Snippets From a Forgotten War.

English: A sleeping male baby with his arm ext...

English: A sleeping male baby with his arm extended (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Picture a down and out bloke sitting in front of a BBVA bank in Alicante, Spain on a cold December night. He’s smoking a roll-up, waiting to bed down inside, after most people have withdrawn cash for a good night’s partying. A second homeless guy called Antonio shows up and asks if he can join him in there for the night. The first one doesn’t mind and the newcomer starts to tell how he was a blue helmet in Kosovo a couple of decades earlier.

A mate of his was on patrol in a deserted village, when he heard a baby crying. Just as he’d located the infant, who was lying amidst some corpses, he heard the rat-tat-tat of an approaching death squad. Which side they belonged to is neither here nor there, as both were equally gruesome. They would enter every building and shoot anything that moved, period.

The blue helmet took the baby into hiding and held his hand in front of its mouth to keep it quiet.(Where his buddies were at this time was never mentioned.) After the death squad had come and gone, the soldier found that he was holding a dead baby. Apparently it had a stopped up nose and had suffocated. The soldier felt horrible and kept saying: “I’ve killed a baby!” Antonio tried to console his friend by saying that he’d only tried to save it. The man wouldn’t have it and shot himself through the head two days after. With “War sucks!” Antonio, the ex blue helmet, concluded the first part of his story.

After steeling himself with two more roll-ups, he went on about how one day he’d witnessed a curious event: a group of armed thugs were marching a long line of singing children into a school building. On closer inspection, Antonio saw that the school was rigged to be dynamited with the children in it. When he radioed in the events, he was told to observe, but not interfere. He consequently feigned a radio malfunction and told his mates that he was going to stop this, alone if need be. His brothers in arms did not let him down: the children were saved, but lives were lost. Antonio received a dishonourable discharge for disobeying orders, lost his pension, lost everything and ended up on the street. Two decades later the horror of this war could still be read in his eyes.

The first homeless guy was yours truly, Ralphie, and for some reason I did not think to write about it then, last December. Now I wish I could go back, get the complete story, get it corroborated and published in some Spanish magazine or newspaper and hopefully help Antonio get back on his feet that way. I for one believe that this soldier deserves a second chance in life. If any reader knows of a way to bring this about, please do not hesitate to help right this wrong, for Antonio is still paying for his act of humanity and the army’s response to it to this day.


Connect With India!

Map of Emerging Markets

At this present moment in time India contains 17.5% of the world’s population(source: Wikipedia) and is expected to surpass China in this respect by 2025. Investors should perhaps take into account that while China’s economic boom is manifest, India’s market offers the benefit of less problems over a language barrier, nor does it have its political restraints. Let us review some numbers:

India’s colleges and universities turn out more or less 3.1 million graduates each year, who are all computer literate.

India had 65  million active internet users in 2011 and for (source=)GoogleIndia is the third biggest Internet market in terms of users(with over 100 million internet users) now.

Some data from (for March 2011):

Media and Entertainment:  26% Research online
– Technology Products:  72% Research online
– Travel: 40% Research online
– Queries for Internet banking have gone up 200 times in the last 18 months

It is estimated that more than 300 million people in India will be hooked on to mobile internet by the year 2015.

Currently there is one computer for every 25 Indians, availability of PCs per head has doubled in just four years. – from

While these figures do not compare well to China’s overall growth, they are certainly not to be sniffed at!

Some trends of “The Three L’s” that are universally important to all peoples everywhere, namely: Love(and friendship), Laughter and Lazing about in the sun:

In India, Orkut is the social network of choice. Study reveals an immensely engaged and untapped emerging market that is ready for the taking. While social media campaigns concentrate on the US and Europe, it is actually the countries outside of these target markets where they are most likely to be met with open arms.(from

India will see the fastest growth in social networking this year (51.7%) – from

Read up on Indian humor on and
This is just to show that comedy in India is very much alive and kicking!

Foreign Exchange earnings from tourism in India for 2010: US$ 14.19 Billion with an annual growth rate of 24.6% – from

Conclusion: Anyone who wants to get as broad an English-speaking audience as possible would do well not to forget this largely untapped market! The numbers are staggering and continually growing, which should say enough in and of itself.

After Google, Bing and the other major search engines India has a long list of its own, which are specific to the country. When one inputs “India search engines” in Google one gets 339000000 results, but a lot of these do not let you submit your url, if you do not have a site that specifically concerns India. However, a good researcher could find ways to get noticed. offers some free submissions to name but one! Now it is up to the respective webmasters whether to decide to go for it or not…

Unsubscribe to the Stress-factor on Travel.

A symbol depicting a palm tree.

A symbol depicting a palm tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With spring here again most people will start thinking about their annual holiday, to relax after a hard year’s work. But what should be a trouble-free episode often turns out to be a stressful time. Let us dissect the travel experience into its composite parts and see what we can do to avoid problems.

12 gold nuggets on how to avoid stress during your holiday.

The first part of any trip is deciding where to go. As hardly anybody travels alone, it is imperative that all parties are in agreement on the destination and on how to spend your time there. Communication is the key!

The times being what they are, it is a good idea to calculate what the budget will be for your trip and take care not to exceed this, by making a list of planned expenditures. If after running through this list, you find that the cost of a planned trip would be prohibitive, then scrap it and start from scratch.

If you have the opportunity to travel out-of-season and to book early this will also reduce the cost.
The internet provides you with an excellent tool for planning and checking every aspect of your trip. Planning ahead will save money and hassle. It is basically half the battle against stress won!

To go sightseeing you will perforce have to travel within the city or region of your choice. Check an online city or regional map for the location of your hotel, to see whether it is close to public transportation. Acquaint yourself with the map before you get there.

But having said this, it would a good idea to walk whenever possible as this is healthy and less cumbersome. It leaves you time to soak up the atmosphere and really get to know the culture and the people.

Whatever the length of your trip, you will not be able to see all that one place  has to offer and truly enjoy it. Choose what is most important to you and give yourselves a realistic time span for the visits.
Contact Tourist Information before you leave and check everything online!

Do not leave your home unprotected. The ideal would be to get a trusted person to house-sit for you and have them take care of pets, plants, etc… A robbery or another mishap would spoil your holiday for sure!

Try to travel as light as possible and double-check before leaving the door that every person has the necessary documents on him or her. Traveling light avoids long waits in airports, customs and such! Ask yourself if the kitchen sink is really necessary?

Health tips: a.) If you use medication, make sure you have enough and get a doctor’s statement to provide to customs and renewal upon loss. b.) If you are traveling to a hot climate, remember to use sun block and drink enough water! c.) Upon(or even before, internet!) arrival ask for emergency phone numbers. It always pays to be prepared! d.) Drink in moderation…

Safety tips: a.) Rent a hotel safe and only take as much money as you need on any given day. b.) Never leave valuables unattended! c.) Always travel in pairs or more.

Leave yourselves two days after you get back, to acclimatise and sort out any small problems that may have arisen while you were away.

Last but not least: always pack your smile and a good dose of common sense!

No list is exhaustive, but I hope that I covered the most important stuff. Enjoy your holidays!

P.S.: Another article on travel by Ralphie A Burcke on is
Fuengirola, Pleasure Hub!

Travel Guides

Travel Guides (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))