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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline VIP Member
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    Holidays in Socialism, part four

    Would you please correct the mistakes in the fourth part of my text?

    After lunch, we would return to our room for a nap, and then after an hour or two, we went again to the beach and stayed there until it was time for dinner. We would spend the afternoon chatting with our hosts and other guests and playing in the garden with other children. I couldn’t get enough of swimming and, after dinner, I would beg Father to return to the beach. He was a kind man and would often acquiesce. Those late afternoons were more beautiful than the other times of the day with the low sun spilling its gold over the calm sea and the ships and yachts passing on the horizon. The majority of the bathers would have left in the meantime, and we would have the beach to ourselves. The natives were seldom seen on the beach, but in the late afternoon, group or two of children and men and women came to have a quick bath, and then they left. They seemed to be tired of the sea and the blazing sun and preferred to stay in the shade. The women wore long sleeved dresses and had pale faces which contrasted strikingly with the tourists, who were bronzed as if they had spent months working in the field. They must have laughed at the people who travelled from far and wide and wasted their money only to be grilled like sardines for days and weeks.

    In the evening, we would go for a walk in the town. A lot of small towns and villages spread along the Adriatic Coast. They are quiet and boring outside the tourist season, but in the summer, their population increases fourfold, and they are bustling with life and entertainment.
    I enjoyed those evenings when Father, sister and I strolled the narrow streets and mingled with tourists from the whole Europe. The voices of a dozen different languages poured into my ears as I was trying to guess from which countries their speakers had come. From cafes, restaurant, pubs and hotels streamed pop music and mixed with the buoyant voices of the guests who indulged themselves in cheap booze. The smells of food were everywhere: grilled fish, roasted lamb, beef, and cooked vegetables. People were queuing to buy popcorn, ice cream and grilled sausages at numerous kiosks. Strings of colourful lights hung above the streets and between the trees. It was like being at a fair.

    We would usually go into a cafe and eat pastries and cakes and drink soft drinks. On one occasion, my sister and I had an argument. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I remember that she would often contradict me. I told her to shut up a couple of times, but she went on regardless. My anger boiled inside me, and I lost control over myself. My arm shot across the table and hit her in the mouth. Blood ran from her lips down her chin. She was first stunned and then started crying. My father fetched a napkin and dabbed at her lips. He swore at me, but didn’t hit me.
    “She always opposes me,” I said in my defence. “I’ve never heard her agree with me.”
    “All right,” Father said,” but you are older, you should know how to behave.”

    She sat in silence, staring at the table, and kept her swollen lips tight. Father and I went on talking for the rest of the evening, without her saying a word. I had a bad conscience, but I was also glad that I could talk and express my opinion without her jumping in and saying I was wrong. Later in the evening, as I lay awake in my bed, I thought about her and believed she behaved as she did because of envy. I lived with my father in a house with a large orchard, while she and Mother lived in a one-room flat. I had my dog, while she didn’t have any pet. Father seldom talked about the divorce, while Mother couldn’t stop talking about it. She must have inundated my sister from morning until evening with her bitterness and spite. Whenever I visited Mother, my mood darkened, and I could not spend more than an hour or two in her company. I would hurry home, relieved that I did not live with her. I could only pity my sister for having to grow up with her and listen to her rants all the time.

    The next morning, everything was as usual. My sister was spiteful just as before, but I bit my tongue. Holiday would soon end anyway, and it would be months before we would see each other again.
    Sometimes we took a bus and rode to Split, which is the largest city in Dalmatia. Father took us everywhere. We went to the airport and saw planes landing, taking off and flying away over the sparkling sea. They had all kinds of company names and national flags emblazoned over their silvery bodies. For me, who never flew in a plane, they looked like spaceships from another planet. We also went to the port and saw large cruisers and other ships, huge like a block of flats. Moored yachts and sailing boats bobbed gently on the water. Father told us they belonged mostly to the foreign tourists who cruised the Adriatic Sea. They were the luxury only a few people could afford in our country at that time.

    Once we visited Diocletian’s Palace, dating from Roman times. Probably because he worked in the construction company, Father was interested in buildings and architecture. He guided my sister and me through the palace and showed us its granite columns, the walls built of limestone and white marble. We also saw an old Egyptian sphinx in dark granite, lying on a wall above the visitors, as if guarding the palace.
    Then our holiday was over. We said goodbye to our hosts and with others boarded the train back to our hometown. We were suntanned, in good mood, and our bags filled with pebbles, stones and seashells we gathered on the beach, and presents we bought for our families.

    The collective holidays stopped when the communism collapsed. People in the former socialist countries wanted to live in freedom and were tired of collectivism, the state-owned industries, and other socialist institutions. From now on, they went on holiday individually. Their carefully chose their company, and they kept themselves to the groups of people of the same social status. CEOs and bosses did not lie on the beach close to their workers as before. Their children did not build sandcastles together with ordinary workers’ children anymore, nor did the swim together. They did not stay at the same hotel and did not eat their meals in the same restaurant. They had become strangers to each other at work and outside work. Whereas before workers had the power to criticise their director and even dismiss him, now they could not speak to him at all. He had become untouchable and they expendable creatures who could be replaced any time. Whereas before even the lowest paid manual worker was guaranteed two weeks holiday at the seaside, now many of them could only dream of such a treat. When they complained to their colleagues, they told them they were just nostalgic. If they really wanted to go anywhere, they could go to the bank, take out a loan, and repay it in instalments, as millions of others did.
    THE END

  2. #2
    teechar's Avatar
    teechar is online now Moderator
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    Re: Holidays in Socialism, part four

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    After lunch, we would return to our room for a nap, and then after an hour or two, we went again to the beach again and stayed there until it was time for dinner. We would spend the afternoon chatting with our hosts and other guests and playing in the garden with other children. I couldn’t get enough of swimming and, after dinner, I would beg Father to let me return to the beach. He was a kind man and would often acquiesce. Those late afternoons were more beautiful than the other times of the day, with the low sun spilling its gold over the calm sea and the ships and yachts passing on the horizon. The majority of the bathers would have left in the meantime, and we would have the beach to ourselves. The natives were seldom seen on the beach, but in the late afternoon, a group or two of children and men and women came to have take a quick dip, bath, and then they left. They seemed to be tired of the sea and the blazing sun and preferred to stay in the shade. The women wore long-sleeved dresses and had pale faces which contrasted strikingly with those of the tourists, who were bronzed as if they had spent months working in the field. They must have laughed at the people who travelled from far and wide and wasted their money only to be grilled like sardines for days and weeks.

    In the evening, we would go for a walk in the town. A lot of small towns and villages spread along the Adriatic Coast. They are quiet and boring outside the tourist season, but in the summer, their population increases fourfold, and they are bustling with life and entertainment.

    I enjoyed those evenings when my father, my sister and I strolled the narrow streets and mingled with tourists from the whole all over Europe. The voices of a dozen different languages poured into my ears as I was trying to guess from which countries their speakers had come. From cafes, restaurant, pubs and hotels streamed pop music and mixed with the buoyant voices of the guests who indulged themselves in cheap booze. The smells of food were everywhere: grilled fish, roasted lamb, beef, and cooked vegetables. People were queuing to buy popcorn, ice cream and grilled sausages at numerous kiosks. Strings of colourful lights hung above the streets and between the trees. It was like being at a fair.

    We would usually go into a cafe and eat pastries and cakes and drink soft drinks. On one occasion, my sister and I had an argument. I can’t remember exactly what it was about, but I remember that she would often contradict me. I told her to shut up a couple of times, but she went on regardless. My anger boiled inside me, and I lost control over myself. My arm shot across the table and hit her in the mouth. Blood ran from her lips down her chin. She was first stunned and then started crying. My father fetched a napkin and dabbed at her lips. He swore at me, but didn’t hit me.
    “She always opposes me,” I said in my defence. “I’ve never heard her agree with me.”
    “All right,” Father said,” but you are older, you should know how to behave.”

    She sat in silence, staring at the table, and kept her swollen lips tight. Father and I went on talking for the rest of the evening, without her saying a word. I had a bad conscience, but I was also glad that I could talk and express my opinion without her jumping in and saying I was wrong. Later in the evening, as I lay awake in my bed, I thought about her and believed she behaved as she did because of envy. I lived with my father in a house with a large orchard, while she and Mother lived in a one-room flat. I had my dog, while she didn’t have any pet. Father seldom talked about the divorce, while Mother couldn’t stop talking about it. She must have inundated my sister from morning until evening with her bitterness and spite. Whenever I visited Mother, my mood darkened, and I could not spend more than an hour or two in her company. I would hurry home, relieved that I did not live with her. I could only pity my sister for having to grow up live with her and listen to her rants all the time.

    The next morning, everything was as usual. My sister was spiteful just as before, but I bit my tongue. The holiday would soon end anyway, and it would be months before we would see each other again.

    Sometimes we took a bus and rode to Split, which is the largest city in Dalmatia. Father took us everywhere. We went to the airport and saw planes landing, taking off and flying away over the sparkling sea. They had all kinds of company names logos and national flags emblazoned over their silvery metallic bodies. For me, who'd never flew flown in a plane, they looked like spaceships from another planet. We also went to the port and saw large cruisers and other ships, huge like a block of flats. Moored yachts and sailing boats bobbed gently on the water. Father told us they belonged mostly to the foreign tourists who cruised the Adriatic Sea. They were the a luxury only a few people could afford in our country at that time.

    Once we visited Diocletian’s Palace, dating from Roman times. Probably because he worked in the a construction company, Father was interested in buildings and architecture. He guided my sister and me through the palace and showed us its granite columns, the walls built of limestone and its white marble. We also saw an old Egyptian sphinx in dark granite, lying on a wall above us, the visitors, as if guarding the palace.

    Then our holiday was over. We said goodbye to our hosts and, with others, boarded the train back to our hometown. We were suntanned, in a good mood, and our bags filled with pebbles, stones and seashells we'd gathered on the beach, and presents we'd bought for our families.

    The collective holidays stopped when the communism collapsed. People in the former socialist countries wanted to live in freedom and were tired of collectivism, the state-owned industries, and other socialist institutions. From now on, they went on holiday individually. Their They carefully chose their travel company, and they kept themselves to the groups of only holidayed with people of the same social status. CEOs and bosses did not lie on the beach close to their workers as before. Their children did not build sandcastles together with ordinary workers’ children anymore, nor did they swim together. They did not stay at the same hotel and did not eat their meals in the same restaurant. They had become strangers to each other at work and outside work. Whereas before, workers had the power to criticise their director manager/supervisor and even dismiss him, now they could not speak to him at all. He had become untouchable and they expendable creatures who could be replaced any time. Whereas before, even the lowest-paid manual worker was guaranteed two weeks' holiday at the seaside, now, many of them could only dream of such a treat. When they complained to their colleagues, they were told them they were just being nostalgic. If they really wanted to go anywhere, they could go to the bank, take out a loan, and repay it in instalments, as millions of others did.
    THE END
    .

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