The best excuse to explore more of one′s country of residence is teaming up with people who are there for a very short visit. This is how I set out to explore the famous South-Eastern areas on a warm and lazy Sunday. Specifically, the fish market of Marsaxlokk has become a popular tourist attraction, and as for Birzebbugia, I did not know what to expect at all.
My first impression of Marsaxlokk was that it was shockingly hipster. I realized that I hadn′t seen such a concentration of hipsters anywhere in Malta. Whatever their lifestyle, the faux-lumberjack look is not popular with the Maltese at all. Accordingly, hipster men were in a company of colorfully dressed women, who would otherwise not stand out as much. There were many elderly tourists, too, probably English, given how much they had undressed for the bright but still not so generous Mediterranean sun. And some local families, too, looking for a bargain.
On a minivan from Maasai Mara, I thought my pockets were already stuffed with beadwork and souvenirs, so there was no way I would acquire more. When a trader lifted his arms, with bracelets and necklaces hanging from them, towards my window as we briefly stopped by an ATM somewhere close to Narok, I told him I was not interested and continued writing my diary. “Do you have a spare pen?” he asked. Indeed, I did. “Are you interested in trading it for something?” I asked to confirm, and thus started one of my favorite adventures in Kenya.
Be’er Sheva is the main city in Israel’s South and home to a prominent university. As I had to revisit the university after three years from the first visit, I had a chance to take a closer look at its unique architecture and color palette. When I visited it for the first time, I wrote this blog entry. At the end of winter, it is like an entirely different place. The desert is covered in green and flowers are blossoming. In fact, more than that felt surprisingly different. Continue reading →
My acquaintance with Kiev starts much before we all start trying to delineate its limits through the window of our plane. It starts from the stewardesses with ‘Slavic’ style makeup – they won’t give us immigration cards until we ask them, since they don’t consider us foreigners. It also starts from pieces of hot chicken and lots of potatoes, which we receive in our lunchboxes on the plane. It starts from half-understandable (for us) signs in Ukrainian language.
The team that meets us do their best to ensure us that the next days will be interesting, purposeful and orderly – some Western European colleagues clearly doubt the latter point. A Swedish-speaking Finn jokes that the Ukrainians cannot tell a bus from a sauna. He will later have to pay (literally) for his impatience. Not willing to wait for instructions from our hosts, who will warn us about unreliable ATMs at the hotel lobby, he will later rage when one of these machines simply would not give him his cash. Continue reading →