The above is a humorous perspective. Yet, joke aside, we massively moved on-line, we must surf it ever more cautiously. Europol and law enforcement agencies warn us of cybersecurity threats and ill-intended minds.
Ever more, children’s exposure is to be watch with constant care for their well-being. Take a cybersecurity basic course and be equipped. Check permissions on your PC. Close the camera with a sticker. Talk gently to kids about it.
I am often asked about the country I am back from. As the saying goes, I do not judge a country by the airport, hotel and the meeting rooms. This is oftentimes my regular itinerary. Goodbye, perception of excitement surrounding people who go on missions!
When, in my last trip to Pristina, which was also a first for me, the usual question “How do you like it here?” popped-up, I realised that I sense a country by two things: people and bread.
I do get to interact with quite a number of fellow humans, including the border policeman/woman, taxi drivers, hotel receptionists, bartenders and waiters, as well as the projects’ teams and partners I meet. And this is how I get to know something about the country. Walls and roofs, roads and pavements are dissipated in my memory by the human interaction.
Back to my last trip.
I thank Pristina for the blue eyed bartender who made my espresso exactly as I like it and served it with a mood boosting “Enjoy!”. I thank Pristina for the hotel receptionist who fixed my naughty room door with a magic touch. I am grateful to all project partners for their enormous dedication and contagious enthusiasm for what they do. I am deeply respectful for how far they came from their initial point and in such a short period of time (by history’s measure). There is also so much more they aspire to do. This is what I told to the curious border guard with a warm smile, when he asked me “Do you think we will be alright?” “I trust you will!” He happily stamped my passport and waved goodbuy with “Please come again!”
In addition to human interaction, I internalize bread in every new place I get to walk on. The daily bread. The flavour and texture of bread just out of the oven. The bread that knows the hands, which worked its dough. The bread which knew fire and was not consumed by it. The bread that welcomes guests and feeds the family, regardless of the language it speaks and the religion it practices.
Traditional flat bread, as served at Pishat restaurant in Pristina, November 2019.
– How are you, Madam? It’s ok, not too long?, asked the conductor, as we approached our destination.
– Thank you, it is just right. And how are you? You are the one working all these hours. I am only giving a massage to the seat 🙂
– Oh, thank you very much for asking, a big smile lighting up his face. I adore it. It’s the best job in the world! When all goes well.
– I wish you that it continues to stay well, in all its ways.
– Thank you very much, Madam. A pleasure to see you again on our trains.
A one minute dialogue with a thousand riches in it. People find meaning in serving others. People are opening up when asked with autheticity how was their day/duty trip/behind-the-cashier day. A grateful customer can give meaning to someone’s work. Be kind.
Coffee mug courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott – my kind of coffee fortune telling.
for such a wonderful immersion into Dali’s artistic journey at Grimaldi Forum
for the wonders of jewelry making by Chaumet
for the new turtles nursery for Samy and Avril at the Oceanographic Museum, which we always enjoy visiting
for our first visit to the zoo, which only got 3/10 from my kid, who knows everything about how enclosures should look like and she is serious about it. Some enclosures are beautiful nonetheless. The zoo is home to 250 animals and all of them were donated, which makes it unique
for the return of the unhindered view on the Casino in all its green splendor
for the best tarte au chocolat at Costa. The lady there also vows to the excellency of chocolate éclaire. Something to try next time 🙂
for an excuisite chocolate ice cream by Marcolini, enjoyed in a true schoolgirl spirit on the stairs of the Opera. It brought back a dear childhood rebelion memory: to eat ice cream in the middle of winter and on the stairs of the bus station
for the discovery of Gaia, an ode to Greek cuisine in the heart of Monaco. I loved the food’s magic power to take you to the Hellen land and then bring you back to Cote d’Azur. We enjoyed the watermelon and feta salad, the cheese pie with truffles and the fish in salt crust. Wine lovers will find there a fine selection of Greek and French wines (to the extent I can judge). Service is personalised and well syncronised on a very busy night
for an amazing view from Le Meridien, which was very generous with us and exceeded our expectations
for the mind-blowing taste of Munegu – a cake born from a blend of panettone and fougasse – from Mada One by Marcel Ravin, to share and enjoy with the loved ones upon return
my kid’s first encounter with you and your generosity with architecture and entertainment for her age (and mine).
her amazement when the Eiffel Tower suddenly appeared in front of us at Trocadero (if you want such an effect on your kid, do not tell her/him what’s next 😉 )
the lovely Acquarium and for her first fish feeding&touching experience.
the Batobus and its unique hop-on hop-off feature, which takes you to 8 points of attractions.
the small zoo at the Jardin des Plantes of the Museum of Nature, which has quite a variety of animals, including the cuttest red panda, snow leopard cubs and baby orangutans.
the superbly done zoo in Vencenne forest, home to 2000 animals. It is our absolutly nr 1 and we have seen quite a few so far in Europe.
the Museum of the Humans – Musee de l’Homme – and its interactive displays to learn or revisit some of the stages of human development. Displays also raise awareness of the human impact on nature. It was fun to listen to different spoken languages and learn for example that Mand was spoken by 8 people (!) in 2015.
the magic of the four-hand baking for tea time with chef Antonio Cortez at the school of Alain Ducasse.
the best breakfasts at Carette and Stohrer, the 300 years old bakery in Paris.
and a silent promise to come back and explore more of you.
for the funniest pilot on my flights so far: “Ladies and gentlemen, in a few moments we will land in Bucharest. The weather is not as nice as in Frankfurt. Yet, as they say “A nice drink a day, keeps the bad weather away”. Ask my co-pilot for tips on bars in Bucharest. He knows quite a few”. Laughter erupted.
for the glimpse of sun on a cloudy day from my hotel room window. Just make sure you’ll deliver on the promise I made to the lady visiting from Los Angeles. She longed to still meet the sunny you.
for new and renewed partnerships with committed professionals
for your urban garden and very nice time spent in a gorgeous company
your lively street art, which cohabitates with formal art places
an ephemeral ode to bearded men
Lido Hotel’s eclectic deco
the politest and fastest waiter at 5 in the morning in an airport cafe
and last but not least, for my third excellent lady taxi driver, after similar experiences in Paris and Vilnius. “So, there are ladies driving taxis in other countries as well” she was curious to know. She shared in return her experience with a passenger who dared to touch her shoulder and knee. “I was 5 seconds close to test my electroshock device on him and dump him in the forest. In 5 years I am driving, nothing of this sort happened to me. And he seemed a respectable foreigner and interested to know if I am married and have kids!”
That was appalling. I asked her if she can notify the dispatching centers when things like this happen. She should not deal alone with such a situation. “Yes, I can.” she confirmed. Would the passenger have done it if the driver was a male? Highly unlikely.
Upon arrival at the destination, it was gratifying to see her face lit up with unfettered enthusiasm and passion for her work.