pastimes


Yes, indeed. This is from the train that took me last year from Pyongyang to Beijing. A preparation for a series of photographs on the DPRK (North Korea) – which I have at last finished processing:

2015 June 267 (640x480)

It reads: xian ren zhibu, which would be better translated as ‘no loitering’.

It is always a great pleasure to reread Geoffrey Ernest Maurice de Ste. Croix’s great but thus far understudied work, The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World (winner of the Deutscher Prize in 1982). I am working through the book again in the process of writing our Time of TroublesAnyway, Ste. Croix has a fascinating section on Marx as a European classicist, where he traces the rise of interest in Marx’s thought in the 1970s after a very long period of complete neglect.

To indicate Marx’s lifelong interest in the European classics, after his PhD thesis on Democritus and Epicurus, Ste. Croix mentions a letter to Engels in 1861. Marx writes: ‘As  relaxation in the evening, I have been reading Appian on the Roman civil wars, in the original Greek’.

I finally needed a new mobile phone, unlocked so I can use it in different places. And since I feel people can contact me way too much already, I steer clear of anything that smacks of a ‘smart’ phone. But what to do? In the end I opted for a simple seniors phone. It has large keys for potentially arthritic fingers, simple display and very clear and loud sounds. It even calls out the numbers as you are pressing the keys. Oh yes, it joins one of the pocket watches I have had for well on 15 years now. Actually, it’s a nurse’s watch – extremely robust and reliable.

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Since Pete and I like this type of artwork, which is still very strong in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a few more samples from my visit earlier this year:

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I am finally making my way through the many photographs from my visit earlier this year to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea). A sample:

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Having recently spent more than five hours asleep at Frankfurt airport (but also having spent too much money on dodgy ‘airport hotels’ in the past), I stumbled on this intriguing site: Sleeping in Airports. All you might want to know and more, such as the best and worst hotels for sleeping, tips for the best places, how to get cheap food and free showers, and so on. My favourite has to be the tips page.

Some of the more useful suggestions:

If you are travelling solo take a pen and some post-it notes. Write a “Wake me at 5:00 AM” note and stick a few on yourself and the seats around you — it works. People will wake you.

Even if you sleep in airports on regular basis — Do Not Act Like A Professional!!! Act like you REALLY do not want to be there and that there is absolutely nowhere else to go. We find crying helps. Remember, in the airport officials’ eyes “the airport is not a motel.” On the other hand, don’t abuse the system and abuse the airport’s tolerance of sleepers hospitality. Staying at an airport for days, hanging your laundry in the terminal and cooking on a gas stove only ruins it for others who really need to sleep in the airport.

As many food concessions shut down at night around the time of the last flight, you’ll want to stock up on supplies (water and late night snacks) before everything closes. There have been reports of a few generous vendors giving away their unsold food to airport sleepers.

While there will be times when you can’t sleep, sleeping in airports is not only extreme budget travel, it can be an adventure. Enjoy it! Have fun! Explore your inner homeless person.

I have always dislike alarm clocks: they wake me up when I do not want to be woken up, to go somewhere I do not want to go, to do something I do not want to do for the sake of someone I do not want to see. Recently, an enterprising Swede has come up with the best reason to hate alarm clocks. Go to minute 3.18 if you do not wish to see the preamble.

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