This spot is dedicated to the world and how I see it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

28 February 2007

Some people these days view flying as a mundane thing, normal as walking down the street or going on the bus... What a shame that the human being can get used to things so quickly! I will never stop being amazed seeing our earth from a plane, like a child being fascinated by the rainbow... I wonder if pilots ever get really used to their work - imagine having the power of a big passenger jet, steering it between countries or continenents and then steadily descending and land: Thank you for flying with us, we hope you had a pleasant flight and welcome you back. What a job!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

28 February 2007

Not long ago, low-cost airlines flew mainly to non-jazzy destinations like, off the beaten track, literally. Good for the local economy, less good for the traveller schlepping luggage on trains or/and busses in order to reach the far-away airport. That is part of the package and shouldn't be complained about in my opinion. Say what you want about Ryanair's air host/esses and their sometimes plastic smiles - which shouln't come as surprise to any wise traveller - given their 20 minute turn around times - but low cost airlines have opened up the skies to everyone.

The 0,99 Pound + taxes phenomenon is somehow one thing when buying a ticket from London Stansted to Göteborg City, or Glasgow Prestwick to Brussels Charleroi - rather unexotic destinations for a north European like me.

Buying a Ryanair ticket for under a tenner plus taxes to Marrakech or Fez, is very different. You'll fly the on same Boeing with the same pilots and host/esses, same inflight magazine, "deals" and scratchcards, but flying to a very different world. Morocco is just across the Strait of Gibraltar but somehow the extended Ryan-arm makes it feel closer to Europe.

My dilemma is if I think this is good. For Morocco it's healthy - more visitors bring more dirhams and hopefully it creates some jobs too. But what I'm struggling with is the sensation that there is a direct correlation between the easy access and cheap price and that the world starts feeling too accessible, too small. There is something romantic about planning a complicated trip on an unfamiliar airline...where you can taste your detination even before arriving... Somehow it should be a bit more difficult to plan a trip to a different continent.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

22 February 2007

When Internet first appeared in the living rooms of the western world around 1996 I was very anti. No way, I said, I will always continue to write my hand-written letters! They have a smell, texture and are well-travelled, the same piece of paper has physically moved from one point to another. Not encrypted into 000011110000111s, as they are in computer language.

But it didn't take long. I soon became a hotmail-girl.

Eight years (or so) later, the wireless internet connection arrived. However, I was anti-wireless. Of course. Last week I got hooked. After a long visit at Media Markt and consultations with three of their rather cute employees, I got my D-Link Air Plus G wireless adaptor.

Then 5 hours later with help of computer-literate friends, I managed to get online. Bless them (and their incredible patience)! And now I have just finished one of my first Skype calls - I have both tried calling another computer, as well as a landline, and well, it works. With some disturbances.

Now I am all connected, and it is definitely much cheaper and more comfortable than making international calls from dodgy phone booths at night! But I have this nagging feeling that the more I get connected with the remote world - friends and family abroad - the less I am connected to the world around me. Is that so - or is it just my initial scepticism that is still present?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

17 February 2007

After a seven years long love and hate relationship with the British Isles, I have left them behind and have landed in Brussels. Overall Britain has been very good to me, it's a fabulous country to live in for a while-finally, after 7 years I came to understand the British psyche and perhaps even started to like its ambiguities. Very rarely saying something the way it is, straightforward, but in a kind of "perhaps-it-would-be-very-kind-if-you-maybe-could-consider-doing-this-or-that-at-some-point"kind of way. Sitting on two chairs drinking tea, chatting and then all of a sudden pulling up a sharp knife and politely (of course) treathening the other person... Maybe these characteristics make the Brits great negotiators?

I will miss my old homelands. Most of all am having withdrawal symptoms from the absence of great newspapers, especially the Guardian on Sundays, BBC Breakfast before work, the Scottish nature & the intelligently silly humour. I am already happily enjoying the absence of the strong and expensive Pound, the chilly Northern winds and the hot and cold water taps. It is also incredibly handy to be on the Continent, only a trainride (shorther or longer) away from other countries, cultures and cities...