Birmingham’s festivals – almost a photo essay

Birmingham is perhaps the most multicultural city after London in England. Yet it has just a few main nationalities (apart from White British): Pakistani – Bangladeshi, Afro-Caribbean, Polish, Irish and a few Chinese. No doubt there are other nationalities but their numbers are less.

A few major festivals and events take place over the year: some of them and nationwide and some of them are specific, mostly related to the main ethnic groups. If you can, it is always more interesting to visit the city during one of these celebrations. Having lived in the city for some time I participated in all of them and decided to share them with you, if you’re planning to visit or just as a curiosity:)

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Madurodam – the mini-land of the Dutch

Tilted houses of Amsterdam – these little houses are not entirely right and they imitate real ones… in many Dutch cities buildings sit on stilts because of the muddy soil and in time they became tilted

Madurodam makes you feel like Gulliver in Lilliput! The city is set in motion by little trams, cars, trains and ships and bridges are going up in down to let them pass!

Built in 1952, this amusement park is a display of the best landmarks of the Netherlands at a scale of 1:25. If you happen to be in the Continue reading

Shanghai – a blend of tradition and modernity

Shanghai is like nothing else I’ve seen in China!

It is a different world where tradition mingles with modernity, where one corner smells of salt, sea and fish and another bears the odour of the most sophisticated and expensive fragrances one has ever felt. It is a place where romance may arise anywhere, a place where the clatter of money echoes from the steel and glass skyscrapers, it is a place where East and West have harmoniously been shaking hands for over a century.

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About China’s quest for oil, its African links and future focus on renewables

China’s quick development and modernization programme entails a soaring demand for energy in order to power its heavy industry and its expanding transport systems. By 2010 the country had become the second largest world economy, surpassing Japan. As an illustration of the scale of its rapid modernization, it is worth mentioning that 74000 km of express railway have been built in just 10 years, making China’s the second longest expressway network in the world after the US. Also in 2010 Chinese people bought more cars than any other country, more even than America (13.5m compared to 11.6m in the US). All these bring a huge thirst for energy that significantly changes the geopolitical and geo-economic landscape not just of the Asian Pacific area but of the entire world. Continue reading