Wednesday, 02 December 2020
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

There appears to be a new tower, or fortress, in Dubrovnik. And no it wasn’t built in the 16th century, or even uses stone or even looks particularly stable. Residents of the Ploce of Dubrovnik are becoming more and more frustrated with the amount of traffic, parking problems and garbage on the streets of their suburb.

And this latest example, a pallet skyscraper, which has been growing over recent days is sure to upset them even more. And as this suburb is one of the most frequented by tourists as they make their way into the historic centre it seems that more inspections are ned to be back a certain level of control.

 

Croatia will look to import more foreign workers next year to cover the shortfall in the tourism industry. It is expected that one of the most important businesses in the country will miss around 15,000 employees in 2019. The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, commented that next year the government will aim to re-train people who are currently unemployed as well as increasing the quota of foreign workers.

"We have to be aware that next year Croatia's tourist industry will need about 15,000 people, and it will not be possible to re-train those people within a single year," Cappelli added.

This year's quota for foreign workers in the tourist sector is 8,660. However, there will still be a shortage of between 5,000 and 7,000 workers.

And the Minister concluded that businesses in the tourism industry would be forced to increase the wages of workers in order to keep them in the country. One of the main problems of modern day Croatia is the exodus of young, professional citizens to other European Union countries in search of better pay and conditions.

"We must not allow it to bring the whole tourist season into jeopardy. If necessary, we will resort to (increasing) the quota as a solution, but in the long term the solution is in centres of competence," Cappelli said, adding that tenders for training would be issued in October.

At around 9.30 last night the lunar eclipse begun over the night sky of Dubrovnik. The perfectly clear evening sky meant that the views of the eclipse were stunning. The "totality" period, where light from the Moon was totally obscured, lasted for one hour and 43 minutes.

The moon’s colour was replaced from its normal silvery white to a blood red. This was the longest “blood moon” eclipse of the 21st century and the next one won’t be until 2123.

In Dubrovnik there was a special “moon eclipse watch” from the St. John fortress.

dubrovniki lunar eclipse

lunar eclipse on adriatic sea

I mean what real purpose do they serve? When God was creating all the creatures why, oh why, did he think to create mosquitoes? When Noah took the animals onto the ark, one by one, I am pretty sure that he didn’t take two bloody mosquitoes with him. But knowing these extremely annoying beasts they probably flew on by themselves anyway!

Without doubt one of the banes of my life in the Dubrovnik summer heat are these buzzing pests. However well I protect myself, or maybe I should have said “try to protect myself”, these flying insects find a way to attack me. They are the ninjas of the animal kingdom. Kamikazes raining down, and I am their Pearl Harbour.

Did you know that there are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes? And I am pretty sure they all have my address in their GPS. They awake me from my sleep. Terrorise me at my laptop (yes, I have a couple on the hunt around me now) and use me as a human pincushion whilst I stand at the BBQ. I must have a big neon sign on my forehead “Bite Me” or maybe “Here is lunch.” I have a drawer in my house dedicated to anti-mosquito measures. Sprays, tablets and coils that you burn. They all have very limited effect. The smoking coil which is supposed to protect me whilst I grill another dozen cevapi seems to act like a smoke signal to attract even more of their friends.

So this year we went a step further and bought one of those see-through screens that you fix over the windows. I spent hours fixing it correctly. Managed to glue it to my fingers twice. And when it was up spent another few hours watching the cats bounce off the unexpected new barrier. It was like watching balls hit the net at Wimbledon. For a few days it kind of worked. I would sit on my laptop watching the pesky flying insects whacking their heads on the net. I felt like sticking a middle finger up to them, “Where are you now!” However, the joy was short lived. It would appear that the mosquitoes in Zupa have an IQ similar to Einstein. They saw the new net as a challenge and not as a barrier. For they knew that if they could break in they would have my sweet skin to plough their noses into.

And break in they did. Had they dug a tunnel? Pretty soon the new barrier was having the opposite effect. It was actually keeping the beasts inside. Should I go outside now?

Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? Why am I not surprised? Yes, as you have already guessed I have been doing a lot of mosquito research over the past weeks. However, all this reading has yet to reveal what purpose these pests serve. I suspect none. I also suspect that without the various tablets and electronic devices that light up my bedroom at night that I would be in fear of losing vast amounts of blood to these suckers.

Why do they always find me first? I seem to act as a decoy for the rest of my family. Whilst they snore away I am left scratching like a dog with fleas. If you think you are too small to be effective you have never been in a dark room with a mosquito. And they always seem to bite me in the most awkward of positions. From big toes to the middle of my back. Once my wife caught me in the middle of a darkened kitchen with a wooden spoon scratching my back. My silhouette in the full moon probably looked like I was doing something else!?!

We have bought some crazy online devices to counter the attacks. None have worked. Although to be fair most of our online shopping has been, well, less than successful. Just last week my wife bought two “cold dog rugs.” You are probably scratching your head in disbelief now, as I am scratching my back from yet another mosquito bite. They are supposed to keep dogs cool in the summer heat, however both our dogs turned their noses up to these refrigerated rugs. Sorry, I digress.

If Mohamed Ali has said “I float like a butterfly and sting like a mosquito,” rather than like a bee he would have been much more dangerous, at least in my eyes. So with the heat of August almost upon us I can almost hear and feel the sound of a swarm of mosquitoes blocking out the sun in our neighbourhood. Winter cannot come soon enough.

The Croatian Auto Club (HAK) expects a significant boost in traffic for the last weekend in July, starting today. The peak of the traffic chaos is expected during Saturday from the earliest morning.

The largest number of tourists will come from Western European countries and besides them, many citizens of the Republic of Croatia as well as neighbouring countries (Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia) will start their summer vacation. Like the previous weekends, everybody are advised to avoid the trip during Saturdays and Sundays.

HAK expects Saturday to be very chaotic in the direction of the sea on all road routes, as well as the border crossings.

- Saturday traffic crowds in the sea direction begin in the early morning hours and last until late afternoon hours (from 4am to 5pm) and around noon, the traffic in the direction Zagreb and interior increases – HAK explains.

During Sunday, the strongest traffic is expected during the afternoon in the direction of the interior.

HAK advices everybody to schedule their journey according to the crowds – if you are going to the sea, the best time is Friday morning or Saturday afternoon/night, while it's best to return on the Sunday morning.

Unemployment in Croatia has dropped to an all-time low of only 8.8 percent. In June this year there were a total of 1.43 million employed people, a rise of 1.7 percent over May from this year, commented the Croatian National Statistic office.

At the end of last month there were just over 138,000 people registered at the Employment Service, which was down by 2.5 percent when compared with May.

One of the main factors for the drop in rate in unemployment is the amount of seasonal positions open during the main tourist season. Many citizens from the hinterland of Croatia make their way to the Adriatic coast to work in restaurants, hotels and travel agencies. However, the migration of Croatians to other European Union countries in search of work also has to be taken into account.

Croatia’s financial obligation to NATO this year will amount to around 4.2 million Euros, or 31million Kuna. The MP Ivan Vilibor Sinic had questioned how much Croatia would have to fork out in 2018 to be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the response from the government came at 31 million Kuna.

"The said funds for NATO have been secured in the 2018 state budget, grouped within international membership fees earmarked for the Defence Ministry (24.7 million Kuna or €3.3 million) and the Foreign Ministry (6.4 million Kuna or €866,000)," commented the government.

The government commented that the total amount is determined on a par with the economic strength of an individual country, which is usually determined as a share of its gross domestic product or gross national income, and is re-calculated each year.

By far the largest contributor to NATO is the US, funding around 70 percent of NATO spending, this adds up to roughly £501billion

The two Real Madrid members of the Croatian silver winning team, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, enjoyed an active break on the beautiful island of Mljet today.

The pair uploaded photos onto Instagram of them cycling across the island. This could mean that after a short break in the Mljet National Park the two football heroes might continue their holiday in Dubrovnik.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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