Where Were You When…?

I feel like the fact it’s both Remembrance Sunday and 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down is monumental, but I don’t really feel qualified to write huge political essays on the foolishness of war and European politics since I didn’t exist 25 years ago, let alone during World War I.

Poppies August Bank Holiday 2014

Looks kind of half-arsed compared to the finished product, huh.

I’m reading Child 44 at the moment (I typed it as Child $$, which should be a band) and it’s one of those books that’s best described as cold. Not in terms of the writing – it’s very good – but its story thoroughly depressing. When and where is it set?

That would be 1950s Soviet Russia.

For god’s sake, humanity, get your shit together and quit killing people! You’re only going to regret it!

I’m torn between yelling at the sky in exasperation and breaking down in noisy tears.

Still, today is a big deal for Europe history wise, which got me thinking about where I was when XYZ happened. I seem to remember being told about 9/11 on the way home from school, and I saw that Margaret Thatcher had died when I flicked the news on during crap TV ads. I think my mum was in Germany when Elvis died, and I missed the actual moment William and Catherine got married because I was trying to ask my nan why she thought I shouldn’t marry a Greek (someone had mentioned the Duke of Edinburgh).

So does anyone have any interesting anecdotes about where they were when? Please note I will probably be telling everyone I know your stories.

Happy Sunday!

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The Six O’Clock News: Greece & Eastern Europe

Since I got back from Greece this week, I thought I’d talk about some news stories about the Grecian part of Europe – or mostly, anyway.

Armenian Culture in Turkey: From the Ashes

The Armenian genocide comes up a few times in We Need to Talk About Kevin, which I read while I was away, and this story from The Economist was interesting. Why don’t genocides like this get taught in schools alongside the Holocaust? There’s Rwanda, the DRC conflict, all the shit Saddam Hussein did. Surely they’re just as relevant as the shit Hitler did?

Illegal Workers Arrested at Woking Restaurant

This BBC piece is a teeny tiny story that will help out UKIP, but since I recently found out that some Albanian friends of mine were smuggled out of their country and were illegal immigrants, this made me think. There’s always two sides to a story and all that…

Jamie Oliver Slams ‘Wet Behind the Ears’ British Youth Who Don’t Work as Hard as Europeans

… Especially since British people don’t seem to want to work in restaurants anyway (via The Independent). For the record, the hardest-working people I can think of are Albanian.

Sisa: Cocaine of the Poor – Full Length

I’ve only just discovered Vice, and I’ve not finished watching the video, but this article about Athens’ latest drug problem highlights that fact that while Angela Merkel and her friends are discussing bailouts, and while people are talking about how Greece “should just leave the euro” or whatever, the economic problems over there aren’t just economic – they’re social, and the longer the economic issues last, the harder it will be to fix the social issues. Just a thought for the IMF.

Happy Wednesday.

  Apologies for the distinct lack of funny/Germany-related blogs, but I have had a pretty intense weekend and am still catching up on my beauty sleep. As you can tell, I need a lot of it:

 

  My camara ran out of juice a couple of times on the trip, so I need to raid some people’s Facebook pages and (this is a hint, guys) get some photos from my friends. You know what my email is. Once I’ve got enough stuff together I’ll work on a slide show or something – the only problem with this blog’s layout is the lack of space for photos. Either they’re too small to see or go in columns.

  Anyway, as we got to Berlin via aeroplane, have a looksie at some complaints made to Thomas Cook about holidays last season…

  • “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
  • “It’s lazy of the local shop keepers to close in the afternoons. I often need to buy things during the siesta times – this should be banned.”
  • “On my holiday to Goa, India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”
  • “We booked an excursion to a water park, but no one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels,”
  • “The beach was too sandy.”
  • “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.”
  • “Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”
  • “We bought Ray Ban sunglasses for five euros (£3.50) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”
  • “No one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”
  • “There was no egg slicer in the apartment.”
  • “We went on holiday to Spain, and had a problem with the taxi drivers, as they were all Spanish…”
  • “The roads were uneven.”
  • “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, but it only took the Americans three hours to fly home.”
  • “I compared the size of our one bedroom apartment to our friends’ three-bedroom apartment, and ours was significantly smaller.”
  • “The brochure stated ‘no hairdressers at the accommodation.’ We’re trainee hairdressers, will we be okay staying there?”
  • “There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish, the food is Spanish, too many foreigners.”
  • “We had to queue outside with no air conditioning.”
  • “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
  • “I was bitten by a mosquito. No one said they could bite.”
  • “My fiancée and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”
  • A tourist at a top African game lodge overlooking a waterhole who spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained that the sight of this rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel ‘inadequate’.
  • A woman threatened to call the police after claiming that she had been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.
  • A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping gravy at the time.

I have a few of my own to add:

  • Zakynthos, Greece: “The portions are too big. I am on a diet.”
  • Zakynthos: “The eggs are too strong.”