Saturday, 25 September 2021
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

My least favourite month, by far, in Dubrovnik has come to an end, and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t think and I can’t avoid people.

Now it seems strange that an Englishman is complaining that there is not enough rain and clouds, but it’s true. For whilst the guaranteed thirty degrees every day might be just what the tourism businesses want for me it just punishing.

And granted, the predictability of non-stop sunshine has advantages, like when planning a summer’s holiday or an outside event, it is only a short step from predictability to monotony. “Variety is the spice of life,” once famously wrote the poet William Cowper.

I was speaking to a colleague from St. Petersburg over Zoom and she said that’s is really hot there at the moment “Around 25 degrees,” and the overwhelming feeling I had was envy.

As you’ve probably guessed I’m not a huge fan of heat wave temperatures. I must have said to my wife a hundred times this month, “Let’s move to Iceland!” I have even found myself watching documentaries about polar bears just to try and imagine the cold.

Now I have a couple of friends who are what’s known as “sun seekers.” These are basically people who hate winter and cold, in fact they hate it so much that they are constantly travelling from one hemisphere to the other to avoid it. “It’s been 40 years since I saw a winter,” one friend explained. Whilst the other said with a smile “I want to live my life in shorts and flip-flops.” Neither of them have seen snow in their lives! So as you can imagine August in Dubrovnik for them is heaven. Of course, I suggested they go and live in the Gobi Desert.

Why would you spend your August in Dubrovnik? 

Now, I understand why some tourists have to spend their summer holidays in Dubrovnik in August, school holidays probably being the most important factor. But, sorry if you don’t have to spend your holidays here in August and you decided to do it then you’re mad!

It isn’t only the relentless heat that leaves you swimming in sweat all day but the crowds. Just wait a month, honestly just wait. September will give you all you’d want from a summer and even more. Thankfully the hell of August is coming to an end and for eleven months I can enjoy the city. Storms and rain have been forecast for this week (and I’m writing this before they come) and when I saw the forecast it felt like Christmas was coming.

Three months! We haven’t seen rain for three months! And this, needless to say, is playing havoc with the agricultural industry. From goat farmers, to vineyard owners and of course half of Metković, all are saying that rain is needed. And no matter how many rain dances I do I always wake up to a perfect blue sky.

Sleeping in the afternoon isn't a luxury

Now, when I first landed on these shores I thought (wrongly) that all people here were just lazy for having an afternoon nap. I can vividly remember saying “It’s no wonder it’s a poor country when all you lazy bastards sleep all afternoon.” I hold my hands up, I was wrong. A fact that was proven on day-four of my arrival here 23 years ago when I myself took a nap. Laziness has nothing to do with it. The heat drains you like a mobile phone with the torch on all the time. After a morning of work, you’re literally shattered. Even today, well only in the height of summer, I still crash out like a zombie in the afternoon, before working later in the evening. Trying to work after lunch in the summer is like swimming against the tide!

“Sleep is the best meditation,” said the Dalai Lama. And I am meditating like a baby every afternoon. And as August in Dubrovnik will clearly never change the only thing I can change is my location, which is why I’m currently planning a summer break outside of Dubrovnik for next August. No, I’m not going to Iceland, but I am heading for slightly cooler climates. It’s a long story and one that I will unfold to you in the months to come.

But for now goodbye (and good riddance) August and welcome September, let the rains begin!

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to

In the last 24 hours, 595 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 3,434.

Among them, 374 people are in hospital, of which 43 are on ventilators. 

6 people died in the past 24 hours. 

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 372,814 people have been infected, of which 8,324 have died, a total of 361,056 people have recovered, of which 508 recovered in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 8,061 people in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 2,521,032 people have been tested, of which 10,173 were tested in the last 24 hours.

As of August 27, 3,253,119 doses of vaccine were consumed, and 42.30 percent of the total population and 50.81 percent of the adult population were vaccinated. On August 27, 8,521 doses of vaccine were consumed, of which 4,207 people were vaccinated with the first dose.

In the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, 24 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

These are eight males and 16 females: 14 from Dubrovnik, five from Lumbarda, two from Korčula and one from Dubrovačko primorje, Konavle and Župa dubrovačka. 

One female person from Metković died (born 1957)

Twelve people made a full recovery: seven from Dubrovnik and one from Metković, Orebić, Opuzen, Vela Luka and Župa dubrovačka.

In the last 24 hours, 985 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 121,194 samples have been analyzed.

26 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.

There are 535 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours there have been no cases of violation of the self-isolation measure. 

 

The International Festival of Music and Art "Epidaurus" in its jubilee fifteenth edition opens tonight in Cavtat.

Ivana Marija Vidović, concert pianist and artistic director of the Epidaurus Cavtat festival, commented that “It is a small jubilee, and for us it is so big and significant. So much effort, enthusiasm and work is behind us. Mostly a handful of wonderful projects that brought us most of the leading names from almost all branches of art to our magical Cavtat.”

The festival will open in the beautiful ambience of the lobby of the Rector's Palace in Cavtat by the great actress Ksenija Prohaska, with her top interpretation of Marlene Dietrich. Prohaska already enchanted Cavtat two years ago with the role of Clare Schumann. She will be accompanied by Danira Ipavec on accordion and piano.

The festival continues with the dance studio Dupoint from Dubrovnik who will bring ballerinas to Cavtat. The performance will take place on Monday 30 August at 8:30pm in the Summer Cinema Cavtat. And then on Wednesday 1 September in front of the Rector’s Palace in Cavtat there will be a concert entitled “Young talents remember Tino Pattiera.” This evening will present students of the Music Academy in Split, Barbara Ćorak on flute, Marija Kristina Tomić as soprano and Ana Kačić Barišić on violin with the always skilful and unmistakable accompaniment of Nena Ćorak from Konavle.

This year’s jubilee Epidaurus festival will end with a bang, as on the final night one of the greatest Croatian singers of all time, the true diva Radojka Šverko, will perform on Saturday 4 September at 8:30 in the Summer Cinema in Cavtat.

For more info check out the festival's website here

 

For nine months’ cafés haven’t been able to open their inside spaces due to Covid-19 restrictions, but from the 1st of September this will come to an end across Croatia.

"We are ready and can't wait to work inside again, which is extremely important to us because the income from the summer season is not nearly enough for many to overcome business problems due to restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. For many, even on the Adriatic, it will not be enough to survive the winter, let alone in the interior where there are no tourists or there are far fewer of them than on the coast,” commented Drazen Biljan from the Independent Association of Caterers of Zagreb and the National Association of Caterers.

Cafes across Croatia have not been allowed to receive guests inside since November last year, except on open terraces if they have them. They could dispense drinks and food outside, and on the terraces guests could sit at tables. Guests were allowed to enter the establishment to use the toilet with a face mask.

Although the final details of the measures from September 1 are not yet known, it is believed that café bar working hours will remain until midnight, although caterers are pushing for this closing time to be extended to 2:00am.

But whilst café bar owners may be happy with this new decision disco and nightclub owners won’t be as pleased as they still have to keep their doors closed.

 

One of the greatest sports legends of all timer, the former NBA star Michael Jordan (58) and his wife, the attractive Cuban Yvette Prieto (42) together with their friends arrived in Dubrovnik today on the luxury yacht O'Pari anchored in front of the city walls, right next to the mega yachts Eclipse and Octopus.

Yesterday they were in Hvar, and before that they visited Split, the Krka National Park and Skradin and Šibenik, from where they set off on a cruise along the Croatian coast.

The former Chicago Bulls basketball player, member of the Hall of Fame, owner of six NBA rings, is now the owner of the professional NBA basketball club Charlotte Hornets. Jordan is a successful businessman and is believed to be worth around $1.6 billion.

 

Jordan is married to Cuban Prieto and has two twin daughters, Victoria and Ysabel. According to American portals, this married couple rarely opens up to the public, they almost never speak publicly about each other or their relationship.

jordan michael dubrovnik 2021

The Jordan group took lunch in Dubrovnik and went to the popular Proto restaurant, where they took a pavement table. And sitting in full view of the thousands of tourists inside the city meant that Dubrovnik had a new attraction today. Before lunch they took a walk along the main street, Stradun, and soaked up the sights inside the historic Old City of Dubrovnik. And according to Proto Michael Jordan enjoyed fish and seafood with a glass of Dubrovnik white wine from the Crvik winery, and he finished lunch with a Cuban cigar. 

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Michael Jordan in Proto - Photo Proto

The O’Para yacht was built in 2020 and the rental week costs one million euros. With 14 rooms of pure luxury the superyacht can accommodate up to 12 people, with 29 staff members. The interior and exterior facilities, with an impressive design, are perfect for enjoying the sun, socializing and entertainment that the Jordanians had on Hvar last night, so the police allegedly had to silence them due to the loud 'partying'.

After his stay in Dubrovnik, it is believed that Michael Jordan and his group will fly home.

Did You Know: The traditional balsamic vinegar or Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, made from a  reduction of cooked while Trebbiano grape juice, has been produced in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages.

 

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The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, stated yesterday that the country was not heading for a strict lock down as new cases of Covid infection continue to rise. Once again he called on citizens to get vaccinated, almost 51 percent of the adult population have been vaccinated and the figure of 70 percent seems a long way off.

“It is crystal clear that Croatia will not opt for a tight lockdown,” commented Plenkovic after a government session. And reiterated that the country has more than enough doses of the vaccine for everyone who is interested and urged people to get vaccinated.

The Croatian President, Zoran Milanovic, took a different route on the next stage of fighting the pandemic and said that Croatia should follow the Swedish approach. “The current rules no longer make sense and Croatia should follow the example of Sweden of managing the epidemic,” commented the President.

This however, was not an opinion shared by the Prime Minister who added that “The threat of the spread of the virus will be considerably lower, provided that people get vaccinated, comply with basic measures: wear masks, keep a social distance, and air rooms.”

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

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