No more roaming costs in EU, tell me if is true!

European Union Facebook page

From tomorrow, 15 June 2017, the European Parliament mandated to have “no more” roaming costs for calls, sms and data connections.

The president of the Council says: “The European Union is about bringing people together and making their lives easier. The end of roaming charges is a true European success story.”

But the truth is that there are many rules about this policy, so better you read them, here I share the official statement from the EU:

 

End of roaming charges in the EU – 15 June 2017

Roam like at home

The EU “roam like at home” rules mean that when you use your mobile phone while travelling outside your home country in any EU country you don’t have to pay any additional roaming charges. You benefit from these rules when calling (to mobile and fixed phones), sending text messages (SMS) and using data services while abroad.

You pay exactly the same price for using these services when travelling in the EU as you would if you were at home. In practice, your operator simply charges or takes your roaming consumption from the volumes in your domestic mobile tariff plan / bundle.

If you have a contract with a mobile operator which includes roaming services it will automatically be considered as a roam like at home contract. The default option for all new mobile contracts with roaming services will be roam like at home.

Conditions

Roam like at home is intended for people who occasionally travel outside the country where they live or have stable links i.e. they work or study there. It’s not meant to be used for permanent roaming. As long as you spend more time at home than abroad, or you use your mobile phone more at home than abroad, you can roam freely at domestic prices when travelling anywhere in the EU. This is considered a “fair use of roaming services”.

If you use your mobile phone abroad permanently, your mobile operator may charge you for your roaming use. These charges are capped however (see fair use policy below).

When you cross a border within the EU, you will continue to receive a text message from your mobile operator informing you that you are roaming and reminding you of its fair use policy.

Fair use policy

Mobile operators may apply what is known as a “fair use policy” to ensure that all roaming customers have access to and benefit from the roam like at home rules (i.e. regulated roaming services at domestic price) when travelling in the EU.  Mobile operators may apply fair, reasonable and proportionate control mechanisms to avoid abusive use of these rules.

Fair use policy and data limits

When you roam like at home there are no volume restrictions for voice calls and SMS, but there are rules and limits for data usage at domestic price which are determined by the type of contract you have.

In some specific cases (see below), beyond a reasonably high volume of roaming data at domestic price, you may have to pay a data roaming surcharge which will be equal to the wholesale (EU-wide) data cap (€7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT). This wholesale roaming price is the maximum your domestic operator has to pay a foreign operator when you use data roaming services.

Data limits – pre-paid cards

If you have a pre-paid card (meaning that you pay in advance for using your mobile phone) you can roam like at home. However, your mobile operator may apply a roam like at home limit for data if you pay per unit and your domestic unit price for data is less than €7.70 per GB.

If your mobile operator applies a roam like at home volume limit for data, that limit should be at least the volume obtained by dividing the remaining credit on your pre-paid card by €7.70 as soon you start using data roaming services. You will get the same volume of roaming data that you have paid for in advance. You can of course top up your credit while roaming.

Sample story

Jana lives in Slovakia and has a pre-paid card with €20 credit (including VAT) for her mobile phone, which covers calls, SMS and data services. When she goes on holiday to Spain, she has €12 (excluding VAT) credit left on her card. This means that during her holiday in Spain Jana can have a volume of data equal to the value of the remaining credit on her pre-paid card. She will get at least 1.5 GB of roaming data (€12/€7.70 = 1.5).

Data limits – national bundles with unlimited data

If you have a contract where you pay a fixed monthly fee and it includes bundled services with unlimited data, your mobile operator must provide you with a large volume of roam like at home data. The exact amount will depend on the price you pay for your mobile bundle.  The roaming data volume must be at least twice the volume obtained by dividing the price of your mobile bundle (excluding VAT) by the wholesale data roaming cap (€7.70 in 2017).

For example: you pay €40 (excluding VAT) for your mobile bundle with unlimited calls, SMS and data. When you roam like at home in the EU, you get unlimited calls and SMS and at least 10.3 GB of data (2x(€40/€7.70) =10.3).

Your operator must inform you of your roam like at home data allowance. If you go beyond this allowance while roaming the surcharge will be the wholesale data cap = €7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT, €6 / GB plus VAT in 2018.  The data cap will decrease further after 2018.

Data limits – national bundles with limited data

If you have limited or very cheap mobile data (less than €3.85 / GB in 2017), your operator may apply a “fair use” limit for data when you are roaming. The limit is calculated on the basis of the retail price of your domestic mobile bundle as in the case of unlimited data (above). Your operator must inform you in advance about this limit and will have to alert you when you reach it. Be aware that you can continue data roaming but your operator will apply a surcharge. This surcharge will be the wholesale data cap = €7.70 / GB of data in 2017 plus VAT, €6 / GB plus VAT in 2018.  The data cap will decrease further after 2018.

Other contracts

Operators may also offer contracts without roaming services or specifically designed alternative roaming contracts with tariffs which fall outside the scope of the roam like at home rules (for example if you roam outside the EU) but these types of options must be specially chosen by the customer. As mobile operators are free to offer cheaper rates, you should shop around to find the best value and offer to fit your specific needs.

Fair use policy – monitoring

As part of their fair use policy, your operator can monitor and check your roaming use over a 4 month period. If, during this period, you have spent more time abroad than at home and your roaming exceeds your domestic usage, your operator may contact you and ask you to clarify your situation. You will have 14 days to do so.  If you continue to spend more time abroad than you do at home and your roaming consumption continues to exceed your domestic usage your operator may start applying a surcharge to your roaming consumption. The surcharges (excluding VAT) are capped as follows:

  • 3.2 cents per minute of voice call made
  • 1 cent per SMS
  • €7.70 per GB of data (cap in 2017)

The cap for data will progressively decrease on 1 January each year as from 2018 as follows:  €6, €4.50, €3.50, €3 to €2.50 in 2022. The cap after 2019 may be revised following a review of the wholesale roaming markets in 2019.

Fair use policy – cross border workers

If you work in one EU country and live in a different one, you can choose a mobile operator in either country and roam like at home with a SIM from the country where you live or from the country where you work. The roam like at home fair use policy applies: as long as you log on at least once day to your domestic operator’s network, it will count as a day of presence (even if you go abroad the same day).

Calling from home / roaming outside the EU

Calling another EU or non-EU country from home is not considered as roaming so the roam like at home rules don’t apply. You should be aware that the prices for these calls are not regulated and can be expensive.

The cost of roaming (particularly data roaming) outside the EU can be expensive, so to avoid running up steep roaming bills check the cost for roaming outside the EU with your provider before travelling.

Roaming while travelling by ship or plane

When travelling by ship or plane in the EU you can roam like at home as long as you are connected to a terrestrial (land-based) mobile network. If mobile services are provided via satellite systems, roam like at home no longer applies and you will be charged for non-regulated roaming services (no price caps).

Protection of personal data

Your operator is required to comply with the relevant personal data protection rules and may only use your data (which they already have for billing purposes) to check and compare your roaming usage with your domestic consumption.

If things go wrong – your consumer rights

If you think your service provider has not respected your roam like at home rights and you have been charged for roaming services while travelling within the EU, contact your operator and use the complaint procedure in place to contest these extra charges.

If you are not satisfied with the response you can contact the relevant national regulatory authorities in your country, usually your national telecoms regulator who will resolve your case.”

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/telecoms-internet/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm

 

 

I am quite curious to see if is true.

What do you think about this?
Share your thoughts!

Ocean Dumping – Boats are destroying the sea, did you know?

Do you know how many boats are on the water right now?
Many more than you can imagine…

Do you know that each of those boats, small or big, is polluting a lot just by running the engines? Many of them use ocean dumping as regular practice to get rid of sludge and other nasty -often toxic- waste.
Did you know?

If you didn’t know, well, now you can read it, I will give you some evidence as well.

 

With a degree in Nautical Studies for Captains, five years of study plus practical training, graduating with the title of “Engine Cadet”, I have been working on a dozen of boats and I discovered many facts which would shock anyone with a minimum of ethical values.

After witnessing ocean dumping on boats where I was working: “Grimaldi Group Napoli” and “Navigazione due Golfi spa” ,  I knocked at the door of Greenpeace (Antwerp, Belgium) in order to let them know and find out what would have been possible to do. Unfortunately I was not heard by Greenpeace.
Successively I ask support to an italian lawyer (Gerardo Iorlano) which seem to be willing to help, but actually he never starts any procedure.


 

To be strange

People is afraid of what they don’t understand. Often the simplest things are not understood.

On a boat, while other members of the crew are obeying orders to dispose highly polluting waste in the sea, I am the strange person, I am odd because I don’t do it.

Being strange means simply not to comply with the majority, but when the majority is doing evil, do you want to be normal or strange?

 

People following, people leading

Often I angrily ask myself how is possible that the most persons just follow trends, mode and attitude of others…
Why can’t anyone create his own life?
Well, the answer I have found is that we, are supposed to be like that, if there would be more leaders than followers it would not work out. Following other’s way of being is also a conservative natural protection we have, to avoid getting in situations that could harm us…

Unfortunately, in the maritime sector, the leading figures are not always the best example to follow, while the followers – the crew – does not use any common sense obeying even criminal orders…


The fun of curiosity

I mostly start to do things for fun, because I think that I would enjoy the situations where I end up in circumstances which I would never have expected.

The most peculiar fact is, that I often discovered the ‘real meaning’ of my presence, in a certain situation, just at the end of the events, or later.  The ‘real meaning’ that I discover, turns out to become much different that the reason why I started to do a certain thing, that ‘real meaning’ becames my purpose, which I was not aware of initially.

Working on boats for about three years, and in the harbour afterwards, made me having tasks which maybe didn’t fit at all with my desire, but, I have learned and discovered things that would have been for me impossible to know otherwise.


 

Superficiality

Each of us has his level of superficiality, some people pollute while not even thinking about it, they may recognize it or not as devastating practice, often they do it, not just because they have no values nor ethics,  but because of their superficiality.

I was thinking about my own superficiality, it seems strange, I don’t repute myself to be superficial, but still:
– I don’t want to live in The Netherlands cause I don’t like the way dutch is spoken there
– I don’t enjoy really much finnish architecture
I do choose a country where I live in also based on those two things: architecture and language, which could be considered as superficial by someone.

 

Movies & Reality, the opposite of each other

Almost all the things that are fascinating and thrilling in videos or movies, are horrible in reality: war, killings, homelessness, catastrophes…

 

Romanticizing the worst

Boats accidents, Homelessness, soldiers, survival situations and even mafia.
Does it seems to be funny, exotic, nice, charming or disgusting to you?

Paradoxically enough, we tend to romanticize all the worst possible situations, attitudes or jobs.
Maybe it’s a kind of play-down that we automatically set up in order to relieve ourself from harsh reality.

We are bombarded with videos showing us how beautiful boats are, and consequently, we all love to go for a cruise-boat trip.
Boats are actually highly disturbing the life, ecosystem and natural balance of aquatic environments. In fact, just the presence of any floating structure, alters small and big marine settings. The most people is not even aware of this.

 

One ‘freedom’

We like to have the ‘freedom’ to do whatever we want and we often misuse that ‘freedom’. For sure in highly industrialized and economically developed countries.

Freedom to travel should not be equal to freedom to pollute without reason, taking an airplane or a boat, just because the ticket was so cheap, it’s an example of misuse.

 

One wants the freedom to “own” a dog

The dog has no freedom to choose,

Others have no freedom to walk in a park without shoes to become brown.

 

One wants the freedom to smoke

Others have no freedom to breath clean air,

No freedom to have no cancer,

No freedom to have clean streets.

 

One ask for freedom to listen loud music

Others have no freedom to quietness,

No freedom to choose what to listen.

 

One wants to have the freedom to consume and pollute as much as wished,

The fish has no freedom to be free from plastic in his environment,

Other people have no freedom to swim because of the contamination.

 

Behind any freedom, there is a non-freedom.


 

Recycling in Denmark, Find what you need, when you need, if you need

I just lost my socks from the window, I go in the night for a bicycle ride, I find nearly new socks right away.

I am with no sheets nor blankets, I need some, I notice on google map a place called “consignment shop”, in Copenhagen and I save it on my map.
After few days I get lost, I look on the map of my smartphone and I notice I am nearby the place I starred previously as “consignment shop”. Not just I find sheets and blankets, but pillows too. The only missing are pillowcases, but I just spotted some white t-shirt that can serve as it.

There are a lot of places in Denmark called “genbrugsstation”, containers park / consignment shops, where you can dispose the garbage and exchange items in a dedicated space, “the free shop”.

Nature & Sharing

Sharing and get benefit from each other is everything but new. With the boom of the sharing economy we all see how much beneficial sharing goods or services can be, Nature does it all the time.
In nature it’s practically impossible for one individual to use more resources that what he is supposed to, just we, as capitalistic artificial humans, have created a vicious circle that puts inequality, and related pollution, at the first place.
Let’s say you want to have food and water, if you eat a watermelon you get them both, in exchange you will spread around the seeds of the plant, giving a favor back, this is so implicit to nature that you don’t even notice you are helping the plant by eating the fruit…

Technology vs Nature

How to know when tech is going against nature?
Well, one easy attitude would be to use technology to better understand and follow nature’s rules.

Expensive things kill you

It’s quite paradoxical that expensive things are in many cases not good, while free, or inexpensive stuff, is making us live longer :

The most expensive things

– Drugs –  they kill you

– Cars & vehicles in general (boats included) – statistically kill more than any war

– Plastic surgery – you get also psychological problems from it

While free things are so healthy

– Water  – the most healthy drink

– Fruit – the best food

– Fasting – once a month or a week it purifies the body

 

Changing

I am changing, I changed, I did so many changes that if I change more I become like I was in the beginning.

 

Why Camping, nature and wildlife are beneficial

Doing wilde ‘uncomfortable’ life, is not just nice to be in contact with nature, get healthier, more spiritual, down to earth and rewild ourself, but also helps us appreciate the commodities we have in everyday life like water, electricity and other luxuries…

The ‘Floating City’ and the childhood

In Copenhagen there is a magic place, one of the few boats that does not pollute at all: The floating city.

It’s a self organized space, where many activities take place regarding recycling and reusing.
They even builded up by them-self boats with recycled materials. I had the pleasure to meet them and stay on the recycled catamaran for short.

When I was a kid, I use to play with a group of other kids in building up a mini villages, constructing small combs with wood and spending a lot of time in that projects. There, at the floating city the same is happening, bringing my feelings to my childhood.
Just with more tools.

 

Humans vs Animals

who is the smartest animal?

Are chickens stupid?

We may say that chickens are stupid because we have the technology to measure their brain size…
But, are we sure we are smarter than chickens?
If we see how many things we have destructed on this planet, well, chickens are smarter than us because they didn’t damage at all.
We could discuss endless about how smart we are boosting humans above other animal spieces, we can say we have the most developed brain and we won the challenge to dominate nature…
But if we take into account that we are the only animal contaminating air, water and soil, the essential to live, what else should we talk about?

 

One of the other differences between humans and other animals is that humans have the peculiarity to kill other of their own specie with madness.

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Belarus, Elections? 2015. Minsk, the city of Lukashenko or Stalin? Photo Reportage

High tower with a Communist Star on the top

It’s election time in Belarus, in Europe there is maybe not much discussion on the media.

The Belorussian folk I met was not really keen to say much about this topic, they didn’t trust much the voting system and their point was: “we already know the winner, there should be not even need of making elections”. I even heard someone saying: “Lukasheko is good for stability”.

EPIDEMIC OF VOTING ADS

Minsk is full of posters, and any kind of advertising, to remind everyone about voting on 11 of October 2015, but nowhere to see the candidates, except for him…

Judging from the amounts of sings and election ads, it looks like the only problem of Belarus is that people may forget to go to vote. You should be blind not to notice any of those signs/ads/videos/posters/decorations/flags etc… Even sms’s on your phone. Actually a blind can notice it because there are non stop audio propaganda too, also in the metro.

During some walks in the city I see stands with ‘activists-like’ individuals giving information’s, I go to talk with them, one of them speaks English, I ask about who are the candidates – after receiving some suggestions from the others – he tells me he does not speak English(anymore) and therefore he can’t tell me about the other candidates.
In a short while I see another stand,  they are young boys and girls speaking English, they look like alternative, genuine persons. I get to know it’s the stand of Lukashenko and they can’t give me any information’s about the other candidates. I ask how to know who else is candidate and why there is nowhere any information about them, the answer is: I have to go on in the internet and find it out by myself.

COMMUNISM OR CAPITALISM

It’s a monumental city, where they keep Christmas decorations all year round, both in the streets and in cafes, almost to keep the place from changing, quite soviet style.
Shopping malls become more and more popular in Minsk, but here you have to pay even for the WC, and not just in the shopping malls, public toilets are all for paying.

Many private places, such as casinos, luxury hotels, restaurants, discotheques, have an extremely posh style, in high contrast with the communistic ideology. This maybe shows a reaction of the rich people trying to show – as much as they can – that they don’t belong to the average-low class.

It’s quite paradoxical for me to see that here in Minsk, being communist means to be from the side of the government. I remember when I was a teenager, I was often in environments where the Italian communist party people was involved, because it represented the alternative and the freedom of expression – in Minsk is not the case.

In the Baltic states (ex USSR) I had chance to hear quite many locals talking extremely negatively about the Soviet time. I though they where just complaining because of the appealing modern  consume-capitalist society. Now that I am in Belarus I understand what they were talking about. I understand how frustrating it feels to not have freedom of speech.

Often the most important thing people want to have is not money or power, but an identity.

OVER-SUPER-EXTRA BUREAU-CRAZY SYSTEM AND PEOPLE CONTROL

To just get inside a library they needed all your data, passport, telephone number, exact address and you have to pay.
I asked to just have a look to the library, after almost half hour of BUREAUCRAZY, they asked me to pay fix membership. Okay, I can’t complain, I was born in Italy, there were BureauCrazy was born too, and now is still strongly alive!

Belorussian Police officers don’t look like to be annoying or arrogant.
They are quite professional and even pay the ticket to enter the metro. Many other police agents in other countries, Italy especially (which are the specialists of taking advance of being in a uniform),  could learn a lot from them.
Maybe they are a bit too strict, but I didn’t have much interaction with them, except for the registration at the migration office, which was quite annoying (because of the wild queue).

 

BELORUSSIAN WOMEN AND THE BELORUSSIAN ARMY

Women spend a lot of time and energy in dressing up like models, the same does the Government, in dressing up the city and the army. Waste of time, resources and energy.

Friendship and marriage are used in  conservative societies, to support each other in any field, even for legal matters, political or economical. Having often people selecting partners and friends based on non-affective interests.
Northern, and progressing society, have strong, accessible, public services that supports people, that’s why friendship and love are more selective and genuine in those cultures. More rare as consequence.

Even if people seems at first a bit cold and distant, they are approachable, just remember to say the following first : “Disvinize Pajalusta” – which I wrote completely wrongly!

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION vs PROPAGANDA

One easy sign regarding the limitation of expression is the internet upload speed, it’s almost impossible to find anywhere a connection with an higher speed than 0.5mbs, which means that it’s really hard for anyone to broadcast or upload videos or audio…

While everybody looks the TV, state owned, the ‘distraction’ mass tool.


SQUARES AND PUBLIC PLACES IN MINSK, NOT EVEN ARTISTS IN THE STREET

In Belarus you feel to be in an unreal place, out of the time. Back to the history.
Many public places look majestic, imposing and clean but, at the same time, they are mostly empty and sterile.
It looks like that the public authorities don’t really like the gathering of a persons in squares, they see it as an “unauthorized manifestation”. This gives as result people gathering in really ugly and hidden spaces, just to have a chat, drink or picnic.

Even street artists are not really welcome, because it seems that the governments sees them as ‘non tax payers”
This is such a big contrast, I even find it back inside myself, where is in me a fight between two characters of me, one side, as my big brother, always shy and submissive. The other part of me, like my other brother, really proud and ambitions…

UNIVERSITIES, WORK and UNEMPLOYMENT

University buildings are simple, they look like hospitals.
The most students seem to come from upper classes.
After asking around I find out that if you get good points, studies maybe for free, otherwise you have to pay for it.

If you don’t find a job you can join the army (which always welcome people) or clean the streets (almost for free). If you decide to not do any of those, being unemployed, you will have to pay a tax (240$/Year).

You can evaluate the welfare of a government from how much weak individuals and animals are treated. Here homeless people is not well seen. Meat is eaten in every meal.

ALTERNATIVE PEOPLE & MONO-LIFE

Some of non aligned, artistic and anti-conformist persons may be found in McDonald or “west-style” bars. Maybe as form of ‘rebellion’ to the system.

I noticed that the still-soviet-style cafes and restaurants where I go to eat, play always the same music (soviet pop mostly). I don’t know if people likes it or realize this situation, but I am almost able to sing like the Ramazzotti-of-Minsk.

CYCLING & ARCHITECTONIC BARRIERS IN MINSK

The urbanistic structure of the city is definitely capitalistic.
I have to admit that I loved the “countdown timer” on the traffic lights, it’s so practical, you always know what time to cross! (except once that the countdown didn’t show green after the red and I was almost killed by the speeding cars).
Although Public transportation is cheap and efficient, the cars are king here. Or maybe more thank king.
Often as pedestrian you have to take tunnels or longer ways in order to cross the huge car road.
As cyclist you don’t even have possibility to cross big roads, because pedestrian tunnels are totally bike-(or wheels)-unfriendly, you have to carry your bike by hand.
Also at home I have to carry the bike up to my place, for three floors, cause nobody leaves bicycles outside and they may get stolen.

I didn’t even see one person on wheelchair or with handicap, this means one of the two:

  • Everybody is perfectly healthy in Belarus;
  • They are ashamed and not supported by the local welfare, to move or be independent, because there is not even one proper wheelchair-friendly ramp in the whole country.

THE TITLE MAY BE NOT APPROPRIATE

I apologize if anyone find that the title is not appropriate, actually I should have written it in a different way, not -Minsk, the city of Lukashenko- but -Belarus, the country of Lukashenko-.
The thing is that, expect Minsk, the rest of the country looks pretty much forgotten by the administration, that’s why I didn’t bother to write “the country”.

Do you think I wrote any bull***t?
Comment please!

(due limited connectivity in Belarus I was not able to edit and upload the videos I wanted to…)

Baltic’s States, I meet a blood drinker around Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

ESTONIA

One of the difficult things for me, to do on the road, is to take picture and enjoy what you are photographing at the same time. Is not easy to catch the beauty of what you are watching, often by photographing all the time, you even lose connection with the reality and the enjoyment of the moment. That’s why sometimes I just leave the camera on my bicycle and I record everything without even pointing at it! (not always with the best results….)

Blood drinking girl in Pärn‍u

On my way south, from Finland to the bottom of Estonia, I was searching for a place to sleep, suddenly I met someone…

We met in the middle of the night without knowing each other, in a dark street in the countryside.
I was lost and she offered me her place to sleep (without even seeing my face).
I liked her style, her way of behaving and her apparent foolery, she was really extravagant.
While we cycled to her place, she was telling me that she was a monster and enjoyed killing people. Drinking their blood.
I was slightly scared, but tired enough from the trip to follow her without resistance.

We arrived,
her room had many dark-style decorations on the walls.

It was the house of her grandparents, with her alcohol addicted grandfather, always drunk, screaming all the time, and her extremely sweet grandmother, gentle and kind, suffering all the time.

Even being afraid that someone is a dangerous person, if you like that person and you think it’s someone worth to get to know, you should go for it.  Everybody is a potentially dangerous person, and remember that even if someone is ‘bad’, he may change as well. Better to be now, with someone that looks like a dangerous person, or maybe not perfect, than to get to know someone thinking he is totally safe  (which does not exist actually) , that will eventually change in the future in someone dangerous while the first person may get better.
Not even death always related with ugliness: the dying of leafs on a maple tree are delightful to see for example.


LATVIA

RIGA

The most people has a quite archaic and conservative opinion about sex and man-woman relationship. If you like to be in company of women you are seen as a dirty, stupid, unwelcome.
The first impression is that western Europeans can be just good to get scammed and ripped off.

There is a huge Russian influence here, even if people told me: “Lithuanians are more Russian-style than us…”.
Anyhow, I don’t see here a big wish for change from the past.

If a man is not prone to expose himself for his ideas, or his ideals have no value at all or he, as person, has no value at all.

Luca x2, the paradoxical coincidence

Passing by a hostel in the center of Riga, asking some information’s, I notice a person that I have seen somewhere before.

I ask:

“Hallo, did I see you anywhere before?”

“yes, maybe” – he says with a strong french accent,

“ah, that’s funny, where were you the past weeks?” – I reply,

“in Tallinn,”

“me too! we should have met there then, did you hitchhiked to here?”

“no, I came with the bicycle”

“me too! what a coincidence!”

“what is your route?”

“I am coming from Scandinavia”

“me too! that’s more than a coincidence… ! where are you going?” – I say, almost not believing it!

“south, direction middle-east,”

“me too!” – I even start to worry about too many coincidences! – “since when did you start?”

“many months”

“me too, seen that we have so much things in common, we should introduce each other! What’s your name?”

“Luca” – he says

“me too!!” I reply

This is funny, weird and does not even look like to be possible, but it is. And you have seen it on video!

 

I love Gulliver’s travels because whenever he was traveling,  in the each new place he arrived, the people could not understand or properly interpret experiences he had in the previous places. This happen in real life as well, who hasn’t traveled into a country, is not really able to understand certain things about that culture.


 

LITHUANIA

What if we would say to an anthropologist: “are you sure the culture you talk about is not just a scientific stereotype?” – I don’t think it is, but would be interesting to hear the answer.

Vilnius

If you just go in the street and shout: “Giedre” you will get at least the half of the girls turning their head. This is the most common name for girls.

Food

Lithuanians really love to add sauces to any kind of food, especially ketchup!
Pizza with ketchup, mayonnaise or tartar sauce is quite common.
Coffee and tea are not filtered, which means that you are mostly eating, not drinking it.

Vegetarians and vegans in Vilnius

When I asked to a waiter in a restaurant for a vegan meal, she gave me this explanation:

“Vegetarian here means that you are allowed to eat fish, Vegan means that you don’t eat fish or meat, but you do eat milk and eggs.”

I was surprised, but actually I have to admit that in Lithuania people is still much more forward than in more southern countries about fair and healthy food, for sure Latvians and Belorussians are not better…

Police

A group of three persons was behaving a bit annoying around the main train station during night time, once I called police they came really fast, they were helpful and did a good job, I even got a translator.

With Police the truth is sometimes the least credible.

The danger of who generalize is to end up fighting against his companions.

Cycling

There are public bicycles and some bicycle paths, still the system is not perfect and in many streets it’s really hard to cycle because the path may be marked as “cycling lane”, but , it has in some areas paving stones that makes it almost impossible to cycle.  The crossings points need to be improved too.

Street Theater, Street Performances

Lithuanians have a sense of creativity, art and modernism, I was quite surprised to notice that.
There are many enjoyable street performances in Lithuania, regardless the cold climate (of course mostly in the summer), if you happen to pass in Vilnius in August you may enjoy some carfree days with Art, Sports and performances open to all.

Theater VS Real Life

Theater and reality overlap in my life, it merges until the point I don’t play theater anymore but I play my life, making the world as scene. This makes my technical acting skills decrease, but my social and life skills improve.

Technology

Regardless some other fields where there is room for improvement,  in Lithuania, you have great internet infrastructure: the best European fibreoptic internet penetration (usage) and both home and mobile internet really fast and affordable.

Technology VS Nature

How to know when tech is going against nature?
Well, one easy attitude would be to use technology to better understand and follow nature’s rules.

The ‘under construction hotel’ almost Hotel California

 

 

 

 

First night in “construction in progress hotel”:

 

price : 0 euro

 

20141201_071846

 

 

 

 

All-Included:

 

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Sea view;
Self-service  reception;

 

Bio-sea toilet;
And…

 

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Many builders.

Sex tourism or Rape? Couchsurfing horror story in Vilnius, Lithuania. A negative reference about sexsurfing that hides many things…

The aggressor

Twenty minutes of terror in Vilnius, the calm capital of Lithuania.
This man invites you to dinner and while being polite…

One of those two is the suspected
One of the two men is the accused of the crime, the face of the suspected is partially covered.

This is the feedback Giedre, a couchsurfing member, wrote for the guy in the above picture:

Giedre Birzyte Reference - Couchsurfing - Luca Gentile
“GIRLS, BE CAREFUL! I am putting negative reference, so you would go and check the neutral references, before you decide to stay, host or meet him. I’ve met him shortly, he invited me for a dinner to his place. 20 minutes was enough to understand that it is better to RUN fast from this guy. Pure intuition and no evidence, but I am glad I did not stay for evidence.”

Here he is cooking, preparing the trap
The guy is in the middle

We don’t have evidence yet, but thanks to intuition, our alert friend Giedre, could get away fast from him, lucky. Cause potentially, he could have done really horrific things…
Reports like this are quite useful for our community, we get informations and we know whom to isolate, or eventually report to Police.
Let’s hope many people will be so smart, alert and investigative like Giedre to report as much as possible those cases.

In the middle the suspected guy, while eating with other couchsurfer
In the middle the suspected guy, while eating with other couchsurfers –  Host Erwin Rossen – Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Or not?

How many are our own mental fantasies and how many of those are matching the reality?

How many of those we thought were serial killer did really kill?
Do we watch maybe too many horror movies?

We are so scared and warned about strangers, but do we know that many crimes are happening within the family circles?
Do we know that it’s more likely that our best friend or partner is going to do something bad, than a stranger?

In the USA people continuously kill each other by mistake, they have all easy reach to weapons and simply because they are ‘scared’ they fire instinctively… maybe on their neighbour

Here he fakes to be asleep before attacking the polish victims - CS Host Patrik  - Belgium
Here he maybe fakes to be asleep before attacking the victims, three polish CSers – CS Host Patrik – Belgium

I don’t think that not knowing someone is a reason why this person is potential serial killer.
There is bad people, but is not because we don’t know them that they are bad.

The creepy guy is eating while other couchsurfers are scared of him
The creepy guy is eating while other couchsurfers are scared of him, ready to run away. Or maybe the one standing could be his crime partner –  Couchsurfers Andrea Taurino and Rafael Oliveira – Helsinki, Finland

You wanted maybe now the continue of the story? – actually the start, cause we don’t have a start yet.
Righ!  I will write it, also because the guy who got the feedback is me (yes, I am a monster and I didn’t even realize it)

Here the horror story continues…

Here a potential victim is drinking some unknown drinks
Here a potential victim is drinking some unknown substances with closed eyes

“I am putting negative reference, so you would go and check the neutral references… I’ve met him shortly, he invited me for a dinner to his place, 20 minutes… it’s better to run…pure intuition and no evidence” – Giedre says (the victim)
What kind of reference is that? An invite to see other references? It’s better to run? run instead of…? walking? cycling? Intuition of what? Why she went to my place if I have such alarming neutral feedbacks? – I say (the monster).

This is a proof of the offender intention to arm, his expression is enough to condemn him.
This is a proof of the offender intention to harm, his expression is enough to condemn him. The victim is not aware of it, still smiling – CS Meeting in The Netherlands.

Twenty minutes of horror:

Giedre was supposed to host me, she accepted my couch-request but finally I got a good offer on Airbnb where I could have my own apartment in Vilnius (soviet union style) for a superlow price.
I invited her to have some food at my place to be thankful to her.
It took me efforts to make the food (I wanted to cook something good) and make the place look nice.

First ten minutes:

I noticed that Giedre was already behaving odd talking about the neighborhood where I had the apartment (which is the Naujininkai district in Vilnius) saying it was a place where criminals live, doing a bit Columbo style.
As she arrived, her inspection started to my apartment, almost like mr Holmes, she asked me detailed informations such as where I had this place from, if I moved the furniture myself, etc… she even looked inside personal closets and I told her: “I don’t even know what you will find in those closets cause this is not my place and I have not opened those closets myself to respect the privacy of my host” – then she stopped doing inspector gadget and started eating.

Second ten minutes:

Except her ‘high level curious behavior’, everything seemed to be back to normality once we started to eat.
I didn’t feel really offended by her previous behaviour cause I have met any kind of persons in my trips (even though someone else may get offended, especially from the inspection in the personal closets).
She was seating in front of me, about two meters far from me, on another couch, the table was in the middle of us, she was always asking quite odd and personal questions but less Clouseau style this time.
I had some bad experiences in Riga not long ago, I was starting to talk about it to her, saying: “in Riga some criminal girls tried to drug me in order to rob me…” – when Giedre stood up, said: “I want to go” – and left.

This all happened in no more than half-hour in total, no longer. Absolutely nothing more than this happened.

I felt really down, I could not understand why she did it, I got almost depression for a couple of days (especially after reading her comment) thinking something is wrong with me.

Classic pose of a perverted half naked serial killer, pretending to cook, before attacking the victim
Classic pose of a perverted half naked curly hairy serial killer, pretending to cook, searching some knifes, before attacking the CouchSurfing victim

After some facebook discussion with many people about this event I guess that one of those applies:
– Giedre is psychologically not stable;
– She feels some kind of feminist empathy for the criminal girls of Riga;
– She is totally disrespectful and has random hate for men;
– Giedre is a friend of someone who left me a neutral reference;
– No other men have ever been so polite with her and she was shocked;
(it’s also possible that more than one of those applies)

Here the host prepares the trap, it's to against the host Thea, from Oslo.
Here the guy prepares the trap, it’s for  the CS host Thea Rostbakken, from Oslo, Norway.

In her mind being too polite is not normal and for her is equal to be creepy?

I wanted to write to Giedre, but from the moment I am like a monster to her eyes (by reading her reference) I prefer not to contact her. I also think she should be the one who has to write first, anyway I am open to friendly discussion (but without food this time). Maybe would be good also for her (for sure cheaper than a psycholog).

I will leave a negative feedback to her cause I feel quite uncomfortable with what she did and what she wrote.
I don’t find it fair: I was really polite, kind and respectful to her, I spent efforts to make the place look nice and for the food.
She accused me ‘in general’ just for no reason, just for her mental fantasies. I really would like to know what was going on in her mind and what girls should be careful of?

An attempt to poison a whole group of CSers, in Hungary, during CS  Couchsurfing Diamond Moon tour 2013 - http://www.evezzvelem.hu/ajanlasok_eng.php
An attempt to poison a whole group of CSers, in Hungary. Note the offender habit to be almost naked before the crime – during CS Couchsurfing Diamond Moon tour 2013 –
http://www.evezzvelem.hu/ajanlasok_eng.php

OK Giedre, you don’t know it cause you runned away after 20 min, but I tell you a secret about me, something few people know, something maybe I should feel ashamed of, something not just to make public in a post, something that may condemn people to death penalty in certain regimes, a fact that may not allow me to go back to my italian family, the evidence that you didn’t wait to discover:

I am a feminist too!
And I will help you to warn all the GIRLS about the danger that they may have with such a creepy man as I am. But I will be more specific then you.

Let’s shout out the hidden truth of me, my dark side:

The attacker behaving like a friendly pizza man, before his dark plans. CS host "Martina Piantina", Spain,
The attacker behaving like a friendly pizza man, before his dark plans (look at the knifes, why there? why in the kitchen? – Also on the nose there is some white powder, he was maybe  camouflaging cocaine for flour, typical technique) CS host “Martina Piantina”, Spain,

GIRLS , PAY ATTENTION TO ME!
I MAY INVITE YOU FOR DINNER, I MAY USE ITALIAN MANNERS: I MAY COOK HEALTHY ITALIAN FOOD FOR YOU, MAKE MY PLACE COZY, CLEAN AND, EVEN, I MAY BE GENTLE, FUNNY, RELAXED, FOOD ACROBATIC, POLITE AND RESPECTFUL TO YOU, AS GUEST AS WOMAN AND AS HUMAN BEING. GIRLS BE AWARE OF THIS.
Why not warning boys too? I do invite men as well at my place.
– Please Girls and Boys, Men and Women, Ladies and Gentlemen, if you don’t like the above mentioned behaviors don’t come to my place for dinner or, instead of running away, just tell me that you have important business to do and leave after five minutes, it’s more polite. At least in some cultures –

He even developed some skills in pizza flying, just to confuse the ideas of the eaters...
He has even developed some skills in pizza flying, just to confuse the ideas of the victims…

I avoid feeling too much offended or thinking of others as bad, but words are stones, and thanks to persons like Giedre, in the inquisition time (or maybe still in some countries), people was burned up FOR REAL just because of ‘PURE INTUITION’.

While the pizza flies he is thinking about his next victim - CS Guest Alessandro Colombi from Milan.
While the pizza flies he is thinking about his next victim – CS Guest Alessandro Colombi from Milan.

Here the final evidence of the crime, uncovered, a video of the maniac assaulter (me) with his CS host Margaret & Pati, in Helsinki, Finland:

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PS. In case Giedre may have felt some compassion and closeness to the criminal girls of Riga which I was talking about. To fully inform the readers, I post the story of the criminal Riga Bar-Girls Scam I was saying to Gidre just before her exodus:
https://travelthetheater.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/riga-european-capital-of-the-scam-culture-2014/?preview_id=293

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The countryside northen of Riga (Latvia) so charming but so tough

Cycling to the capital of Latvia, I had some tough time but it made me end up in a wonderful place…

 

Bicycle on the beach
Vidzemes akmeņainā jūrmala

 

 

I never thought that I in the northern coast of Riga (about 70 km from the city) there would be such beautiful landscapes, amazing, fascinating views that drained up the battery of my camera.
Actually I regret to have made so much pictures, because I spent the most of my time looking at the camera instead of looking at the reality.

 

Vidzemes akmeņainā jūrmala
Rocks on the Latvian north-east beach

 

The enjoyment of the sight made the time passing fast, suddenly it was dark and I was still 70 KM from my destination (Riga), I thought “ok, I will spend the night in a hostel here…”; actually I didn’t had into account that there are no hostels in those villages, not eve motel, there were two camping but they were close.
After few kilometers I find a guest house, I call the owner and he asks me: “how many you are” – I say – “I am alone…” I don’t finish the sentence that the guy reply: ” we are closed.”
I start to think to pass the night in the forest, but it is about to rain and for the day after there is the same weather forecast: rain.

 

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I go to a supermarket to ask if they know any place where I can go and to buy some food. The food is extremely expensive and of bad quality, I ask the woman if I can eat inside the supermarket cause I am cold outside (I cycled for 10 hours and I wanted some warmth), the woman says: “no”.

 

20141014_180123

 

I find a last camping on google maps, I call and a really kind woman, speaking perfectly english (better than me at least), says: “just come to a green gate”.
Of course I don’t find the gate, but after a couple of calls we find each other and I am so surprised of how friendly and kind this person is.
She tells me that they are close, but she wants to help me and she can offer me an appartment, for free! – I was actually shocked from her kindness and good heart.
I enter the place and is just amazing, beautiful wooden floor, wooden doors and all modern with all comfort!

 

20141014_223533
Is from here that I am writing, in this moment…

 

20141014_223415

 

I want to link this place cause such kind acts are not common:
https://plus.google.com/109814064533338343955/about?hl=en

The traveller

Traveling with bicycle theater - Keskväljak (Estonia)

The traveller is in some ways weak, he has no ability to joining political life of the visited country, sometimes he has to accept rules and even misbehaviors just because he is the “new” in the country.
But a big duty of the traveller is to inform, to see and report, to use his eyes as security cameras, that will trigger any time some improper happening is seen.