Posts Tagged ‘ticket’

Travelling on Diesel Electric train through ex – USSR (Soviet Union Belarus) from Jirovichi to Ros via Slonim

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

After spending 6 blessed  days in Jirovichi Sveto Uspenski Manastir (Zhirovichky Monastery) and having the possibility to pray and venerate the multitde of holy relics kept in Jirovichki (holy cloister), eat with the seminary students in Jirovichi spiritual seminary and receive a blessing of Archibishop Gurij and many of the Jirovichi serving father, hieromonks and talk to seminary students, visit the monastery library, viist students classrooms, computer lab  and get impression an impressions on general serminary monastir life, next on today I had the chance to travel for a one more time on an eletric multiple unit (famous in Russia / Belarus / Ukraine) as "elektrichka".

Sviato-Uspenskij-Jirovichki-manastir-bus-station

My  travel started in Jirovichi bus station which is situated nearby the Jirovichi Monastery walls.

Jirovichi is really unique monastery for a pilgrimage as it is the largest Eastern Orthodox Christian monastery and seminary (orthodox spiritual academy school) in Belarus. In Jirovichi is also the most holy considered icon in Belarus which happens to be also the smallest icon of the Non-hand made image of Virgin Mary (Theotokos).

Jirovichi-Dormition-of-Mother-Mary-Eastern_Orthodox-monastery

The miracle making icon of Holy Theotokos is self ingraved on a stone and was given as a sign from heaven to the inhabitants of Belarusia lands at that time because, perhaps many of the Belarusian "savage" like living people (dveriani) were falsely honouring cult hand made stones and trees and by the glorious miracle of God, the pagan inhabitants turned to faith in the True Lord and Savior Jesus Christ being astoned to see such an unique image of the mother of the Lord The Stone icon of the Virgin Mary appeared for a first time in Jirovichi in about year 1460.

The stone Virgin Mary icon was found by shepherds on top of a burning pear tree while wandering in the wood searching for their last sheeps.
Jirovichij (Bojii Mater)
as popular among Belarusians is said to have conducted a multitude of miracles through the years even to this very day.

Jirovichi-holy-icon-of-Mother-Mary-Jirovichka-bojia-mater

The found Stone self-ingraved icon of Jirovichi monastery, the smallest (miracle making) icon of Virgin Mary on earth

Today in Jirovichi monastery the place where the burning pear was is on the entrance of the monastery main Church which is in honour of the Dormition of Virgin Mary.

Jirovichi-bojij-mater-Mother-of-God-Jirovichi-holiest-place-of-Belarus

Jirovichi Bojii Mater

The monastery has 2 corpuses one for seminary students and one for monks. Inside the monastery there are about 20 monks and 10 priests regularly serving various services and holy liturgy daily. The seminary has a beautiful garden and a holy spring (well) right infront of the main Church entrance.

Jirovichka-Bojij-Mater-Virgin-Mary-miracle-making-icon-Jirovichi-monastery-Belarus

Jirovichi Mother of the Son of God Holy Icon

I've catched a bus from the holiest place of Belarus situated in village of Jirovichi (hosts about 1000+- citizens) to Slonim (Vokzal) = Train Station in Russian language. The bus from Jirovichi to Slonim is about 20-30 km and ticket was 8000 BYR (which is very cheap to about 0.40 USD).

Then from Slonim's Train station I've bought a Train ticket to Ros as I needed to go to Krasnoselsk and there was no direct transportation to it. Ros is a nearby poselok to Krasnoselsk (another poselok) nearby the town of Valkowysk , (Volkovoisk), Волковыск is inhabited by about 44000 people as of time of writting. In Russian (poselok is a little bigger than village but not really to be called town usually consists to up to few thousands of people up to 10 000 ppl.

Slonim-city-center-tank

Slonim City Center Tank

Travelling through ex empire of Soviet Union ( USSR ) which was an union in many things to reside the today's European Union is an unique experience as one sees the endeavor of soviet people to build different things that kept running the so called communist regime. 

The train ticket is really cost low (costed me 14.900 BYR Belarussian Rubles = about 0.80 dollar cents!). The train ticket looked just like an ordinary cash reeipt printed on a cheap paper, however uniquely on the train ticket is written besides the departure and arrival towns also, number of kilometers from town A to town B that you pay for, in my case from Slonim to Rosy this was 088 km. The train itself is a real excitement for anyone who is in love with history and old trains.

Slonim-city-Belarus-train-station

Slonim Belarus, Bus Station with a Kiosk

While waiting the train I dropped by the Caffeteria nearby the Train Station (Vokzal) and get a coffee for 6000 BYR (about 0.25 USD) and 2  kinda of local Belarusian snacks (bulochka) which costed about 3000 BYR each (0.12 USD)! Amazingly I had my coffee and a quick meal for less than a dollar, amazingly cheap isn't it? 🙂

Diesel-Elektrichka-inter-town-village-train-Belarus-DR1A-135
 

The Russian type trains are different from European as the rails distance is higher than in rest of Europe. Actually there was practical reason behind the rails standard differene as the Russian rails standard was invented to be different from European in order to stop Hitler's Nazi Germany to easily transport goods / tanks etc. from and to the Stalin's U.S.S.R.

Because of the different rail distance the inside of the train coupe is also wider separated in two column seats on each of it could sit up to 3 people:

Elektrichka-common-train-between-villages-and-cities-in-Belarus-Russia-and-ex-USSR

The train toilet is also unique to see as it belonged to the perhaps 30-40 years old train:

Even though the toilet doesn't look shiny still it was clean and there was a toilet paper, what intrigued me most was the hole on the ground in front of the toilet seat, the meaning of it was to be a kinda of a natural air-condition 🙂
The toilet flush is really amazing to see too, usually in europe and everywhere I've been including in Arab Emirates (Dubai), the water flush is being triggered on top of toilet paper with hand, well in ex-USSR this is different to to flush the water you have to press a button with your leg. The sink water is also interesting to see usually in Europe sink water is being triggered by pushing on top or by turning a stopcock, here in Russia you have to press down to make water flow. Talking about oddities another oddity for non-Belarusians in Belarus is the home bath locks, usually in europe we're used to have some kind of lock mechanism, locking with a key is most common, here in Belarus in home the lock doors mechanism is simply a button to be pressed up or down. 

In the train there was policeman, the policeman here in Belarus are firm man walking threating all around the train, so no place for bad or misbehaving citizens here in Belarus 🙂

I've safely reached village of Ros in 16:35 (with a delay of about 5 minutes) which is pretty normal for a non-western train, so overall train timing was cool. The train had some signatures with some instructions what is allowed and disallowed in the train, smoking was strictly prohibited and there was huge sum fine / "shtraf". Even though that I've seen a young person to smoke a cigarette (while closing the doors) in between coupes compartment obviously not much caring about the cops standing just a few wagons next 🙂

Before reaching Rosy we've passed on few villages, the villages here in Belarus are very beatiful there is difference in how Belarusians built a lot of their old wooden houses if compared to lets say Bulgaria or Balkans where we build brick solid houses a lot of village houses in Belarus are wooden, here is few pictures to give you an idea on how a typical Belarusian village looks like:

Belarus-ex-USSR-village

Belarus-derevnija-picture-ex-USSR-village

Even though the harsh Soviet atheistic communism regime which tried to force unbelieve in God and kill all kind of religiousness in people after the fall of the (USSR) United Soviet Socialistic Republic Belarusians who used to be historically a very religious people are gradually returning to faith.
An interesting fact worthy to mention is Belarus used to be proclaimed the first officially Atheistic country in the world which "freed itself" from the slavery of faith as the anti-christ communists used to be loving saing. 

Well obviously they were wrong nowadays, in many of villages which doesn't have their own Church in Belarus it is typical practice to bringup the Holy Cross of Christ as in below picture, each year the nearby city / town / Poselok Eastern Orthodox priest comes to pray to God for the blessing of the village and abundance of fruits this typically happens on Eastern or Nativity. In Belarus the Eastern Orthodox population is about 78% with some 15% person of Catholics, so often villages with mixed (Orthodox and Catholic) citizens has both separate crosses like in the picture where Orthodox and Catholics christians go to pray seperately.

Belarus-ex-USSR-village-Cross

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How to delete “Temporary Internet Files”/Content.IE5 with DEL and RD commands on Windows 7 / 8 folder contents – Clean Up Temporary files and folders to speed up and free disk space

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

7logo_clean-up-windows-commands-tips-and-tricks-how-to-clean-up-windows-pc-manuallyI
've been called urgently today by miss Jenia Pencheva who is the president of Christian Air Ticket Agency GoodFaithAir, her personal computer caused her quite a lot of headache, I've previously fixed it once and she was happy with that thus when she experienced problems she give me a call for remote IT support :).

She explahed her PC was unable to boot normally and in order to have some Windows she ended in Safe-Mode with Networking state. This problems caused her business losses as during PC in Safe mode the screen resolution even though with networking and she couldn't use the flight ticket ordering systems  to purchase her customers new tickets.  I've earlier installed TeamViewr on her PC so after Logging on the PC, I've immediately realized the Hard Disk was almost full (less than 1Giga free on C: Drive – where Windows install lived)

After a thorough investigation on which directory is occupying most of disk space (110GB) with a nice program called SpaceSniffer which is perfect for finding lost space on your hard disks, I've found System for ticket reservation Amadeus CRS (Computer Reservation System) was causing the disk full-full troubles.

spacesniff-visualize-disk-data-in-windows-nice-check-large-directories

I've found troubling directory  was:

C:UsersgoodfaithairAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5

To solve it I first tried to Clean up Internet Explorer Cache (I've checked ticks Temporary Internet files, Cookies, History, Download History, Form Data, InPrivate Filtering Data).

clean-up-Microsoft-Internet-Explorer-browser-cache-IE-7-8-9-10-11

Then I used Microsoft Windows embedded clean manager (cleanmgr.exe) to run disk clean up, however Desk Clean Up managed to clear up only about 1Giga and on the computer HDD which is 150Gb still on Windows installation drive C: only 1.5GB were free.
diskcleanup-ms-windows-7-8-screenshot-free-disk-space-tool
Besides that the system was having a second trouble as there were some failed updates (Computer was not shutdown properly but shutdown during Windows Update) and this was making the machine to enter Safe-Mode, I was fixing the system over TeamViewer session so after restart I had no way to see if Windows boots Normal or Safe-Mode after restart, thus to find out whether Windows was in Safe-Mode after another restart I've used below PowerShell one-liner script:

check-whether-windows-is-working-in-safe-mode-gwmi-powershell-screenshot

PS C:> gwmi win32_computersystem | select BootupState

BootupState
———–
Fail-safe with network boot

Note that possible return results from above command are:

Normal boot
Fail-safe boot
Fail-safe with network boot

I've been struggling for a while (had to restart it multiple times) until finally I managed to make it boot in normal mode. Because PC was failing to apply some Windows Update, thus dropping by in Safe-Mode each time. To solve that I had to go and Delete two of the last Applied updates (KB2979xxxx files).
 

Control Panel ->  Program and Features -> View Installed Updates


MS-Windows-7-8-9-uninstall-updates-Patches-Control_Panel_screenshot_fix_unbootable_problems-because-updates
I've restarted and since I couldn't see the screen on Windows boot-time, I don't know what really happened but the PC booted again in Safe-Mode, and I thought the classical way to fix PC booting in Safe-Mode with SFC command will help:

C:> sfc /scannow

but for my surprise this helped not as the system continuously booted in Safe-Mode, to fix the Windows PC always booting to Safe-Mode, I had to change it running msconfig and unticking Safe Mode field

C:> msconfig

windows-always-booting-to-safe-mode-fix-howto-services-msc-screenshot

Then I tried to delete Temporary Internet Files with below DEL cmd line
 

C:> del "C:UsersMyNameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet Files*.*"


To finally succeeding in manually delete huge Temporary Internet FilesContent.IE5 folder, I had to use good old RD (Remove Directory) command.

 

C:> RD "C:UsersusernameAppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5" /Q /S

I used also following dels command to delete other common locations where Windows stores temporary files

For those who like to batch DeletingTemporary Internet Files and most common Temp locations to be cleaned on Windows boot I recommend you schedule a start of (clean-temporary-internet-files-content_ie5_folder.bat) on every PC boot.

To Clean-up other common Temporary file locations that could take you disk space the command line way run in new Administarator privileged command prompt:
 

cls
cleanmgr /sageset:99
del /F /S /Q "%systemroot%temp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "%systemroot%Prefetch*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and SettingsDefault UserLocal SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and SettingsDefault UserLocal SettingsTemp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and SettingsDefault UserLocal SettingsHistory*.*"
 
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and Settings%UserName%Local SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and Settings%UserName%Local SettingsTemp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and Settings%UserName%Local SettingsHistory*.*"
 
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and Settings%UserName%Local SettingsApplication DataTemp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Documents and Settings%UserName%Local SettingsApplication DataTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5
*.*"
 
del /F /S /Q "C:AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsHistory*. *"
del /F /S /Q "C:AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesLowContent.IE5*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsTemporary Internet FilesTemporary Internet FilesLowContent.IE5*.*"
 
del /F /S /Q "C:Users%UserName%AppDataLocalTemp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Temp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "C:Users%UserName%AppDataLocalMicrosoftW indo wsTemporary Internet FilesLowContent.IE5*.*
del /F /S /Q "C:Users%UserName%AppDataLocalMicrosoftW indo wsHistory*.*
 
 
::Rem: No need to duplicate the following section for each registered User
del /F /S /Q "%homepath%Cookies*.*"
del /F /S /Q "%homepath%recent*.*"
del /F /S /Q "%homepath%Local Settingscookies*.*"
 
del /F /S /Q "%homepath%Local SettingsHistory*.*"
del /F /S /Q "%homepath%Local SettingsTemp*.*"
del /F /S /Q "%homepath%Local SettingsTemporary Internet FilesContent.IE5*.*"
 
cleanmgr /sagerun:99

Note that in some cases running above commands might left you loose some sensitive data and in case where Internet is slow cleaning temporary files, might have impact on surfing also you will loose your history so be sure you know what you're doing as you might loose sensitive data.

Finally I've run MalwareBytes to clean up the PC slowness caused by Spyware and other left Malware I've run MalwareBytes, RogueKiller, AdwCleaner, RKill, TDSSKiller in order and I found and removed few Malwares as well.

That's all, hope you learned something new. Enjoy!
 

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Trip to Troyan Bulgaria and Troyan Monastery – Third monastery by size in Bulgaria

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Troan Monastery Church - Trip to Troyan Monastery from 16th century Bulgaria - 3rd monastery by size in Bulgaria
This weekend I went with my wife for a Trip To Troyan monastery from Sofia – bus ticket currently costs 12 lv (6 euro) and the distance is rawly 160 km.

Troyan is a remarkable mountain city situated in the center (heart) of Bulgaria, famous with being one of the main places where opposition and preparation for the Turkish Bulgarian war occured. Troyan monastery situated near Oreshaka village was one of the places where the idea of liberation of Bulgaria originated. Troyan was often visited by the remarkable revolutionaries and greatest Bulgarian heroes of all times like Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev.

Troyan Monastery - ancient orthodox monastery in Bulgaria from 16th century

Here in Troyan there was existing one of the many secret commitees in period (1869 – 1876) – Central Secret Revolutionary Committee (BRCK – as widely known in Bulgaria), creation of this commitee become reality thanks to the Deacon Vasil Levsky who saw there is no awakened Bulgarians to fight for national freedom.
Efforts of CSRC later lead to Liberation of Bulgarian from 500 years Bulgarians being under the yoke of Turkish Slavery.

Eco path in the steps of the Apostle of Freedom Vasil Levsky Bulgaria

Our first impressions from Troyan were quite negative, the bus station looks post communistic and a little bit like a horror movie, near the bus station there was a lot of criminal looking gipsies.
Just 5 minutes walk from there is a small beautiful park with children playground, what impressed me most in the park is a bush cutted in the form of ancient amphora and next to the park is the city center surrounded by a river Beli Osym, all from the city center you can see the beatiful mountains all around. There are two historical museums filled with archaelogical remains from early ages, national dresses, weapons from the Liberation war, explanation with chunks of history and Bulgarian national heroes connected to Troyan, there are beautiful expoisitions on how locals used to live through the ages museums, famous paintings original of local artistsBulgaria is a unique country, because of it combines outstanding nature and rich history remains of which is well preserved and standing firm testifying about the Bulgaria glorious past.

Entrance door of The Troyan Monastery - Troianska sveta obitel uspenie Bogorodichno

After taking a walk in the city center, we went to a local city bus station to take a bus to Oreshaka village – at the end of which is located Troyan Monastery. His Beuaitutide Patriarch Maxim who passed away 98 years old was born in Oreshaka village and become monk in Troyan monastery and was a brother of Troan monastery. Currently his holy body is buried in the monastery which is titled "The Dormition of the most Holy Theotokos".  One can feel the place is graceful even from reaching near Oreshaka village, the near view is also stunningly beautiful. The bus from Troyan has a bus stop right in front of the monastery and is cheap (costed only 1.90 lv per person 0.80 euro cents). Bus to the monastery travels 4 times a day, so it was convenient to reach the monastery.
Oreshaka and Troyan region is well famous since ancient times with its skillful craftsman and all kind of crafts developing.

Tryoan monastery mamut and lion - monuments from ancient God creation

Near the monastery there is small chapel from which the monastery started, the history of Troyan monastery, all revives around the miraculous icon of Holy Theotokos (Troeruchica – The Tree Handed Virgin).

Miracle making icon in Troyan Monastery Holy Virgin (Theotokos) Troeruchica - Tree Handed

The monastery story revives around this icon, a monk from holy Mount Athos was travelling to Vlashko (nowadays situated in Carpathians – Romania near border with Moldova), on his way he heard about a hermit with his pupil living near Oreshaka region and spend some time in fasting and prayer with the hermit local people heard about the miracle making icon and come from near and distant regions to venerate the Holy Virgin and pray. When the time come and he decided to move further in his trip to Vlashko he put the icon on his settled horse, made the sign of the cross and walked after few steps the horse stumbled and break his leg, in this event the monk understand it is not God's will to travel and he returned back to the hermit. After spending some time with the hermit, he settled again his horse but on exactly the same place the horse fall again – in that the monk understood this happens because the icon wants to stay on that place. The hermit offered to the monk that he stay there and they service God together, but traveling monk rejected, he venerated the holy icon for a last time and continued his travel to Vlashko. A small brotherhood formed by God's providence near the hermit and they decided to make a small wooden Church for Troeruchica and started servicing God there. This is how Troyan monastery started in the XVI century. The Glory of the Holy icon of Virgin Mary (Troeruchica) quickly spread all around enslaved Bulgarian lands and people come from all regions to pray to the Virgin to cure them, grant them good fortune, good health, solve spritual and family problems … The notes over the last 400 years shows that everyone that come with faith and prayed in front of the Virgin icon found confort, healing, numb started talking, deaf started hearing, paralytics walked.

Sveta_Bogorodica-Troeruchica-Holy-Theotokos-miracle-making-icon-Troyan

Monastery chronicles say that thanks to the Theotokos Troeruruchica in year 1837 the icon saved the locals from the black death which was taking its toll in the region, nobody that came to the monastery to ask for protection from the plague didn't suffered plague, everyone that decided to stay in the monastery during the plague survived, even though people from all around were coming to confess and take the sacraments, no one in the monastery wasn't infected by plague.

We arrived in Troyan Monastery around 16:30 and by arriving were hospitally accepted by our marriage godfather Galin and his sister Denica and were threated with fresh watermelon and even 50 grams of Bulgarian traditional drink Rakia. They're currently painting walls in the monastery dining room in 18:00 we had the blessing to attend the evening Church service. The service was deep and unique experience that moves you to the Kingdom of heaven. After the Church service we went to nearby Mehana Kaizer (Old Bulgarian Dining Inn – Krychma whole made to look in Old Bulgarian Style – there is plenty of traditional food to choose and food was super delicious 🙂

kaizer-krychma-traditional-inn-pub-near-Troyan-monastery

On Sunday 10.08.2014 we were for the Holy Liturgy service and after that we walked through the monastic Church and saw near the Church the bell tower and next to it the old monks monastic graveyard. We visited also the museum of the monastery which contains various religious use objects dating back from year 1700+, old  craftmen instruments, old icons, potirs, priest clothes, old coins from all around the world and Bulgaria. There was a lot of information about historical facts regarding the monastery brotherhood, as well as some chronicles and documents explaining participation of the monastery in the fight for national freedom of Bulgaria. The musem is made of two rooms one of which was the same room where the Apostle of Freedom Vasil Levsky – one can see there the exact hiding place which Vasil Levsky was using to sleep secretly – the hiding place looks like a normal wardrobe.

Scyth saint Nicolas near Troan Monastery Oreshaka Bulgaria - revolutionary city led to freedom of Bulgaria

After seeing the museum, we went to see the monastic Scyth – "Saint Nicola", which was used earlier by the monks, whenever they wanted to have period of seclusion to raise their spiritual life. The Scyth has a large Church in honor of Saint Nicolas, most likely this Church was visited by people from the village, in times when Christians in Bulgaria was forbidden to attend Church services by Turkish Empire – and this is why it was build in such a secluded place. Near the scyth is the grave of a famous rebel for Bulgarian Freedom, and there is a cave with a spring.

Graveyard and skeleton of haidut - rebel Velko fighter for Bulgarian freedom Schyth near Troyan Monastery

Then we walked back the road to Troan Monastery and near the monastery, we went to see workshop of a carpenter lady who makes wooden ornaments for Churches in the region and the monastery.

The lady give us some herbs as a blessing. We had the chance to also take the blessing from the current Abbot Biship Sionij who was earlier rector of Sofia's Seminary Saint "John of Rila".

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Prodigy night and Spirit of Burgas 2012 – few impressions

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 - How to steal a jet fighter latest prodigy album

As a kid I have been very big fan of The Prodigy. Prodigy were considered absolutely revolutionary style band in the 1995 – 2004 years. As an ex-big fan of the band and cause of the fact I happened to be near to Burgas I decided to attend their performance on August the 5-th.
Spirit of Burgas as every year happens on the beach of Burgas.

A large number of nice underground rock / punk / jazz / reggae etc. continuing for days is not so common on the balkans so Spirit of Burgas is quite a unique undeground music gathering …
Spirit of Burgas is taking place now for a 4-th year and starting to become an established Electronic, Dance, Metal feast here on Balkans.

Below is a list of all the bands that played on Spirit of Burgas 3 days feast this year;
Spirit of Burgas year 2012 bands agenda for 3 days list picture

The 1 night entrance fee was quite expensive 40 EUR, but for a famous band as Prodigy and the rest of bands bands playing on other beach scenes I guess the price was fair. The 3 days entrance fee worth it money much more though, for 3 days ticket the price was 60 EUR. The beer price too high; 1 beer price was 1.60 EUR. For a richer countries this prices are nothing and OK but for the low salaries in Bulgaria the beer price was killing.

Besides the high price, the only beer one can buy on the beach was Becks (taking me out the choice to buy another beer brand!). Everywhere around was those annoying writings on both billboards and video sceens B’ECKSPERIENCE, Jack Daniels, DSK Bank etc. Advertsiments should be but this was a bit over-stretched!….

Prodigy performance started about 10:30 on the so called Main Stage – a big scene facing the sea. Prodigy break out and enter, the scene right after a performance of modern punk band SUM 41

I don’t know the music works of SUM 41 that’s why I skipped most of their concert checking the other stages perf-s. On most of other stages mostly Bulgarian Punk / Rock / Alternative musicians were playing.
Prodigy’s scene break-up was done with some famous buzzling sounds known from their works, as you can see from the videos I post below.
The Stage was very over-crowded, according to some estimations the concert was attended by about 15 000 people ! ! !. Considering the decay in Prodigy popularity I guess this was quite a good number.
During The Prodigy‘s play all the other scenes were shut off in order to allow everybody to enjoy Prodigy.

I should admit, the music beats and ruffs were just great, but I didn’t liked the vox messages “Keith Flinth”, was spreading; Saying some iditic phrases like:

Where is my People?, My Prodigy People, My Voodoo People and plenty of other non-sense

As a Christian I know pretty well Prodigy’s music message is not in consonance in Christianity and hence I didn’t liked to be associated as a “prodigy person”, cause I don’t want to be associated with people who preach evil. Something else, showing off the low prodigy vocal culture was his frequent use of the F*CK word, which btw was probably the most used word by almost every musician playing on every scene all night long…

The scene lightning was rich but not bright, enough to clearly distinguish what is happening on the scene.
On the back stage, there was the name of latest prodigy album – How To Steal a Jet Fighter with a background of an old jet fighter plane.

Prodigy Vocalist Keith Flinth on main stage spirit of burgas 2012

The group scene performance was quite aggressive as always, actually probably it is the primitive behavior of the band and the primitiveness in music that attracts the crowds. People nowadays are too much civilized that the wild primitive deep in us is something we hardly miss as ppl.

The Prodigy in the beginning @ Spirit of Burgas 04.08.2012

The Prodigy – Breathe, Live @ Spirit of Burgas 2012

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 1

The Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 2

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 3

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 4

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 5

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 6

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 7

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 8

The Prodigy – Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 9

Prodigy Spirit of Burgas 2012 Black Sea Party Zone 10

By the way during the concert all around the scene, there was massive marijuana smoke (not to say fog 🙂 ). Probably kilos of “Mara” (as smokers call it for short in BG) was smoken by fans during the 1.15 mins group performance.
As a result, many of the ruffling fans were in a tranced “Nirvana” state 🙂
Something, I’ve noticed is the quality of Prodigy performance, has severely fallen if compared to old concerts of the band period 1999 – 2002.
One moment in the concert was really pissing off for me, when Keith Flinth instructed the public to GET DOWN, saying something like:

Now everybody GET DOWN, I SAID GET DOWN – the sheep fans just followed the ORDER squatting; This was pure “MIND CONTROL” – almost everyone squatted unquestionably.
A girl behind me tried to push me down, to make me kneel down as I refused to squat 🙂
I told her that “I don’t follow orders, jokingly and didn’t squatted 🙂

This squatting from Christian position looked like exactly like worshipping Prodigy as [ idol (God) substitute ] …
The concert end up in a very stupid way; there was no encore performance, not even introduction of the band members to the people and even a no simply BYE to the fans. They just shut off and went away silently like a beaten dogs 🙂

Following the end of Prodigy performance on the neighbor Stage, the “legendary” Bulgarian Punk / Rock old-school band KONTROL was playing. I had great fun with KONTROL as I used to be very much loving the band back in my metal years 🙂 KONTROL’s performance was just great, but unfortunately the scene lightning was again shit and the big Video Screens was switched off so I could see the band hardly. After KONTROL’s end up another hard-core Bulgarian band jumped the scene (PIRANNHA). This guys, were completely funny and i really disliked them as they were heavily copying Venom, even their logo was copied from Venom’s Goat Pentagram (the band mascot was a Satanic Pentagram on wheels (complete iditiosm) :D)
The vocal were cursing themselves, screaming funnily “F*CK PIRANNHA, F*CK PIRANNHA !” 🙂

Spirit of Burgas was supposed to close about 5 in the morning, but I was too busy and I left in 2:45, spending few minutes listening to some kind of nice sounding Drum and Bass DJ playing on the main stage.

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My First hitch-hiking experience – travel notes on a hitch hiker trip from Dobrich to Pomorie Monastery

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

My first hitch hiking experience travel notes of a hitch hiker Dobrich Varna Pomorie Monastery

I've been 28 years old and for good or bad never travelled hitch hiking. Today however with a friend of mine Kimba thx God I lived to experience what it is like to stay on the road "begging" people to take you on their way to somewhere.

I always wanted to hitch-hike as a youngster but my restrictive controlling parents was too vigilant not to let me have my personal freedom and try hitch hiking. Now as I've grown "old" I have the freedom to do it and I'm glad I could. For sure it is better to do something you always wanted later than never 🙂

We took the "STOP" from a place few meters away from the "scratching sign" indicating the end of Dobrich city area – located about 4 / 5 km from Dobrich center. To come to the well known hitch-hiker's place (which my friend Kimba) knew pretty well since he travelled probably more than 20 times hitch-hiking.

To reach the hitch-hiker place we walked about 1 hour which in the early morning (07:50 to 09:00) came to be quite refreshing.
About 09:00 we started doing the well know hitch hiker gesture to beg traveller to take us 🙂

It felt quite unconfortable and a bit like begging to be on the road waiting for somebody to pick you up on the other hand it felt very challenging as it seemed to be a good "exercice" to raise up self-confidence. We were lucky and we didn't met any drivers to mock us with gestures or car beep. Besides that we only had to wait less than 20 minutes (probably 18 mins) until a car stop and ask her for our direction.
The driver seemed had to travel close to Aksakovo (a small village like town 1 km far from beginning of Varna and just few km away from the city center).

He pick us up and as we go he happened to be a familiar person which I've seen many times in the (International College Albena) where I previously studied.
The guy happened to be a merried for the librarian of the college. We had a nice chat in his car about Bulgaria before in communism and now and who is doing what (which I guess is quite normal) for hitch-hikers. As he drived a very funny scene appeared as we saw a donkey leading a cart full of wood running on the road. Now you might wonder what would be funny of a rural donkey with a cart full of wood, well the cart didn't have any person leading it. It seemed the donkey run away scared by a truck or a noise so the person leading the cart either fall somewhere on the road or the donkey had untight itself and took the direction to its home place 🙂

… Our hitch-hiking plan was to travel from Dobrich to Varna (if possible or the closest village or suburb), then we aimed to take a bus from Varna or somewhere nearby to the city center and from the city center to Travel to the so called (Asparuh's bridge / (Asparuhovia Most) – which is a common hitch-hike waiting and pick-up destination).

As we were left in Aksakovo by the driver, we were lucky to have a close bus stop near us. We went to the bus stop and we only had to wait about 8 minutes until the next bus driving to Varna city center arrived. We pick up a bus number 207 and travelled 'safely' to the city center (on the price of 1 lv per ticket). So our overall travelling for both of us instead of 10 lv (5 lv per person bus tick) costed only 2 lv 🙂 Along with the low price for travelling the hitch-hiking was also very healthy as we had a long walk to the place to depart from and after that had a small walk to pick up the bus to Varna. We made a mistake to not go out of the 207 bus near Varna city center Cathedral but two stops earlier, so we also had a small 15 minutes walking to the Cathedral. As we were not sure which bus we need to take to go to Asparuhov's bridge, we asked few people on the city center. We were told we need to pick bus number 2 or 17 (IIRC).

Eventually as we're waiting near the bus station where the bus-es leading to Asparuhovo stopped, we came to meet a taxi driver driving people to Asparuhovo on the price of a bus ticket (1 lv). In 5 minutes time, again obviously by God's might intervention the driver was able to collect 2 more people so he offered that we all immediately travel. The taxi-st left us on a place a bit after Asparuhovo's bridge which was the common place for hitch-hikers. We had to climb a little hill like place and walk a bit on the highway on (the car damage and wreck area). Very near us was a police car waiting to catch violators of speed limits. I didn't know about this very moment that Hitch-Hiking in Bulgaria is considered illegal!, happily I found this sad fact not by the police man but from Kliment (Kimba). The policeman did not stop us as we found a way to walk through a place which is bit far from them. Kimba choose a place and we started doing the hitch-hiker "PLEASE STOP AND TAKE US" gesture once again (actually the as Kimba was a professional in hitch-hiking he was mostly doing the hitch-hike sign.

There we had to wait about 40 minutes or so until, a good man with a small bus carrying some paper palettes stop and took us.
Thanks God he had to travel to Jambol to deliver the palettes so his travel route passed by near Bourgas (and respectively Pomorie). We had a an intimaditing chat with the person by which I found out he seem to be having many money issues and a lot of debts (just like many of the people in BG nowdays). Unfortunately he shared that just like a lot of us the common people in Bulgaria he is underpaid and often even though he works extra in Saturdays and Sundays it is almost impossible for him to pay his rent, food and family expenss …..

As the conversation progressed, he asked us where are we going if we're going to find a work and I told him we're going to be guests and pilgrims to Pomorie Monastery and in the mean time help the monks if there is work to be done….

It was a pleasure for me to meet such an honest bulgarian middle aged man, which also was good enough to pick us up. The time passed quite quickly as we shared some of common living joys and griefs. The bus quickly approached pomorie so we left us and we split. As I was thankful to the guy and felt pity for his bad life misfortunes and I wished in my mind that God bless, help him and return him for the good deed he done to pick us up.

We were now only 2 km from Pomorie entrance so to the monastery we had to walk only about 4 or 5 more kilometers. On the gas (oil) station, where we were left a fun story happaned as the computers counting the gasoline stopped working. People who filled the car tanks with Gasoline had to wait until someone comes and fixes the computer, neither nobody can purchase anything from the station (a snacks, a coffee, even a bottle of water) was impossible to buy. We stayed on this little station (Petrol) located just 2 km from Pomorie for 20 or 25 minutes and in this time this people who couldn't pay for the gasoline had to just hang up there loosing their time waiting for someone to fix the BUGGED PC ,,,

This scene has once again confirmed my theory that computerization is not always necessery a good think and the over-computerization of everything as the trend is nowdays could create a lot of time lags in many places and often create a great havoc if systems somehow reject working as planned ….

Anyways to be sure which way to walk to Pomorie Monastery we had to consult few local people. Nicely the road leading to Pomoriiski Manastir was easy we just had to walk straight and then turn right. Actually the monastery bell tower is visible on the way so it is not likely that anyone walking straight will not notice the tower which is taller than other one or two stage housed highed buildings.

We came to the monastery and by Gods grace as we asked previously the abbot for a blessing to come to the monastery, they were expecting us.
Immediately one of the persons serving in the monastery gave us a room. I asked for the abbot and we found him in his Abbot place and gave us a blessing. That's the over of my first and hopefully not last great hitch-hiking adventere. The moral from my trip is:
 

To sum it up, if you never tried stopping on a highway give it a try! 🙂

  • hitch-hiking is a great must experience in a life-time thing;
  • Obviously we were lucky and it is always a great think to travel with an Abbot blessing
  • Hitch-hiking in Bulgaria is illegal, so there is thrill in doing it 🙂
  • hitch-hiking could be a very healthy initiative
  • Hitch-hiking is a great raise up and experience new random people self-confidence exercise 🙂

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Flight to Dubai via Istanbul, my Dubai first impressions and how it feels to be in Arab country

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Burj Al Arab and the 360 degree club

On Sunday I had a flight to Dubai – the the United Arab Emirates. The flight's goal is to do some business meetings with potential investors willing to invest in Cadia Holding 's Ofsshore Solutions
I'm employed as IT & Security Specialist and business consultant as well as doing the system administration for the company

The company has already scheduled a business meetings to look for new investors in order to finance the current company offered products and services as well as finance its entrance in the field of biometrics technology for the people to allow people to pay in stores with no need for plastic cards only using a finger partial imprint and a code.

The flight from Sofia to Istanbul was about 1 h and 15 minutes and it went quite smoothly thanks God. It seems Sofia's Airport has changed a lot since my last flight before more than a year and half to Dotmund Germany.
Now Sofia's airport looks way more modern than before, which means Bulgaria is slowly but surely developing it's infrastructure 😉
Sofia Airport long distance view

I used an electronic ticket for the flight which was pre-purchased by Cadia so what, all I had to do on the airport is show a copy of my e-ticket and immediately, they hand me in the fly ticket necessery to check in for the airplane

I should say the flight with Turksih airlines was really enjoyable and the plane we flight with felt much more secure compared to the WizzAir's airus.

It is true the last time I flight with with Wizzair's Airbus it was in January and the weather was quite bad as there was harsh winter with a lot of snow and this might be the reason, why my flight with them felt so shaky.

Anyways before entering the plane I had to go throught the regular security procedures, where I had to remove all kind of metals in bas, pockets etc. and go through a metal scanner, they sa an (anti terourisim) measure, besides that one of the airport security personnel checked me thoroughfully if I dont' bring any kind of objects hidden in m clothes. Generally during the check up with the metal scanner and the check up person I was treated like a criminal …
The Turkish airlines, stewardesses and the service was wonderful and we were given a not too bi but decent lunch (my first time I eat in airplane ;)).

Turkish Airlines Istanbul Airport

The flight as went smoothly and we were in Istanbul about 12:00 at midday, after coming down from the bus we were transferred with a bus from the plane like 1 or 1.5 km to Terminal 2 (the terminal of arrival scheduled).
I travelled with another colleague Krasimir, so we had to check our Tickets in the ticket office and let them issue us the flight ticket based on the e-ticket.
After a quick check of our International travelling passport, so called red passpower we were let to enter the duty free zone full of stores for food, beverages, clothes, parfumes suits cafeterias and everything, tech equipment stores, book stores, turkish ice-cream, duner kebaps and mostly any kind of shops and tings one can think of.

AtaTurk airport Istanbul picture
Ataturk Airport Istanbul

Something that catched my attention was that actually the model of how things are ordered and what they sell, the elevators the materials for building in the airport was very much like how things are in westerm country.
I thought it's a bit sad that everybody, everyone is following a modern design and a specific kind of order of things literally followed after the way things are in the western world. This somehow kills partially the uniqueiness of the country's culture and gives it a taste of the west, where the original culture and traditions the country possess somehow stay in the background.

What made me a bad impression on the airport is the too high prices of food and drinks. I just took one coffee (cappucino) and it costed me the solid sum 5 EUR!!
I was even fooled by the Turkish guy as if converted the coffee price from Turkish currency (Liras), when I calculated the price of the coffee was actually about 4 euro.

I've also spotted that in Turkey they're big nationalists. I've been told by Krasi the airport of Istanbul is called Ataturk and it appears this is the biggest airport in all Turkey. I've noticed in the bookstores we went through many many books even in English talking about the greatness of Turkey's first president Ataturk. There is no doubt that Ataturk has done a lot for internationalizing Turkey, it seems in Turkey they consider Ataturk as a national hero, but in my view it is a bit too much, somehow it looked like Ataturk's great respect in Turkey is comparable to the Chineese's love for Mao Dun ….

We had to spend some 4 hours with Krasi before the time for the second fly comes, so we had 4 hours to take a general look over everything offered in stores on the airport to kill some time

I was quite amazed to see so big variety products and goods on the same place, there was basicly everything one needs except furniture offered ont he airport.
The bookstores English books was reallya lot, where I should say it was quite good that about 40% of the books to be sold, were in English (quite odd especially if I take in consideration that most of the Turkish people I know couldn't speak too good English).

The flight to Dubai was scheduled for 16:45 in the afternoon, so 40 minutes earlier I and Krasi went again through the metal scanner again and thanksfully this time we were not searched for guns and bombs by airport police.
 

Emirates Company Logo

The airplane, we flied with was Boeing 777 – really a beatiful flying machine. We were lucky to travel with two other Bulgarians Nikolay and Gergana, who were flying to Chennai India for some kind of personnel training of some company personnel for the company http://Yazaki.com (an international company producing vehicles components) .

Emirates Boeing 777 nice airplane

Emirates airlines's organization service and convenience was really incredible! Emirates has done a great, job really. I had a lot of fun in the airplane in the flight, as they had every passenger sit with a touch screen display computer with a joystick similar to the ones with playstation.
< img src="http://www.pc-freak.net/images/emirates_passenger_personal_touchscreen_computer_Boening_777.jpg" alt="Emirates Boeng 777 Passenger personal computer touch screen device" />
A Boeng 777 Passenger seat view , the passenger touch screen device mounted on seats back

The little touch screen computer had a number of capabilities the passenger could watch a movie, get information about Dubai play his favourite old fashioned games like Pong, Asteroids, Galaga like, Checss, Arkanoid and like 10 outhers of classic games I know from my childhood.
Besides that the passenger's flight personal computer was equipped was even capable to make satellite phone calls chargable directly from VISA or Mastercard Debit or Credit card. The telephone was embedded with the joystick, so on the back of the control device joystick one has the satellite phone, the phone had the capability to call passengers who are inside the plane. To call another traveller inside the airplane you just need to have the passenger seat number.
As a computer security hobbyist, I've noticed one major problem with the phone calls in between airplane travelling passengers.
By default each sit's phone was sett upped to automatically answer phone calls from other passengers, Which means that if I'm a malicious abuser I can easily just call random people in the airplane and do social engineering pretending to be the plane Commander, stewardess or any other personal from the plane crew 😉
On the other hand calling random people, by getting advantage of how the system "hole", could easily give you the opportunity to make yourself random friends or share contacts with people from around the world 😉

Another handy thing about the onboard touch screen computer, I've noticed is the possibility to listen music from a list of a huge database with music. Also a huge database like (300+) movies ready to be seen was available, as well as some serials and some popular podcasts as well as the device even supported e-mail check and some basic internet functionalities (which unfortunately had to be used only after payment with a debit or credit card :|).

Emirates Passenger personal computer touch screen incredible device
Emirates / Skywards Passenger personal computer touch screen device

In the middle of the 4 hours and 15 minutes flight, we were handed in a good portions of dinner meals, which obviously was properly selected to be suitable to be easily digestable and vitaminous food. Also alcohol arabian Coca-Cola, Coffe and tea was offered.

Before the meals was handed in by the few stewards in the airplane, each passenger was handed with a (hot) towel, to carefully clear his hand or face!

Many of the Arabs used the towels to wipe their face sweat, where europeans tended to clean up their hands (probably shows something about the each about arabian and european habits and culture?).

Dubai side view from the airplane before the landing was really amazing, I've never seen so much light concentrated on one place never ever in my life, landing went pretty smoothly thanks God, though it felt a bit more risky than the landing done by the Turkish airlines, pilots.
Maybe there is difference in the landing because it was done during night time and probably landings in night time a way difficult task for the pilot.

Just like in Istanbul, after going down from the plane, via the plane step-ladder we were transported to the Airport with Buses (I was told by Krasimir that, the bus transportation is used becuase, it's a way cheaper than using the equipment for "hot tie" to connect the plane with the terminal via "tuble".
Also maybe its difficult in terms of parking the airplane as the airplane has to drive like 1.5, 2km and park this is an astonishing amount of petrol plane fuel 😉

Anyways just to sum-up my first flight with Emirates/Skywards it was more than enjoyable and nice, everything from the plane take off through the overall airplane experience to landing felt like a veery well crafted, organized and stricktly managed process. It felt like verything happening is perfectly tuned, again really nice feeling 😉
Interestingly inside th airplaine they had a stewardesses which were either Malaysian or Indonesian. The reason for tat was probably because Arabs are crazy about chineese and the variations of yellow races as I've heard from Baky (an Egyptian) as well as from some few Egyptian colleagues I had.

After we went down from the bus transporting us to Dubai's terminal arrival terminal 3, which I think is the only terminal dedicated for visitors in Dubai, we couldn't freely anter Dubai, but we were supposed to go through a biometric security measure the airport here implemented few years ago an Eye Scan .

Dubai Airport Arrival in United Arab Emirates - Airport Terminal 3

The organization on the airport and the information that we were supposed to have the eye scan in order to enter Anyways after some questioning near few of the airport desks and offices, we found or way to the device place where the eye scans took place.

The eye scan process is quick and not that scary as it sounds, they ask you sit on a chair cover left eye, then cover right eye and open the eye widely to make a picture of the iris, then based on some algorthim for interpreting the data and through a complex IT develoepd system a check is done against a database of well known criminals and if no match is found you're given a seal which lets you in Dubai.

The only concern, I have is once they took your eyescan they have this information stored so basicly they have your biometric data and if the information is stolen or send to third parties you can never know, but that's how it goes you know it's life, if you don't do the eye scan you can't go in.
You don't have the option to just choose if you want to have the eye scan or not … My company boss tried to cheat them and walk through inside Dubai without ahe eye scan as he said he went through the eye scan so man times, but still he was obliged to go through the eye scan in order to be let in the city.

After the eye scan on the airport, we had to line up on a long line with arriving people waiting for being let in Dubai, show the copy of the visa with the eye scan seal to airport police officer. He checks the seal the visa, the international passport and then one is asked to stay in front of another camera snd they take a picture of him, once again a security measure …
This is just crazy, I understand that security is important but the measures implemented today on airports are inhuman and even abusive, not to mention they break any privacy one can have in today's world … I'm even scared to think about how a security check on an airport will look like 20 years from now.
Anyways after all the aforementioend checks we were FINALLY allowed to enter Dubai, what first striked me was the size of the buildings, its the first time in my life I've seen a buildings of this amazing size, just incredible!
Also all the buildings are all in color lights and are flashing like spaceships, probably requirement to make sure no airplane tries to land over some of the buildings at night time 😉

Roland, a part time tech consultant for Cadia Holding and a colleague, took us up from the airport and drove us to the hire apartment in Jumeirah Beach, Rimal 6 – ap. number 53, where we're currently settled.

Jumeirah Beach Residence Rimal
Jumeira Beach Rimal buildings

I'm very thankful Roland was there otherwise if we were supposed o pick up a taxi, they would have charged us at least 80, 90 EUR! for bringing us to the apartment.
The prices of transportation here and in general prices are a killing onse. I guess this is pretty normal especially if you consider the countless amount of money invested in Dubai.
Honestly Dubai looks like a paradise on earth, everything is amazingly well organized, as well the technology involved everywhere is on a perfect and a better level than almost everything, I've seen in Holland, Germany and probably almost every other of the Western Europe countries.

Something strange that took my attention here was that in every big mall or big store, they have a special prayer room, which are suited for pracicing muslims to do they're 5 times daily prayers 😉
Here in Dubai I was shocked to see many of the native arabic ladies to be completely wrapped up inside mostly black dresses, where the man were often dressed in a complete dress without a zipper called thobes as well as a sort of a hat like long veil very similar to our orthodox christian priest monks viels.

Dubai man with Thobes in order smiling ;) Dubai man with Thobes lined in order smiling

The veil like dresshing the man wears has a ring on top of the head which has some kind of muslim symbolism probably I'm not aware of. An interesting thing, I've found out here is that this veil for the hat has colors, if it's red this means it's Saudi Arabia a white one means usually the man is from Dubai and the nearby regions o something like that.

When we went out of the airport here the temperature difference was killing it was like 35 Celsium degrees at 21:00 o'clock night time!!

I'm actually lucky to come here in Autumn, temperatures on Autumn are acceptable at night it's like 20-25C and in day usually 35-40C.

The private apartment, where we're accommodated is amazing, it's big like a place, it has everything a flat TV, wireless internet, 2 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms etc.
To enter the buillding one needs to use his special ID card which is secured by a bar code, which has to be tagged on a bar code reader on the building entrance door.
Dubai itself seems more international at times, even than Western europe, you can see everything in Both English and Araabic, so you can understand basicly everything. Everyone speaks from the lowest employee to the office workers an acceptable English and thus communication is not a constraint like in Holland, where many people speak English which is too much influenced by German and german lingual structure.

I'm very thankful to God for blessing me to come to this nice place, now I'm laing over a nice coach and blogging.
By so far, I've seen two of the biggest Dubai Malls and some general architecture, all is collosal in size and reall amazingly built. I've heard from people quality of buildings is not that good as everything is being built in too short time and with cheap materials and by Indian labours who earn like 5 dollars a day. I'm not sure though how truthful is this as I think the quality of the apartment, we're accommodated is great.

Each room is equipped with a Clima, so the temperature inside is steady 22- 24C degrees. The body shock when you go out hence is really severe as usually there is like 10 or 15C degrees difference in temmperature.
Climas are, good but they create too much noise at night it's a bit noisy, but maybe with time one can get used to it.
The cars I saw here in Dubai are amazing, all the cards are really really expensive maybe the cheapeast car in Dubai worths no less than 10 000 o 20 000 EUR.
Euro, Dollars and the official UAE currency dirham are accepted everywhere in shopping malls and food stores and this is really nice.
The taxi drivers charge normal prices here, I was out with Jure and we took taxi few times and each time for like 5-7 km distance, the taxi charged approximately 30 AED per drive.
Random Taxi in Dubai

The Taxis are all luxurious cars with a (airconditioners) climas, it seems they have a metro already operating here as well as comperativfe cheap transportation with buses, but I'm not sure if something could be really cheap here 😉
Everywhere I went here I can notice something really beautiful in terms of either mostly modern design with arabic elemnts or technology. The elevators here are really quick. To go to the last stage of the 36 stages building here in Dubai it tooks the elevator no more than 1 minute 😉
The food here in Dubai seems decent, though its not that good like naturally grownned products or a chicken or cow who was rised in a private farm.
Anyways the food here in United Arab Emirates seems to be way better than the food in Holland and Germany, where it is a bit like plastic.
I don't know if its because of the Sun excessive warmth, God's grace to me or what but I should mark, here in Dubai and maybe in rest of UAE one feels warmer than in Western Europe.

People don't smile too much here especially the people who work on the lower levels of job, clear indicator that they don't earn good money.
I like that they don't smile too much as this reminds me in Bulgaria, where you can see sour faces a way more often than a smiled one.
Here people look a bit less soury than in Bulgaria.

I will be in Dubai 6 more days, so I'll have a clearer picture in my head about the place after some few days. Nevertheless from what I've seen so far, I'm really very amazed and very thankful to God to leeting me see all this new interesting things and culture.
I should take the time to find and take a look in the more traditional places here. Pitily globalization is seriously destroing the local people culture here, and you can't feel the real culture besides the arabic kind of dress, the mosques , prayer rooms and some entwisted muslim architecture with the modernistic buildings.
It will be very nice to see some real camels, elephants or some typically arabic kind of things 😉

Summing it up, the overall atmosphere here, the organzation of thingsm the business climate and infrastructure is something we europeans should learn from.

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How to auto restart CentOS Linux server with software watchdog (softdog) to reduce server downtime

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

How to auto restart centos with software watchdog daemon to mitigate server downtimes, watchdog linux artistic logo

I’m in charge of dozen of Linux servers these days and therefore am required to restart many of the servers with a support ticket (because many of the Data Centers where the servers are co-located does not have a web interface or IPKVM connected to the server for that purpose). Therefore the server restart requests in case of crash sometimes gets processed in few hours or in best case in at least half an hour.

I’m aware of the existence of Hardware Watchdog devices, which are capable to detect if a server is hanged and auto-restart it, however the servers I administrate does not have Hardware support for Watchdog timer.

Thanksfully there is a free software project called Watchdog which is easily configured and mitigates the terrible downtimes caused every now and then by a server crash and respective delays by tech support in Data Centers.

I’ve recently blogged on the topic of Debian Linux auto-restart in case of kernel panic , however now i had to conifgure watchdog on some dozen of CentOS Linux servers.

It appeared installation & configuration of Watchdog on CentOS is a piece of cake and comes to simply following few easy steps, which I’ll explain quickly in this post:

1. Install with yum watchdog to CentOS

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# yum install watchdog
...

2. Add to configuration a log file to log watchdog activities and location of the watchdog device

The quickest way to add this two is to use echo to append it in /etc/watchdog.conf:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# echo 'file = /var/log/messages' >> /etc/watchdog.conf
echo 'watchdog-device = /dev/watchdog' >> /etc/watchdog.conf

3. Load the softdog kernel module to initialize the software watchdog via /dev/watchdog

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# /sbin/modprobe softdog

Initialization of softdog should be indicated by a line in dmesg kernel log like the one above:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# dmesg |grep -i watchdog
Software Watchdog Timer: 0.07 initialized. soft_noboot=0 soft_margin=60 sec (nowayout= 0)

4. Include the softdog kernel module to load on CentOS boot up

This is necessery, because otherwise after reboot the softdog would not be auto initialized and without it being initialized, the watchdog daemon service could not function as it does automatically auto reboots the server if the /dev/watchdog disappears.

It’s better that the softdog module is not loaded via /etc/rc.local but the default CentOS methodology to load module from /etc/rc.module is used:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# echo modprobe softdog >> /etc/rc.modules
[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# chmod +x /etc/rc.modules

5. Start the watchdog daemon service

The succesful intialization of softdog in step 4, should have provided the system with /dev/watchdog, before proceeding with starting up the watchdog daemon it’s wise to first check if /dev/watchdog is existent on the system. Here is how:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# ls -al /dev/watchdogcrw------- 1 root root 10, 130 Aug 10 14:03 /dev/watchdog

Being sure, that /dev/watchdog is there, I’ll start the watchdog service.

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# service watchdog restart
...

Very important note to make here is that you should never ever configure watchdog service to run on boot time with chkconfig. In other words the status from chkconfig for watchdog boot on all levels should be off like so:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# chkconfig --list |grep -i watchdog
watchdog 0:off 1:off 2:off 3:off 4:off 5:off 6:off

Enabling the watchdog from the chkconfig will cause watchdog to automatically restart the system as it will probably start the watchdog daemon before the softdog module is initialized. As watchdog will be unable to read the /dev/watchdog it will though the system has hanged even though the system might be in a boot process. Therefore it will end up in an endless loops of reboots which can only be fixed in a linux single user mode!!! Once again BEWARE, never ever activate watchdog via chkconfig!

Next step to be absolutely sure that watchdog device is running it can be checked with normal ps command:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# ps aux|grep -i watchdog
root@hosting1-fr [~]# ps axu|grep -i watch|grep -v greproot 18692 0.0 0.0 1816 1812 ? SNLs 14:03 0:00 /usr/sbin/watchdog
root 25225 0.0 0.0 0 0 ? ZN 17:25 0:00 [watchdog] <defunct>

You have probably noticed the defunct state of watchdog, consider that as absolutely normal, above output indicates that now watchdog is properly running on the host and waiting to auto reboot in case of sudden /dev/watchdog disappearance.

As a last step before, after being sure its initialized properly, it’s necessery to add watchdog to run on boot time via /etc/rc.local post init script, like so:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# echo 'echo /sbin/service watchdog start' >> /etc/rc.local

Now enjoy, watchdog is up and running and will automatically restart the CentOS host 😉

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How to find and kill Abusers on OpenVZ Linux hosted Virtual Machines (Few bash scripts to protect OpenVZ CentOS server from script kiddies and easify the daily admin job)

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

OpenVZ Logo - Anti Denial Of Service shell scripts

These days, I’m managing a number of OpenVZ Virtual Machine host servers. Therefore constantly I’m facing a lot of problems with users who run shit scripts inside their Linux Virtual Machines.

Commonly user Virtual Servers are used as a launchpad to attack hosts do illegal hacking activities or simply DDoS a host..
The virtual machines users (which by the way run on top of the CentOS OpenVZ Linux) are used to launch a Denial service scripts like kaiten.pl, trinoo, shaft, tfn etc.

As a consequence of their malicious activities, oftenly the Data Centers which colocates the servers are either null routing our server IPs until we suspend the Abusive users, or the servers go simply down because of a server overload or a kernel bug hit as a result of the heavy TCP/IP network traffic or CPU/mem overhead.

Therefore to mitigate this abusive attacks, I’ve written few bash shell scripts which, saves us a lot of manual check ups and prevents in most cases abusers to run the common DoS and “hacking” script shits which are now in the wild.

The first script I’ve written is kill_abusers.sh , what the script does is to automatically look up for a number of listed processes and kills them while logging in /var/log/abusers.log about the abusive VM user procs names killed.

I’ve set this script to run 4 times an hour and it currently saves us a lot of nerves and useless ticket communication with Data Centers (DCs), not to mention that reboot requests (about hanged up servers) has reduced significantly.
Therefore though the scripts simplicity it in general makes the servers run a way more stable than before.

Here is OpenVZ kill/suspend Abusers procs script kill_abusers.sh ready for download

Another script which later on, I’ve written is doing something similar and still different, it does scan the server hard disk using locate and find commands and tries to identify users which has script kiddies programs in their Virtual machines and therefore are most probably crackers.
The scripts looks up for abusive network scanners, DoS scripts, metasploit framework, ircds etc.

After it registers through scanning the server hdd, it lists only files which are preliminary set in the script to be dangerous, and therefore there execution inside the user VM should not be.

search_for_abusers.sh then logs in a files it’s activity as well as the OpenVZ virtual machines user IDs who owns hack related files. Right after it uses nail mailing command to send email to a specified admin email and reports the possible abusers whose VM accounts might need to either be deleted or suspended.

search_for_abusers can be download here

Honestly I truly liked my search_for_abusers.sh script as it became quite nice and I coded it quite quickly.
I’m intending now to put the Search for abusers script on a cronjob on the servers to check periodically and report the IDs of OpenVZ VM Users which are trying illegal activities on the servers.

I guess now our beloved Virtual Machine user script kiddies are in a real trouble ;P
 

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Night in a tent in Kavarna and the Topola Beach

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Saturday evening I and a group of friends went to Kavarna. I met some oldschool friends there like Zornica (Blacksun), and one of the twins(Ivailo). Ivailo is studying philophy and most likely believes that phisophy serves a good purpose.In general I spend something like 3 hours in a non sense talk on the topic of my faith in Christ. He tried to mock my faith and tried to make me incompetent not well educated etc. etc., anyways I don’t much care of this because my Savior Lives and what God has done and is continuing to do for me is very real.So in general The night was a sort of waste of time. After having a distant walk from Kavarna beach where our tent was established to the Kavarna Stadium where all the rock’n roll buzz was happening.There was a tons of metal heads around the town of Kavarna, most of themdrunkards or on a way to get dead drunk lost in the lie that the metal philosophy presents, something in which I was a prisoner for a very long time. The happening which gathered all of them there is the Rock concert of Manowar. This is thesecond time Manowar are playing in Kavarna and I think the 3rd time they play in Bulgaria. I didn’t bought a ticket because of the highprice and my unwilling to listen to Manowar for a second year. The previous year I was on there concert and I was happy with it except I nomore I’m a real fan of Manowar since there band phisophy and preaching is hypocritic. I was happy to see that ex-girlfriend from my past Zornica,because it’s pretty probably that I won’t see her for a long time since there is a probability to go to study in the Netherlands in August, I should say that she is from the most beautiful girls I’ve seen in my life and for a moment I did fall in a sort of despair I was not able to keep her as a girlfriend long time ago. Happily thanks to God all this satanic temptation went away. When I came back to the Kavarna beach the friends there had already made a fire and was grilling some meat. I ate more than I usually had appetite for since there was a lot of food. Later I had a small walk around the Kavarna quay I prayed a bit during my walk there and afterwards came back to the fire camp but was too tired and it was pretty early in the morning (3:34) so I went to the tent where Nomen (Mitko) was already sleeping for 2 hours and went to sleep. I woke up a lot of times during the night and I remember the last time I woke up somewhere around 7:30. The day before I was thinking that I would like to go to a Church service just I do every Sunday and after I tried to fall in a sleep again unsuccesful and realizing I can’t because I felt cold and pain in my lower back so I stand up and decided to go to the Church in Kavarna for a Liturgy, A month ago I met father Vasilij there by the way is one of the most gentle priests I have seen in my life. The church service was just perfect. I think the people in that Church was a way more sincere comparing to the Chuch I usually attend here in Dobrich. What impressed me was that I was able to understand almost 100% percent of what the priest said something I usually can’t in the othor orthodox Churches where I’ve been on a Liturgy. The other thing that was I think great was that the service continued until 10:40 which is 30 minutes more comparing to the normal Church services I have attended before. Another thing that impressed me was the woman on the clergy they sang songs which glorified our Lord 🙂 Another thing that make sense to meis that the priest personally was giving the blessed communion (in the st. George I usually attend the communion is left alone and every could take of it), the priest also required to know my name :). Another thing was the incense odour it was smelling different from the one I’ve smelled before. The preach of the father was also very nice, the only word that describes it is the word “simple”. After the liturgy, Nomen calledand we said they’re already in Kavarna and are going to have a coffee. We went for a coffee and after that we decided to go to Topola Beach. Topola beach is a pleasent beach located near a village close to Kavarna. I didn’t know that there were plans to have a beach I thought we’re going only for one night. Happily Mitko (Metallicata) had his old bathing trunks with him and they fitted me. The beach experience was fine in general. At a point I and mitko decided to go to the small wood where one of the cars was perked and we spend some time there listening to music (Disco from the ’90s 🙂 and relaxing, we had to do this etherwise we would have bad sun burns which eventually were going to lead us to a painful burn condition at least for at least few days. On our way back to Dobrich both the drivers drived like a suiciders not following the road signs, getting ahead of other cars on a dangerous places etc. etc. I should thank God that he bring us home alive :)END—–

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Manowar in Kavarna

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Everything actually started in Friday. Friday I was on a Webtech in Varna in the Technical University.This is the second Webtech conference made in Varna. I was on the lectures until dinner. Firstwe went with Nomen, Niki and Dancho to the TU University, and we lost some time searching for theroom after that we found the room where the lectures were going to be. We entered in the endingpart of the first introductionary lecture about webtech. After this there was a lecture forperl Catalyst, which was quite interesting btw after that a lecture for expect (hackman has leaded the lecture).After that we went to drink a coffee and I found out I have lost my wallet. I get mad because I thoughtwell God I try to be good to others to give to the poor etc. etc. and in return I loose 42 lv. I spendthe other part of the day staying alone on a bench outside the university and thinking about the humanexistence, after that I went home very disappointed and angry. Stelio a friend who is has led me to the Orthodox Christianianity. Called and I invited him to be my guest, we had a great time togetherdiscussing the human existence. The next day I wake up early and I was feeling awful, meaninglesslost. Nomen called and said there are on the 2nd day on the lectures of webtech conference againand that my wallet has been found with 42 lv. and my ID card in it. I PRAISED THE LORD! It wasquite a joyful for me. On the next day I decided I would go to the Manowar concert in Kavarnaand I bought the ticket from Amridikon. The concert was interesting as a whole but I realizedI’m not into metal music anymore. After that Nomen came and take me from Kavarna with a car andwe went to Tulenovo’s rocks awaiting the July Morning with some other friends (Sami, Toto, Iasho, Gegi etc.).The rocks were very beautiful and the sea’s view is great. We baked some meet and ate. In the morning, there was a Metal July. (Toto, Sami and Iasho banged there heads on Sepultura’s Roots Bloody Rootsand Territory. After that we made a sort of excursion in the Village of Tulenovo and around it around the rocks.We then moved to Balchik to leave one of the girls with us on the station to take a bus for her working place.And in the end we come back to Dobrich in 10. I was tired as hell. And sleep until 3. I then attended the Orthodox Church st. Georgi to pray to God. Later I bought some vegetables and fruits fromthe open market for my Grandma. And went to her home to give her the products. After that I saw lily on a coffee.And in the late afternood we had a walk with Nomen into the central park. Nomen suggested that it would be cool to drink beer in hishouse and to watch the film (Die Young 3) and that’s exactly what we did. This few days was quite a colorful It’s God behind thisstarting to answer my prayers slowly but surely. Thanks God for giving me all thiswonderful moments :]END—–

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