Instructions for riding the camel

The story takes place in the north west of Sahara. My husband and I have a driver who is also a bad tour guide. He is driving a Toyota Prado, a very comfortable car. We are a chatty couple and love to meet new people. But, I don’t like so much being in the car with a driver who is always speaking on his cell phone during the ride. It’s a little scaring for my/our security. Don’t you think? Anyway, I’m finally on my vacation and I don’t want to think too much. When we stop somewhere, our driver entrust us quickly to the local guide and go with other drivers to have fun. He asked me to write a review on Tripadvisor and I accepted but he can’t get the best possible review I thought to myself without saying that out loud. Accommodations are very good, the price is very reasonable; without hesitation I would recommend to friends the same agency.

For the second night of our African tour, sleeping in a tent in the desert was planned. After many kilometers we arrive to a hotel on the edge of the desert. The staff give us the room where we leave our luggage and put in a small backpack only a cosmetic bag and two bottles of water. Here we will be back tomorrow morning at breakfast and take our things in order to continue the tour. In the desert we are going on camels. We have to wait for the rest of the group. Departure is calculated so that during the ride we should see the sunset. I’m staying in the room while my husband is looking for a beer. In Arab countries it’s not so easy because they can’t drink alcohol. He returns after 15 minutes with two small bottles and offers me one. I know he would very gladly take both, but I also want to have a drink. On his face I don’t notice any particular disappointment.

They are calling us. Behind the hotel the group of seven people is ready. We are climbing on our camels. They have the hump, around which there is a kind of saddle. Above, there is metal structure where we sat and at the front there is a metal holder for which we are hold. In the group there are an American and two girls from New York, second generation of Chinese born in the Big Apple. And also two women from Columbia but they live in London. Me and my husband are riding our camels in the middle of those people. Camels are linked to one another. One of the two guides, both barbers, takes the rein of the first camel. The other is walking parallel to us trying to amuse the group. The guides walk barefoot on soft Saharan sand. I’m the only one not enjoying the ride.

The saddle is pinching me so much and the holder is too low. My husband is angry because I’m the only one who is complaining. He is telling me to relax and take it easy. I’m trying to follow his advice but I can’t relax. After an hour and a quarter of torture, I finally get off this unfriendly animal explaining to my husband that the problem were the saddle and the holder but he doesn’t believe me.

They serve us dinner and after we are going to sleep. All the people around us are not more friendly that my camel and they are too noisy. I wanted to spent a quiet night in the desert but my plan didn’t work out. I’m in pain because of my back, butt and arms. We also didn’t see the sunset because of the clouds. The next morning the clouds are on the sky so I can’t see the sunrise.

At return I don’t want to ride a camel and I decide to go on foot. It’s very nice to feel the sand under the feet, much better than be on the camel. The guide decide to give me the rope of the first camel in the row. So I run the caravan and talk to the Berber which shows me which way to go. I learned that they use camels for transport and that they almost never ride them. After 20 minutes the woman from New York is asking to stop riding camel. She is in pain because of the saddle. I look at her camel and I realize it was my camel from the previous day! Here is the proof; it wasn’t my fault! The problem was the saddle. As I tried to explain to my husband.

Bosnia and Hercegovina

Last summer I passed few days in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the 6 republics that were formed after dissolution of former Yugoslavia. The new state is mostly known for the atrocious war, lasted for 5 years, that cause 200 thousands of victims. During my stay I visited 3 cities that I will describe below.


JajceJajce is a little town of about 30 thousands inhabitants. It’s famous due to the fact that in 1943 was born socialistic republic of Yugoslavia. Still today there is a museum dedicated at that event. The main goal is a high cascade, about 30 meters, in the center of the city. Really spectacular view for numerous tourists that come to see this natural beauty. For the rest the center is composed of one hill and a castle in the top. The castle was constructed during the governance of ottomans that reign in this area for more than 5 centuries. I spent few hours to visit the main sights and to taste some local food, fabulous burek; some kind of dough with meat, but there are other substances that they used instead of meat, such potato, cheese and spinach. In late afternoon I continued my trip for Sarajevo.


SarajevoSarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and has about 750 thousands people. My first impression was very intensive. I asked myself: “where am I”? In Europe or in Middle East? The historical part of the city, called Bascarsija, seems to be Istanbul, or some other Islamic city. Almost all the women, the tourists excluded, are dressed in traditional Islamic style, with scarf. Lot of them wear veil, that often hide the face. The majority of men you can see have typical Muslim’s beard. In Bosnia live together 3 ethnic group: Serbs, Croatians and Bosnians, so all the inscriptions are in 3 languages, but not only. Very often I saw a fourth caption and initially I didn’t understand in which languages is. One sympathetic waiter (all the people I met were wry nice) explained to me that it is Turkish. The cloths that one see in the shops are very oriental, so the souvenirs, food, and coffee, too.

The modern part of the city is very different and can be associated at any European city. In this zone you will not see marks and traditions of ottoman’s empire. Those days there was a film festival and the atmosphere, especially by the night, was very hot. Lot of girls dressed as models, were walking to the streets and having fun in the open bars. It Seemed to me that a hundreds of liters of alcohol were drank. From all the locals went out very loud music. So the atmosphere in general is the think that I enjoyed more.

For the rest you can see religious objects of the 3 religions that cohabit: Cristian, Muslim and Hebrew. A times ago, the people of various faiths lived in peace, helping each other, for centuries. The evidences can be found in documents exposed in museums and churches. But today, entire environment seems to be inwrought with distrust, suspicion and hate, due to the horrible events happened during the war. The city is divided by river Miljacka, crossed by numerous bridges, ancient and modern. The main number of old buildings are from ottoman and Austro-Hungarian period, and some of them are very nice, like a national library. I stayed in Sarajevo for 2 nights, and the last city that I planed to see was Mostar.


mostarThe population count 65 thousands people, mixed between Croatians and Bosnians. Serbs are presented in very law number. The symbol of the city is old bridge, that was destructed during the war, and new one, apparently identical as the old, was built. The day I came in the city, there was a competition in high diving from the bridge. For this occasion, the bridge was too low, so the organization elevated it with one provisory tower, so the total height for jumpers was 28 meters, the highest allowed for this kind of competition.

While in Sarajevo I found visitors prevalently from United States and Western Europe, Mostar is full of Italian tourists that are attracted not only by the same city, but with near city of Medjugorje, famous location where was registered, hypothetical appearance of the Mother of God. Due to this attraction, the prices in this place are much more elevated in relation with other two cities I visited.


A few years ago, my cousin and his wife moved to Gothenburg. Last year they came to visit me and now it was my turn to visit them. I decided not to inform me about anything because I was sure they will show me the city. And so it was. Fortunately they are not active types. Like me, they love to eat and drink some good craft beers. I’m sure that the city had to offer more things than I’ve seen, however, I was satisfied.

The first thing you’ll notice is the amount of green areas in the city. For the first time, I realized how much I miss this aspect in my city, Milan, where mostly you can see the buildings and not the green grass. After a beautiful nature, I noticed the city center crowded by people. It was strange for me. I’m not used to see so many people on Wednesday. My cousin explained me that the Swedes have seven-week holidays and their favorite time is in June, the month that I have chosen to visit Gothenburg and reason why the streets were filled with people.

The symbol of Gothenburg is Poseidon
The symbol of the city, Poseidon, is a tourist attraction not to be missed and so I went to see the sculpture. What I noticed is that the Scandinavian countries have a great interest in the subject. Behind Poseidon, there is a beautiful park that you can not miss, in my opinion, better than the god of the sea.

A neighborhood that is worth visiting, as the city’s oldest, is Haga. There are shops, bars, restaurants and a bunch of ancient buildings. Not far away, you will find one of the major attractions of the city, the church of the fish. It ‘a fish market, considered the most luxurious in the city. Usually, I do not go to markets. I don’t like the smell. Here you will not even notice you are surrounded by fishes. The space is very clean and smelling well. There are also varieties that you will never find in Italy. Upstairs there is a restaurant but I would recommend you buying ready meals that you find and sit out on wooden tables, from which you will have a beautiful view of the water. If the weather is good I mean. The locals love to eat shrimps, so, don’t be surprised if you see people cleaning and eating fresh shrimps. Enjoy them.

That fish thing was a nice surprise and since I was born in a city by the sea, I am able to tell if the quality is good or not, in Gothenburg I ate one of the best fish ever. For five days in a row. Raw or cooked, it was excellent.

I was very sorry not being able to take a trip with the ship that would take me to visit the many islands surrounding the city. Unfortunately, the tour departed from July 4. I took a boat used by local people as a bus to go to my cousin’s home. It was interesting seeing the city from a different perspective. I also found out that its port is the largest in Scandinavia. When I was hanging out around the city port, I noticed a fancy boat with a private party. Men in suits were dancing and drinking, they seemed having fun. Later that day, I tried to figure out the lifestyle. My cousin explained me that the standard of the people is high, they love to eat, drink well and being outdoor. All reasons why, they seem to be relaxed and looking good. Sweden is quite expensive so if you plan to shop for clothes or cosmetics, you should not do it. You can find the same products in Italy about twenty percent less. However, if you want to buy something typical by Swedish design go for Acne Studios. It seems that Japanese tourists adore their clothes but keep in mind that the level of prices are on Prada’s range.

If you have a good bank account and you are romantic person, make a reservation at Sjomagasinet, the restaurant with a Michelin star overlooking the harbor. After dinner, you can call a taxi and reach the airport. You will leave the country, happy. Well, if you don’t find a temperature of forty degrees, compared to fifteen in Gothenburg. But, who can say to have everything in the life?

At the end of all my impressions, I have to tell you another thing, very important for my parents. Yes, we were together. I don’t like rock music. They love rock. So, it was Friday evening, I was drinking beer and reading an interesting chapter called “Getting into the mood with Freud”. While I was hanging out with the father of psychology, my biological father went to the concert. I guess he went back to the seventies, thanks to rock groups, Sweet, Slade and Smokie. Later that evening he was so thrilled, probably he was one of the youngest among the fans.

Time after time

pastimeWanting or not, the time passes, in every moment of our lives we are a step forward, at least chronologically speaking. For some people this passage of time is too slow, while others consider it too fast: this is called the awareness of time. It depends on us, by our spirit in which we live the world around us. Because the world runs, definitely. The direction and the destination are becoming more clear. Some people like it, others hate the goal towards which we are headed. None of us can do anything to change the destiny, because that is decided by forces larger than we can even imagine. And I’m not talking about God, the Creator who is guiding us in our ways.

I’m talking about productive forces and means of production with which we are dealing every single day. Politically, I was never a fan of communism, but I find this aspect of Marx’s philosophy perfect; he has identified the driving forces of humanity, at least those that are external to man. If we look into this, in many aspects, we are extraordinary creatures who find our personal motivations to proceed in life. Starting with the good ones, such as love and desire to reproducing (dominant for males) and considering those not considered very flattering, such as selfishness, the race for money and the desire of the power. Unfortunately, the last category of our features is prevalent in the development of civilization.

Since ancient times there was always someone who was physically stronger, smarter or better speaker, to convince others in the most absurd things, taking advantage of their naivete and ignorance to achieve his goal: control the others and govern them. Because it seems to be the largest level of human aspiration. Being number one carries with it all the material things you want, the most fantastic feeling that others are submissive to your will and pleasure. Put together, these two components, sociological and psychological, we arrived here where we are. To me, the situation and the prospect doesn’t seem a good one.

The level of education of people is an important factor in social processes. In this regard, the last century marked a spectacular boom. It has gone from illiteracy to high levels of general culture widespread in peoples. It was one of the reasons that allowed the technological development madness. Opening of schools, universities, various specializations have generated the class which in half a century has done more innovations compared to all other previous generations. The means of transport for all, the appliances that save time and at the end the global network. No need to get up at 4 in the morning and go to cultivate the fields, hoping that the weather will not spoil the crop.

But my feeling is that nowdays we are in front of an opposite trend. We have more free time than before, but it seems that lately they want to reduce our free time. Instead of lowering the working hours and provide jobs for more people, governments will increase our working hours, because they know we need money: the standard has reached its peak and is now decreasing. And what are we doing in the pastime? We are attached to our phones and tablets, and connected with various social networks that give us a feeling of being part of a global group, but in fact, every day we are more alone, isolated, with those electronic gadgets that are substitutes for life. Everything has become virtual.

People come back to be ignorant because of the real world which is surrounding us they know only a few irrelevant things and it seem that the governments are happy for this. The communication, the exchange of ideas and experiences, no longer exist. Three friends are sitting at coffee shop table, with their beers and everyone is concentrated on their mobile phones, communicating with others in a virtual way, not present. Who knows why?


Nowadays it seems that the only purpose of life is to find a way to make some money. Yes, it is true, there is a global economic crisis and a certain segment of the population feels it very much and has seriously need of liquidity for survival, because you have to eat and pay the bills. But here I’m thinking of those other people who don’t have existential difficulties. Those who simply want something more of the life, a more fancy dress, an amazing sport car of their dreams or take an exotic trip. Here we are talking about things that don’t represent necessarily happiness but have become a symbol to which we tend, often imposed by advertisements that surround us and push us to shop. Obviously, producers and advertising push us to buy products that are more profitable for them.

For years, this dream to become rich, or at least wealthy, is further stimulated by the presence of the Internet. There are many stories about people who have been enriched thanks to the network. Often in our inboxes are a flood of e-mails that are offering us easy gains, for example, a 883 euros per week for a commitment of 3-4 hours per day. Tempting but no realistic (even if someone has gained). It turns out that you have to invest some money to buy an electronic book or to sign up to some virtual register. There are other ways to play online in the casinos or invest in stock market from home. We are not talking about new methods to earn (or lose, because these activities are risky). The only advantage is that you are earning by sitting on your couch. From a social perspective, I see it more as a disadvantage: you can’t meet new people even if Internet offers you the possibility to have chat with other users while pressing a button of a slot, or buying gold in online stock market.

Recently, I have become aware of one guy that has earned well online. A colleague from the office who has created a site that explains forex to beginners, providing basic information about what it is, how it trades, etc. For someone who maybe has not heard about this topic, forex is the online stock market where you buy and sell currencies, but also the goods (such as gold, silver and oil), hoping that the price will go in the right direction, to be able to repurchase or resell the good profitably. The slogan is the usual one: buy for a small price and resell for a higher one. He has banners that link to the sponsors, those who actually provide the service to the forex customer. When a visitor clicks on banner and after opening account he starts trading. The webmaster takes a percentage for each operation on the spread of the broker. He is always earning, it doesn’t matter if the customer has had a profit or a loss.

One night, after work (and our second beer), he confessed me everything about his new business. My colleague is a gentleman, always well dressed, but nothing especially apparent, who often travels. We working together since many years and even our wives have a similar job to each other. According to this, we should have similar revenues, but I can’t afford to myself things he can. So I asked him how could he have such a high lifestyle (from the financial point of view). He told me his story, the one I have already referred. I had in mind an income from properties, or stuffs like that. At the beginning I was confused, so I start asking questions. At the end, he told me that his incomes, thanks to forex, were like two months of his job in the office. I was really in disbelief, so I asked him the reason why he was driving an old car, a Ford Fiesta, bought fifteen years ago. The answer was to stay away from the eyes of those who investigate the tax payment. I must admit, that does make sense.

I asked him if I could get in the business and he generously accepted to explain me everything. You must have a domain, create a website and then advertise it, to get visitors from the search engines; those are great because they seek what you offer and are ready to spend. For a moment, I thought about it. Too complicated, I told to myself. Here it is, I had a proof that some things are real. Personally, I had no desire but especially I had not enough courage to take a risk.