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Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

8_autoslalom-1-ri07hr-jw.jpgToday I found out that there was an auto slalom event happening in Prilok, a small area on the outskirts of Rijeka. I finally decided to go down there and see what is was like, I heard there were a bunch of old cars racing so that was all I needed to walk down the hill and experience the event with a friend.

The key to this race being small and fast most of the cars were modified miniature cars from the 80’s among them the local Zastava 750, the VW Golf I, Ford Fiesta, Honda CR-X and the newer Ford Focus and others as you’ll see by the pictures and video clip. They closed this portion of the road off that is normally very busy despite its narrow and dated planning it serves to link Rijeka’s north side to Opatija via the seafront area called Prilok.

8_autoslalom-3-ri07hr-jw.jpgFrom what I saw most of the cars came from or belonged to car repair shops and garages or car enthusiasts that follow this circuit, they are street cars but must not registered and all striped out inside except for a bucket seat and roll bar, and a helmeted diver though I really think most of it is just for show or safety and that they really would not roll over or be in a high speed collision at least on this type of race. Engine-wise they are little modified and just in good running order and not drag cars or hotrods with NOS, just good clean fun driving.

8_autoslalom-5-ri07hr-jw.jpgWe were just in time for one of the heats and I took different video clips from different vantage points along the track. This was a slalom race meaning that like in skiing slalom they leave the gate one at a time and race the clock with judges at the different slalom points to mark if they knocked down cones etc. The race we saw was eventful in itself including one stalling and nearly hitting me when I was doing the curb angle low shots and another having to be towed back having died somewhere down the track causing the car behind him to have to re-drive his lap again and the retired diver getting cheers and applause from the audience while being towed back, wish I’d had filmed that too. Here are some pictures and my video clip.

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The starting line from above the hill that started the seaside windy drive, in summer it is a popular campground.

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The starting gate from the ground with the hills and old stone house in the background.

Here is the video with just a little bit of editing.

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Well it finally happened. It was inevitable yet it seemed that it might not happen. Christmas came and went, New Years, first 10, then 20 days of the year, it seemed the whole month would pass with Autumn-like weather. I even entertained the thought that perhaps I might not get to experience snow in Slovenia as I only have about two weeks left of my visit here. Well I went to bed last night watching the rain turn to snow and rain again, I wondered what it would be like tomorrow.

By morning it was official, the snow was everywhere and not stopping. Just yesterday I was walking in down town Ljubljana taking pictures after a lunch apointment and it was lightly sprinkling off and on and I had such a peasant time I walked for a few bus stops till Tivoli park just enjoying the weather. Now less then 24 hours later it had gone from Autumn to Winter, quite literally over night.

Some friends and I thought we’d save the snow till the weekend and so we jumped in a car and made off for what we thought would be one last dash for warmth and peace. The beautiful Slovenian coast immediately came to mind and was hardly an hour away, we could not wait and made a hasty retreat from the snow. Dreaming of an ice cream or cold drink and walk on the shoreline thinking of all these unfortunate souls in the rest of the country sliding around the roads or chained to a desk who were not fortunate enough to not have to go to work this day, we were on our way.

portoroz-snow07-jw.jpgWe made as far as Koper and still snow, warmer temperatures but snow on the hills, we thought cool this does not happen every day, someone might have even thought out loud that it would be cool if it was snowing on the coast, sure enough it did, and with gusto.

Everything seemed to be against us today, we had a blizzard in Portorož!

The locals seemed to take it in stride but for us unlucky “tourists” it got boring real fast and all our hopes of cheating the winter evaporated. It was interesting and somewhat historical, as this is the Mediterranean not the North Sea! Locals said that last time was maybe 5 years ago and not usually even that often or as hard as today. For awhile we were being blanketed by cornflake sized powder and wind.

While it was not our best day and we did not have a unique experience living life in the XYZone catching this interesting occasion, we were kicking ourselves a bit when we got back to Ljubljana and it was all clean roads and calm, but heck, you can’t have it all right?

I took this little film starting from a view of the Metropol Casino and around to the sea, snow covered cars and everything.

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This is a clip I took today driving in the very rural parts of Slovenia, we got way off the beaten path and were driving through these little villages so I caught one on my camera video as I was not driving today. We did eventually make it back to the highway and civilisation.

I thought Citizen King’s “I’ve seen better days” was fitting for this little village and (and our day today in general) much of this changing demographics in this area is leaving the country villages to just be “ghost towns”. I’ll write more about that at another time.

This one took only 23 seconds to drive through from beging to end.

For those not familiar with this part of Europe, yes, these are the road conditions at times. Sharp blind turns, no front lawns, curbs, sidewalks or even painted lines on the road. Not many other commuters (or people in the town it seems) though, so you got the road to yourself, that is unless a logging truck comes roaring through in the other direction!

I’ve been driving around here for years now that I do not even notice much till I see it played back like this and then I realise how undeveloped some parts of these countries are. The village was also very topical with the square “shoebox” houses that are very common here.

This is really rural and not at all accurate of the whole country by any means, I just thought it would be a neat little experience to add to XYZone Video. Your comments are always welcome.

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Resolutions: To add value posts to this site. Visit more interesting and unusual places and people in the XYZone. Report in-depth on social and personal issues effecting everyday life in these nations and not just tourist sites. To make blogumentaries and video blogs on my travels in the XYZone.

Predictions: Slovenia will not benefit from the Euro currency in the short term, salaries will not increases though prices will, retailers will be the big winners.

Croatia will make progress on being accepted to join the EU by 2009, will continue to sell state-run assets to the highest bidder.

Serbia will adjust to it’s new size and lack of sea-side tourism and continue to make reforms quietly while still keeping it’s balancing act and east-west juggle.

Kosovo will not resolve the independence issue this year.

Montenegro will feel the full implications of being Europe’s smallest independent nation and will not begin to reap the benefits of it in this year as much as in years to come.

Overall I think it will be another growing year for the region, Slovenian is fully “graduating” from the school of democracy with the implementing of the Euro and will be faced with finding it’s place and roll to play in greater Europe. I’d liken it to a student finding a first job, it will not be as easy as first perceived in finding the trust and interest from others but it will find and gain experience and go from there, it has an impressive record, it just needs experience and that only comes with time.

The other nations will continue in their respective “classes” of making deadlines and meeting the conditions set on them by the UN, NATO, and the EU council. It will continue to be a time of molding and will be interesting to see what concessions of national identity and nationalism their respective parties and Parliaments make in exchange for European benefits.

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Videos from the XYZone

I’ve started a topic on this site for video. I started posting YouTube feeds on this site of clips to do with this area, music, culture and fun. In the future I hope to post more of my own productions and documentaries so stay tuned and checking this site for more.

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This is an old clip I found of “rock me” by RIVA, it won EuroSong contest in 1989 and subsequently allowed Zagreb to host the Eurosong event the next year, It was still united Yugoslavia then but a Croatian artist and as you can see in the clip it is full of clips from the coastal city of Zadar, no doubt the town she is from.

What I like in this is the obvious 80’s feel (capturing the era) and it’s international appeal even though it is mostly in Serbo-Croatian except for the line “rock me baby” which is hilarious, and I think a quality that has been lost of late in Eurosong entries and modern contemporary music altogether from this area. Certainly in Croatia and from what I’ve seen in Slovenia too, the inability to have a good time and make good music too, there has been some but this is really a jewel and it shows in that it had for it’s time Continental appeal, something no local music industry has been able to do since.

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This is a funny link I found, I saw the show on TV but not this interview. It is of the Croatian singer Severina at a interview at Eurosong 2006, she had a spirited number in a red dress that you either loved or hated, it made it to the finals and finished 13th.

Click on the play button or read this rough transcript I tried to understand what they were saying, neither the commentator or Severina speak English very well and it is confusing but he seems to be hinting at things and she puts him right in his place, he should know better then to mess with a Croatian girl, Severina has a sting to her and gets the last laugh.

Watch the guy on her left as he is really uncomfortable, turns embarrassed, then relived once it is all over. What might have been a routine press interview was not and we got this great clip to show for it.

moderator: give us if you may…clear thought what are you are trying to transmit (a sexy image?)…your song is in Croatian, we don’t speak Croatian can you explain about your song…

…explain this if you please…

Severina: Ok,…um…you see…you probably all your life…have the same girl…same house, same shoes. But i like to complicate my life…because it’s my taste…we are different!

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