We live in Madrid. It is at this time of the year, when the days are shorter, that I realize what living in the dark can mean. And I find it very sad. No matter how many Christmas lights there are around. I guess people in the North of Europe get used to it, but I haven’t seen the sun for 5 days now and I miss light, brightness, colors and the dimension that sunlight ads to objects. In Europe, the word immigrant means immigrant from the South. But in Spain, we have 60 million tourists every year. While they come for many reasons, fun, landscapes, food – they mostly come in search of…light.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Leandro on December 13, 2009  · 

I´ve been in the wine business for a while.

In the Nordic countries, as well as in Canada, there are government monopolies which entirely control de alcohol business. Since they almost live 6 months of the year in dark there are strong tendencies to get some “lights” in the alcohol, so your sadness is a common place for those that don´t see the sun for a while.

Every year, those monopolies check the alcoholism rates and if they are in normal values or decreased, they have fulfilled their objectives. But lately, they have become a way to increase the public fund collection, since they penalise the alcohol consumption with high rates.

The main question is about how long this system is going to last, the Nordic countries that are in the ECU cannot apply differential taxes and some corruption was found in the Swedish monopoly system.

Opening the retail business of the alcohol and decreasing the prices of the alcoholic beverages might mean a disaster.

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andi on December 15, 2009  · 

I’m in Stockholm, next week I’m off to Uruguay. Counting the seconds. You never get used to the dark and the gloomy mood of the people. Every year when I get back from Uruguay and I see that most of my neighbours still have their Christmas decorations up in February…surreal. The funny thing is this year I’ve had a couple of extremists trying to make me feel guilty about my carbon footprint. I think I need a break from the mentality too – get a good dose of Argentinians….

btw gracias por la info del lente!

And Leonardo – I have only seen heavy drinking during the summer not the winter.

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andi on December 15, 2009  · 

I forgot the snow! When it snows it’s actually not that bad! Sometimes it’s even great! We got some snow today and hopefully we’ll get some more tomorrow. I love it when the waters around Stockholm freeze and you can walk on the ice.

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Diarmuid on December 15, 2009  · 

Winter here in Madrid isn´t so bad..darkness after 6..in Dublin where I´m from it´s at 4…and there is the rain smashing in your face as the wind howls at you..no we´re at lucky here 🙂 Would you really want to live like the people in the Canaries with the same warm weather all year round? no..give me a change!

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nicolas bustos on December 22, 2009  · 

no lo creo que el invierno sea tan malo en madrid,yo estoy en Berlin hace 2 semanas y en total he visto el sol cerca de 20 minutos,el resto del dia esta nevando o nublado o la mayor parte:de noche.soy argentino y ya me conformaria yo con el invierno de Madrid aunque si pudiera pedir algo a Papa Noel seria que disfrutaramos ahora de las temperaturas de nuestro querido Sur.Creo que fliparian los europeos pasando las fiestas con tanto calor,y Papa Noel no andaria tan abrigado.

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Juan Navidad on December 28, 2009  · 

This is probably the last winter end of the year I spend in Spain. I don’t know if I will be in Argentina, Brazil or just in the Canary Islands, but he fact is that I have lost so much time I could have been working creatively that I have promised myself to move next year for two months when the lights are OFF 🙂


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