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Part 6: from Mangalia to Vama Veche

2nd of May 2004•12:14 hours

What am I doing here actually? Who or what is actually the tourist attraction here, or is it me who has become the tourist attractoion? That’s what I thought then I woke up this morning. Could not I better have selected a more regular holiday destination, somewhere where I would not be the only one from the West? In the enormous crowd of Vama Veche you can can easily start feeling lonely. Everyone talks in Rumanian to each other of which I understand nothing, everybody knows each other and has fun with each other. This is how I felt yesterday for a moment when I came out of the crowd at the end of the afternoon to do a little nap. However, I did not need to be frightened for being lonely at all, became clear to me right after I stepped out of my bed. But instead of being lonely, I slowly got the feeling that everyone who is speaking to me in fact has other perposes for making contact to me.

As I come from my room and was standing in the garden, I was immediately directly by the sailormen folks with their partners who slept in the rooms next to mine and with whom I had met that morning. They were already pretty tipsy and they saw in me a new way of entertainment for the evening. We had a lof of fun by making jokes and I let them taste young Dutch gin. They invited me to go out with them so we went to a Salsa club on the beach. After some time I realise that I am quite hungry so I decide to go to the nearby restaurant. Because my Romanian money is almost finished I ask I if I can pay in Euro’s. As soon as I get my order I am invited by two women and a man so eat together. The conversation changes fast into the topic of sex and one of the women wants to go to bed with me as soon as possible. If I make clear that I am not in for that, they invite me for making a trio with both women or even with the fisherman. The fisherman makes clear that he is also in for that. If the first woman sees that I have no interest, she leaves and goes upstairs. The other two persons precede to go dancing. While paying the bill I am ripped off by the waiter by using a wrong exchange rate for the Euro, so I start a discussion with the waiter, and the two help me out.

Once in the disco I annoy myself to the rockmuziek, so I decide to return to the salsadisco. There not only the music is nicer but also a complete crowd of sexy gay guys is dancing. As soon as I look at one of them while I am dancing, the complete gay crowd comes dancing around me and starts to scream and they toss on my hair. One of them asks if I am in for fucking. That goes too far for me, so I make clearly that I do not want that and leave them. Some moments later they stand close to me again and nevertheless resist to do the same, they all want to dance with me, some grip in my butt and my neck. I feel myself somewhere honoured but also overloaded. Isn’t it possible for them to be more subtle? Then a girl comes to me and asks if I want to dance with her group, because a friend of her kind of likes me. I let it all happen and a few moments later I am dancing with that girl. The boys look disappointed at me but I try to ignore them because I am much too frightened that these boys are going too far with me. But as soon as I pay no attention they take my coat and leave with my jacket. Disappointed I leave the salsabar as well and dive into my bed. It’s time to continue traveling.

VelikoTarnovo (59).jpg
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Part 9: From Schumen and Madara to Veliko Tarnovo

5th of May 2004•10:19 hours

This time I once hung out like a real tourist and had delivered myself to the taxi’s. Why should I take the taxi if you can also walk? I was a bit overwhelmed that my train did not stop in Madara, whereas I wanted to see the caves of Madara and the rocks with the horseman. Thus I got off at the next trainstop in Schumen and started to negotiate with a taxi driver, whom seemed sympathetic to me. For how much money can you bring me to Madara and back? I had only two hours of time, but the taxi drove with a motorway speed along the small roads straight to the caves. So I had enough time left over not only to climb the mount, but also to explore the old fort and the cave houses. On the way back he proposed to use the remaining time to show me a large citadel at Schumen. It became a lightspeed fast sightseeing tour, along a second citadel and the Tumbul mosque, the oldest mosque of Bulgaria, which still is visited a lot by the Turkish minority. He also brought me to a monument for the honour of the Founders of the Bulgarian State on top of a mount. In the train I got problems with the conductor because I had got off halfway and travelled with another train further, which is not accepted. I acted like the silly Dutch tourist and a boy in the compartiment helped me out by saying that I had been wrong informed.

Arriving in Veliko Tarnovo, a man asks me right away if I was looking for a place to sleep. I was still the lazy tourist and had myself brought to the private pension. Then he wants to exchange old Bulgarian money coins for Euro coins. Later I understand that I have paid far too much and that this man takes half of the money for provision. Anyway I am not in the mood to join him into the city centre to drink something in a cafe but I prefer to go just on my own. First I visit the Tsarevets Hill, then I walk through the hilly old centre and drink something on the terrace of Pepy’s bar. In another nice bar, Mosquito, everyone is sociably talking to each other and I sit near the bar in my own. Come on Tijs: or you just keep sitting here for over an hour or you put on a pair of naughty shoes. I make contact to a couple of some young people and ask them if I can come and sit next to them. It becomes a sociable evening with lots of beer, a little joint and a neighbouring discotheque where we keep swinging on regular disco-music until early in the morning.
6th of May 2004•7:24 hours

Yesterday I decided to take a day of rest for myself. Victor, the man who had picked up me from the station, stood on the pavement in the morning and asked me if he could offer me an excursion. That was the last thing that I wanted to do. Instead, I just strolled through the narrow streets in the hilly centre and afterwards I passed the broader avenues in downtown to the station. I decided not to visit another city in Bulgaria and do the same ritual like searching for a place to sleep et cetera. I rather remained hanging out in Veliko Tarnovo to enjoy the surroundings of the town and take the night train in the evening straight to Istanbul. On the station I encountered Victor again, who wanted to help me with buying a train ticket and bringing my left luggage to the luggage depot. That was meant kind of him, but I just wanted to find out that by myself.

After eating I started hiking along the river. Soon I arrived in an unexpected beautiful village. However, there were no real hiking tracks anywhere. I tried a little path but that ended up on a waste dump. Another two more attempts, but each path ended up at some waste dump or left factory. Behind the green beauty of the vally, the whole area seemed to be actually one large dump place. Nevertheless I eventually found a little sheep path that went up the hill and ended up into the forest. The path went further up and the landscape became more and more rocky. Another path crossed mine and then I found a real hiking track with signs to the top of the mount. The forest had made place for some kind of mountain pastures, splendid flowers thrived on the mount slopes. The view on the low green mounts with rock edges is splendid. I follow the route further and get back in Veliko Tarnovo two hours later.

Before I go to the station I still have some time to dive into an internetcafe and eat a plate of farfalle in a pastarestaurant. On the station Victor comes to me. He starts to talk in German to me and claims that he is Victor’s brother. I do not believe him because he looks exactly the same and he knows everything about me. He asks if he can get my left-over Bulgarian money from me before I will cross the border but I ignore him. I am astonished as the real Victor all of a sudden appears. So he nevertheless was really his brother! Eventually I give them some left over money for a cup of coffee. Once in the train I am the only person who goes searching for a sleeping compartiment. Most of the train passengers are happy with just a seat in a full part of the train. I have a whole compartiment for myself and the train chef indicates that he will arrange another trainticket for the Turkish part of the trip at the border. After reading for a while I fall asleep. A couple of times they wake me up for ticket control and later for passport control and buying a ticket for the remaining part of the trip. At the Turkish border we all have to leave the train and wait in a line to get a stamp in our passports. Once it is my turn, it appears that I first have to buy a visa in another building. Fortunately the train still does not leave. In the train they check me again. They say I must leave the train again, because on the visa a stamp needs to be put from the first counter, which closed down meanwhile. I run out of the train and tick on the window of the building. After begging, the man finally gives me a stamp and I can jump on the train just before it leaves. On the rhythm of the train I fall into a deep sleep, only waking up when the first suburbs of Istanbul catch my eye.

My inbox filing technique is unstoppable (with story)
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(posted for the mailbox project www.flickr.com/groups/83708468@N00/)

I spent the better part of my last ten years online furiously filing away every single message into a mess of folders. Then I looked over ubergeek Rael Dornfest’s shoulder a couple years ago at Etech. He left everything in his inbox and just used Mac Entourage’s various views to quickly see unread, which ones mentioned a certain subject line, and which ones were addressed to certain accounts. It was an inbox of a bazillion messages, but quickly and easily converted to a custom view.

I adopted this approach when going to Entourage on my first powerbook in 2002 but it ran so slow I eventually quit and moved to Mail. I kept the same organizational zen with Mail, even on my second powerbook. Everything goes in the inbox and stays in the inbox, and search is used to find old messages or suss out threads. Sounds crazy, but it works and I never have to sweat my filters or make new folders or jump from folder to folder all day. I seriously used to waste 30 minutes a day just tweaking Eudora back in the late 90s. But this is: Just One Inbox.

Simple.

My current Mail inbox has 39,803 messages, essentially going back to spring of 2003 when I switched to Mail. That number doesn’t include any spam and is mostly work related private list mail. I basically use the unread flag as most filter-happy people use their inbox — the unreads are my todo list and as they get read I either do something immediately (which includes ignoring til later or never) or I flag if necessary. Of course, this means I basically have a window on my email that only goes back about a day conveiniently, after that it requires searches or a jump to all flagged messages for keeping track of special "come back later" mails.

My wishlist for the upcoming Mail in Tiger is that is gets back to being a lean, mean, fast app (with 39k messages it takes about 3 minutes to start up), and it really needs a stronger search that would let me search on multiple criteria. I would love to be able to do a search like "find me all mail from a coworker with a certain domain in their address that sent me an attachment that also included the word "tax" somewhere in the message body." which Eudora did just fine for me, 8 years ago or so.

C’mon apple, get with the times.

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