Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry Review

"The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry is a funny story about two unlucky guys who decided to get a ransom by kidnapping a boy. The boy was a naughty teenager who behaved like a monster.

After a few days, the kidnappers were ready to lower their ransom demand. It soon became clear that nobody wanted the boy to return home. Finally, the gangsters returned the boy to his father along with all the money that was paid to them.

O'Henry chose to have the main character narrate the story. The main character recalled this story and told it for the strangers, surprising the audience with funny comments. This story represented an excellent sense of humor of the author combining with a definite moral message, which made reading enjoyable and deductive.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Escape by William Somerset Maugham Review

The short story The Escape by William Somerset Maugham is written in humorist style. If the author wanted to display the plot directly, the story would be named The Escape From Marriage For a Man.

In fact, the method for canceling marriage proposal which Maugham suggested is more universal. He made a routine process of putting off the wedding. The story is short and funny.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Embroidery by Ray Bradbury Review

The story "Embroidery" by Ray Bradbury is very short in length. The plot of the story takes place within a period of ten minutes. For these ten minutes the main characters, three women are preparing embroidered patterns.

The author describes one of their works which includes: a flower, man, road, sun and a house; every detail is depicted carefully. It is a beautiful scene with one flaw in it: the man standing on the road had something wrong with his face.

The lady who created this pattern cried, she wanted to create an ideal picture. The author wrote that she "began to pick away at the thread with her little deft scissors flashing. The pattern came out thread by thread. She pulled and yanked, almost viciously. The man's face was gone. She continued to seize at the threads... The man was gone from the road. She had taken him out entirely."

The plot also describes the thoughts of the ladies who are thinking about everyday household chores. They recall these chores with nostalgic feelings because it is in the past and they know that it will never happen again.

Ray Bradbury writes about the end of the world for these people and he makes comparisons with the final actions of the characters of the story. Some readers have associated the story with the Matrix where each world is part of another world. The attitude of the people towards their destiny is the next subject which is described in the story.

The author leaves open questions about the main idea of the story. This is a topic for discussion after reader has read the story.

Here is the link to the text of the story (page 136 in the pdf-file):

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Few Days In Belgium And Around

We took this trip at the beginning of May 2019. We found a nice place to stay in Brussels. We booked it on Airbnb in five months in advance. The location was very convenient because it is exactly in the center of old Brussels;  The price was very reasonable.

The Arrival Day

From our apartments, the old Brussels can be reached quickly. The Grand Place can be reached by walking for five minutes. It is one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Europe. Each building here has its own name. Each palace was built in a different style. The photo below shows two of them.

Day One

The price of a ticket for the train is quite high but there are ways to make the journey cheaper. In our case, we had three full days. We bought tickets for ten rides for 86 Euros. Passengers have to write down the date and destination for each person for each ticket. It is possible to get of the train and get on again to continue the journey.  Our plan for the first day was to visit two prominent cities: Gent a Bruges.

The large parking place for bicycles was the first thing we saw in Gent.

The city is a paradise for bikers, there are special bicycle lanes. Gent has a few universities so there are many young people on the streets.

The city is remarkable because of its many medieval buildings, cathedrals, castles, and canals. This day was foggy and partly rainy.

Gent for many tourists is city on the way to the most visited by tourists place- Bruges.

The weather in Bruges changes often during the day. We were impressed by the number of beautiful streets and canals, they were decorated with green trees and colorful flowers.

The crowds of visitors were in only in a few central streets. The picture below shows a place full of tourists.

There are also many empty areas without tourists. They are very picturesque, we took lots of great photos there.

There are many pedestrian zones in the city.

The old buildings, water, greenery, flowers, bridges, calm streets create a fabulous atmosphere.

Bruges is photographer's paradise.

Day Two

We did some researches on the Internet before the tour. The French city of Lille is located relatively close to Brussels. There is less convenient way to reach Lille which cheaper than the train: you can take Flixbus. The price of one ticket is only 5 Euros. It takes 1.5 hours and we decided to visit this city.

The impressions were not as vivid as we had in Bruges. Lille is not a touristic place. The streets are full of cars. That’s why we couldn’t take many photos. We had to take pictures above cars pointing our cameras to the top of the buildings.

When we came back to Brussels, we had the evening to see the capital city of the European Union. The picture below shows the building of the Euro Parliament.

From the business area where the Euro Parliament is located, we rode the Metro. The Metro is very aesthetic, it wasn’t very impressive.

Day Three

This day was dedicated to exploring Belgium province. It was a Saturday, the day when weekend tickets are available, their cost is half of the usual price. We bought the tickets to Dinant.

Dinant is located on the south in a French-speaking part of Belgium. The city is considered as a hometown for the saxophone. The inventor of this instrument,  Adolphe Sax, was born in Dinant in 1814. The signs of it are everywhere.

Dinant is also frequently visited by tourists. The hills of the Ardennes and the Meuse River, old streets, forest - all together create a wonderful background for the fans of Instagram.

It was a cold day. Visiting a  cafe "Tea Room" to try the traditional Belgian waffles was a good idea, so we tried it with chocolate and with caramel. It was delicious.

On the way back to Brussels we thought about having a stop in one of beautiful villages.  We chose Lustin and it was a great choice.

We crossed the bridge and took pictures of wonderful landscapes here.   


The foam on the water added a more white color to the scenery of the picture.

Namur was the last city which we visited this day. We didn't have much time there. The city is quite pretty as other Belgium cities which we visited.

Belgium is a very interesting country for tourists. Many cultures have been living here together for centuries. Belgium provinces and countrysides are underestimated for tourists because many visitors stay in the top cities and don't know much about other places.

Belgium is a nice place to be!