Tuesday, 25 April 2017

What are you afraid of? Usually, this is not such an easy question for an adult to answer. Just for fun, because I do have a strange understanding of fun, I've tried to answer that question for myself today. What I've realised is that I fear very few things nowadays, but what I do fear now is much different than the fears of my childhood.

When I was a small child, I feared many things not unlike most of the other children. Monsters scared me, although mine weren't in the closet, but under the bed...so, the same as most children, just with different furniture. I was afraid of the dark ever since my father let me watch a horror movie once following my incessant begging. He told my mother he'll simply explain to 5-year-old me the monsters on the screen are just people wearing masks. It didn't work. I was afraid of spiders as well. They would freak me out. However, I never found other animals to be very scary.

We used to tell scary ghost stories when we were a bit older, so I was afraid of ghosts for a while. My grandmother used to say one shouldn't be afraid of the dead people, but the living – which ironically, made her sound like a stereotypical crazy lady in a horror movie. Through my teenage years I was scared of social interactions and feared becoming a failure later in life.

Throughout my life, I've cast away most of my fears. I fear no ghosts or monsters, although I still have an obsession with the horror genre. I'm pretty sure I will never get rid of all of my social anxiety, but I have it under control. I fear no failure, because starting new things is my favourite thing in the world, and you tend to fail plenty when starting something new. I fear no war, because I've lived through one. I fear no death, because it is inevitable and natural.

I guess what I now fear the most is people. Not on an individual level or through social interactions. I fear what one of my favourite masters of the spoken word would call “stupid people in large groups.” People can do all sorts of horrible things when they gather around a dumb idea. In fact, most of history’s worst moments were created on purpose by people. Not by raging lunatics either, but by regular, everyday people. Aside from perhaps the plague or the AIDS pandemic, there have been very few non-human caused disasters that can rival what we do to each other from time to time.

On the surface, we usually do these horrible things in the name of something holy or because of some ideal we feel strongly about. However, if you take apart the process by which human society gets into such situations, it's easy to see people are driven to do horrible things mostly out of fear of the unknown. As someone in love with constant change and discovering new things, I can tell you my experience so far was that the unknown is nothing to be concerned about. In fact, fearing the unknown is not much different than being afraid of the dark. Under a vale of darkness everything tends to look threatening, but if you muster up the courage to look closely at the dark corner of your room, you'll probably find there is no monster there waiting to catch you off guard. It's usually just an old chair casting a weird shadow. Some people learn this at the age of 6 or 7 and some, it seems, never do.

This is my one remaining true fear. That of an irrational, uneducated society of people driven by fear. I guess Roosevelt was right by saying: “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself”. My grandmother was also right: dead people are no threat to us, the living are. So, there you go, when making your way through life try not to be driven by fear, but rather curiosity, and when in doubt listen to Franklin D. Roosevelt or my late grandmother.

By the way, spiders still freak me out.

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Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

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Ten years ago the Tourist Board of the Koprivnica-Krizevci County introduced their project of gifting cities in Croatia and abroad with ''Pisanica od srca'' (Easter egg from the heart) in the Easter period.

One of the cities abroad that received the Croatian Easter gift is Vienna in neighbouring Austria. Vienna is well known for its traditional Old Vienna Easter market, which has been held for 28 years. This popular Easter fair in the heart of Vienna is an inevitable hot spot for many Viennese as well as for tourists who visit the fair and buy various Easter decorations.

Apart from thousands of small painted eggs, the fair is adorned every year with huge Croatian Easter egg, which was a gift of the Koprivnica-Krizevci County to Vienna in 2012.
''Pisanica od srca'' or ‘’Easter egg from the heart’’ was hand painted by renowned artists of naive art from Hlebine and the Podravka art association. The egg is 120 kilograms in weight, stands an impressive 2.05 metres in height and is 1.5 metres wide, and represents peace, love, joy and friendship.

Decorating Easter eggs, as one of the symbols of Easter, is a traditional Croatian custom, which has been also nurtured among Croats in Austria for decades.

The Old Vienna Easter market will remain open until the 17th of April, therefore thousands of Viennese and other visitors to the city will be able to see this beautiful Croatian Easter egg.

Have you heard of Klepetan and Malena? These two storks have been meeting year after year for the past 15 years on the roof of the elementary school in Brodski Varos. Klepetan, the most famous stork in Croatia, flew 13 thousand kilometres every year from South Africa and always returned to his nest with Malena, who has a broken wing. However, it seems that this great romantic story has come to an end this year as he hasn't returned to his waiting "Juliet." 

Klepetan would always come before March 30, mostly on March 24th, sometimes a few days late, but never in April. Therefore it seems that he is not going to come at all this year. Stjepan Vokic, the janitor who takes care of Malena, fears that Klepetan died during his journey.

This interesting and romantic couple, who have many fans in Croatia and across the world, have brought up 58 little storks over the years. These little ones would always leave with their father to South Africa. 

It’s interesting that the Serbian media published that Klepetan had returned to his Malena today, but sadly that didn’t happen. We still have hope that he’ll show up.

A large number of locals could be seen sitting on the floor of Research library in Dubrovnik yesterday just for one reason – because of their interest in Japanese language and culture. They all came to the Japanese course organized by Matanka Association, which is free of charge and will be held twice a week.

-    I’m really surprised by the number of people that appeared – stated the teacher Kazuhiro Tamari, who had to make two learning groups because he didn’t expect that much of the interest.
This is for sure not an ordinary class – first you take your shoes off, then you sit on the floor and then you learn. In the relaxed atmosphere students got their chance to learn basic phrases such as arigato (thank you), sayonara (goodbye), as well as gestures and bits of Japanese culture. Also, the teacher emphasized some differences between Korean and Chinese language, since many locals tend to confuse them with Japanese.

-    Just imagine that you go to Japan and somebody talks to you in Croatian, you would be overwhelmed – said Kazuhiro Tamari, alluding on the fact that many Japanese visit Dubrovnik and would sure be surprised if somebody talked to them in their language.

All the participants left the course with smile on their faces, happy because they got a chance to experience something new.

According to the Croatian Audio Visual Centre (HAVC), the AMC studios which is globally known for its popular TV series ''Walking Dead'' has started filming TV series ''The Terror'' on the Croatian island of Pag.

Filming of the 10 episodes of the AMC series ‘’The Terror’’ produced by Ridley Scott has already begun on the 3rd of April 2017; the first segment of filming will last through the 29th of April, whilst the series is to be broadcasted in autumn 2017.

Based on an adaptation of the bestselling novel by Dan Simmons, “The Terror” is a supernatural thriller, which tells the true story on the disappearance of a Royal Naval expedition crew in 1847 who were searching for the Northwest Passage.

The Franklin Expedition led by Captain John Franklin (Ciaran Hinds) and Captain Francis Crozier (Jared Harris) is frozen in the ice and stuck for two years with their nearest neighbour more than 800 miles away. A mysterious predator – a terrifying monster that stalks the ship and its crew in an uncertain and desperate game of survival, attacks their ship.

“The Terror” is written by David Kajganich (“True Story,” “A Bigger Splash”), who will also serve as co-show runner with Soo Hugh (“The Whispers,” “The Killing”). Executive producers are Ridley Scott (“The Good Wife,” “The Man In The High Castle”) and David W. Zucker (“The Good Wife,” “The Man In The High Castle”), Alexandra Milchan (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Scott Lambert (“Paranoia”) as well as Guymon Casady (“Game of Thrones,” “Steve Jobs”).

The production has employed 85 local technicians and crew, and 60 local extras.

It is interesting to note that through Croatia’s 20 percent filming incentive the production will benefit from a return of investment of the overall budget spent in the country. In the last five years of incentive scheme, 34 productions filmed in Croatia and spent nearly 400 million Kunas. Apart from the economic benefits, they also provided a global promotion of the beautiful locations in Croatia.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmed in Dubrovnik at the beginning of last year and news has broken today that Dubrovnik will be a new planet in the galaxy – Canto Bight. The planet is, according to rumours, a casino planet which would seem to tie in with the scenes and set photos taken when the Star Wars crew filmed on the Stradun, the main street through the centre of the historic Old City.

canto bight 2

Canto Bight could be a code name for the planet as no official news has yet been released by Lucas Films. On the 14th of April 2017 the first official trailer of the eighth edition of Star Wars is rumoured to be released, which might give us more information as to Dubrovnik’s final role.

During filming in Dubrovnik an explosion in front of a cafe bar was filmed as well as high speed chases. Whilst none of the major stars actually travelled to Dubrovnik their body doubles took their roles in the all action scenes. The former mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, commented for The Dubrovnik Times that “Dubrovnik will be the first urban location in the Star Wars franchise.” This again would tie in with the rumours of a casino planet or Canto Bight. Whilst Dubrovnik was used as the location for the external shots for the Canto Bight the internal shots were filmed in Pinewood Studios in London.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is scheduled to be released on the 15th of December 2017.

canto bight 3

It is a well known fact that online shopping is the fastest growing business today. According to the latest data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (HZS) almost 33 percent of respondents in the country shopped on the internet in 2016.

Following this upward trend, the Croatian company Auto Zubak recently presented an innovation of buying cars on the internet through its brand Neostar.

It is about a new way of buying used cars that could change the usual behavioural patterns of customers through two segments. Neostar.hr provides potential buyers with intuitive tools for viewing offers for used cars as well as a review of the cars themselves to the smallest detail. The website also enables a booking of a selected car, online payment and online agreement on car delivery to a home address.

This way of buying saves time and money, whilst many people who are looking for a quality used car will surely reach out for this innovative technology.

On the other hand, considering the fact that safe online shopping is one of the most important links in a change of buyers’ behaviour, Auto Zubak Neostar has introduced two innovations. On buying a car, apart from the car a buyer gets all insurances, two-year warranty and a free car service. This is an indicator that the company is sure in the quality of what they sell.

In addition, Autozubak saved the best for last – if you do not like a car that you have chosen and that has been delivered to your doorstep, you can return it within 15 days!

Weekend from 7th to 9th of April is reserved for gastro-days in Dubrovnik restaurants devoted to asparagus. This wild edible plant is harvested in early spring and is very nutritious and healthy. At the same time delicate and aromatic, asparagus is one of the favorite plants in gastronomy – it goes well with variety of foods such as eggs, meat, fish, rice, bacon and pasta. So don't miss this chance to taste specialties with this healthy wild treat prepared by Dubrovnik chefs.

In Dubrovnik you will be able to taste the dishes such as risotto with shrimps and asparagus, octopus salad with asparagus, Adriatic prawns on a bed of rice and asparagus, filet of fresh fish on the asparagus sauce, truffles, tuna fillets on a bed of asparagus with asparagus and eggs, veal stuffed with asparagus and mozzarella and other specialties. Participating restaurants are Domino, Eden, Gusta me, Klarisa, Kopun, Lajk, Mimoza, Orka, Orsan, Porat and Rozario.

Lauren Lucio is not an ordinary lady who travels the world – she travels the world with her hula hoop! Lauren is 28 years old, born in Canada but now lives in Australia, and she has been hula hooping for 8 years now. One of her latest hula hoop destinations was Dubrovnik. We spotted her video on Youtube and just had to know her story.
When did you start your journey of hula hooping around the world?
I moved from Ontario to British Columbia and was working and living in the Tofino Botanical gardens with my sister and a girl travelling through was selling hula hoops and my sister bought one and I told her she got ripped off, after a few weeks she got tired of it and I picked it up!  I didn’t start making videos and recording myself until 2013 and I feel like it took me this long to start making good videos (laughs) my earlier videos are lacking in editing skill.

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                  Thailand 2015, Lauren hula hooping outside her bungalow

Which countries have you visited until now?
 I started travelling in 2009 when I moved to British Columbia in the summer of 2009 after graduating from photojournalism. That fall I was off to Central America, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize but since I was new to hula hooping I had no idea how to travel with one so I just used hula hoops I could find along the way.
 Then I went back to Canada to make money for my next adventure. After working three jobs all summer I had enough money to apply for a work visa for New Zealand and buy a flight and have enough to travel with, so my sister and I went! Then two years I was in travelling and working on working holiday visas in Australia. Australia is very expensive so my first few months almost took all my money so I had to start street performing with my hula hoop and was making some good money doing that. People responded well to my hula hooping. Older ladies would tell me it reminded them of when they were young and how they use to hula hoop and I would ask them why they stopped and they said cause they got old and I would say that’s no reason and I would hand them my hula hoop and they would try it and laugh and smile and feel young!!

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                  Lauren, her friend Kat and of course hula hoop in Cambodia in Kampot in 2014


After Australia I had to return to Canada to renew my passport, then I went to  California to hula hoop in San Francisco and check out the city, then 6 months Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia) where I hula hooped a lot and put on many shows at night time with my LED hula hoop.
After Asia I flew to Canada again for the Yukon summer, then California then back to Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia where I put on more shows with my LED hula hoop on the beach and at bars.

 

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                         Performing with LED hula hoop in Cambodia, photo by Attila Majom


Then back to Canada for a year of living in my van and camping all over the country with my Australian partner so he could see my country and we were waiting for my residency for Australia to be approved. Then back to Australia.
Then in March I flew into Hungary and have been taking buses to Croatia, Slovenia and this week I’ve been in Austria. Next is Czech Republic then Romania!

What was your experience in Dubrovnik?
I had the best time in Dubrovnik, the people were so helpful and amazing, the hostel I stayed at was really good and peaceful. It was very beautiful and I just loved how much history and age the buildings and walls had.

How do you choose the locations where you hula hoop?
The way I chose my hula hooping locations are by circumstance , so if I can get a place that not a lot of people will walk past my camera and walk through the movie. I look for that. I look for authentic places, maybe special to that city or country or places that I am just feeling like it.
Do people sometimes look at you while you do it, do they wish to join?
Sometimes large crowds gather and I don’t even notice, sometimes people stare at me like I am a crazy person and sometimes I get clapping and cheering from crowds like in Budapest. I had a lovely tour group cheering and clapping and I almost didn’t notice ‘cause I had my headphones in!!
I love the positive feedback but it’s not always positive. In the Train station in Sydney, Australia they called the police on me and kicked me out in 2012 for street performing without a permit, fair enough, but they were really really mean about it (laughs). I always appreciate when people are happy when they see me hula hooping!
I hand over my hula hoop to anyone who wishes to try it and there are a lot of people who ask to try it! I have taught many people how to hula hoop all over the world.

 

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                          2013 Laos, Luang Nam Tha, a little girl using Lauren's hula hoop


Why do you love hula hooping?
I love hula hooping because it makes me feel good to be able to something really well and not only that but something that involves a lot of moving and dancing. I love putting in my headphones and getting lost in the music and the spinning knowing that I am doing something good makes me feel good. It is my meditation for sure.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to enter the U.K in May then maybe Spain, Portugal and Morocco then return back to Australia to work in cafes or whatever work I can get anywhere and make money for my next adventure or possibly to find a way to make a living and a career from hula hooping somehow.

According to an announcement, a popular European retail chain is opening its first two stores in Croatia this week.

On the 7th of April, the retailer Pepco will open stores at the Point Shopping Centre in Zagreb and at the Supernova Shopping Centre in Buzin. In the next few weeks, more stores will be opened at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Zapresic, as well as in the cities of Varazdin, Koprivnica and Slavonski Brod.

The retail chain PEPCO from Poland which offers shoppers clothes for the whole family as well as wide range of household products, also plans to open 75 more stores mainly in cities with over 10,000 residents in the next three years and employ more than 600 people.

‘’The Croatian market is very important to us and we expect that the interest of shoppers will open the way for entry in the Adriatic region. We are confident that the opening of our first Pepco store will only be a successful start of our long journey throughout Croatia’’, said Marcin Stanko, the director of the Operations for Central and Eastern Europe.

PEPCO began operations in Poland in 2004, and has since recorded great interest from customers with the business expanding into Central and Eastern Europe. Apart from Poland, PEPCO currently operates in several Central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The retail chain employs more than 9,000 people with more than 700 stores in Poland and more than 1,000 stores all over Europe.

The popular European retail chain has already won numerous awards in the retail sector - the Forbes Diamond award and the Good Brand and Quality of Service Award.
Pepco is a brand owned by Pepkor, a South African investment holding company.

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