Category Archives: Slovenia

Ne ribnik ne luža

No, to je ta naša mlaka.

Nastala je tako, da smo izkopali kotanjo za ribnik, ki pa ga zaradi lanskoletnih ujm nismo mogli dokončati. V izkopu se je nabrala voda, ki so jo naše rezidenčne dvoživke vzele za svojo in v njej naredile več mrestov. Za letos kaže, da bo to pač ostala mlaka, zato moram njene prebivalce nekako zaščititi. Lokalna termodinamika je taka, da nad nami kroži vse živo perjadi, nedaleč pa so reka, potoki in jezero, tako bo zagotovo prihajalo do plenilskih pohodov vodnih ptic. Na srečo nekaj malega varnosti zagotavljajo ujede, ki tukaj gnezdijo. (Pozorno oko bo na zgornji fotki opazilo kanjo, ki ravno inšpicira teren.)

Iz zgornje slike se da razvideti, da mlaka leži na dnu globokega dela kotanje, ki je na severu zamejena s strmim bregom, na jugu pa z nasipom. V bistvu je to zelo široka terasa s poglobljenim srednjim delom. Leži na sredini pobočja, ki se z vrha hribčka (420 m n.v.) spusti v grapo (320 m n.v.). Trenutno meteorne vode prosto tečejo v kotanjo. Teren je iz laporja, ki vsebuje nekaj gline in gleja, nasip, ki zapira kotanjo na južni strani, pa je iz mešanega materiala. Vodostaj, ki ga vidimo na fotografiji, je tista količina vode, ki vztraja ne glede na vreme. Viški pa hitro poniknejo, za moje pojme še prehitro.

Kotanja ob nalivih funkcionira kot polsuhi zadrževalnik, ki prestreže vodo s pobočja, da ta ne odteče prenaglo. Takole je bilo videti, ko so povsem sveže izdelan, skrbno oblikovan izkop za ribnik zalile in zverižile ujme. Če ne drugega, pa se vsaj ni vse skupaj odpeljalo v grapo, tako kot so se drugod po državi cele vasi, temveč je lepo počakalo, kjer je. Tudi to je ogromno vredno.

Kotanja je dolga vsega skupaj 30 m in široka 10 m, globoka do 2 metra. Mlaka (približno 3,5 x 8 m) je nastala v njenem najglobljem delu, ki je vkopan v glej, torej tisto modrikasto sivo glini podobno prst, ki jo vidimo tudi na levi strani fotografije; ta najgloblji del je vodotesen, preostalo pa očitno ne. Mlaka doseže globino približno 40 cm.

Prvi paglavčki. Na posestvu živijo krastače, žabe in močeradi, tako da ne bi bila presenečena, če bi v mlaki migotalo potomstvo vseh. Vse črno jih je bilo, a ko sem prišla čez nekaj dni, sem pa komaj kakšnega našla. Morda so se poskrili, morda pa so mlako obiskale race. Sumljiva mi je tudi odsotnost odraslih primerkov v bližini mlake, in upam, da jih ni kaj pojedlo.

Trenutno se sprašujem, ali je kakšna realna možnost, da se kotanja v doglednem času “samozatesni”. Prvotni načrt je bil zatesnitev s folijo, zdaj pa razmišljam, ali bi morda šlo po naravni poti. Seveda skušam ugotoviti tudi to, kako opremiti mlako in kaj zasaditi, da bo sistem čim stabilnejši in da bo omogočal osnovno varnost za svoje prebivalce (zavetje, kisik, kemijsko ravnovesje).

“You’re the first one who didn’t take me for a wh*re”

Nina studied me for another moment. Then she let it pour about what usually happened when people found out she was Ukrainian. She’d been living in Slovenia for years and holy crabs did she have stories.

Back then, the Slovenian word for female Ukrainian was synonymous with prostitute. I’m being serious. When people said Ukrajinka they meant prostitute, and the implications were solid.

Like when a cop checked Nina’s papers on a sleeper train, closed the cabin door and whipped out his junk. Nina pointed back at the prick pointing at her and asked what it was, perhaps a pencil, did she need to sign something? The cop didn’t appreciate the wit, they rarely do, and he ordered the train be stopped and the defiant Ukrajinka hauled off to a deserted train station at two in the morning. Nina said alright I am a hooker, bought and paid for, and you sir are about to find out what happens when you mess with mafia property. Then Nina was escorted back on the train and she didn’t need to sign anything.

Continue reading “You’re the first one who didn’t take me for a wh*re”

Live from Slovenia: People queuing to have their balls and/or tits tattooed yellow and blue

While this seemingly unprovoked campaign of aggression against the Ukrainian people that Alec Baldwin started and Vladolf Putler continued was not exactly what we had in mind when we said enough with this corona shit already can we please move on to something new, it managed to achieve the impossible:

Bringing Slovenians together. Resigned to sticking to our bitter divisions until further notice, we suddenly found ourselves united in the belief that:

– Ukraine must be accepted into the European Union with immediate effect and retroactively made its founding member.

– As soon as this blows over, Ukraine needs to be installed as some sort of supreme king-president-patron saint of NATO, somehow. We haven’t worked out all the details yet.

– Ukrainians are the best. They make other nations proud. The bravest, coolest and inevitably, given the former, the hottest people of them all. They are the lesson in toughness, resilience, well-placed national pride and, apparently, the answer to the all-pervasive thirst that everybody needed. Now this is how you defend your country and win over everybody’s heart and all that it powers.

Continue reading Live from Slovenia: People queuing to have their balls and/or tits tattooed yellow and blue

Here’s to one crazy year

Remember when people were saying 2016/2017/2018/2019 was totally wtf? Oh well…

2020 showed its cards early enough. I quickly figured I should focus on work-related news and steer clear of social media. It takes social distancing to dodge corona, but it takes social-media abstinence to avoid insanity because it’s contagious as feck. Recently, when my curiosity got the better of me and made me look at our national news, a renowned gynaecologist was telling everybody that the corona vaccine was going to leave about two thirds of women infertile. I checked what our neighbours the Croatians were doing and it turned out that they had misplaced a whole offshore rig and had no idea where it went. Then I opened The Daily Mail and there was an ex‑SAS guy who ramboed his way through a bunch of terrorists in Kenya in 2019. Now, in testament to both his chivalry and intellect, our spec-ops hero chose to withhold his name from the public and use the family name of his celebrity fiancé instead, figuring the bad guys might be after revenge. And there was this lockdown-flouting gay orgy in Brussels that the police broke up and caught a conservative Hungarian MEP climbing down the drain in the process. None of these really threw me because it’s just the new normal.

You know what still managed to surprise me? Two things:

Continue reading Here’s to one crazy year

Doctor Typhoid Mario & Julija the Handless

First of all, a belated happy Brexit & Megxit to everyone. Also, I’m sorry to hear about Adele and hope she cranks out a few more generation-defining hits before going the Amy Winehouse way.

Well, Slovenia is between governments again and, different to the last time it happened, there’s barely any excitement about; the guy who got the most votes the first time around, but nobody wanted to form a coalition with him, will now have a crack at governing this thing and that’s about it. Our country is also beginning to tackle the corona scare and it’s a miracle it took this long, considering we have a border with Italy where the zombie apocalypse is already well underway. Needless to say, the media are pissing themselves with excitement and politicians are busy pretending to believe there’s anything they can do to put a damper on this mess. So, here’s a few more Snopes-type bits from the sunny side of the Alps before they shut down the internet.

Typhoid Mario, MD: Did a Slovenian doctor infect god knows how many of his patients and colleagues with corona?

Yes, that indeed happened, and you couldn’t find a more perfect illustration of our general attitude to the virus de jour, i.e. the old and the weak should watch out but it doesn’t concern the rest of us and we’ve got enough pensioners and hospital bed-blockers anyway. Unless you’re blissfully oblivious to dark undertones, you’ve probably noticed this ageism-meets-eugenics undercurrent in your country too. Anyway, a doc returned from his ski trip to Italy, went straight to work in a community health-care centre and a home for the elderly, generously sharing his viral load with the fit and the frail alike. Accounts differ on the details; some say the good doctor never even considered getting tested on his return from the European corona hotbed and others say he offered to get tested but his superior said ‘nah no worries’. It was when he started sweating and shaking while doing his rounds of dementia patients that the penny dropped. He got scooped up into quarantine and his whole health-care centre went into shutdown.

Continue reading Doctor Typhoid Mario & Julija the Handless

A bit like Snopes but for Slovenia

I get asked many questions about Slovenia, often of the “this must be fakenews, right?” variety. Let’s get a few of the safe-for-work ones out of the way before we move on to transgender doctors shagging man-killer dogs* and worse**.

*Yes you read that right.

**It does get worse.

Is the Prime Minister of Slovenia a former comedian and the President of Slovenia a former model?

Yes. Our Prime Minister, Mr. Marjan Šarec, used to be an actor, an impersonator and a comedian, and according to some he still is, (he’s alright, as far as politicians go). And our President, Mr. Borut Pahor used to be a model, and he’s never shy to flaunt his model credentials. Feel free to check out his Instagram @borutpahor. Look for beach selfies while you’re there because the dude keeps fit.

Did Slovenians recycle their failed Prime Minister and make him their President?

Yes. The abovementioned Borut Pahor used to be our PM and, fairly or not, he was widely perceived as a complete failure, as confirmed by a lost confidence vote that saw him through the door. Almost immediately*** after, he ran for president and won easily, which left some people fuming but most of us thought his new job was a much better fit. In all seriousness, Mr. Pahor comes across as a genuinely nice fellow who adores the spotlight and honestly tries to be the president of all Slovenians. And that’s a challenging job. No matter where you’re from, you probably think that your country is dangerously divided with no reconciliation in sight – welcome to the Slovenian experience! We’ve been living in this highly-polarised political reality for… well forever, actually, if you discount a few decades of Socialism when people hated each other more quietly. Anyway, all I can do is wish the best of luck to anyone who tries to preside over such a hot mess. As for the rest of us: relax, it’s going to be okay. Maybe.

***People winning all kinds of elections after a three-week campaign has become a regular occurrence in Slovenia.

Why doesn’t the Slovenian president look over a hundred years old?

Because he’s not. You’re thinking Boris Pahor the writer, who is a different fella altogether. Boris (not Borut) Pahor is one truly extraordinary individual. He fought the Nazis (who sent him to Dachau not once but twice), condemned the Commies and survived them both. He’s currently giving a hard time to Italian neo-fascists. If you need to be reminded of what war, Nazism and Fascism look like up close, do read his autobiographical novel Necropolis about his WWII interment. The guy has just turned 106 (that is: one-hundred-and-six years old). Sharp as a knife, he is well-informed on the current goings-ons, and maintains a keen interest in politics for reasons that don’t need to be explained (in case they do: the man has scars to prove what can happen when politics goes awry). As the result of his international recognition, undisputed courage and miraculously intact faculties, he gets to say whatever he likes, and people listen. And you thought you were special.

Is Melania Trump really Slovenian?

Apparently this gets asked. Yes, she most certainly is Slovenian, from Slovenia. She was born when Slovenia was still a part of the former Yugoslavia (that’s the Balkan country that imploded in a series of genocides, mass rapes and general butchery known as the Yugoslav Wars in the 90s, and proceeded to shatter into a number of smaller countries, among them Slovenia we know today). I remember Melania well from when she was embarking on her modelling career – I used to watch modelling contests and beauty pageants religiously as a kid – and yes, she is real, she is Slovenian, and she is from the town of Sevnica in Slovenia. She was born Melanija Knavs and later switched to a more internationally-friendly Melania Knauss, so maybe that’s where the confusion comes from. Oddly enough, her fellow Sevnica-born Tanja Pečar is the life-partner of our President Borut Pahor (the model dude from above). That’s right, at least two different countries have first ladies from the same small Slovenian town. And there may be others because the fact you were born in Sevnica is not necessarily one you care to advertise.

Continue reading A bit like Snopes but for Slovenia

I’m loving it

Slovenia doesn’t have a government and it’s been an absolute delight. Our last government stepped down in a huff; the boiling point being us voters having one good laugh too many at the prime minister’s expense. This prompted early elections, the results of which created such a hot mess that there’s a strong hope that nobody will be able to come up with a viable coalition. The most votes were scooped up by the party all the other parties swore they didn’t want anything to do with because its platform is “based on division and hate” (I suspect the irony is lost on them). The election losers’ general attitude to the results is that the voters got it wrong, but they’re not entirely oblivious to the fact that the voters might get it even more wrong next time. So, if the relative winner is shunned by all the potential coalition partners who in turn patch together a motley crew of a coalition by themselves, there’s a strong hope that we won’t end up with a functioning government because there will be too many pigs fighting at the trough. Even if new elections are called it’s quite possible the same jumble will happen all over again, which is great. Because if you’re Slovenian and know what’s good for you, a functioning government is about the last thing you want. Continue reading I’m loving it

Slovenia: Why is it so difficult to leave

A funny thing you can’t help but notice if you happen to wander into the country called Slovenia is that it’s almost impossible to leave. It’s not like anyone is manning the borders; the country is in the Schengen Area which basically means everyone and their sister is roaming around freely. The traffic connections are superb and, with Slovenia being so tiny, you can step on it and find yourself somewhere else in a matter of minutes. Our neighbours the Croatians – who lay claim to a somewhat larger country which is as pretty as they come but shaped like a pair of spaying tongs – will gladly tell you that Planica (where our rather famous ski flying hill is) will never get a permit for a higher hill as then the skiers would be landing on Croatian porches, wreaking all kinds of havoc in the process.

(If it weren’t for the Croatians, we Slovenians would need to come up with our own jokes about Slovenia’s size but luckily enough our southern neighbours have been maintaining a steady supply of those for as long as I can remember.) Continue reading Slovenia: Why is it so difficult to leave

Methinks: Politicians, Part II

I never know with the Americans; do they even realise how wonderfully cynical they are? The current USA ambassador to Slovenia, His Excellency Joseph Adamo Mussomeli, who has earned quite a reputation for frequently voicing his opinion of our bickerings, recently said something like ”In the USA, politicians pretend to hate each other, but your politicians hate each other for real”.

(You gotta love this guy. He’s outspoken to the point of being brave, brilliant, with a great sense of humour. He succeeded in ticking off more people than all other ambassadors to Slovenia present and past combined. One of the few things about him that sort of fits what I’d expect from a diplomat is his undeniable charm and his skill at wooing the press – though he assures us that the media are always going for his throat.) Continue reading Methinks: Politicians, Part II