Correspondence while I travel, about traveling.
So I’m rather excited because today I finally managed to get a contract for cheaper internet. now I can surf in my toasty pension and not have to muscle my way for a spot at the cafe, where people giggle at my shorts in the cold and it gets too busy in the afternoon. Now I can do internet all the time, and reserve the cafe for only heavy downloads, cause I can only transfer some 5 gigs a month. But in the end I’ll save money, cause I wont have to drink all those beers in the cafe either, and I’ll even save on the internet, because its ridiculously expensive if off a prepaid package.
So I got a year contract now and looks like I’ll probably stay about a year in this country. Might even get a resident card, which apparently gives me as much rights as a regular citizen. Costs 7.5 Euro, good for five years, and all I need is two EU ID and a bank account. I have one here for free, and super cheap. Cost an unbelievable 50 cents to open, transfers to Czech are cheap, and they don’t charge me anything to keep my money there. Sometimes I wonder how cheaply these Bulgarians work. A free bank! They been around for 15 years so are set in stone here. Could turn out useful.
So my plan is to stay here until shortly after New Years and then drive east where my friend will get back fromChina, so I can stay at his place for free and he can offer me some construction work as well. Only half the pay what Rog was giving me, but it doesn’t really matter, because I could probably work for an hour or two a day, develop some muscle tone, pay for food and maybe some beers, and just chill out with a friend as we work on the place together. He’ll be there for some six months I think and then I was thinking of driving up theBlack Seaonce its warm enough. Have some contacts I could visit inRomaniaand theUkraine. Otherwise it will be great to be able to cruise at will aroundBulgariaand the coast with my fast and cheap internet: up to 3G in some places (last place on the market), otherwise fast enough elsewhere, 5 gigs a month (quite a bit) for 18 Euro a month. Guess I can’t complain. Looking forward to the coast!
just read your email on my mobile and will respond again later once I download it to my computer. Maybe I’ll be lucky and do that today. Still haven’t figured out how to get internet from my mobile to my computer, which should hinge on installing the software which I got when I bought the mobile. But my CD thing broke about a year ago, so I couldn’t install it from the CD. Want to buy an external DVD/CD burner but waiting to earn some more money. So the only other way is to borrow some laptop etc., which can be pretty scarce in this village. Fortunately Roger invited me out for dinner last night so I texted him to bring his laptop, and through that I copied the CDs to my mobile and today I will install the software and hopefully figure it out. That way I will be able to stay in my room more and not depend on the internet cafe so much, where I was “forced” to buy beers every day in the mornings, to justify my internet use there. This will help me save money. With the contract I will also save money, because I get 5 gigs a month for 18 Euro, which is less than I was spending before with the prepaid program, and probably downloading less than half a megabyte. I hope the EU breaks these mobile operator prices. They are ridiculous. Was talking about it with Roger last night and it is apparent that they charge ridiculous prices for internet because they consider it “business clientelle” who need it and charge an arm and a leg. And why do I consider it expensive? Well, I know you are not IT savvy, but perhaps you will understand that to transfer voice (a regular phone call) consumes much more data transfer (it’s all just ones and zeros) than internet. And it has to be live (immediate). So it is ridiculous to charge more for internet than regular phone call. But that is my life. I guess within about five years internet on the mobile will be normal and it will be much more affordable, and fast, by then.
I had to pay a deposit for the contract (since I do not have a Bulgarian citizenship – although I can get that for 7 Euro and probably will in a few months), so I am very low on cash at the moment, but should be getting money soon, and expect to receive a total of 700 Euro over the next few weeks, which can technically last me two months in this country.
Ran into a stumbling block with my tree planting software because I cannot seem to make it compatible with the industry’s standard. They are apparently too smart for us, but maybe my Siberian programmer will be able to figure something out. Fortunately my client said he is still interested in it, now that I’ve reduced the price from 1500 to 300 Cdn. Even if only five customers eventually buy the software it will be worth all my efforts, so I am glad to keep working on it, and if I eventually find enough success, I will consider approaching other industries, because I enjoy this software development – more interesting and a better use of my intelligence than translating.
Still haven’t started translating from French yet and already have one customer banging on my door asking me when I will finally complete the sample. I explained that I feel too rusty and that, almost every day, I have been reading a French online newspaper to practice and beef up my vocabulary. I have some translators who have agreed to help me with the French, so hopefully it will not take too long before I get that going. There is aLOTmore work in that language combination, and it pays twice as well as Czech to English, so it could become a good base income for me once I get that going. Then I will be able to realize all my dreams because I could hire others to do the hundreds of tasks I’ve piled up over the years. By translating for a Czech agency, at most I can hope to make maybe 1500 Euro a month. Technically not so bad, but because I usually end up translating about sewers, car parts and other terribly boring subjects, full time of translating that is about enough to make me jump out the window. I think that French translations could be more interesting. Anyway, obviously I way too old to be working for subsistence wages, so I hope this French thing will turn into an opening to better times, finally. I know I have the intelligence and skills to make lots of cash, and my costs are very low, so I hope one day things will kick in for me. Otherwise I’ve been enjoying my travels and I like the variety, so even though I’m a poor sod at the moment, I’m relatively happy, and that is more important than anything.
So last night when I was with Roger the foreman (G – don’t even want to pronounce his name) was there. Wasn’t too keen to see him, but he started some conversations, and after Roger left with his girlfriend our desire for girls led us to agree to go to the local disco afterwards. So we drank together a bit and I guess we are on speaking terms again. Who knows, perhaps they will invite me back, but I am not very keen on the idea because the entire experience is rather soured for me. But on Jan 5 another friend will come back fromChinaand he said he could hire me as well. He’s a Brit too and bought a house in the eastern part ofBulgaria. He will be there for about 6 months. Unfortunately he pays about half of what Roger does, but it doesn’t really matter because I prefer to only work a few hours a day anyway (just to stay a little bit in shape) and spend the rest of it on the computer, which can pay so much more than even Roger can offer me. I will have a free place to stay, make a little bit of money to cover my minimal costs, and work on my computer as much as I want. One problem is that G the foreman seemed to be constantly jealous that I was so free and could combine things with my computer, and kept pressuring me to work for him more. This way I will have more freedom and less pressure, and can just hang out and enjoy myself. The only thing I regret is that I did not have the opportunity to learn more about the reconstruction, because eventually I thought I’d like to reconstruct my own house.
Nice to here from you. I remember something symphonic going on in the film score to Stargate and that it was done fairly well. I’ll take note of it next time if I hear it. I think I actually have Stargate here. I remember it to be in the Wagnerian film score style, i.e. something in direction of John Williams’s score for Star Wars. I love the part where the big soldiers give the twerp “that look” when he pulls out his candy bars on the distant planet. I’m no expert on film music, but I remember the scores to Taxi Driver andAlteredStatesas ones I really like.
Oh yes, and that reminds me of the first Alien movie. I had one fanatic friend who had a tape of that soundtrack and he played it for me once in a treeplanting camp. It was a hot day, full sun, middle of the day, and we were sitting in the truck listening to it. In the middle of a dirt patch they were using for parking. An absolutely boring site, but even so listening to the music scared the shit out of me. You totally don’t notice it cause you are engrossed so much in the scary movie, but I must admit I’ve never heard any classical music like that. Could be good for you to check that out as well. Don’t think they had the same conposer for the other Alien movies though.
What’s happening with you these days? Let me know what’s happening. I finally send off my article for proofs, i.e. the one about communist era musical culture. I showed it to you at one time, but now I’ve polished the text head-to toe. You can take a look in the attachment here if you’re interested; it will be on-line with the pix and musical examples in January:
Checked it out quickly and sounds good. Actually, when I think about it, it’s a pretty interesting subject and perhaps you should consider marketing it through other angles as well. Sure, go the usual magazine route, but perhaps try to approach specific groups interested in studying about brainwashing the masses. They might never think about picking up a magazine about music etc. Always market yourself from as many angles as you can, and then you’d be surprised what doors could open for you, rather than stick to some traditional and confined approach.
Otherwise, I’m trying to get motivated for new projects and I am really feeling the lack of motivation. Haven’t wanted to do anything for a number of days! Got stuff I should really be doing to, like preparing for a conference inNorwayin a months time. I wonder why I do this to myself…
What I like to do is create a To Do list. It’s now around 600 long. I put it in an Excel file in various categories etc. (mostly for when I’m online, and then offline work). When I have paying work I do that, but the rest is “development” work. So whenever I do development work, often I’ll prioritise it, such as looking for more work etc., but many times I’ll just go through my long list and do what I feel like at that particular moment. This way almost all the time I’m interested in what I’m doing, therefore I enjoy it and then the motivation comes by itself. But I understand that what I do can be rather diverse and across the spectrum, so I have quite a lot to choose from. Nevertheless, if you started focusing more on marketing and less on production, as I last suggested, you could start to branch out in other areas and you might find the variety more interesting, and easier to motivate productive use of your time. And focusing on marketing could lead to interesting and surprising fruits!
At the moment still in Shiroka Laka, just west of Smolyan, and start of new year I plan to move to eastern Bulgaria, and during the summer drive up the Black Sea. Just yesterday I signed a contract for a year, so I will have cheap internet throughout Bulgaria and through my mobile. Am looking forward to discovering the country and heard there are many beautiful parts. Would be cool if you could hook up at some point! Could arrange some wifi router internet for you as well, so you could do some research or work maybe. latergator
oh I’m so happy, a customer just sent me 150 bucks as a deposit for my software. So far my programmer couldn’t make it compatible with the industry’s monster program, so I had to drop my price to 300, but if I sell at least five it will be well worth all the effort I put into it, and hopefully I’ll be able to sell more of it. I certainly know it will save a lot of time compared to piddling around with Excel, like I’m sure most people do. And this money came just as I had less than 20 Euro to my name, and all my bank accounts cleaned out empty. But within a week or two I expect to receive about 700 Euro from different sources, so that should be plenty to survive for two months in this country, even though I’m staying in a pension. Once I move to my friend’s place after the New Year’s it would be four months. But I assume I’ll have lost of work by that time. Just wanted to share the great news with someone!