Archive for November, 2011

“Welcome to Paradise” lost on British tourism industry?

November 19, 2011

Recently I read an article about tourism and Jennie Dielemans’ book (or report) Welcome to Paradise. It’s gist is, all-inclusive holidays are the most harmful form of holidaying (although tourists spend time in an exotic country, 80% of income goes to head office in London; the locals work in low paid jobs; local people don’t have access to beaches etc.). Backpackers were also slated – for seeking out ‘undiscovered’ places and spoiling them with full moon parties, for having no respect for the natives.

We can make up for our hitherto ignorance by booking accommodation that is owned by the locals, eating in local restaurants and buying food supplies in local stores, and by not haggling till last penny when buying gifts.

What’s interesting, rights to Dielemans’ book have been sold to Estonia, Finland, Italy, Poland and Sweden but not to a British publisher. Perhaps British tourism industry, as well as its clientele, are not ready for it, yet? Well, I think if the travellers are conscious enough of certain issues to strive to offset the carbon emission of their journey or hotel stay  – I think they are ready to ditch the all-inclusives, too. But is the tourism industry ready to take the hit? – that I’m not sure of.


Convert PDF to text

November 9, 2011

My latest discovery is a free online PDF to text converter – of the proper name Optical Character Recognition software – and not just any converter but one that really works. I had to try a few links claiming they worked but only this one proved effective so I had to share it. Enjoy!


November 7, 2011

Dunbar is a town on Scottish East Coast, past North Berwick when driving from Edinburgh. Not bad for a short day trip – atmospheric on a foggy day, cheerful in clearer weather.

‘Life in the UK’ test

November 6, 2011

There haven’t been many new posts here lately as I’ve been keeping busy with other things – one of them was studying for the ‘Life in the UK’ test. To pass the test is a requirement for citizenship and indefinite leave to remain applications, depending what part of the world you came in from.

While looking for materials to study I noticed various people were trying to make money on the test at every stage. The book Life in the United Kingdom. A Journey to Citizenship Handbook (2nd Edition) cost £9.99 in the shops. There are also multiple websites offering online training or exercises on a CD or in books for a fee (e.g. £15. for a training package with 600 questions). You shouldn’t waste your money on these, as there are free resources available. The text of the book can be accessed at and it covers all required parts (chapters 2-6). A very helpful page has been set up by Hiren and Pankaj – it contains 55 online practice tests, again all for free. Once you’ve trained for a while, you can get an idea of what is awaiting at the real test.

The second thing I wanted to say here is that despite the whole process being very daunting (as ‘they’ are trying to intimidate people, making threats, e.g. “if you don’t come early enough, you will not be able to take the test”; “if you lose your certificate, you won’t get a replacement”, checking your ID more than once, etc.), once you are there at the PC, and provided you have studied enough, it is easy enough and takes about 5 minutes to finish.

Good luck, hope you pass at first attempt!


Shrek Cake

November 1, 2011

Season inspired cake called Shrek – it’s green and has layers like ogres – is less sweet and more creamy than your usual coffee cake.