Saturday, 18 May 2024
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

Caritas Dubrovnik Diocese and the Josipovac Rehabilitation Centre teamed up to celebrate World Good Deeds Day with a two-day event.

First, Caritas workers and volunteers went to Josipovac. They baked cookies and spent time with the residents. Then, on Friday, May 3rd, the Josipovac residents and staff visited Caritas. They helped pack food and sort clothes as part of their therapy. Everyone enjoyed the music, each other's company, and some cake and coffee.

Because the collaboration went well, they decided to keep meeting monthly at Caritas.

Dubrovnik Caritas mentioned that World Good Deeds Day is promoted through the Good Deeds Day platform in Croatia by the "Children for a Better World" association.

Caritas and Josipovac Centre Join Hands for World Good Deeds Day Celebration

The city of Zagreb is set to host a public viewing of the Eurovision final for the first time ever. Scheduled for Saturday, May 11th, the event will commence at 8:00 PM local time at the European Square, offering fans a chance to come together and support Croatia's entry.

Baby Lasagna, the young musician known offstage as Marko Purišić, with his song 'Rim Tim Tagi Dim' will represent Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest this year, and he is one of the favourites to win.

The 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is due to take place at the Malmö Arena in Sweden on May 7th, 9th, and 11th. This follows the triumph of Sweden's representative Loreen at last year's competition.

In 1993, Croatia marked its inaugural appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest as an independent participant. Before that, Croatia had competed in the contest as part of Yugoslavia.

Croatia has not secured a victory in the competition, achieving its highest placements with fourth positions in both 1996 and 1999.

Did you enjoy your school days? For me it was a little of a mixed bag. Some subjects were interesting and some I avoided like the plague. But when you get older you probably realise that it’s the actual teacher you have who makes, or indeed, breaks the subject.

I really enjoyed English, and yes that’s probably the only subject were I remember the name of the teacher. Maths on the other hand was a living nightmare.

And looking back I often think how easy school would be now, with the life experience I have. But that’s the catch, you can’t have the best of both worlds.

“We would love you to come to our elementary school for a presentation we have for English Language Day,” asked a teacher of a school in Lapad. “Yes, of course,” I answered.

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So there I was 38 years after I left the classroom going back, back this time on the different side of the teacher’s desk. So firstly, a little background. English Language Day is celebrated annually on the 23rd of April 23rd. Why April 23rd, you ask? Well, it just so happens to be the birthday and death date of none other than the Bard himself, William Shakespeare.

Before I went into the class I had to meet the headmistresses, a little daunting as the last time I met one I was probably being sent into detention. Do they still have detention in schools? This time it wasn’t to be told off but for a photo shoot. Oh, how times change.

The teachers had pulled out all the stops, English tea, biscuits, handmade cakes that I hadn’t seen since my childhood, decorations and all the children had learnt poems. “We have all different ages and classes today,” said one teacher. And yes, like a conveyer belt they shuffled in and out of the room.

I am not going to lie; it was a little strange to see all these children without school uniforms on. But when I posed the question “How many of you would like to wear a uniform every day?” Only a few hands were raised.

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Although one girl did say “It would be easier, we wouldn’t have to think what to wear every morning.” She had a point.

I didn’t really know what to expect. What would their level be? And as they were differing ages I guessed it might be a challenge. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Each and every one of them read their poems and asked questions like they had been living in London for years.

I remember learning French for four years at school and probably couldn’t say more than a few sentences.

Of course I could see the influence of social media, the internet and gaming, but they had taken that all in and combined it with that their teachers had taught them and were chatting with me without any problem. I had fun! It was in a way humbling to see how much effort they had all put in to learning their poems. Whilst most of them read their poems a few had learnt the whole text off by heart, and I’m talking William Wordsworth difficulty.

To say I was impressed would be an understatement.

I think I was there for three hours and it passed by in the blink of an eye. I could have stayed all day.

“My mum says hello, your wife cuts her hair,” said not one but two pupils. Another said “You work with my aunt.” And one little girl even said “Say hi to your dog Toto.”

The smiling faces of the future generations was truly inspiring. Some of the pupils asked to take selfies. Not something I could have asked at school as mobile phones weren’t even invented.

And one little girl said as she left the classroom, “Can I give you a hug?” I’m sure that my former English teacher would have been proud of me.

I’ll leave the last word to Mr. Shakespeare “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” 

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

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About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik

   

The much-anticipated film "Lee," which was shot in Kupari, near Dubrovnik, last year and features Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, has unveiled its trailer. Winslet portrays the role of war photojournalist Lee Miller in the movie, set against the backdrop of World War II.

The trailer offers a glimpse into the gripping narrative of the film, showcasing Winslet's compelling portrayal of the iconic Lee Miller as she navigates the challenges and dangers of wartime journalism. With stunning cinematography and powerful performances, "Lee" promises to be a poignant exploration of courage, resilience, and the human spirit amidst the turmoil of war.

Audiences eagerly await the release of "Lee," eager to experience the captivating story brought to life by Winslet and the talented cast and crew. 

Competition for the Eurovision Song Contest, a music festival watched by around 200 million people, kicks off this Sunday in the Swedish city of Malmö with the presentation of contestants on the "turquoise carpet," and the current favourite is the Croatian representative Baby Lasagna, Reuters reports.

Bookmakers have Croatia, Switzerland, and Ukraine as favourites, and Spotify listening data suggests that the Netherlands, Italy, and the host country Sweden also have good prospects.

"This year is so exciting because there are four or five countries with really good chances of winning," said William Lee Adams, editor of Wiwibloggs, a website for Eurovision fans, to Reuters.

"Croatia, Switzerland, and Ukraine are seen as favourites, and listening data from Spotify suggests that the Netherlands, Italy, and the host, Sweden, also have good chances," he said.

The Croatian contestant, 28-year-old Baby Lasagna (real name Marko Purišić), surpassed Switzerland this week and became the bookmakers' favourite with his song "Rim Tim Tagi Dim," which tells the story of a young Croat leaving home in the hope of becoming a "city boy" with better opportunities.

In a testament to its growing popularity, Ruđer Bošković Airport in Dubrovnik has witnessed a consistent rise in passenger traffic. Figures released for April reveal a notable surge, with 224,163 passengers passing through the airport's gates.

Comparing this April's statistics with previous years highlights a clear upward trajectory. In 2023, the airport accommodated 167,731 passengers during the same month, marking a substantial increase from the 177,715 passengers recorded in April 2022.

The trend extends beyond April, with three out of the four months in 2024 showing an upward trend in passenger numbers. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 299,533 passengers have utilized the services of Dubrovnik Airport, indicating a growing preference for the southernmost airport in Croatia.

The largest chain of marinas in the Mediterranean and a regional leader in the nautical sector, ACI d.d., continued its positive growth trend this year as well. In the first quarter of 2024, ACI achieved a revenue of 5.7 million euros, representing an 11% increase compared to the same period last year, or an increase of 0.6 million euros, with the most significant increase recorded in the annual berth service. Furthermore, in the first quarter, the company, continuing its efforts to swiftly resolve concession contract issues, invested 0.5 million euros in maintaining the quality of infrastructure, focusing on ACI marinas Rab, Skradin, and "Veljko Barbieri."

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At the beginning of 2024, ACI achieved significant revenue growth and continues a positive trend in preparation for the upcoming season. "The Company's operations in the first quarter of this year were primarily marked by preparation for the upcoming season, both in terms of commercial conditions and relationships with business partners, as well as through the preparation of marinas in the investment and concession space maintenance segments. This is also reflected in the company's business results, so it is not surprising that business revenue increased by 11% compared to the same period last year. We achieve good results through continuous advancements in the field of nautical services and infrastructure, and in this quarter, we achieved them thanks to the increased revenue from the annual berth service. We believe that we are largely prepared for the upcoming period, and we enter the new season encouraged by the significant increase in business revenue already recorded in the first quarter," emphasized Kristijan Pavić, President of the Management Board of ACI d.d.

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During the first quarter of this year, ACI invested 0.5 million euros in maintaining the quality and safety of its services for sailors, with a focus on the repair of anchoring systems in ACI marinas Rab, Skradin, and "Veljko Barbieri" in Slano. Additionally, the company recorded a sales revenue increase of 0.6 million euros compared to the previous period, representing a growth of 12%. Furthermore, the largest revenue increase of 0.5 million euros was achieved from the annual berth service.

"The tourist season of 2024 began significantly earlier compared to 2023. This was contributed to by excellent coordination between the City Administration, Tourist Board, and the Management of the Ruđer Bošković Airport. Following a fantastic March, we also had an outstanding April,” stated the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, on his social media channels.

And added “I don't believe that the success of a destination is solely measured by the number of overnight stays; it is just one indicator. However, when we add to that figure the achieved turnover of Dubrovnik Pass and tickets for the city walls, the picture becomes much clearer.”

From the middle of this week until the weekend, Dubrovnik received more than 14,000 tourists, which is a massive 23 percent increase compared to the same time period from last year.

According to eVisitor system data, the most numerous guests are from the UK, France, the USA, Poland, and Germany.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

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