Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 261

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Martinshof Story - Happiness - Awareness - Maps, Text & Photo series - Dolmen Bicycle Tour

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Thursday - Monday, October 11 - 15 2012 (diary)

Donna Leon Having read about 10 novels of Donna Leon (some in German translation, others in its original English) I ask myself :"What is keeping her in Venice?".
In Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti detective novels she reports continuously about the deterioration of the Venetian environment :

  • pollution of the air from chemical factories
  • poisonous water in the canals and laguna
  • dreadful stench during the summer months
  • ever increasing multitudes of tourists
  • old established businesses replaced by tourist shops
  • glass factories now churning out cheap trinkets by the millions
  • prohibitive rents and real estate prices driving original Venetians away from the city
So, what is keeping Mrs.Leon there, the history of the place with its iconic buildings, canals and bridges, or are it simply the 30 years of living in Venice and despite it all she feels there at home?   Probably a combination of both.

Having been enlightened by her books, I for one will not want to visit Venice. Mind you, I am in general not attracted to human architecture anyway, I simply prefer nature over everything else. (A rare exception perhaps being the 5,000 years old Stone-age graves, dolmens, but these are to me really an integrated part of the unique landscape in Drenthe.)
I too have been engulfed by those tsunamis of wall to wall tourists (Brunetti is constantly trying to avoid) in the streets of Sorento and Taormina (on Sicily's East coast) back in 2007 and did not enjoy the experience.

Tourist tsunami in Taormina

I do enjoy Leon's novels however, she provides a great insight into the life and culture in Italy, especially Venice. Through the discussions of Brunetti with his family (wife Paola and two teenage children) Leon also presents a number of interesting contemporary topics, belief in a God for example. Brunetti himself does not belief, but his wife puts up an interesting proposition which never has occurred to me : "For many people belief is simply a choice." Paola says. "Deciding to belief in a God makes life far less complicated."
You can put your own interpretation on that. To me personally it means shirking away from the responsibility for your own life, being afraid to face life (and death) on your own (God will look after all of that, so don't worry). But you, dear reader, may or may not agree with that.

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Tuesday - Saturday, October 16 - 20 2012 (diary)

Marlow Lagoon Last week I decided to do my walk at Marlow Lagoon, mainly because it has more shade providing trees covering the walking trail there.
But all around the lagoon signs were place warning that a crocodile had be spotted being in the water there.
The walking trail is 10 meters or more away from most of the water's edge, and it probably was fairly safe. However after walking once around the lagoon I decided to leave the area, rather than perhaps finding out the hard way who could run faster, the croc or I.
At the end of the dry season crocodiles are on the move to their mating grounds and can cover considerable distances over dry land. When I was involved with running the weekly yacht races (5-10 years ago) at the Darwin Sailing Club, crocs were often traveling through the Darwin harbour this time of the year and we always sent warnings out to sailing competitors, telling them where a crocodile had been spotted.

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© 2012 Michael Furstner