrier imposed fees” did we have to pay for flights back then? Nomatter. I suppose if anything does matter anymore it’s where all the money goes that we have to pay to consume to survive. And by-the-bye, the “OPC” charge is for the use of a credit card. But I digress. Rant on. -t
Never thought I’d say this. But I miss the rain. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t miss it much. But I haven’t seen cloudy skies since leaving good ‘ol Germania just over a month ago. Wait. Scratch that. Just writing about rain reminds me of how much I hate Germania weather. The sky there is always grey. The sky hangs just over your head. It’s like living in your own private bubble-like greenhouse that follows you wherever you go. Such depressing weather has to be part of the reason Germania is the automaton pseudo-democracy that it is (has become). There’s nothing else to do there but work work work. Now that I’m living in place that has too much sunshine all I think about is leaving for the middle of the ocean and sailing around the world in a fifty-foot Beneteau. But I’m off subject (again and again and again). §Speaking of Germania and automaton pseudo-democracy: how ’bout those Panama Papers, dear worst-reader? I mean, Germania is the catalyst for this world renowned data leak (sarcasm off). It started in Munich at the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and now it’s gone viral like a video of a girl in overheated spring loosing her top while trying to ride a wave at a crusty beach. But enough about Tommi’s conspiracy theory that there’s something else about leaks being leaked through Munich and from the country that has so graciously given the world Deutsche Bank. But I digress. §I reckon I should say a few things about our move to India. Or should I leave it? Here’s the thing: we’ve been here just over a month. It’s hot as hell here. I love the sunshine–on account it makes my nails grow like crazy–but I’ve never been under so much sunshine without having some water to either scuba in, dive in or just plane stick my head in while contemplating The End. The nearest shore to Bangelore is something like three hundred kilometres away. Nomatter. I’ll get there soon enough. And I hear there’s pretty good sailing in Goa, too. §Which brings me to the issue of how we’re actually getting along in our new home. Well, as you can see in the pic above, we’re prepared. I like to think of our travel tech system as a kind of godsend. During our move from Germany–in fact, right when the last few packages were being packed–I thought that maybe we could take most of our media with us because we knew that we’d be without a real home for up to three months. And since we don’t watch TV*, all we have is the digital world to keep us preoccupied in those down-brain moments of the day. The idea was to just pack up the MacMini along with an AppleTV, a mini 3TB HDD, a HDMI cable and hoopla! Unfortunately our initial hotel stay couldn’t accommodate our needs since I couldn’t get access to the HDMI ports of the hotel room TV set. And, like I said, we don’t watch TV*, which means that in the hotel we weren’t able to watch our digital world at all (unless we used my MBA). The hotel secured the TV to the wall so that all its ports were unaccessible. Bummer, eh! But when we moved to a temporary furnished apartment, we got all kinds of bingo! As you can see there’s plenty of tech to go around while in limbo–as we wait for our new home to be finished so we can move in. It’s also proof of what one can pack away into luggage. Obviously I’m a big MacMini fan and this is why. Binge watching The Closure here we come. §All in all, India is a continuing adventure. Yeah, baby.
Rant on. -Tommi
PS I’m surprised at the lack of tea in Bangelore. As a earl grey guy, I was hoping that India had more tea choices. Oh well. And as the song goes: I will survive.
*What I mean by not watching TV is that we don’t watch commercial television. TV has gotten so bad in my life-time–whether in Europe or the US or India–that I can’t bear it for even a few seconds. That so many people still watch commercial TV is shocking to me. But then again, look at how it effects people. Look at how #americant might elect The Donald as president–he’s a reality TV star. As far as what I watch from the digital world? I watch stuff that informs me, teaches me and sometimes provokes me. After that I watch shows that I choose, pay for and are without commercials. Bingo.