The Rabenmutter cultural spell lingers.
via Planet Germany
The economics behind women’s tennis tournaments.
Eurozone’s dysfunctional internal markets.
Does the special relationship across the pond still exist?
How the German language evolved from the primordial Germanic soup.
Can the French economy be in better shape than the German’s?
Interesting short story from the perspective of a mail-order bride.
Nationalistic sentiments running high everywhere, including Japan.
EU project going into slow reverse? Rather simplistic view draw from a distance, but causes much more nuanced in my opinion.
And I’m sure the next generation of palliative patients will have a different set of regrets.
How little thoughts we give to dying.
On the German versus American attitudes when it comes to labour.
How Trader Joe works.
Who has the freedom to travel without a visa?
What makes a global city?
Americans can’t relax nor vacation the way Europeans do.
How to make knockoffs in hopes of making the real thing one day.
Nice transition from the last piece, this was apparently how Germany did it back then.
-vores are the new –isms.
Eurocrats salaries going up or down?
Commercialization of Ramadan.
I heard about this movie last year, and just got around to watching it.
Here’s what the movie got right:
– The film was made in Egypt, you can tell because the whole deal with traffic is pretty much spot on. There’s no real concept of traffic lanes in Egypt, nor does the concept of traffic lights exist – there are none. Taxis are from the 60s, some release toxic fume from the inside. But most of the time you are poisoned from the pollution from out the window. Keeping the taxi drivers awake is also important.
– Patricia Clarkson’s character’s surprise in having men follow her everywhere when she goes out in blouses and skirts. Women get this pretty quickly: you either cover up, or you are “asking for it”. Unwanted sexual attention that is. And it goes without saying that every Arabic men that approaches you on the street will have no trouble telling you how beautiful you are. Without fail.
– There are too many camels and not enough donkeys in the film. There are more donkeys in Egypt.
– Yes, you will be offered hot hibiscus tea all the time, even when it’s 40 degrees outside and you are trying to cool down. Tea is usually served with spoonfuls of sugar.
– The gushing new foreigner, and the cynical long-term expat.
– When Clarkson says, I’ll write something about street children, and Tareq says, you don’t live here, it’s complicated. Right on.
– Everyone you meet seems to be studying some combination of language and tourism. Becoming a tour guide and one day running their own travel agency seems to be the best prospects for a lot of young people. I have heard every major language spoken while I was there, including impeccable Chinese while inside the Egyptian Museum.
– “Tomorrow I will take the day off.” Many Egyptian men that endlessly wander the street seem to have this luxury. Under-employment and outright unemployment seems to be a chronic malaise.
Where it’s not one hundred percent:
– It’s not that hot in November. During the days, you can get by with a sleeveless shirt, but it’s no sweltering heat. At night, it gets chilly fast.
– Venturing out to the oasis doesn’t really count as going out in Cairo. The white desert is a few hours away, and you need a 4×4 jeep to get out there. These trips are done overnight, usually with Bedouin tour guides.
– Sailing on the Nile: it’s almost pointless to sail on the Niles during smoggy days, you can’t see three meters from the boat. Most people sail at night, while eating on one of those boat restaurants. Much cooler, plus the pollution would’ve been more settled by then. Boat enthusiasts can read premium boat reviews and maybe even buy remote control boat.
Using disgust to police the boundaries of acceptable behaviour.
McDonald marking a first in China.
Burma’s version of politicized Spice Girls.
Another pointless exercise in populism. France again leads the way.
Early puberty, or a case of House?
Austerity turning out to be a bit too austere for Greece.
Brazil brimming with opportunities?
I’m not completely sold on this: women’s success in finding a male partner don’t pay off in the labor market.
Ambiguity over just exactly what “blood diamond” means.
When the EU Parliament “cuts” its budget.
Call centres are coming back onshore?
How can Sweden come up on top, when the majority of working women there work for the public sector and get paid less? Or is it merely a study of gender pay based on the same job, not accounting for the difference in how socio-economic factors sway career choices?
On the ascent of Serge Gainsbourg’s as a historical reflection on the ongoing battle for French identity.
Finland, the best country in the world? More like Jekyll-and-Hyde?
Emerging adulthood, except we never come out on the other side.
Detroit’s decline reflected in its specific breed of strip bars.
Two sides of history on Churchill.
A divided India.
Power and ethical lapses.
Helping girls in conflict resolution and confidence building early on.
Everyone has an opinion on if and how the Internet might be changing the way we think.
Caucasus, pipelines, and the new silk road.
China takes over Japan, officially second largest economy.
Russia’s “legal nihilism” and the exile generation.
Promoting materialism and dependency masked as empowerment, and the rise of priv-lit.
The happiness that comes with not owning things.
“The American life does not exist until it is filled up.” And how to take a walk properly.
Economic steady state, the future of developed world?
Does the Chinese economy favour its corporations and against its households?
Who’s for it, and who’s against it.
Spain, Poland, Austria, and Belgium are backing the concept, France, UK, Germany and the Netherlands are against.
It seems that the more up-and-coming, politically and economically unstable ones are looking to the the EU for more centralized (and with luck, fair) power partitioning. Poland is still waiting on the doorsteps of the inner circle Europe, so you take good will where you can get it? Austria’s still awaiting the verdict on its eastern European investments, Spain struggling with higher unemployment and general economic ruin, Belgium barely able to keep the country together.
Bigger states like France and Germany want to retain more sovereignty, and it would look both politically untenable and silly to hand over more power when both believe they control the institution anyway. In the UK and Netherlands, the shift to the right has a distinct and not at all unsurprising anti-EU slant to it.
Before the whole Greek fiasco, euro crisis, and the news that European banks were on the verge of collapse (which is not happening according to this), some EU commissioner had the audacity to declare the travel some kind of human right. Actually, the idea was to convince more foreigners to come to Europe and spend their hard-earned money on a continent where tourism is the 3rd largest business of towing and accounts for 12% of its jobs.
But of course the financial shit storms hit and this initiative is now probably buried deep inside Euro castles somewhere in Brussels or Strasbourg.
This is my first summer here with no off-continent travels, and I’ve seen first-hand the kind of exodus that happens on the road when July and August hit.
People schedule their vacations to coincide with their children’s schooling. The construction sector is closed for an entire month between July and August for vacation, and some government agencies also close for August. Half of the small/independent shops in my neighbourhood are closed, so if you want pizza or beef from the butcher, or dry-cleaning services, then tough luck.
There are several so-called Black Saturdays, where people literally pack up as much personal belongings and household apparatus as possible in their cars, endure hours of congested traffic, in order to drive to their neighbouring countries to camp.
Camping is huge. I haven’t tried it yet, but hearsay tells me camp grounds are generally more compact, well-serviced and in some cases, cheaper than across the pond.
Stay-cations are also almost unheard of here. Recession or not, the majority of people surveyed (at least in the Netherlands, although I can’t quite find the link) said they intend to go on vacation.
For most, that means packing up your house, drive 5 to 10 hours, and set up camp in a neighbouring country. I have seen everything from cars loaded up with camping and cooking wares, to more luxurious foldable tent set-ups hooked to the back of a car, to plastic picnic table strung on the top of a car, all to keep the vacation cost as low as possible, and to make those foreign destination feel as homely as possible.
With this kind of set-up in: price (low, camping), convenience (high, drive anywhere in a few hours), and availability (of holidays and destinations, also high), I can see why most Europeans exercise their rights to vacations.