Real estate mogul Frank Salt, whose family-owned business is one of the largest in this sector in Malta, is known for writing somewhat puzzling columns for the Times of Malta, the country’s largest, conservative-leaning newspaper. I won’t help the editors, who eagerly publish all this, in their clickbaiting efforts, but you can find out about Salt’s interpretation of things by searching for his name plus ‘Times of Malta’.
In one of his columns in December this year, he said of British colonialism: “It was a match made in heaven.” Later in the column he wrote that it paid off to be friendly and not to mistreat people from other countries. Perhaps he was correcting the damage of his previous column, which I wanted to discuss here not because of its any meaningful contribution to public debates, but because of a very interesting warp in Salt’s reasoning, where he starts off by stereotyping and blaming people from other countries and ends up admitting that many of the problems boil down to bad infrastructure. Continue reading →
As I have written in the previous post, I spent a week in Baku upon invitation from the NATO International School of Azerbaijan. We stayed in the suburb of Shikhov, close to the Caspian sea. Since it’s low season, there were almost no other guests. The hotel is far away from the city center. Although it provides free shuttle services to guests, buses run only once in 1.5-2 hours.
Surroundings of a mosque in Shikhov – click on the images to enlarge them
Last year around this time I spent a month in Seoul. For no logical reason I did not find much time to blog, but, needless to say, there were many colourful experiences worth describing. I found a draft post today, so I think it will be the best to start with completing it and write about the nightlife in Seoul.
Seoul is a huge and lively city, which feels as if it is very much still in the making. Most of the time it looked to me as if people there suddenly woke up and realised: hey look, we are rich and urbanised, so it’s time to start developing the kind of lifestyle that other megapolises have! Big city habits of not disturbing one another as much as possible are still not there (people would stand in the doorways of subway trains, playing with their cellphones, and they never apologised for bumping into others or anything else), but the quantity of people allows increasing diversity of cultural and leisure activities, and thus Seoul feels very urban and youthful. I would guess that the number of universities per capita is higher than in any other city I have visited. Most of South Korea’s universities are concentrated in Seoul. This makes the Hongdae area, where the main universities are, the most lively nightlife spot. One of the universities is the Ewha Womans (sic) University – the world’s largest female-only higher education institution (see explanation on unconventional English). I heard young Koreans joke that Ewha students are very fashion-conscious and popular with men, but the undeniable reality is that this is the university that produces women leaders in every field. Apparently, they are good at juggling multiple identities.
Prague is probably by far the most known and popular city in Central and Eastern Europe, with hordes of tourists and large numbers of exchange and full degree students. Some people know Prague as a city of sophisticated culture, the birthplace of Franz Kafka. Others associate it with nightlife and youth. It appears that Prague fell victim of its own success. The city is continuously being reshaped and damaged by the flows of tourism, and locals are losing a sense that the city belongs to them. Continue reading →
When you go out in Lithuania in summer, prepare to dance in plenty of space and give yourself a moment to carefully pick your shoes! Adequate shoes may be key to a good party. I know all too well that after returning from Tel Aviv, where everything is open all night long and summer stands for more clubbing and better roof parties, any Northern European country might seem a little gloomy.
It’s a bit more than an hour since I returned from a lovely trip to Estonia, and I want to start from the freshest impressions. Those come from Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia. Tartu is known as a student city with a laid-back character. Everything is more or less within a walking distance, so Tartu people consider everything far if it can only be accessed with public transport. Tartu is biking-friendly, with many comfortable open spaces.