Thursday, 30 March 2017

Trillions of news

Counterfeiting - illegal piracy such as DVD copies, fake Chanel bags and other - is the most lucrative illegal business, this report shows.

Two things:

as long as it is more lucrative than drug trafficking and human trafficking, I am happy, as I want both gone, eradicated forever.

I wish I knew more about the production process. I don't, but I still think I have a point regarding that a) it is difficult to have a legal business in many countries, so an illegal bag market isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds b) yes, this kind of business undermines economies. So when the police make razzias - don't burn and throw away the stuff; declare them, pay the missing taxes and put them on the market again, because just getting rid of them is a waste of earth's resources. c) in "Gomorra", Roberto Saviano points out that the illegal market actually boosts the reputation of brands like Prada and Chanel. The brands are happy for this free "advertising", which often comes from mafia-dominated villages where texile workers are so talented that there is no difference between that production and the original. Solve this, police and politicians?

Saturday, 25 March 2017

"Jana, what do you have for breakfast?"

Concha asked. She is a beautiful woman I go to my other school with by car on Tuesdays and Fridays.

"Oh, it varies", I answered. "But I am not a typical representative of Swedish habits."

Here is a list of my more frequent dishes, which change drastically and suddenly.

☆ Cold pizza with hot tea (super nice actually)
☆ Garlic (tapas ones, cloves that swim in spiced oil)
☆ Half a fuet
☆ Various sandwiches of different bread type with butter as a base and then cheese/jam/ham/avocado/bell pepper. Actually, avocado has probably never happened, but it has been very close several times.
☆ Croissants or other pastry
☆ Churros (Spanish tradition)
☆ Buckwheat porridge with milk and sugar (Russian tradition)
☆ Whole grain cereals with liquid honey, sliced banana and milk + dried apricots (Jana tradition)
☆ Pancakes. With melted white chocolate on the top is the beeeest. Making them takes an eternity though.
☆ Bacon and fried eggs
☆ Wafels, home made
☆ Any exotic fruit

And what about you, my friend? Surprise me!

Friday, 24 March 2017

The luxury.

Oh, imagine being able to ask an author anything about his/her book. Dostoyevskij would be on an eternal around-the-globe tour and be a relaxed millionaire just because if the talkshows he would be invited to. Oh my.

John Green does it online. He answers to everything concerning The Fault in our Stars here. Even if you have not read the book, maybe you have seen the film, and it is funny the way he does it maybe even without having read the book OR seen the film. And you kan keep asking questions! 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Some ads are ... special

 You know those lists online with funny but strange things? Here is one I have seen myself, an ad for a human care organisation that appears normal.
 Let's use a photo of me for comparison. 
Let's turn the photo of me upside down. Nothing special happens.
But look at THIS!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Good morning

 Such a great morning, sunwise. Teawise too, I met a teacher who knows the owner of café who invited us for a tea and coffee. 
I am wearing thin things and don't freeze. And yet snow is promised on Wednesday? I don't believe it. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

The false lake of Cenajo

 The unnaturally striped landscape is 1 h 52 min away by car, according to Google. We had very little gas on this lovely hot day (how many kilometets do we have left? Does this car that passes by have gas to lend? Who can you call to pick us up? Oh I don't have any signal either), so we were happy this estimation was more than one hour wrong.
 It is a water reservoir, an embalse, that is known for its beauty and partly belongs to Murcia and partly to Castilla-La Mancha. Many people died when digging it: after the Civil war, dictator Franco forced the losing side to work for three day shifts for bread and water. The fourth day they "had a day off" - they got to "rest" with the arms in darbies (probably back in prison, but they got to stay, probably). Therefore, Franco used to say that this water reservoir was built for free.
 The other side, bungyjump-height.
 And a mystery tunnel, money not very well spent. Who comes here? Few people. And on top of the mountain is a Christian cross. Someone came and styled the hell of the area, but in a discrete way at a high cost.
 There is even a hotel! And at the back, a company that produces mineral water. Hmmm.
 The tunnel forks into "I can see the light" and "Let's not go here".
And follows the fake river, down the hill. 

Saturday, 18 March 2017

"Blodsbunden" by Augustin Erba

"Here is a really good book", friend said and reached me the 539 pages. "Bonus is that I come from the same suburb."

I texted after maybe 7 turned pages: "You were right, it's great!"

There is a lot to like. The fly in the ointment is that on some pages (one chapter is one or three pages, rarely more) there is one or two describing details too much, and that we never will know how much is autobiographic and how much is fiction.

The authour reluctantly explains his royal blood and confesses that his father's death was a relief, which made the old girlfriends and the psychiatrists get wrinkles on their faces. But with an absent, and when present, abusive, father, he perfectly manages to explain to his readers why. He reflects that his life could have been just as fine without his kids, but then, he corrects himself, it is easy to talk for someone who has than it is for someone who doesn't. Which could be why he decides to be the sperm donor to two lesbian friends, to which his wife doesn't say a no, but nor is it a yes. Here the author also briefly touches upon the gay rights in Australia. Not the least, he is well-informed and takes very feminist stands. When his wife's sister warns him to talk about the pregnancy at an early stage because they could risk a miscarriage and what would the people say then, he answers that miscarriages SHOULD be talked more about. The sister answers it's usually the mother who is in grief and doesn't talk much to anyone. He knew that - it is called a silent grief, as it is not shared. So - still an important thing to talk about. The sister ignores this which underlines that it really, really has to be talked more about.

I laughed out loud probably five times and chuckled or smirked about the same amount. This is a very high mark. However, the humour is dark.

In English, the title could be "Bound by blood". No thriller material, but the somewhat deceiving name could give it more readers, and more readers it should have. Why didn't I hear or read about this contemporary piece anywhere? I predict it to gain popularity over the years and to be read in schools as a standard.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Museum Mission: Museo del arroz

Welcome to the Rice Museum in Calasparra! The only museum in town. You can read about it here and here.In Spanish, of course. The first linked website is my preferred one.
So, you step inside and find is a tourist office to your right. They are not very happy to share information with you there, I have myself helped tourists (in poor Spanish, mind you) who have came out directly from there to identify the best parts of the city. To the left is the museum, that is never open after 13.30 and not all days a week, either.
You can be lucky like me and match your visit with 50 other people from the region of Murcia. First, you might have to argue with the guide about whether it is wise or not wise to join. "You will not understand", he said. "We are after all having a conversation in Spanish, don't worry about me", I kind of said. In that superior quality Spanish mentioned earlier.
So up we went.
There are three floors with everything you want to know about the local rice, like that politicians have suggested to tilt the fields. Guide and farmers laughed at this.
I believe these objects are here to be touched, but I didn't dare.
Very nice to see. There even was what looked like a ukulele of hay; it probably wasn't.
And now, let's give way for the chests.
They were multiples.
After chest five or seven, I asked what they were doing there.
"We repair broken things instead of throwing them away", came the answer.
"We don't just throw things away because they have a small damage."
Ok, but where do they come from?
Here and there - origin not confirmed.
Interesting, anyhow. The guided group assumed that farmers were foreigners that came to Spain for work. "No such thing," the guide said, "the art of growing rice is passed on to family members only in this region".
There are several types of rice; was it five millions kilograms the guide said were produced here? The "bombas" are the biggest type and start looking a bit like beans. Flavour, cooking time and dishes separate the sorts; and the nutrition content, of course. If you say "rice" in a restaurant here, you read meat and vegetables between the lines.
It grows a bit outside of the city, near the river.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Easter tip-toeing on the shelfs

Never seen so colourful eggs before which are not solely for decoration - nice surprise! 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

"No et moi" by Delphine de Vigan

Lou Bertignac is smart. She learned reading by the age of four by looking at the labels of cereals and detergent, before proceeding to books. She has skipped two classes at school and can always answer a question if none of her peers can. But she is shy, worried about her mother who became depressed after losing her second child, Thaïs, and is so happy to read the encyclopedias she gets as a gift that her father doesn't let her do so until after dinner.

For her social studies assignment, she decides to interview a homeless girl. It is maybe a not very active decision, it seems to come from inside, and here starts what a Swedish literary critic called a love story. Is it really? Maybe; I do at least not agree fully. I think it is a search for a true friend, a sister, an attempt to understand the world outside of school which is so close and yet so far. How can we make huge technological advancements and yet let people sleep on the streets? Lou asks.

"No and me" is a nice path to walk, with precise observations, no redundant words, unsad sadness and equally calm joy, but yet very strong and pleasant - so do come along. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Travel details

 Literally, "The Princess Train".
 "In a while you will be fine"-bag by Norwegian, an object I imagine the designers had an awesome time layouting at the office. "Come guys, see what I have made..."
 Tea the mysterious way.
 And guitar remedy, maybe. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017


 For a few days, I left the palm trees 
  (the same day as one of my schools had a strike and the French aviation staff as well, so we could not fly over France and were delayed)
 and came to Sweden. Plus degrees and snow! Can you believe it :) 
 Shops embraced the upcoming spring.
Central station had a new sportive allure. 
But actually, it was still very cold. 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Brief note

It makes me very happy that translators and the cover designers in equally large letters are as common as the author's name on the front of a book lately. Also when I search for a title on, a Swedish website for books, these names come up in the search result. Thumbs up.

Monday, 6 March 2017

"How I live now" by Meg Rosoff

Love witty teenagers. Observant in a way adults are not, straight to the point, relaxingly short-sighted but simultaneously making grand plans about the future. This book offers you a good read and challenges the point of view that young adults is a genre for young adults. Why would a teenager's perspective be less relevant when it is in fact an asset?

For a big amount of time, each sentence matters, is interesting, makes me want to read more. It is easy, too, even though the topics are not. But the cover? Not any of the editions I have seen match the content.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

And I thought it would be a nice and calm walk, part III

 It turned out to be just fine, of course. The guided tour à 3 kilometers in rain was just a guided museum tour below the mountain, indoors. 
 I started hinting on lunch, but most of us would not hear of such a thing. Lunch, at 13? Ha! So we went walking in the not-even-a-coffee-for-sale direction, to the second castle. Which had abandoned houses on the way.
 Here it is! 
 Some were far ahead and waved to us who were behind. We eat the stems of flowers here, they can be served with vinegar. I found out when I asked T.: "What can we eat here?"
 Nobody knows how big the city - cities, the settlements were here already 5,000 years ago - around Monteagudo was. This castle is supposedly 900 years old, I believe. 
 But I am a bit surprised by the simplicity of its construction. 
 Maybe it was for practical reasons. 
 This is the first castle I visit from the inside, or shall I say rooftop, this year.
 It was sunny.
 After a morning of rain, that is particularly valuable. 
 Feet, graveyard, Monteagudo. I  didn't get that the statue is built on a castle until now.
 More friends. 
 Closeup of the graveyard. 
 With fancy houses in the coffee-and-restaurants direction.
 Handy people available for service. 
 The castle that you can, or can not, see is in a really bad shape. Why build a Jesus on it?
 Now, finally, it was lunch time in the middle of nowhere. 
 Except for the chicken coop,
 there were nice flowers and by now the rain had returned. 
Visible kitchen. Except for grilled things, I also had cake, a dulce leche something that was great.
Irish, Spanish, Greek and French currency.
And as part of the restaurant: Murcian bowling! You throw the ball in the air
and make tall sticks that look exactly as pencils (the type that has the eraser attached to the end with a metal piece) fall down on the soft sand.