miércoles, 25 de febrero de 2009

It should be the turn of an entry in Spanish, BUT,

This is a post on ESTONIA. Yesterday was the 91th anniversary of its independence and the traditional Presidential cellebration took place in Jõvi. An otherwise remote (or rather removed from the public interest, because it is really close, as any Estonian would say: "Our country is so small that everything is nearby") location that draws no attention or interest from the rest of the country in an area that is associated fairly or not, with the times of ocupation and the decadence that followed the events of 1991.
Jõhvi, however was a clever choice from the President. Estonia is every single part of it, and the State, which is all of the population represented by the mandataries in charge, must reach out to maintain the connection with its people. I want to see my own President hosting traditional celebrations like this in different towns every year, moving some of the ministries to cities in need of revitalization and development, recognizing local leaders from every small town of the country.
"Estonia is so small that everything is nearby," becomes an advantage for its government to be effective and respected. The speech delivered by Toomas Hendrik Ilves was convincing, realistic and pedagogical. A presidential speech unique that did not bore anybody! I wish I was the first making a public note on it. It emphasized the need for solidarity, a quality that is rare to find in this part of the word. I liked the assessment, the tone, the emphasis, the place and I am sure it will be the talk of town for long.

Another example to follow from this country is its love and respect for nature; This website provides an insight of the woods and wild animals inhabiting it. What a fantastic idea to provide this window to the world into any country. Once again, I want to see someone coming up with the same initiative in Colombia so the word, and we have finally access to the beauty of our gifted land! The site has links to 4 different cameras with direct stream into the forest, for birth watching and into the nest of an owl, plus a fantastic collection of pictures of landscapes by different contributors. Enjoy Estonia from afar!

This image by Arne Ader is specially nice because even though I am not very fond of birds (I probably have a phobia by association. Sara Farine fears them irrationally and she´s been my very good friend more than 20 years now), this looks like a drawing by my favourite illustrator of all: Lisbeth Zwerger

Source and author: Arne Ader

jueves, 19 de febrero de 2009

I am developing a passion for Belgian Orangettes

This picture was taken and belongs to gatogrunch who also has other great photographs in his flickr account.

And growing intolerance for injustice, specially if derived from negligence, because of "not getting it," not bothering to learn and advance, the self imposed incapacity to discern.
An unidentified official of an border control agency from a not so distant country evaluated my application of a transit visa and decided that I was not persuasive enough to convince him/her on my "capacity (financial?) or intentions to leave that country in less than 48 hours." I have -like one million- arguments to prove the person wrong, based on data PROVIDED and readily AVAILABLE. This profusion is what demonstrates his/her inability to think manifest in the reasoning accompanying the refusal notice, or something else: an unjustified dismissal of all the information available about my request. This person's claims are so notoriously faulty that I am compelled to think nationality was the factor that REALLY attracted attention. Being Colombian has obliged me to invest great portion of my vital energy demythifying whatever people think that comes "in package." tiresome.

Now, for certain, my capacity -the financial one- is disturbed by the wasted air plane tickets (from Tallinn to Miami, a gross amount of money has been thrown to the bin). The Border control agency of that country advises in its Website not to make definitive arrangements for the trip before having the visa but this is another disconcerting line among the many others:

1. If you cannot demonstrate you will leave the country within 48 hours you shall be presumed to intend to stay +
2. Therefore, it is your burden to show convincing proof of your intention to leave within 48 hours after arrival. The standard document (papers. print outs without any juridical value) are itineraries or any sort of booking arrangements +
3. Between the booking of tickets and the submission of the application to the Embassy can and will pass weeks +
4. Any experienced traveller knows that booking tickets can be done in 5 minutes over the Internet, but keeping the booking requires very fast if not immediate payment +
5. Either you pay so your booking is convincing, serious, real or you do not and it would be cancelled, which in turn will make your application false, because the "proof" of intention will not be valid.

Phoney recommendation. Is there any real guideline applicable or followed by border control agents other than the legitimized gut feeling?

Stereotypes strip people off their uniqueness. How can ANY one characteristic, say nationality in this case, could comprehensively define a person or determine someone's life? I find this thought unappealing and uncomfortable.
My children, however, are being taught to bond closely with the ethereal thought of being and behaving nationals of their homeland. It poses to me a difficult dilemma to resolve: should I counterbalance the teachings of standardization or let their individuality dilute on behalf of appreciation for their cultural heritage?
The rising wave of nationalism is puzzling to me. How this notion could possibly contribute to a better world? In very practical terms, I have more pressing and interesting things to do than trying to match my attitude with the definition of being Colombian or anything else so far removed from what matters to my daily life. I prefer to go to cinema (watched Vicky-Cristina-Barcelona, another fantastic film by Woody Allen), eat cinnamon rolls or anything else, really...ANYTHING else.

Even sheep are all different, please take a look at this illustrative project:

martes, 17 de febrero de 2009

I am watching/liking this

Bill Maher on DVD. He is hilarious to say the least. I am buying his stuff, did I tell already that I am about to embark in a real-life adventure? I will travel from Estonia to Colombia in about 6 weeks, it will take me about 40 hours and 4 different planes to reach the final destination, not to focus on the real sad issue: cost.
The prices to go from anywhere in the world to Colombia and from there continue being outrageous. It seems cheaper to go from Patagonia into deep Russia/the Siberian steppes. No reasoning can justify this foolishness. I can imagine profits. Colombians travel a lot! Specially those that live abroad and regularly visit! To revitalize the economy facilitating travelling could be a good social policy, starting from opening a ferry line between South America and Central America, FINALLY connecting Colombia and Panama. Commerce and tourism would flourish, no need to resort to extremes to earn a living in the border towns. Think Tallinn and Helsinki linked with several boat lines per day, 7 days a week for VERY inexpensive fares. Can it be possible that I am the only one sensing that with a bit of diligence few towns could come up with plenty of legitimate options for development and we, the Colombian abroad -ex pats-, could maintain a closer relationship with our country?

I also found this illustrative example of illiteracy. I wonder if he is proud to be a concious activist? No original source available, just a random picture from an unrelated website...

domingo, 1 de febrero de 2009

Retrospectiva. Cumpleaños de Emil.

Torta de chocolate, por solicitud expresa, la sobrecargada de chocolate negro, con cubierta de cacao y naranja Lindt derretida en crema de leche (40%). Extremadamente calórica pero de sabor tan intenso que un trocito basta ( para quedarse enganchado!).

Marilis, Liisi, Arianna, JuuliaA., Linda y el festejado. A los 13 y ya rodeado...

El jardín, al día siguiente, cuando después de meses al fín disfrutamos de unas horas de sol.