Davos Newbies Home

One Day of War 

The BBC is working on what sounds like a great project: One Day of War. The idea is for filmmakers to follow people in 16 different conflicts on the same day, 22 March this year. The result will be broadcast on 27 May, but some clips are already on the website.

There’s also fascinating material about how they chose their subjects — the film is about individuals, rather than reports on conflicts — and how they tried to ensure the safety of their crews.

It’s an ideal companion piece to the Nobel Foundation’s interactive conflict map, which I wrote about a short time ago.

A Venetian conspiracy 

A reader, commenting on my Venice post, wondered whether I had noticed something fishy about the water bus service from the airport. I sure had.

You have a simple choice to get to Venice from the airport. You can take the Alilaguna bus (which is, of course, a boat) for €10. Or you can take a taxi, for which the standard fare seems to be €40 a head. With that difference, last Thursday we decided to take the Alilaguna bus.

Big mistake. As taxis (also boats, of course) zoomed past us, the Alilaguna went painfully slowly towards the islands of Venice. It takes over an hour to get to San Marco, which is visible from the airport. Was the problem technological? Did the boat need bigger engines? My conclusion, based on years of Italy watching and a painful year running a business in Italy, is no.

I’m certain that the Alilaguna waterbus keeps to its painfully slow timetable because of some shady deal with the taxi company. If the bus went at normal speeds, it would take perhaps 30 minutes to get to San Marco. The taxis take 20 minutes. Most people would save the money for such a slight time difference. But when the time difference is three- or four-fold, if you can afford it, you take the taxi.

On Saturday, we took the taxi.

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