Saturday, 20 October 2018
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.


Ivanka Trump, American businesswoman, writer, former model and the daughter of Donald Trump, who is currently fighting hard to become USA president, has been around Dubrovnik for couple of days now. Yesterday, she shared an Instagram photo from the City Walls with Wendi Deng Murdoch, another American businesswoman, famous as the third wife of News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.

It seems like two businss oriented ladies decided to take some rest from their busy schedule, especially Ivanka, who has been involved in her father's campaign. In 15 hours, photo got over 26 thousand likes and mostly positive comments, one of which is: TWO powerful women that I adore the most!!

Croatia is certainly a celebrity magnet this summer. With U2 choosing Dubrovnik to celebrate a birthday, Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon having fun with her girlfriends on the Adriatic coast, and that’s just in the past few days. And now more stars from the world of pop have “landed” in Croatia. Nicole Scherzinger, the former singer from The Pussycat Dolls is cruising the Adriatic with The Black Eyed Peas!

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“My mind is forever blown away by the incredible places and opportunities I'm so blessed to go to and experience through my work,” commented Scherzinger on a photo she uploaded onto Instagram relaxing on the deck of a yacht.

She also posed for Instagram doing yoga on the deck as the sunset over a Croatian island, it seem that the former girlfriend of the Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton is having a great holiday in Croatia. Her bikini photos clearly reveal why she was voted by FHM magazine in the 100 sexiest women in 2014 and 2015. And with over 2.5 million followers on Instagram she will also help publicise Croatia as a vacation destination.

Finally she posed with her buddies from The Black Eyed Peas with the comment “Buddies for almost 20 years now,” a photo that quickly picked up almost 23,000 likes.

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This September an exibition of Alberto Giacometti's art works will open at the Art Pavilion in Zagreb and will present the works of the later phases of this great European sculptor created between 1956 and 1960.

The emphasis will be put on Giacometti's sculptures of the so called ''thin people'' i.e. thin and elongated men and women he is best known for, a cycle of sculptures ''Women from Venice'' which brought him praise in 1956 at the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Venice, and a sculpture ''The Walking Man'' which is among the most expensive art works in the world. All together nine sculptures, twelve drawings and twenty lithographs, 41 works of art by this Swiss artist who lived and worked in Paris. In the focus of his works is the representation of a human figure.

Within the series ''The greatest sculptors of the 20th century'' and after the successful exhibitions of Rodin and Miró, this exhibition is coming to Zagreb's Art Pavilion from the Maeght foundation, the private museum from France. The exhibition costs are around 2 million Kunas.

Giacometti's sculpture of ''The Walking Man'' was sold for $104.3 million at an auction in 2010, which made it the most expensive sculpture in the world at the time. However another Giacometti's sculpture of ''The Pointing Man'' or ''L’homme au doigt'', a life sized sculpture of a thin man created in just one night, was sold for record-breaking $141 million and became the most valuable sculpture on the planet.

The exhibition in Zagreb opens on the 20th of September 2016 and ends on the 8th of January 2017.

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OK, I am going to be honest this took a little more research than normal. This is not a subject that I at home with, far from it. Although it appears that I could be the last one on the planet to be still in the dark. It is a location-based augmented reality game, yes that means nothing to me as well, and it’s called Pokémon, well Pokémon Go to be precise.

I guess that I am probably speaking to only half of the population, the half that have this game already installed on their smart phones. I have read quite a bit, and I still really don’t get it, I mean I get it but I don’t understand why it is so addictive. You walk around with your smart phones looking for these virtual Pokemons and then “catch” them. Why you want to hunt them and what you do with them when you have caught them stills remains a mystery to me.

I guess it’s a trend, a phase. I am ancient enough to remember the first basic video games. And again I am probably speaking to only half of the population, those games where two block paddles would slide up and down the screen trying to hit an equally blocky ball. I can’t remember the name, but it was like an electronic tennis game, a far distance away from hunting virtual Pokémon all over the world.

The next phase I remember was the Rubik Cube, blimey I am ancient. I am not even going to start explaining that one as anyone younger than forty will probably just make fun of me. Then came a whole array of video games, better consoles, smart phones, technology is moving much too fast for me.

“Oh, I don’t believe it, you have three Pokemon close,” screamed the young boy as he waved his iPhone around in my wife’s hair salon. “Where are they,” replied my wife spinning around. Obviously I am not the only person in the Thomas household that doesn’t understand this new fad. “No, they are virtual and I am trying to catch them,” screamed the boy. “Good luck,” said my wife still unaware of what the hell he was talking about.

I guess on the positive side in order to play the game you have to at least be outside and walking around in the fresh air, makes a change that a computer game doesn’t mean you being hunched up peering into a screen for hours on end. So finally the game makers found a way for the younger generations to get some exercise whilst playing. Pokémania, as this new social media phenomenon is tagged, has more upsides. Churches, national parks, businesses, museums all over the world have seen a rise in the number of visitors due to the fact that a Pokémon was located on their premises. One church in the US had planned on banning Pokémon from their premises, but when they saw, and I quote, the “huge number of people coming through the doors,” they soon changed their minds. I wonder if the Pope approves of Pokémon.

However on the flip side there have also been some rather dangerous moments with people putting their life’s at risk to catch that rare Pokémon. There was a case in the US when a teenager broke into a house to catch a Pokémon and was shot by the owner who thought he was a burglar. And then the driver in Mexico who was so concentrated on his smart phone whilst driving and searching for his prize Pokémon that he managed to slam straight into a police car.

The Russians have declared that the game is demonic and that they “suspect foreign intelligence agencies are using the application to collect information.” Egypt has banned it, Kuwait banned the game from government sites, Indonesian officials deemed it a national security threat and North Korea...well North Korea is considering banning electronic tennis!!

Banned or not banned there are approximately 100 million people who have downloaded the game, or in other words around 23 times the population of Croatia are Pokémon mad.

When you look a little deeper it isn’t so surprising that the game got launched. It was developed by the man who dreamt up Google Maps, John Hanke, who then sold the idea to Google and then founded Niantic the company that invented Pokémon Go. So he put his maps idea together with a game and bingo, he won the lottery.

One joke going around on the social media is a remark that a man made to his girlfriend, and this shows the depth the game has gone into society, “You look really beautiful, like a rare Pokémon!” However I am not sure whether his attempted compliment worked, or if it was met with the same face my wife pulled when she discovered she had Pokémon bouncing around her salon!

It is a long weekend in Croatia with Monday being a public holiday, and therefore is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year. Yesterday was certainly one of the most hectic for Dubrovnik with numerous cruise ships arriving and the height of the season meaning that finding a spare room in the city is almost impossible. All of the hotels are reporting near over-capacity and rooms in private accommodation are also booked solid.

Due to the number of cruise ships that docked in Dubrovnik yesterday there were heavy queues to enter the historic Old City. The Pile gate entrance was rammed all morning with a system of “traffic” flow in place, but even this didn’t help much. We can expect long traffic delays and packed beaches until the beginning of September.

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U2 loves Cavtat! After The Edge and Adam Clayton caused a buzz all over the Croatian and foreign media when they visited Cavtat to celebrate Edge's birthday, everybody were wondering where is ''the man'' or more exactly – Bono Vox.

And the answer is: in Cavtat too! And willing to take photos with fans, as we can see. Lucija Sutalo Kurajica, a huge fan of the band has published a photo with Bono that she took today.

This is how she describes the meeting: -I just told him that I traveled half of the world to see him and he came in Cavtat. And then he gave me a kiss. Said oooo...

What can we say other than: Welcome Bono! Hope we get a kiss soon too!



The opening night of the Revelin Festival 2016 started with a bang last night as the globally popular Dutch DJ Fedde Le Grand brought the house down. The Culture Club Revelin was packed to the rafters and as Fedde hit the stage at just after midnight the club erupted.

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The first night of the festival, which runs until the 13th of August, was a night to remember. Le Grand is a frequent headliner at mainstream EDM events like Ultra Music Festival and Tomorrowland as well as more unconventional EDM festivals such as Sensation and Coachella. And he is also a friend of Dubrovnik; this is not the first time that the Dutchman has boomed the bass in Dubrovnik. “Whenever I come to Dubrovnik I feel at home. You know, I just can’t describe in words why I'm so in love with this city,” commented Fedde in a recent interview.

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Tonight the British producer, remixer and DJ, Alex Adair, known on a global scale for his remix of the popular Ed Sheran hit “Thinking Out Loud” will spin the tunes. And finally on Saturday the 13th of August the Revelin Festival ends with a big finish, the Dutch DJ Joe Stone.

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Cover up or face paying a hefty fine. The new dress code law in Dubrovnik comes into effect in Dubrovnik this week, the so called “bikini ban.” Large signs will be placed on the three entrances into the historic Old City of Dubrovnik stating what, amongst other regulations, isn’t acceptable to wear in the public streets. Security guards will also be positioned on the entrances to check visitor’s attire, however so far there is no sign of the guards. Another sign will also be placed on the entrance into the Old City from the sea, one entrance that will probably see many a tourist break the law.

The law states that "It is prohibited to walk around in swimwear, without clothing or part of clothing.” Whilst it is obvious that bikinis and swimming trunks are now banned the term “part of clothing” seems rather ambiguous. The new signs also state that “It is prohibited to drive bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds.” As not one of these modes of transport is actually “driven” they are all “ridden” we can only presume that Google translate was to blame. “It is prohibited to throw cigarette stubs in public areas,” is also added. And “It is mandatory to keep your dog on a leash,” is another regulation. Whilst all these new regulations seem sensible it is the so called “bikini ban” that is raising the most interest. Many international news outlets have already published articles about the ban, the news even featured on Swedish television.

The Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Željko Raguz, the initiator of this decision and the most ardent advocate of the prohibition bare skin, stated that the city administration commissioned these specially designed signs, in Croatian and English, and they would be installed soon. He also added that the media would be invited to attend the first “hunt” for offenders.

The penalty for walking in a swim suit will be 1,000 Kuna, or around 135 Euros, however if the fine is paid on the spot it will be reduced to 500 Kuna.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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