Vacanta Praga

Praga , un oras unde mi-am dorit de mult sa ajung. Ma uitam pe pozele altora si mi se parea unul din cele mai frumoase locuri din lume, acum ca am vazut pot sa zic cu mana pe inima ca asa e. Orasul ofera peisaje superbe , arhitectura si piete grozave , o bere de nota 10 si baruri in care se fumeaza, si toate acestea la preturi aproape identice cu cele din Romania.

Din Romania nu exista zbor low cost direct catre Praga, dar biletul la Czech Airlines nu este prea scump, respectiv 150 de EUR de persoana luat cu o luna inainte , iar hotelul de 3 stele luat prin TUI ne-a costat doar 121 EUR pentru 7 nopti si pe langa faptul ca a fost foarte decent avea si micul dejun inclus in pret.

De la aeroportul Václav Havel spre centrul orasului Praga se ia autobuzul AE (Airport Express), cursa dureaza cam 40 de minute si biletul il cumparati direct din aeroport si costa 60 de coroane cehe (CZK) adica 10 RON de persoana. Ar fi bine sa veniti cu putina valuta Ceha din tara ca sa puteti cumpara biletul, pentru a evita casele de schimb valutar din aeroport.  Veti cobori la gara centrala “Praha hlavní nádraží” , care este un complex urias supra si subteran, unde aveti acces la autobuze , metrou , trenurile S si mai ales la tramvaie. Spun mai ales tramvaie pentru ca acestea sunt principalul si cel mai usor mod de transport  in oras. Toata capitala este impanzita de linii de tramvai , si acestea vin cam din 3 din 3 minute , au statii dese si benzi dedicate, si cam jumatate din ele sunt de ultima generatie fabricate in tara de Skoda. Bilete pentru tramvaie se gasesc la orice chiosc de tigari sau alimentara si sunt impartite in functie de durata de timp. Un bilet de 30 de minute costa 24 CZK (4 Lei), iar unul pe 24 de ore costa 110 CZK (18 Lei) si poate fi folosit din momentul validarii pe orice linie si de cate ori vreti pana la momentul expirarii.

[Citeste mai departe dupa poze]

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After six years at sea

[Citeste acest articol in limba Romana AICI]

After six years at sea all I got is a lot of white hairs, a car, a piece of land, a few good and plenty bad memories. I dedicate this article to all young people who are thinking of going on the high seas in life.
I made my first voyage in 2010 during my last year at the naval academy and I was among the lucky few who began their cadets program during the academy… .If I think  about it I was among the lucky few who caught a cadet contract at all.

I was glad when I left, it was my first real adventure in life, the first time I was leaving home for such a long period, the first time I went to America and on my plane ticket was written Los Angeles. Los Angeles I didn’t get to see that time ,  I only saw the highway from the airport to the boat. The enthusiasm vanished in less than a week, when I realized that I would spend the next six months sleeping in a narrow bed in a narrow cabin, on a boat with a narrow deck where everybody abuses you, where you work absolutely every day and where everyone only cares about their own skin.

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Just another normal sleepless night at work

Catching up with family in a free minute

I chose this career more to get to see the world rather than for money, but I soon I realized that you see the world only through airports, or when you are woken in the middle of the night to assist with the ship’s docking maneuver, or you can see it in your only 6 hours break time if you sacrifice your hours of sleep and if your legs are still able to stand. Port views are usually limited to a large container yard, often far away, usually a 25 $ taxi ride away from the city. There are exceptions of course, like Hong Kong or Singapore, where the port is practically downtown. Or you can stay one month in a shipyard, or sit idle with your engine broken down somewhere nice. Sometimes when you sign on or off from the ship you’re lucky enough to catch a few nights at a hotel, then you can really get to see the city, but due to economic reasons this happens rare. It happens sometimes to catch a long stay in some ports, where the cargo operations are very slow due to the management , but this is usually the case in third world countries, where you don’t want to stay long, and you definitely don’t want to go the city.

Honk Kong entrance

In these years I have learned, usually the hard way, that there is no justice on the boat, no matter how many rights and goodwill you have, you will still bite the dust. To survive here and climb above others have you have to step on their heads and be like a snake. And I realized that in an isolated environment if you give the power to a mentally deranged individual who had a bad childhood, he will start acting like the master of a plantation and will fuck everybody, and there will be no one around to keep him under control.

But this isolated environment also creates good things: you will make tight bonds and friends that in an office environment would not happen. Apparently if you spend a few months, day and night in a small space with the same few people, you either become very good friends with them, or you will find a thousand ways to kill them in their sleep and throw the body in the ocean at night without being seen by anyone. If you’re not a racist you will probably become one, because most people on board are. This starts also from the shipping and crewing companies who assign ranks and set the length and wages of  your contract based on your nationality.

There is no more honor in this business, virtually all your life you will be a mercenary of the sea, in search of better conditions and pay. Before, each country had it’s own merchant fleet, manned with national crew. Nowadays you will find yourself celebrating New Year somewhere in West Africa, among pirates, in the company of barbed wire, surrounded by Russians and Filipinos, on a German ship sailing under the Liberian flag. Isn’t globalization beautiful?

nationality doesn’t matter, on board we’re all in the shit

nationality doesn’t matter, on board we’re all in the shit

And than there is the other life: the life ashore. Your time home between voyages, which may be shorter or longer, is not just a vacation, it’s basically your old life since before you started sailing, life that you are trying desperately to cling on to, but with each voyage it becomes more distant and unimportant to you. After 6 months on the high seas, you land in your country for 2-3 months and you simply do not understand what is going on around you. You missed your mother’s birthday, you missed the wedding of your best friend, you missed the latest movies … you missed a lot. And by the time you clear your head and start to adapt somewhat in society, your phone rings and you have to pack up and leave again.

Now imagine what it’s like to start a serious relationship in these conditions. Unless you’ve had your wedding in your early 20’s, or you are in a good consolidated relation with your high school sweetheart, you realize how damn hard it is to start and especially  maintain such a relationship. Be prepared to face situations like: you just finished a contract and come back home to find that your girlfriend is pregnant and already moved in with another dude. But the good thing is that because of these situations you will have a stronger character and you cope more easily and more prepared in future years. And more importantly you will know how to select and value those who you stayed beside you during hard times.

Years of  continuous non-interrupted daily work with many hours, sleeping erratically, eating food of doubtful quality,  extreme swings of temperature, years of living in a vibrating and rolling environment where your time zones shifts daily,  where the only available comfort you find in alcohol and tobacco and where coffee in large quantities is your best friend, will have an impact on your body. If you managed to escape serious physical injuries, you can be sure that you will pay in other ways. Those many white hairs that appeared on your head are just the surface syndrome.

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There is also the good part that everyone is thinking about: the money! If you sit isolated on a floating prison, means that you do not really have on what to spend the money you earn and you will put them aside. If you got some brains in your head and at the end of the contract you don’t not spend them all on a BMW,  after a few contracts on the sea you can actually think about buying an apartment, a piece of land, or a house with cash down. So while your friends are struggling with rates at the bank for the next 30 years, you have a chance to avoid this. But as I said earlier, you will pay in other ways, whether it’s with your time, your health or happiness. It is the price worth it? … . That is for You to decide!

Perhaps I am being subjective here, and on other ships, other companies the life on board is better, I write to you from my experience on container ships, deck department. But one thing is common to all: nobody will give you back the time spent at sea.

If you enjoyed this article check also my Fb GarciaCalavera.ro  , where you can subscribe by Like-ing it.

Check also other articles from Romania: Cursuri IMO 2016 sau jefuirea navigatorilor Vizita medicala obligatorie – o surpriza placuta ,  Legea fumatului in Romania – greseala majora , Propaganda ridicola a Constantei , RATC Constanta- o mare rusine a orasului , Cu masina la service ,  ANR – SSO Endorsement ;  Trenuletul din parcul Tabacarie , Abuzul Vodafone ,  Mafia Navigatorilor ;Brevet ofiter punte 2011- cat a ajuns toata afacerea;  Legi locale , Taxi Constanta , Birocratia 2 , Black Friday , Policlinica 2 , ANR Bucuresti Bancile in RO , Let’s do it Romania -But why? , Rovinieta in oras Inmatriculare auto , Aviz psihologic , Proiecte abandonate dupa ’89 de incompetenti   , Sea service cadet , Joburile in RO , TVA-ul

Excursie Dobrogea: Enisala , Ibida, Histria

Desi vremea era foarte capricioasa ne-am hotarat Duminica sa plecam la plimbare prin Dobrogea. Vroiam de mult timp sa vad cetatile  antice Enisala si Histria , care spre rusinea mea de Dobrogean nu le vazusem niciodata pana acum. Drumul nu a inceput incurajator , imediat cum am intrat pe drumul spre Tulcea a inceput sa ploua greu , dar din fericire norii pareau sa mearga in Sud , inapoi spre Constanta , astfel ca printr-un noroc incredibil la putin timp dupa ce am intrat in Judetul Tulcea , ploaia aproape ca se oprise.

Prima oprire a fost la Enisala , unde se ajunge foarte usor: se merge pe drumul E87 care leaga Constanta de Tulcea pana in orasul Babadag si de acolo venind dinspre Constanta se face dreapta spre Enisala. Drumul a fost recent renovat si este foarte bun. Dupa ce treceti de satul Enisala uitati-va foarte atent dupa un indicator foarte mic si obscur care indica drumul laturalnic spre cetate…. noi din pacate l-am ratat prima oara. [Citeste mai departe dupa poze]

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Enisala

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Madrid Spania Review

[To view this article in English click HERE]

Desi am avut ocazia sa vad Spania in timpul voiajelor , imi doream de mult o vacanta in aceasta tara minunata ca sa o pot savura cum trebuie. Micile sederi si escapade prin Barcelona si Valencia au fost frumoase dar prea scurte , asa ca intre pauzele dintre cursuri am reusit sa evadez cu iubita 9 zile in capitala Spaniei, Madrid. Am zburat cu Wizzair din Bucuresti , si biletele luate cu o luna inainte au fost 100 de Euro de persoana. Cu Wizzair nu veti avea probleme atata timp cat respectati la litera limitele si conditiile companiei , mai ales cand e vorba de bagajele de mana admise pe zbor.

Am aterizat tarziu in tara si la gazdele noastre de acolo , carora doresc sa le multumesc din suflet pentru ospitalitate, si ne-am bagat direct la somn. Dimineata ne-am trezit cu o priveliste frumoasa a suburbiei Torrejon de Ardoz , care este un cartier nou de langa Madrid, un cartier linistit planificat si executat asa cum trebuie , plin de spatii verzi si parcuri unde Continue reading

Jacksonville USA – two days visit

[Pentru limba Romana apasa AICI]

     Jacksonville , the port city from which I started my last ship contract,  represents the American style in all its splendor, specific to the conservative South. The flight to get there was very long, and although we missed our last connection in JFK Airport in New York due to the long ques and long VISA , ID and security checks in the airport, it was no stress: our ship was running late
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Jacksonville USA – doua zile de vis

[ to read this article in English click HERE ]

Jacksonville , orasul port din care m-am imbarcat in penultimul voiaj , reprezinta stilul american in toata splendoarea lui specifica Sudului conservator de care apartine. Zborul pana acolo a fost unul lung , si desi nu am prins ultima legatura la aeroportul JFK din New York datorita procesului lung de verificare a actelor si scopului vizitei la autoritatile americane , nu a fost nici o problema , nava fiind oricum in intarziere. Datorita unor circumstante favorabile mie …si mai putin favorabile celor de la vapor , am prins 3 nopti cazare la Jacksonville , timp in care am explorat si fotografiat cat mai mult din oras.

Ce sare in ochi la prima vedere cum iesi din aeroport , este ca e plin de masini Pick-up uriase peste tot. Agentul care m-a luat conducea o Toyota Tundra care in orice oras de stil European ar fi ocupat lejer 2

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Brasov weekend – last trip of the year

[pentru articolul in Limba Romana dati click aici ]

Although I was not expecting to catch snow home this year, due to unfortunate circumstances I did catch , and although I hate the cold, I do try to enjoy the few advantages of winter, especially snow and winter sports. Like many of our trips were made, everything started whie talking over a beer and was loosely organized, and if the previous planned trip to Bucharest failed, now looks like the stars alligned and within 48 hours of that beer we were on the road. We chose traveling by the direct bus Constanta – Cluj from Fany company , leaving from Constanta in the evening at and arrive in Brasov at 05:40 , costing 90 Lei or 20 Euros, being able to take advantage of all the day light of day on the slopes, a necessity thing given the fact that the winter season has not yet officially started and the nocturne instalation of the slope in Poiana Brasov is not yet active , also this way we avoided to changing to other means of transportation at North Station in Bucharest.  Continue reading

Brasov weekend – last trip of the year

[This article is also available in English for you here ]

Desi nu ma asteptam sa prind zapada acasa anul asta , circumstantele nefericite au facut sa prind , si desi urasc frigul incerc sa ma bucur de putinele avantaje ale iernii , in special de zapada si de sporturile de iarna. Ca multe din tripurile facute , totul a pornit de la discutie la o bere si s-a organizat ad-hoc , iar daca mult planificata drumetie la Bucuresti a esuat , uite ca acum s-au alineat astrele si in 48 de ore de la acea bere eram pe drum.  S-a ales varianta calatoritului cu autocarul direct Constanta – Cluj de la Fany , care pleaca din Constanta seara si ajunge in Brasov la 5:40 , costand 90 de lei , putand astfel profita de toata lumina zilei pe partie , o necesitate in conditiile in care sezonul de iarna inca nu a inceput oficial iar instalatia de nocturna a partiei din Poiana brasov inca nu e activa  si evitand sa schimbam catre alte mijloace de transport prin gara de Nord din Bucuresti.

Pensiunea “Paloma” la care am stat a fost ok , o pensiune decenta la un pret decent – 95 lei sau aprox. 22 EUR pe camera dubla Continue reading

Chisinau – Moldavia – Review

[Pentru articolul in limba Romana – click AICI]

For a long time I wanted to make a visit to the neighboring country across the Prut river and now I had the chance to do it. It started out as usual in a discussion after the fourth beer at bar when we got the brilliant idea to go to Chisinau – the capital of Moldavia , and because today we have smart-phones and mobile internet we checked on the spot how to get there  by bus and accommodation and on the third morning after we were on the road with one person less who changed his mind at the last minute. From Constanta to Chisinau there are daily bus runs  with Wi-Fi and air-condition that leaves Constanta at 21:30 and arrive there at 6:30 and the trip costs  60 RON (18 USD)…. yes, only 60 RON for a trip  of 500 km, the same money that we pay for a trip of 225 km on straight highway from Constanta to our capital  Bucharest , and this is because  we are in Romania, where it is “better” and the diesel is more expensive. In Moldova a liter of diesel costs at the present moment  4.3 RON and 4.52 RON regular petrol per liter at Rompetrol gas station, so is basically the same fuel we put in our cars , is  not some cheap imported  Russians fuel to say they have any better  price deal , the  difference in price between the two countries is made by  our greedy government  and state that pushes the price of petrol up through  totally unjustified and even ridiculous special taxes (Eco tax , alignment with European prices and other junk), I think I’d rather put this article in the category “Romania – shit country“… Continue reading

Busan – Korea quick stop

[for English version scroll down below photos]

Intamplarea a facut sa ajung mai devreme decat eram programat acasa ,  a fost un voiaj scurt in care nu am apucat sa vad prea multe dar am prins totusi inainte de imbarcare o noapte in Busan , principalul port al Koreei (aia de Sud , nu aia naspa din Nord).

Dupa cum spuneam mai devreme , Busan sau Pusan este al doilea oras ca marime din Korea dupa capitala Seoul , si cel mai mare port al tarii , precum si unul din cele mai aglomerate porturi de containere din lume. Complexul Busan New Port  , un port nou artificial aflat in imediata vecinatate a legaturii rutiere subacvatice Busan Goeje este o adevarata capodopera inginereasca. Ca sa va explic un pic , in momentul cand intram cu nava in port treceam pe deasupra la o autostrada submarina , autostrada  care dupa ce revenea deasupra marii se continua intr-un imens pod hobanat.

Atmosfera in Korea seamana foarte mult cu Japonia , tara este foarte dezvoltata si populatia destul de “inghesuita” , autostrazi , pasaje sub si supraterane  sunt ceva normal acolo , la fel ca si cladirile inalte. Toata lumea este obsedata si legata de tableta Continue reading