Sunday, February 24, 2019

Estonia, Here We Come

My most traumatic childhood memories are related to the   overflowing, after heavy rains, of the local Baseu river -  (north-east Romania). It involved evacuation and being  cut off from supplies.

Since then, I've never lived  too close to a body of water.
In fact, I 'm not keen on living  close to any of Nature's major elements: forests , volcanoes , mountains, seas  - certainly not now, with all those ominous predictions following climate change.

Although things have somehow improved regarding warnings, Nature always seems to surprise us in the most devastating of ways. I feel deep sorrow for all those who experience evacuations and loss due to wildfires, hurricanes, tzunami, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, floods, etc..

They say, based on statistics, that so far, Estonia is one of the safest countries ( natural hazards considered). Next on the list are tiny Andorra, Bahrein, Qatar. Estonia and Andorra are in Europe; Qatar and Bahrein in Asia.

Estonia (blue spot) - between Finland, Latvia, and Russia

 I know very little about Estonia, but we  are all acquainted with the fact that Qatar and Bahrein sit on great petroleum deposits. As for Andorra, it has one of the highest life expectancy in the world. Besides, it attracts thousands of shoppers as  it's a duty  free zone. Lucky places!

Anyway, I've got a theory. It seems to me that natural disasters have greatly increased  in number and intensity since Globalization  has been accelerated (namely, during the last decades). Globalization is kind of a challenge on the God-created world order. It is not new, it started in the days of Columbus. Perhaps, if we withdraw from it, things will calm down. Worth a try, considering the alternative of getting swallowed by the oceans. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

IMTM 2019

On Wednesday(13.Feb.) in the late afternoon hours, I went to the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) at the 'Convention Center' of "Expo Tel Aviv".

to the main entrance of Expo TA

Quite a colorful, entertaining event!  Less lively and versatile than in previous years, I must admit, but that's not surprising. Things around us get more instant and/or business-like all the time. Besides , I visited on the second day. It is the first day that gets all the buzz.

Lovely poster!  it attracted attention.

There were many touristic booths to be seen (some of them very nicely decorated; Guatemala, Greece, Czech Republik, Cypress), and  a lot of walking to be done among them.  However, it was all worth the effort.
The event had a cosmopolitan air about it which made one feel part of the big world, and that was a good feeling.

Guatemala's attractive space

Czech Republic; nice!

 near the Serbia booth- reminder of my  Belgrade visit last summer

The fair is an opportunity to get free quality maps of all of the participating countries and cities.  A good map is priceless, and it always comes handy when you're away from home. Sometimes, the map offered at the stand is accompanied by small ,cute mementos (pens, bags, coasters, cards, tiny calendars, mini maps) which make the visiting experience even more pleasant and rewarding. 

exchanging information

Some booths offer special attractions. This time it was Taiwan with a contest and prizes. Certain countries have their representatives wear national costumes (the girls from Odessa, for example- a delightful sight). A filipino girl attracted visitors with some specific technique of creating a picture.

Taiwan contest with prizes

we have a winner

Odessa girls in traditional embroidered blouses

filipino young woman creating a picture 

the picture as seen on the nearby screen

Food , as always, is the star ; fast food  outside, in the lovely warm weather, before or after entering the huge Expo building. Cafeteria food (pastry, sandwiches, coffee and beverages ) in the main entrance hall.  Inside the booths' area -   there were  offers of biscuits, candies, cheese, wine to visitors.  Culinary brochures with specific food of various regions, were displayed on most of the stands.

Fast food stand in the open air

Fast food stand

eating fast food outside

Cafeteria in the entrance hall

cakes and sandwiches

people eating in the entrance hall

Information pamphlets on Wellness opportunities (spas, beauty, health treatments), are also quite an attraction at these fairs. To mention a few: ayurvedics (India), aquatic pool at Debrecen (Hungary),  mineral springs (Romania, Czech Republik, Slovenia).

I came home loaded with stuff I'll have to sort out , view and read. I feel I'm behind with certain geographical and political knowledge, and this stuff will definitely help me catch up with things. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019


A well-known israeli author and literary critic, Amalia Kahana -Carmon, died recently at the age of 93.  In her stories, she focused on the plight of women in a male dominant society.

It appears the family (three surviving children: a daughter who lives in the UK, and two sons) hasn't issued any announcement, and the news of her death reached the public indirectly, some time after her private funeral. I've even read somewhere that they won't participate in  public ceremonies in her memory. If that's true, it sounds a bit far fetched. 

Perhaps, it's too early to know the reason for the family's decision to go entirely private. As far as I know, Amalia Carmon was honored with all the literary prizes and awards possible. So, no ground for frustration in this respect. 

Shortly before her death, another israeli famous writer, Amos Oz, left us (RIP). The latter(aged 79), was an internationally acclaimed writer and  a man of great charisma. . His death opened an "orgy" (in the ancient sense) of events in his memory,  and perhaps that scarred a little the Carmon family. There are people for whom  privacy is  above all public interest.

And who knows, may be, it was Amalia Kahana- Carmon's explicit wish to have a private funeral and no memorial ceremonies, and that, of course, has to be respected.  We shall probably hear something about it later, or....not .

May her soul rest in peace!

Saturday, February 2, 2019


'YAMA'  stands for :Yaakov Agam Museum of Art.

I visited there two days ago,on Thursday, and  experienced a unique sort of viewing art.  It was trying to see "beyond the visible", to see "the hidden" and the 'constant change' in any of the exhibits which were 'art' movable and transformable. This was made possible by looking at the exhibit from each side, coming closer to it, or going a bit away from it. That was quite fascinating, and I was deeply impressed !!

Yaakov Agam,  90 year old, internationally  known as the father of kinetic art movement, painter and sculptor, was born and raised in  a  very religious family,the Gebstein family, located in the israeli town of Rishon Lezion.

 Agam's portrait , white beard and hat, welcomes the  visitors
His works are displayed in famous museums  such as Gugenheim in New -York,  Pompidou Center in Paris, and many other museums and art venues. His environmental works adorn public spaces in major metropolitan areas of the world.  In Israel, he's mostly known to the local public, through his iconic fountain in Dizengoff Square of Tel Aviv, "fire and water"(see my two posts on that : feb.4, 2011 and march 12, 2016), and the facade of Dan Hotel near the beach of Tel Aviv.

mini hotel Dan facade  (on the wall) and some of his tower works

The little museum in Rishon Lezion, dedicated to Agam's work, was opened in 2017- so it's actually a new place.

 name of museum in hebrew, english, arabic (tiny letters)

blue sign indicating the entrance to the museum

Both inside and outside the building there are  kinetic columns of great beauty and color ( tin +acrilic ) in memory of his late wife Clila, and named after her "the pillars of Clila" (20 pillars outside, near the entrance, and 9 pillars inside the building).

Me, and the pillars outside

women on the bench chatting and contemplating the pillars

The various exhibits (paintings, objects, sound works, interractive digital works), are displayed on the  two levels of the building: the ground level and the upper one (reached either on foot, or by a cute, little lift). The museum also has activity rooms/halls for both children and adults. 

curved ground floor and upper floor

visitors listening to museum's guide explanation

contemplating exhibits

visitor trying to capture an exhibit called 'waves'

corner  for sitting  and watching screen running constant kinetic motions

pillars inside the gallery

During the whole vist at the museum, I kept telling myself: 'the man is a genious'. Here are some of the exhibits on the wall: