Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
I had been planning to write a very serious, important, and insightful post about how the North Koreans had quickly returned the conversation from human rights and back to the familiar territory of missiles following the release of the UN Commission of Inquiry’s report on human rights abuses in North Korea. But then I too got distracted:
North Korean officials have complained to a hairstylist in London for using a picture of Kim Jong-un in a promotional poster in the window of the salon. Further proof, if needed that North Korean officials in UK really have very little to do. From all accounts, the North Korean officials spotted the poster by chance because the salon is near the embassy. I wonder where the North Korean’s were going or coming from when they saw the poster.
There is an interview on Radio 4 via the BBC London site. My favourite line in the interview was the hairdresser’s comment that, even though the poster had brought in some business, “No-one asked for the Un“. The Independent soon set this to rights by sending an intrepid reporter to get the Un. Personally I preferred his original cut – the Un looks a bit too boyish. But it looks better on the journalist than it does on Kim.
The update yesterday was that North Korean officials have now asked the UK Foreign Office to do something. The Evening Standard thought that the Foreign Office might refer the diplomats to the police. I hope they do because reports suggest that both the North Korean officials and the hairdresser have already reported the incident to the police. Some totally unhelpful advice from the UK government would fit perfectly into the narrative of an already ridiculous series of events.
Today was the first day of classes. My class is full of Japanese students and only four non-Japanese, including myself. I already have several pages of new words that need to be absorbed. In the afternoon I joined a student tour of the Edificio de Universidad de Salamanca. It was in Spanish so I didn’t really catch very much – just a few words and phrases here and there. However, I did run into the two other students that I met yesterday including the French student who was so helpful. After the tour we concluded at the gift shop and I splurged on a pencil sharpener.
Amazingly I also went for a run (it would be more accurate to call it a ‘jog’ but I’m told that its not cool to say that anymore). I feared I would truncate the run that was planned due to chronic laziness but I managed to complete the circuit. However, I didn’t time the run very well as the last part through the old town was too crowded. I either need to run at a different time (during siesta) or I should run a longer circuit that goes around the old town entirely.
Below is a photo of the courtyard of the building where class takes place.
Below is a photo of the courtyard at the Edificio de Universidad de Salamanca
Going off topic (but keeping with the S alliterations) I am in Salamanca, Spain about to undertake some Spanish classes. Why not? I landed in Madrid on Sunday and made my way to Salamanca by bus, arriving mid evening. This morning (Monday) it was exam time. Because I am a beginner all I had to do was write my name at the top and then make a few random guesses at some of the early questions – nothing could be easier. Not surprisingly, I’ve been placed in the “how did you even get yourself from Madrid to Salamanca with such poor language skills – absolute beginners” class.
The best thing that happened today was that I met a fellow language student from France. Her Spanish is already awesome and she is looking to qualify as a teacher of Spanish. She very generously helped me to figure of my mobile phone situation. I am now the proud owner of a very cheap phone and pay as you go sim card.
In the afternoon I took a walk around to see if there were any promising jogging paths. The good news is that the path leading down to and along the river, Rio Tormes, looks promising. It remains to be seen if I actually get motivated to go for a run.
Currently reading: Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire by Hugh Thomas. This is the first of a trilogy.
C-Span shows the author giving a talk about the book.