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One week in paradise

maj 29

The sun is shining, you lie on the beach and look at the ocean. All you hear is the waves hitting the shore and birds singing. As for me, this is what paradise should look like…

fot. Barbara Bączek

Such a paradise exists in Portugal and I have just spent one week there. It is the Algarve – a region known from its beautiful beaches, considered as one of the most beautiful in the world. Praia do Pinhão, Praia Dona Ana, Praia do Camilo – these are only some of the wonderful places that you can find in Lagos, a city outlying about 1.5 hour by bus or train from Faro. If you want to see all of them, you have to be prepared to go down and up stairways many times, because there is no easy way of connecting the beaches. But the views are worth it!

The other place you have to visit in Algarve is Cabo de São Vicente – the most southwesterly extremity of Europe. You can go there by bus or take about a 5-km walk from Sagres. It is tiring, of course, but I think you will be really proud of yourself when you get to the final destination – I was J Just don’t forget about some protection from the sun and from the wind as both of them are really strong here.

Probably you are wondering what is the best month to travel to the Algarve? For me May was perfect – it was warm but not too hot, there were not so many tourists and you could do almost everything you want to – walk, swim, sunbathe, surf, admire the views, even play golf (there are many golf courses in this area). You should also try some local specialties such as grilled sardines, pastel de nata or the local vinho verde wine.

To sum up, are there any minuses to spending your holidays in Algarve? I found just one – my holidays lasted only one week, and one week in the paradise is definitely not enough…

(BB)

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Mother’s Day Around the World

maj 17

If you live in Poland, the 26th of May is the date that comes to your mind when thinking about Mother’s Day. But did you know that despite its name, ‘International Mother’s Day’ is not quite international? Even though the cause for celebrating motherhood seems universal all over the world, different countries have a special date to pay tribute to maternal love.

Most countries honour this day as the first or second Saturday in May. In the UK this holiday is also known as ‘Mothering Sunday’. May, and spring in general, has been chosen as the celebration for Mother’s Day in Mexico (10th of May), Paraguay (15th of May) and Bolivia (27th of May). The most popular, however, is the 14th of May, with the most countries celebrating motherhood (Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, The Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, The United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zimbabwe). Now that’s a date, isn’t it?

Knowing when people celebrate it, let’s see how people honour Mother’s Day? Well, it is worth mentioning that in Brazil Mother’s day is one of the most commercial and popular holidays – almost like Christmas! In France, ‘Fete des Meres’ basically means a relaxing day for mothers with small gifts and cards. While in most countries mothers receive presents, in Japan such a tradition is not cultivated. Japanese children give their mothers flowers that are considered to be tokens of love. In South Africa children pray for good health for their moms and also share praise for their effort and care.

Almost the entire world is celebrating Mother’s Day, yet the concept of celebrating this day seems to be quite new in, for example, India (celebrated only for the last 10 years). Cultural research has found that this trend seems to be growing as the appreciation for women tends to grow amongst cultures where is has never been witnessed before. It may also be the reason for why Mother’s Day gains more popularity in countries such as Iran and Vietnam.

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter where you live. You can express love and gratitude to you mother not only on this one day a year. We are strongly encouraging you to do so more often. :)

(MW)

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Google Translate – Friend or Foe?

kwi 27

Admit it – you’ve probably used Google’s most famous language tool at some point in your life. Whether you had no idea what a word on a soda can meant, you didn’t recognize the language or simply could not remember that one word in a language you’re studying. Google Translate is a fast and free online tool that helps you to grasp the gist of a particular text. It’s no secret, however, that it is not the most accurate and reliable program, and without context it can bring up some crazy results.

Can you imagine that Google Translate is only 11 years old? It was introduced in April 2006 and since then has been improved and adjusted to work on smart phones and other mobile devices to help translate words in 103 languages. It is measured that more than 100 billion words are translated by Google Translate every day. Combine that together and you’ll get the world’s biggest essay that consists of the most random words and phrases! If you have ever wondered which language combinations are the most popular, here’s your answer: English (no surprise here) to Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Indonesian. Funny, because the country with the most Google Translate users is Brazil.

If you have some time to spare, you can find videos of people typing phrases to translate from one language to another to achieve the craziest results. It gets even better when Google Translate starts to beat box. The Internet get crazy about typing song lyrics; Google translate it and then try to sing it again with the new versions. The results vary and that actually brings me to my next point: did you know that the Google empire doesn’t use it in their business related translations? Why? Well, mainly because this online translator simply cannot replace humans, and so working on such content would be highly unprofessional.

The number and types of errors are ridiculously high. Of course it will help tourists, and those who completely don’t speak a particular language but you cannot send a Google-translated text to you client or give it to your teacher (well, I guess you can but don’t expect a pass grade). The content you’ll receive will be mediocre at its best and that is probably not what you are aiming for. The lack of context is the main reason why robotic translation fails to produce a well-written text. And even though you can report an incorrect translation to Google, such translation tools always remain just a useful app.

Google Translate is not your enemy but it can be a prankster you cannot fully trust. That is why it’s a good idea to keep your mind open and always trust a human translator who can grasp the context, ask questions and use experience to give you the best translation possible.

Oh, and  here’s the link to the beat boxing video:

YouTube Preview Image

(MW)

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Let’s plan an exotic trip somewhere!

kwi 20

Are any of you opposed to vacations? Who doesn’t like to have some days off to explore some new terrain? I’ll take a wild guess and say that there’s only a select few that would argue against having more time to relax like this. As May is rapidly approaching and we can see summertime just beyond the horizon, my proposal for today is to transport somewhere together and maybe inspire you to plan some nice trips for the future. A toasty place that comes to mind is… Mexico. So, off we go. Although this is a country full of contrasts, a huge similarity can be found amongst the people. The people there are predominantly kind. I can confidently state this fact about their natives as I was able to learn about their culture last year. Yes, I was on my way to Mexico during the harsh Polish winter season a year ago. If I could change anything about my trip it would definitely be the flight duration; it was way too long. Instead of being able to explore the vast expanse of this huge country, I had to squirm in my seat aboard the place with barely contained excitement. However, it wasn’t quite as bad as I’m making it seem as flying can be quite relaxing. The second thing which could be modified is the duration of my stay there – 10 days is just not enough. But you, my dear readers, are what one would consider privileged. Thanks to your imagination you can stay there as long as your brain and free time allow.

fot. Klaudia Tarczoń

The very first image of Mexico that becomes engraved in your memory is the light. The light? Yes. Looking down from your little seat on a plane, you get an aerial view of what appears to be an illuminated sea of lights. The Mexican landscape is embellished by thousands of lights that seem to be eternally glowing. Although almost all significant cities in the world look similar from the air, there is something absolutely magical about Mexico. Picture this: we are landing in Mexico City. We start our adventure from the capital, a city that has almost 9 million inhabitants. That’s about one-quarter of Poland’s total population. Besides all the famous places you visit, the most recognisable monuments etc., please also note the people’s attitude, hospitality and behaviour as that is what makes the culture. It’s obvious that when natives notice someone who looks like a tourist, they try almost everything to get some money from him or her, and these people are no exception, since it’s no mystery that Mexico belongs to a group of poor countries. It’s even said that Mexicans will sell you everything just to make you pay for it. I must admit I have experienced that but, fortunately, it took place without any sort of harm – as in I personally wasn’t got mugged or drubbed. I only have really nice memories of the capital, but if you venture there please be cautious. Better safe than sorry.

That was a short sprint across the capital. Now it’s time to travel to the south-west of the country. Do you know what the destination of our journey is? I will prompt you. Maybe, once upon a time, you have sung along to a song written especially to extol the enchantments of its beaches and sunsets. Yes, that’s correct! I am talking about A-c-a-p-u-l-c-o – definitely a place to warm up and get some sun. Are you feeling toasty now? I myself am trying to imagine soaking up the rays on a sun lounger, watching the ocean’s waves, inhaling the smell of Mexican cuisine (by the way, that alone is a fantastic reason to drop in) and indulging in a cold mojito. Life couldn’t be any better.

Have you already made some travel plans? Maybe it was me who encouraged you to plan some trips in the near future; possibly one in particular to “the navel of the moon” (the ancient meaning of the word Mexico)? Did you like reading up about the country, its people and culture; or maybe something different caught your attention?

Share your opinion with us in the comments section below!

(KT)

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What do you (probably not) know about Latin America?

kwi 05

There is no doubt that Latin America is a very interesting region of the world. What’s more, every country has its own secrets – we would like to present you some of them.

Diego Maradona is not only one of the most important Argentinian footballers – in 1998 his fans founded his church (The Iglesia Maradoniana). According to its followers: Football is a religion and, like all religions, has a God. The God of football is an Argentine and his name is Diego Armando Maradona.


Bolivia was the first country to close all McDonald’s restaurants – Bolivians simply don’t trust food prepared in such a short time.

Columbia is known for its emeralds – it produces more than 60% of all the emeralds in the world.

Costa Rica means “rich coast”. This name comes from 800 miles of coastline between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Maybe this is the reason why Costa Rica has been ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world…

Ecuador was the first country to give constitutional rights to nature. Rights of Nature Articles say that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.

The Rain of Fish (Lluvia de Peces) is a phenomenon that occurs every year in May or June in Yoro, Honduras.

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world – it has more than 25 million habitants and its detailed map includes more than 200 pages.

In Peru live the Indian tribe, the Q’ero, whose members can live 110, 115 – or even more years, despite the fact that they eat almost only potatoes.

In the last three decades Venezuela has won more beauty titles than any other country. It is also a country that buys the most cosmetic products.

Have you heard of any other interesting facts? Please share them with us!

(BB)

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