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Andalla

RP Mentor
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Andalla last won the day on February 15

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Makati, Philippines
  • Interests
    Aviation. #avgeek

NationStates

  • NS
    Andalla
  • Capital
    Arkhavn
  • HoS
    Klaus Johansen

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    nationstates.net/nation=andalla

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  1. Andalla

    Pandemic

    One hundred... Fifty... Forty... Thirty... Twenty... Ten... The two massive jet engines abruptly ground to a halt as First Officer Kristof Jensen instinctively pulled down on the thrust levers, reducing the engines to idle power as the aircraft's beastly roar suddenly vanished. His right hand was still firmly positioned on the yoke, making final adjustments to the aircraft's course before the landing gears would come into contact with the cold, hard runway. By a stroke of luck, his SK-6 was already perfectly aligned with the runway centerline, so all he had left to correct was the low pitch. Jensen pulled down on the yoke, prompting the aircraft's nose to pitch up slightly higher. All of a sudden, the jet appeared to be suspended in mid-air. For a moment, the 300,000-pound aircraft hovered at barely ten feet above the ground. All within a second, the jet transitioned from descending to hovering and back to descending again – the legendary flare. Now, the aircraft was descending once more, zipping five feet past the ground at nearly 300 kilometers per hour. The flare marked the point of no return, the final action in the landing process – a complex maneuver requiring immense concentration, all executed within a matter of ten seconds. Failure would result in disaster, even death. Luckily, every pilot was thoroughly trained in this intricate procedure. With over 5,000 flight hours on the SK-6, Jensen himself was very much accustomed to the landing process – it was just another day in a pilot's life. Captain Hans Borup sat next to Jensen, eyes glued to the altitude meter on the PFD (Primary Flight Display). Though as Captain he was superior to First Officer Jensen, today he was the pilot monitoring: his job was to assist the pilot flying by relaying useful data from the computers, as well as communicating with ATC. On the PFD, Borup quietly watched the altitude meter as the aircraft inched closer and closer to the ground. Finally, he felt a strong bump as he jerked forward in his seat. Everything began to rattle. "Spoilers up," he called out. Without waiting, First Officer Jensen had already pulled up the lever activating the aircraft's spoilers. A series of thin flaps extended up from the wing, further increasing the rattling as the wings began to shake violently. The aircraft was slowing down. "Eighty knots." Here's a nice video to accompany the landing... From his window at seat 22K, passenger Antony Wong watched as the delicate spoilers extended. The whole world rushed past, with brilliant orange tones of the Rihannsu sunrise shining in the backdrop. He shook up and down in his seat as the cabin roared and shook, vibrating loudly before finally calming to a soothing high-pitched whir. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to welcome you to the Dartha Cliperian International Airport. Local time is 7:07 in the morning, temperature is at 24 degrees Celsius. The @Rihan Republic is three hours ahead of Andalla." Typical of any Andallan flight, one could already hear the inevitable chorus of seat belts being unbuckled, even before the flight attendant had the chance to proceed. "For your safety, please remain seated with your seat belts properly fastened until the aircraft has arrived at the gate. Please wait for the seat belt sign to be switched off before standing up to get your bags or using the lavatory." "Please refrain from using cellular phones until the seat belt sign is switched off, or the aircraft has come to a complete stop. Before standing, please check your seat for any personal belongings that may have been left behind. Use caution in opening the overhead bins as heavy articles may have shifted around during the flight." "If you require any assistance, please remain in your seat until all passengers have disembarked, and our flight attendants will be happy to assist you. On behalf of the captain and crew aboard this Royal Air Andalla flight, 8U 522, we would like to wish you a pleasant stay in Dartha. Thank you for choosing Royal Air Andalla as your preferred carrier and we hope to see you again." Back at the flight deck, it was all business. As the aircraft finally came to a stop and passengers began reaching for the overhead compartments, the two pilots sat at the controls reviewing the last of the aircraft's checklists before leaving. The SOPs, or standard operating procedures, were in effect — all they had left to do was to read through the final two checklists, all diligently listed along with the other checklists, on a piece of laminated paper inside the cockpit. With the advent of SOPs, any two pilots qualified on the same aircraft could work seamlessly together — complete strangers, led only by a set of strict guidelines, effortlessly working together without error from startup to shutdown. With that small yet authoritative document in hand, Captain Borup began to read through the shutdown checklist. "Shutdown checklist. — Parking brake." "Set." "Flaps." "Flaps zero, set." "Taxi lights." "Off." "Nav lights." "Off." "Beacon." "Off." "Seat belt signs." "Off." "Anti-ice." "Off." "Fuel pumps." "Off." "Pitot heat." "Off." "Transponder." "Standby." "Weather radar." "Off." "Flight director." "Off." "Avionics." "Off." "Alright. Panel lights?" Jensen reached for a small button on the overhead panel, and with one little click all the lights inside the cockpit vanished. "Panel lights off." "BATT master switch." Again Jensen reached for the button, this time a small red switch between the two pilot seats. One flick of the master switch and all life would cease within the aircraft's systems. "Off." "Shutdown checklist complete." Both pilots could easily attest to the fact that they had already memorized each of the aircraft's 14 checklists by heart — the papers were only there to ensure 100% accuracy; after all, the SOPs were created only to guarantee everybody's safety and comfort while aboard the aircraft. For a moment, First Officer Jensen sat there musing about his overnight stay at a nearby five-star hotel. As a long-haul pilot, only one flight a day was enough to meet the mandated daily restriction for working hours. It was actually more efficient to have the flight crew stay overnight at Dartha and wait for the next day's morning flight to arrive, so they could relieve the operating crew and fly back to Arkhavn at noon. And just recently, a regional consortium of hotels had made a small agreement to accommodate Royal Air Andalla flight crew at lower prices. They were living the long-haul pilots' dream — short-haul pilots usually flew back and forth twice, thrice, even four times daily just to meet their quota, and still ended up back at their home base. Long-haul pilots had the chance to truly see the world, taking long breaks after each flight — that was the law. Only this time, Jensen wasn't exactly flying a long-haul route per se — Arkhavn to Dartha could easily fall under the medium-haul category, but airlines instead classified it as long-haul just to avoid such a bulky term. Anyway, now that Rihan was receiving more and more exposure on the international stage, Dartha was slowly becoming a powerhouse for tourism in the region. Change was coming to Aurelia — only recently, Jensen had been reading about Rihannsu history. And it would be such a pleasant surprise to anyone knowledgeable about Rihan to know that a nation as terrible and as dystopian as this one could transform itself into one embodied by the towering skyscrapers of Dartha. His thought was only short-lived as he suddenly remembered something that had completely escaped his mind — the secure checklist. Seemingly as though reading his mind and waiting for the right moment, Captain Borup began to enumerate the items on the final checklist. "Secure checklist. — Parking brake verify." "Uh... parking break set, check." "Throttle verify." "Throttle idle, check." "All switches verify." "All switches off, check." "Secure checklist complete. Good flight," said the Captain, extending his hand to offer a congratulatory shake. Jensen took the handshake and gave Borup a friendly pat on the shoulder in return. "Here's to you too — great flight. I was a bit hard on the landing though." "No, no, no, no, it was the wind," said Captain Borup as he stood up to fix his pilot's bag."At least the flare was on-point." Rule number one in a usual Andallan conversation was to counter any self-criticism with denial, followed by an unrelated compliment. As though still disoriented after forgetting the secure checklist, Jensen was at a loss for words. Glancing out the cockpit window he could see a small Rihannsu flag, and subsequently a single word popped into his mind to respond to Borup's flattering: "Heh." (Joke intended.) The last thing left on the list was a quick, informal debriefing regarding the flight and what the two pilots could improve. The landing was satisfactory, after all it was hard to achieve a bad landing on the SK-6; as the old pilots' saying went, landing a six is easier done than said. Immediately after debriefing, the aircraft was handed over to the ground crew as the pilots left. The flight crew still had to clean up the aircraft, so they would follow later on. Once outside the two pilots whizzed through immigration, passing through the special lane reserved for pilots and flight crew. Within minutes of leaving the cockpit, they were now at the airport concourse. This was a benefit each and every commercial pilot enjoyed, not only long-haul pilots. And all along, the very passengers they had flew just stood there waiting impatiently in line as their turn was delayed by the passengers of the previous Havrær flight. "I'll be back. Meet you at the shuttle?" Asked First Officer Jensen, who was indirectly excusing himself for a restroom break. "Sure. We're both connected to airport WiFi, so just call me on Yibber*," replied Captain Borup. *May or may not be the Andallan equivalent of Viber. The restrooms in Cliperian were surprisingly clean for a Rihannsu airport, or any Aurelian airport for that matter. Back in Andalla, airport restrooms were rather messy and smelly — only recently did complaints about Andallan airport toilets rise exponentially. The advent of low-cost flying went both ways — if more people could fly, then more unhygienic people could fly as well. It was all but a cultural thing, really — Andallans didn't really care for the meticulous little details of life as much as Argics or Europans did. By definition, Andalla was developed; yet by culture, Andalla was more like one big, happy rural Thalassan town. On the way out, Jensen bumped into a seemingly distressed man, causing him to stumble and nearly lose balance. "Whoa— uh, is everything alright, sir?" Jensen asked, concerned. The man was of average height, maybe in his early 20's. Jensen could tell he was a Rihannsu returning from abroad, most likely as a student; there were quite a number of such Rihannsu foreign exchange students back in Andalla. "Ah, uhhh, heh... Oh, yes, ahhh, fine sir," the man replied in a somewhat Rihannsu accent. His voice was slightly hoarse, and he was wheezing and panting — it even seemed as if he had some sort of sickness, but Jensen didn't mind. Suddenly, the man bent down, grasped his stomach, and let out a loud, raspy cough. He immediately regained composure and apologized. "Oh, ahhh— I'm so sorry. I better get going," he said. "Poor guy", Jensen thought. "Perhaps all he needs is a break. I should be going too." "Ahh— uh, no problem. You take care." "Alright thanks." With that the man stumbled into the restroom as Jensen dragged his trolley out into the concourse. He checked his smart watch — 7:42 AM, March 4th, Monday. The shuttle left at eight, so there was enough time to grab a snack at some Rihannsu convenience store. He noticed a droplet on his arm right next to the watch. Seeing as it was very small, he just wiped it on his chest. Only then did he realize that it was phlegm from when the man coughed. "Great. Looks like I'll be coughing tomorrow," he jokingly told himself. He had 52 hours to enjoy roaming around Dartha, and he wouldn't ever let a small cough ruin his stay...
  2. Aw man, thanks @Orioni for keeping the forums up. I'd definitely hate to see the Dimension theme go, but, well... you're right. Gotta keep up with the times. Quick question - will this new theme bring back the ability to change font, color, and add the "letter"-style text box? I've been dying to have those back...
  3. I like that idea – we could do both planned and unplanned stories, depending on the situation. Also, I didn't really mean this to be a sort of "crime encyclopedia" presenting crime-related events in a formal manner, but an RP thread where we could all do these short exciting stories. Just for the entertainment of the reader or the writer, of course. Also, yes, this will all be in one main thread. If I remember right, "Affairs" is really where these kinds of stuff should be posted. For the subforum, well, we might need to ask the admins for that – unless this thing does receive a shockingly huge amount of support, we could stick to just a couple threads. Yep, that's what I thought too. It'd be better to loosely connect the stories rather than turning them into a series right then and there. Plus there would be a whole lot of other posts at the same time, so regardless of whether there are links or not, it merely adds chaos to the thread. As much as we want variety, it might be hard to connect the stories. Since again this is a free-for-all thing, we're trying to avoid as much chaos as possible. One solution around this could be to connect unrelated types of crime through organized crime, since criminal organizations do like to diversify. Also, look in the right places and you'll find out that white-collar crime can be fun too Same as the above – we could use this worldwide syndicate to justify diversifying our crime stories. For some reason "The Syndicate" from Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation comes to mind. Now that was a good movie.
  4. Alright. Looks like we've gathered a fair amount of support for this. So right now, let's decide how this whole thing would go. Basically, specifically what kind of content, how it will look like, posting rules, and all that. I've got a few questions here – feel free to copy/paste and voice out your own opinions: 1. How can everyone contribute to the thread? This is intended as a free-for-all thread, not just an exclusive RP wherein only a select group of people participate in. But first, how will the story progress? Will it be planned or unplanned? Will we even have a central plot, or should everybody be allowed to post their own short stories unrelated to each other? 2. What kind of crimes will we deal with? Obviously, we can't take on crime itself in general. Crime encompasses a vast array of topics that could contrast each other too much to be included in the same thread. For example, one moment there's a story about drug cartel street wars and the next moment there's copyright infringement. Don't get me wrong, but stories about nonviolent crimes such as corruption or fraud (See what I did there?) can be exciting too. To keep things simple, I've categorized crime into 4 categories that we could write about. Depending on what you guys want, we may not need these categories. But they're just here to help: White-collar crime or corporate crime basically encompasses those nonviolent crimes done by businesses and the "elite". For the purposes of this list I'll include political crime as a white-collar crime as well. So we have things like fraud, corruption, money laundering... you get the point. Violent crimes include your everyday violence such as murder, terrorism, and theft. Now this is a very vague category as there can be many kinds of theft or terrorism, for example. And of course violent crimes also include things like sexual assault, but we wouldn't want to go too deep into that, I guess. Organized crime is a special one since it's not really a crime itself, but instead it's a group of people committing a certain crime (or crimes) together. It's not too hard to give examples of this one – triads, drug cartels, mafia, even under-the-table political alliances. Organized crime can be really exciting, but one issue it might pose is that our thread would get too cluttered if everybody's writing about their complex mafia systems. Trafficking isn't really a category, but I'll include it here. Basically, trafficking is illegal trade. We'll include illegal consumption of the traded goods as well. Now of course the first thing that comes to mind is drugs, but there are lots of types of trafficking. Smuggling is synonymous to this. Under trafficking I guess we can also include illegal immigration, which is basically you trafficking yourself. Again we don't need to be restricted to a certain category, but we may need a general topic just to set the atmosphere. I'm depending on your ideas and suggestions, so don't hesitate to include your own thoughts. 3. How do we ensure the thread stays in order? Now I don't know how this would turn out, but I sense that a project on this scale might easily spiral out of control. What I'm afraid of is that some people might create their own "series" of posts despite the lack of a centralized story (again, depending on your decision regarding the centralized plot). I mean, if done correctly this wouldn't hurt at all. But people who might end their posts abruptly, or perhaps start their posts in such a way that you have to read all the previous posts, well... that's not really what I intend to do with this thing. But again, any ideas are fine. The initial concept of this thread was for it to be a collection of short stories. That means each post would already have a beginning, climax and end – all in one post. Don't get me wrong – you could connect two short stories even if you've ended the first one. Basically what I'm asking is the structure of the posts. Should we follow the short story format? Or should we instead adopt a central plot and have everybody chip in every now and then, like a never-ending story?
  5. Andalla

    Queste Check-In

    Hey @Queste, welcome to Europa! Before anything, I apologize for replying really [really] late. I'm still taking studies by the way, and it just so happened that this week turned out to be a really busy one. Rest assured I'll be on Discord every now and then, if you need anything. Let me introduce myself — I'm Andalla, but you can call me Andy. I'm an RP Mentor over here — as RP Mentors, it's our responsibility to guide newcomers around the ropes of this community. Expect our other friendly RP Mentors (@Fulgistan and @Rihan) to come around and give some feedback as well, but don't be afraid — it's all for your own benefit. Do remember all your posts get moved to the main forums once you're accepted, so don't worry about wasting any efforts here. We'll fit you into our current RP storyline smoothly once your posts have joined our canon. As @Orioni has already said, I've reviewed your factbook and it's pretty solid stuff. Great work there! Allow me to just take a couple minutes of your time — I have just a few points for improvement, which I hope you might consider. Bear with me since this one's quite long, but it's only long because I've added some explanations just to make everything clearer. Don't worry, the factbook's still awesome. Before we start, I'd like to say: I love your writing! I've read the sample excerpt and it's just great. Your factbooks seem to follow accordingly, and they're written far better than other factbooks I've seen. Great start there. Now, the single largest issue I've found is you're puffing your nation up too much. Basically, your factbooks seem to show that your nation over-performs in basically everything. Now in essence that's not bad at all, but it ain't much fun for your neighbors when some overpowered nation moves in — kinda like how that one smart kid in class grabs all the spotlight even when you deserve some attention as well. I'd like to point out that it may not even be fun for yourself, as Europa is a very vibrant community. We thrive on the IC interactions between nations. Things will get rather boring if all you do is export and export — and even then, not many would approach you to set up trade as we're already busy with the exciting global market. Basically, know your weaknesses. Because a community is all about complementing each others' weaknesses. The next thing I have in mind is quite related to the previous one. Now, I'd like to zero in on your economy. I've noticed that you describe Queste as a developed mixed market economy, which I don't find too convincing as you've also described yourself as a socialist, isolationist, militaristic, autocratic pseudo-empire with a $10,000 GDP per capita and an industry-centered economy. Queste basically lacks the very foundations to justify having such an economy, and here's why: Socialism. Regardless of how morally clean one can be, greed is simply innate human nature. As seen with many socialist and communist countries, the government's tight control of the economy is often exploited by politicians for their own benefits. And even without corruption, government mismanagement is a huge deterrent to the socialist system — only the people themselves are able to truly define what exactly the economy needs, which is what makes a free market generally freer. Of course there are many factors influencing this; socialism may sometimes even be the better choice. But if we're talking money-wise, a free market with minimal government involvement will put more money in people's pockets. Isolationism. Economies do not develop from secluding themselves — they do the exact opposite. When foreign businesses enter the local market, local businesses are forced to respond accordingly. If done right, this spurs competition between the businesses. And competition, of course, encourages businesses to lower prices and develop new products and innovations. In the long run, painful as it may be to the business, competition actually allows the economy to develop massively through the introduction of new ideas. Isolationism, on the other hand, is a thing of the past. We've seen Ming-dynasty China, sakoku in Japan, and today North Korea. As the story goes, China and Japan were both able to restore peace through isolationism after the arrival of Westerners. This, however, proved disastrous nearly 200 years later in the late 1800's as both nations were exposed to Western invaders with weapons far more advanced than their once-mighty swords and gunpowder. At that time, the Japanese and Chinese economies seemed to be flourishing under their own standards. On the other side of the world, the Industrial Revolution was taking place and economies were skyrocketing tenfold while Japan and China sat there with nothing but peace. Even today, we see North Korea as a largely under-developed nation with rampant poverty and famine. This isn't just because of the terrible government itself, but the issue is actually only compounded with their isolationist policy. Take a look at South Korea — they didn't get rich for nothing. After the Korean War, the South had developed very close ties to its Western allies, while the North sat there rotting as all of its socialist allies slowly crumbled to pieces. Imagine what would've happened if the North had also opened up its borders to foreign trade — perhaps they too could have had a well-performing economy today. Exports wouldn't be good for isolationism either. It essentially makes you look really arrogant — buying from nobody then making them buy from you. Aside from fellow socialists or your absolute closest neighbors, you wouldn't find any economic allies at all. I must also stress that it's nearly impossible for a nation to achieve complete self-sufficiency, and self-sufficiency won't provide you with economic development either. Authoritarianism. Similar to socialism, complete control over everything can turn out as disastrous. But above all, the largest single downside of authoritarianism is actually productivity. The state of the nation, or of the people, is a huge factor influencing the morale of your citizens. And it's clear that morale is also a huge factor influencing productivity, because it's what simply pushes people to work and to make a living. I'm not saying the system of government immediately decides the citizens' morale, but Queste as you've said is basically a socialist military dictatorship. So I wouldn't really expect the people to be that productive unless they're forced to. And even then, they wouldn't put any heart into their work either. Later on in your history, you cite having "harsh restrictions" on your businesses. If you want a strong economy, restrictions won't be good. As much as you want to safeguard the nation and its people, restrictions prevent businesses from innovating or even operating properly. So there's that. Per Capita GDP. Your economy factbook states a per capita GDP of $10,000. That's right above the Third World, which isn't so bad. I'd just like to point out that truly "developed" countries have probably twice that number, while countries around the $10,000 mark tend to be developed only in urban areas (Turkey, Malaysia, etc.). Industry. No matter what, industry won't get you anywhere in the First World. Sure, it's the lifeblood of the economy and a very important factor in economic development, but that's it. Developed is different from developing — industry is for developing economies. In a truly developed economy, services provide the majority of GDP. "High-quality exports" won't last forever; in fact, high-quality exports are a sign of a post-industrial economy. Your factbook cites having a strong arms industry. But without any market for these arms, they're beneficial only to the military. There's almost no income to balance out the huge expenses on resources, workers and R&D. With all this, I'm not saying Queste should be a crumbling impoverished nation. My point is, by international standards, the economy of Queste isn't highly-developed, as you've put it. I've also noticed your history is rather exaggerated. Now, often isn't a big issue at all and we could actually keep it that way, but here are some points for improvement. First, take your time. There's no rush with ancient history. An ancient nomadic civilization does not become a triad of wealthy empires within a hundred years. And there's no need to have all three empires become economic giants — again, know your weaknesses. After all, the nomadic period could make for some great stories about ancient Queste, so it'd be good to make it longer. Also, by the 12th century, civilization was generally more advanced than just nomads. By comparison, drawing from actual Ukrainian history, the Kievan Rus' reached its peak by the mid-11th century. Not to mention Kiev was the capital, as the name suggests. Now this time I'm proposing a change for the better. Queste had its first major revolution in the mid-1500's, which is pretty early on. I won't be getting into much detail on this, but nations were still pretty stable at that time. I'm not saying you absolutely can't have your people revolt during this time, but it's alright if you push the date forward a bit. For comparison, most revolutions took place between the mid-1700's to the early 1900's. After the revolution, Queste seemingly goes silent for 400 years without incident. I mean, the time between the 16th and 20th centuries was the golden age when new things and places were being discovered and huge kingdoms were waging war. It'd be a shame to miss all the excitement, wouldn't it? Alright. So we're done with that. Now here's where things get tense — the arrival of democracy in Queste. Now I understand that it might be hard to cite interactions with other nations as you don't have a spot on the map yet, but there are some things I noticed here. First, the way you define democracy — does it immediately imply a presidential system of government? A kingdom like Queste could be somewhat democratic as well. Or, perhaps the kingdom would've attempted to defend itself from republicanism at first, which meant that things would've got a bit heated up. Not everything goes peacefully and harmoniously as planned. Back to the economy — democracy does not imply capitalism either. Sure, capitalism does make the market "freer", but at its full force, it's not democracy anymore. What would be more likely to happen is that your kingdom switches from a protective, isolationist economy to one that slowly and cautiously accepts foreign ideas. Not immediately become some ultra-capitalist nation. And it does take time to build an economy, no matter what — a silent kingdom sitting in a corner cannot become a global economic power in a single decade, just because of capitalism. Now the modern isolationist period was a bit controversial among us RP Mentors. First, after switching to a liberal republican democracy, it'd be way, way harder to go back into isolationism. And as I've said before, isolationism is a thing of the past. In no way whatsoever does it truly benefit a nation, since it's basically restricting the influx of foreign innovations and technology. Sure, you could develop some technology yourself, but imagine this — the knowledge of the whole world combined against the knowledge of only Queste. And even then, things would get worse if you're a growing economy, because you're also a growing population. It's a given that any nation would fall into crisis as soon as the demand for food and resources becomes greater than the actual production or imports (and Queste wouldn't have any imports). During the isolationist period, things seem to move too fast. Remember, you're working with almost a century of isolationism. We might have to change that, but either way, a well-performing economy doesn't crash in a year unless you have some extreme circumstances. In that case, however, the repercussions of such "extreme circumstances" would probably still affect Queste late into the 1900's and early 2000's. Next, Queste becomes a chaotic battlefield between people and corporations. Remember, this is the 1920's. Corporations still weren't too big at this time, so they wouldn't have a strong fighting chance. Furthermore, a civil war of this intensity does not last a hundred years. Maybe a decade or two at most. And by the 1940's you'll most likely be caught in some WW2-like conflict, so it'd be better if your nation was already re-stabilizing by then. Lastly, your group led by Anna Eline literally goes from a band of self-proclaimed saviors to the leadership of Queste, in under a year. Which again is quite fast — very fast, so to say. And no matter how quick the reforms are put into action, it will still take a few years for the effects to really show, especially considering the fact that Queste is just recovering from an intense century-long civil war (again, we might have to change that). I don't want to get into too much detail with this one but perhaps you should nerf your military just a bit. I know you're trying to play a very militarized nation, but at some point it just breaks the realism line. Again, you'll need a good economy to support a good military — that's the way it goes. To put it bluntly, the military is a waste of money. Not in the sense that everything absolutely goes to waste, but you're pumping in so much money to prevent some rebellion or war — nothing that would really completely destroy Queste. Compare the military to an investment of sorts, where the returns are far lower than the initial money you began with. It's basically a risk. So you might want a stronger economy to support a stronger military. As I've said in the beginning, nobody can truly be self-sufficient. So don't burden yourself with having to produce all your military equipment yourself. After all, again it's a risk, so you wouldn't want to be placing the whole risk on yourself. Find an ally; a trade partner. You guys could exchange equipment and expertise. Win-win. Now one small thing — I noticed there was one part where you mentioned helicopters hovering above government buildings all day. Come to think of it, that's not such a far-flung idea, but again — the military is an economic risk. What actual benefit do you get from flying helicopters around all day? Looking cool, well, that's not so bad, but think of the fuel costs. The maintenance costs. You'll have to be landing these helicopters constantly to refuel; they don't just stay up there forever. Then you're operating them all day, so the wear and tear would be terrible on the engines. Ultimately all that spending just to prevent some hooligans from starting an uprising? Also, 200 combat aircraft. Most non-superpowers would have maybe 50 at most, including the really old and rusting ones. Just saying. Bear with me — this is the last one. Now I've noticed that you seem to base your nation heavily off NS stats, which we don't really encourage. Not that we're discouraging it, but we want everybody to be creative. Don't be bound by the way NS issues mold your nation — it should be you alone in control of your own fate. Now of course it's really your choice whether you want to follow NS stats or not, but let me just advise you not to take it too literally. As everybody knows, NS stats aren't all that too serious, there are small jokes and references inserted if you look close enough. Just because your people have been ranked the 284th most apathetic in the world doesn't mean Questians are ultra-apathetic in RP. In fact, they can be the exact opposite. It's totally acceptable for you to change up some stuff, provided that everything fits within the boundaries of realism. Also, it's much easier to gain certain powers through NS stats as compared to real life, such as military, economy and influence. Those stuff don't just come along, they're the hard-earned rewards of a well-managed country. Right now we don't really have a proper system that truly determines your overall IC standing, but it's generally based on your influence in the region. Not the NS stat for influence, of course. What I mean is that you could roleplay as a really rich and advanced nation, but you'll never be as rich or as advanced as the well-known and established members of our community. In the same way, you could claim to have a stronger economy as your influence in the region grows. Quality writing and some presence on Discord, bam, you're an instant Europan celebrity (Not really, but you get the point). And in the end of course it's about writing, not climbing the ranks. Influence comes naturally, trust me. Take it from somebody who was once a shy nobody just over a year ago. Alas it has been finished. This is all sincerely constructive and done in good faith, I have no intent to criticize you or anything. I mean, I did start this off saying the factbook is pretty good as it is, and these are just my humble two cents for improving it. If you might have been offended by anything along the way, my deepest apologies for that — that's really the way I talk. So no worries, and thanks for the time!
  6. Note: Due to a forum error, this thread was posted early and is still a work-in-progress.
  7. Sounds like a job for @Magnaeus or @Cristina.
  8. Definitely. We could totally fly drug planes between you and Giokto, Escobar style...
  9. I was unaware you could change your font... The font box mysteriously disappeared for me and has been missing for a few months now
  10. Title says it all. I've been considering the idea for quite a while now, but I've never gotten around to actually doing anything about it. What I imagine is a free-for-all thread where anyone can post short stories pertaining to crime, preferably organized crime. As there won't be any solid storyline, the main purpose of the thread is simply to serve as a depository for such stories. Those who do wish to come up with multiple posts in a storyline could simply add a list of post links at the bottom of each post, or to just create a new thread. Another alternative would be to create a thread about organized drug trafficking, which is particularly a more popular topic in crime fiction. This time, we could connect the storyline by showing interactions between different crime organizations, friendly or hostile. Of course, since we're involving organizations, we could veer off a bit from drugs every now and then, as these organizations do involve themselves in other types of crime as well. To start it all off, I'll be coming up with a post sometime, after we've solidified our plans. This is still a rather vague and undeveloped idea, so feedback is always great. Also – do say if you're interested to join. That would be awesome. Of course no RP thread is complete without an actual title. "In the Shadows" is already taken by @Rihan but it would make a great title if we choose the drug trafficking storyline. Proposals are always welcome, so fire away!
  11. Aww, thanks. I did intend to make it quite long as I'll be using that one for lots of future references as well. Plus it's always fun to finally set up some aspects of my nation and culture. Honestly? Go for it. Perhaps do it as a standalone post. Seeing as you're able to write huge amounts of stuff in a short time, a travel guide with this detail wouldn't be too hard.
  12. "Airplane." I must definitely be involved — I'll be playing the victim, of course. Hosting one of the world's busiest connecting airports and being a tropical nation, well, I'd be the perfect target...
  13. Aw snap, I'm late. Oh well. @Orioni's been notified prior already, so we've already agreed that Arkhavn will come in towards the end of the story except in the start where Mr. Simizi flies in via Arkhavn. Nevertheless, it's here — only a day or two short of two months in the making — the travel guide to Arkhavn. So, without further ado... VISA APPLICATION FORM (Orioni Passport Holders) * Requirement: Visa-free entry (valid return/onward ticket) * Max. duration: 90 days* * Validity: 180 days with unlimited visits** * Health requirements: N/A * Extendable by 90 days per extension but not exceeding 2 years ** Extendable by 180 days per extension but not exceeding 4 years TOURISM GUIDE TOP DISTRICTS (Of Arkhavn) All Andallan cities (byer) are divided into districts (bydeler), each led by a district captain (bydeleskaptein). The number, size and location of each district depends on the geography and demographics of the area. Maltelev Maltelev is the financial center of Andalla, home to Arkhavn's central business district. Known for its upscale shopping districts and nightlife, Maltelev is also the country's retail and srhub. Running through the heart of Maltelev is the Antonsen Avenue, along which the main trading floor of the Andallan Stock Exchange is located. Antonsen Avenue is also home to among the largest local and multinational corporations in Andalla as well as the Gloriatta mall complex, one of the world's largest malls and the largest in Andalla. Small upscale bars and restaurants can be found throughout the district, usually on the ground floors of high-rise buildings. Restaurants and services are generally progressively cheaper the farther away you get from the CBD. Binøndø Adjacent to the district of Tøndø where the Port of Arkhavn is located, Binøndø was once the financial center of the country. Since the 1700s, Binøndø brimmed with many businesses mostly related to imports and exports. In the post-war era, with high demand for workers, many Giokton immigrants flocked to the area. Today, Binøndø is the center of the Giokton-Andallan community and is known for its rich Giokton culture and endless dining choices. While most financial activity moved to Maltelev from the 60's and onwards, Binøndø continues to be an important financial center. Owing to economic development and low real estate prices, businesses in Binøndø still handle much of Andalla's imports and exports. Some of the largest wholesalers in the country are also located here, distributing imported products to retailers nationwide. One can find a better deal for consumer products in Binøndø than almost anywhere else in Andalla. Though still notorious for its lower standard of living compared to other parts of Arkhavn, parts of Binøndø have already caught up with more highly-developed areas such as Maltelev. Formerly labeled as the ghetto of Arkhavn, the local economy boomed once more in the 80's and 90's, pushing the district to increase its economic power and once again take its rightful standing within the city. Today, Binøndø is a cultural and economic center hosting inhabitants from all walks of life, joining together in a harmonious confluence of old and new. Bonskøbing Located directly southeast and adjacent to Maltelev, Bonskøbing is another urban jungle featuring lavish real estate developments and towering skyscrapers. Originally the headquarters of the Royal Andallan Army (Now Andallan Commonwealth Army), the land was sold to real estate developers after prices in the neighboring Maltelev skyrocketed. In under 20 years, the area was transformed from sprawling fields to a vibrant commercial center. Bonskøbing boasts among the most luxurious hotels, residences, restaurants and malls in the country. Like Maltelev, Bonskøbing is an important retail hub also famed for its shopping and nightlife. While home to many luxurious brands, shopping in Bonskøbing is affordable at the very least. Cheaper, more informal restaurants and hotels complement the district's upscale offerings. Bonskøbing also has many public spaces, which make even a walk around the area a good experience. Arkhavn Bay Freeport Zone (Bay City) The Arkhavn Bay Freeport Zone, more commonly known as the Bay City, is the entertainment hub of Andalla. Located on 1,400 hectares of reclaimed land in the Arkhavn Bay, the area was built up in the 1980s by a consortium of private and government-owned agencies. Facing competition against Bonskøbing, land development in Bay City proceeded slowly - as a result large expanses of reclaimed land still remain undeveloped. However, Bay City is also known for its many casinos, though it also has amusement parks, theaters, and upscale hotels. Bay City is home to the Mall of Thalassa, one of the largest malls in Andalla and formerly the largest upon completion in 2002. Eremitås Eremitås is the cultural and religious center of Andalla, as well as a major residential center. Located along the coast of the Arkhavn Bay, Eremitås is known for the famed Rohås Boulevard which runs along the Baywalk. Numerous high-rise buildings occupy the areas directly adjacent to the coast, while more historical and cultural places are located further inland. Eremitås has a high concentration of hotels ranging from budget traveler inns to five-star hotels, the most popular of which is the Arkhavn Grand Hotel. First opened in 1912, the Arkhavn Grand Hotel is the most prestigious and historically-significant hotel in Andalla. Sudvik While not a district of Arkhavn, Sudvik is a popular weekend getaway. Located along the coast of the Sudvik Bay, from which its name is derived, the beaches of Sudvik are lined with a variety of accommodations ranging from budget hostels to high-end resorts. Though not the largest vacation destination in Andalla, Sudvik is the closest major beach resort to Arkhavn. Travel times usually range from 40 to 60 minutes by the North Arkhavn Expressway (NAREX) depending on traffic, and roughly 30 minutes by commuter rail. SIGHTS WORTH SEEING Arkhavn is not known for having many significant historical sights, though several important historical buildings are very well-preserved. Malls are a common tourist attraction in Arkhavn, as they are far larger than usual compared to other countries. Shopping is generally a common social activity in Andalla, and is extremely popular especially in urban areas. Arkhavn is home to a number of shopping districts ranging from cheap marketplaces to high-end luxury brands. The Arkhavn Bay is particularly known for its sunrise, as the bay faces directly east. The Baywalk is a seaside promenade spanning most of the bay's coastline in the Eremitås district, running alongside Rohås Boulevard. The Baywalk is home to many open-air cafés, and is frequented by locals and tourists alike. Directly north of the Baywalk area on a patch of reclaimed land lies the Arkhavn Bay Freeport Zone or Bay City, which is home to some of the country's largest local and foreign casinos. The Mall of Thalassa, Andalla's second-largest mall, is also located here. Lying at the mouth of the Arkhavn Bay is the small islet of Reysborg, one of Arkhavn's most treasured historical landmarks. Originally a stronghold for pirates who would prey on Arkhavn-bound merchants, Reysborg was defeated in the late 1600s and converted into a military stronghold. Since then, it has become an important fortification, having protected the Arkhavn Bay for over three centuries. Today, with its many well-preserved artillery pieces, it is only a tourist attraction. Last used during the Thalassan War, its guns were already considered obsolete in the 1930s. Reysborg remains a must-visit for any tourist coming to Arkhavn, whether interested in history or not. Further north still along the coast of the Arkhavn Bay lies the town of Sudvik, the closest major beach resort to Arkhavn. Frequented on weekends, Sudvik is only a short journey away and features many hotels and resorts. An somewhat popular hobby in Andalla is photography, especially aviation photography. Most large airports in Andalla are built to be "spotter-friendly", with small view decks built across several vantage points. As Skandinavisk is considered as the "national pride" of Andalla, aviation as a hobby is generally popular. Throughout the week, many photographers and hobbyists belonging to the Arkhavn Planespotters' Association (APSA) flock to the viewing decks of the Ivan Petersen International Airport. Arkhavn is well-known for having a large, friendly community of photographers both professional and amateur alike, many of whom are also engaged in planespotting. Great Eats Maxine's fried chicken, the country's favorite dish. A trip to Arkhavn is never complete until one has sampled the wide selection of Andallan, Giokton and other cuisines served in restaurants throughout the city. From the small, wooden, ramshackle food carts of Binøndø to the most exclusive five-star gourmet restaurants of Bonskøbing, Arkhavn is known for its vibrant food culture. The following is a list of must-tries in Arkhavn cuisine: Maxine's Chicken is arguably the most well-known restaurant chain in Andalla, credited for popularizing fried chicken in Andalla. Though the practice of deep-frying battered chicken was first documented to have originated in Whales, @Great Burlington, the concept of friend chicken was brought to Andalla in 1902 from @Adaptus, by sailor Bernard Jørgensen. After having sailed Andalla-Europa trade routes for nearly 30 years, Jørgensen sought to return to his family in Arkhavn. Along with his 2 sons Bjørn and Morten Jørgensen, he set up a small restaurant which he named "Maxine's Chicken House" after his wife. Cooking a recipe slightly modified from the one he picked up in Adaptus, his restaurant was an instant success. In 1911, the family purchased an empty lot across their home, where they constructed a dedicated restaurant building for the rapidly-growing business. The original site still stands today, albeit with numerous expansions over the years, as the flagship branch of Maxine's Chicken. As the name suggests, Maxine's is mostly known for its fried chicken but also offers a wide selection of Andallan cuisine at very affordable prices. The Maxine's network spans over 700 branches across Andalla and Giokto, with over a hundred more across the world. The Aristo is one of the most popular restaurants in Andalla, credited for inventing the Andallan chicken barbeque and popularizing kønris (see "Local Cuisine"). The restaurant was founded in 1928 by Inge Skora, a mother of 12, who decided to make a profit out of her cooking for the whole family. Originally known around the community for its kullhøner (see "Local Cuisine") sandwich made from dried kullhøner strips, the restaurant rose to fame after the Thalassan War when a shortage of materials prompted Skora to cook her fried chicken dish in a barbeque style to reduce the use of utensils. Today, The Aristo has expanded its network to 89 branches in Andalla and 23 branches abroad, though the original and largest branch still stands along Rohås Boulevard directly facing the Arkhavn Bay. The restaurant offers hearty Andallan meals at very affordable prices, cooked with the same love and passion as Inge Skora had for her own family. Eng Sui Tin (永美珍) is a Giokton delicatessen known for pastries and baked goods, especially hopia and nyttårskager (see "Local Cuisine"). Founded in 1912, the deli encountered many challenges from competition in the 1980's and nearly reached bankruptcy. In 1989, Eng Sui Tin turned around with the introduction of the åbe (purple yam) flavored hopia, which became a nationwide sensation almost overnight. Jolibi (pronounced "Yoli-bi") is the largest Andallan fast-food chain with over 1,200 branches worldwide. Jolibi offers a selection of local and foreign dishes at very affordable prices, making its presence very established even in poorer, rural areas of Andalla. Jolibi has gained international fame for its fried chicken known as Jolichicken, burgers ("Joliburgers"), and panisiter. Formerly known as Jolibie, the fast food chain features a cartoony anthropomorphic bee as its mascot ("bie" means "bee" in Andallan). Jolibi is also very well-known for its children's amenities, such as kiddie meals and parties. Chaoking (超王) is the second-largest fast food chain in Andalla and the largest in Giokto. Established in Saipuo in 1981, Chaoking combines Giokton cuisine with fast food service and has achieved widespread success in both Andalla and Giokto. Among the many dishes served include popular rice meals and noodle soups, as well as tjemsimmer (tiam sim or dim sum). According to founder Robert Kueh, Chaoking really derives its name from the word "chow" but can also be connected to the @Fulgistani pronunciation of 超 (to exceed; to surpass), in order to relate the name to Giokton culture. CULTURAL EVENTS Photo taken by yours truly... Andallan culture emphasizes more on lifestyle, traditions, and the day-to-day interactions between people. Holidays and celebrations are limited to mostly religious or historically-significant dates. Cultural holidays were mostly adapted into Andallan culture during the age when Andallan merchants visited ports all over the world. However, it should be noted that Andallans are well-known to "over-celebrate" certain special events, many of which are also highly commercialized in the country. December marks the most important time of the year, not only culturally but also economically. Andallans celebrate four major holiday seasons: Christmas Commonly known in Andalla as Jul ("Yul"), Christmas is the most important holiday in the country. A devout Christian nation, Andalla is often said to have the world's longest Christmas season beginning roughly in early October and lasting all the way until late January. In the months leading to Christmas, decorations are set up in homes, malls and almost everywhere else. It is a common tradition for a town or city district to organize a ceremony wherein a large Christmas tree is set up in a major public center (known as "byenstrae" or "town tree"), taking place usually on the last Saturday of November. December is marked by numerous feasts ("Julebord") observed on different dates and by different groups of people. Andallan Christmas cuisine differs slightly from regular cuisine, with special dishes and desserts being served such as roast chicken, svinemager, gedstuvning, risgrøder, tugriskager and limenskager (see "Local Cuisine"). Usually the first of these feasts to take place is the Julefrokost or Christmas lunch, a large meal with plenty of food and alcohol. Julefrokoster are usually organized by businesses, labor unions, schools, and groups of friends. The size of the group can vary from a small table to an entire function hall or restaurant rented out for the purpose. Traditionally, a Julefrokost takes place on a Saturday afternoon, hence the name Christmas lunch. However, in modern times it is more often celebrated on a Friday evening. A typical Andallan will usually attend three to five Julefrokoster. It is also customary to celebrate a familiejulefrokost, which is similar to a julefrokost but attended by members of a clan. The average size of a familiejulefrokost can vary from a handful of directly-related families to an entire network of clans descended from a common ancestor. A familiejulefrokost is typically the last Christmas feast to take place before Christmas Eve, which is usually celebrated only with the direct family. Another common Christmas lunch is the byensfrokost, which was traditionally celebrated by all the inhabitants of a town in the early days when population was scarce. Though byensfrokoster are still commonly celebrated in rural areas, larger cities celebrate a byensfrokost by district (bydel). Usually, a large table of food and plastic plates is laid out in the district hall (rådhus), and anyone is welcome to enter and have a meal. On the night of December 23, the lillejuleaften ("Little Christmas Eve") is celebrated, consisting of beer and some desserts served after dinner. Almost always, it is only celebrated with everyone in the house regardless of whether even the entire direct family is present. Relatives away from home will usually arrive by December 24 to celebrate the julenat, or Christmas night. This is a final dinner, again celebrated with the direct family but everyone is present. Julenat typically consists of a grand dinner complete with desserts, usually leftover desserts from the previous night. In churches, it is common to organize a juleladning (Christmas play), which takes place on the last Sunday before Christmas. Usually, it replaces or is conducted alongside the morning church service. Regardless of the day of the week, a Juletjeneste (Christmas service) is held either on the afternoon of December 24 or the morning of December 25, or both. A Juletjeneste begins with the singing of Christmas carols, followed by the congregation traditionally reading the passage of Luke 2. A short message is then given by the pastor or preacher. After the service, Christmas snacks are then distributed similar to the layout of a modern byensfrokost. Traditionally, presents are exchanged throughout the month of December, even after Christmas. Andallans usually do not wait for Christmas morning to open gifts; however, it is still considered rude to open a gift in front of the person giving unless he or she is a close friend or relative. The official non-working Christmas holiday lasts from 23 to 26 December. However, when 23 December is close to a weekend (e.g. Tuesday), many employers allow employees to take their holiday early with little consequences. New Year Any resident of Arkhavn will tell you the worst fog they've ever seen was at daybreak on January 1st. New Year or Nyttår is the second most important celebration in Andalla. The official non-working holiday for the New Year lasts from 31 December to 2 January, though 30 December is also a non-working holiday (Riesel Day). The three working days between 26 and 30 December are collectively referred to as "Tredagen" or three days, when employees (usually office workers) would wrap up the year and tabulate the final information and statistics. It is common to take a short vacation within the country usually between 29 and 31 December. During this time, many Andallans opt to visit a colder place in the mountains to experience the lowest temperatures in the country. Others book an overnight stay at an expensive hotel that would otherwise be very costly if the stay was longer. On 31 December, a feast very similar to the Julenat is held once again. This is known simply as the "Nyttårsaftenmad" or New Year's dinner. This is also usually attended only by members of the direct family, and is held in the house. A typical Nyttårsaftenmad consists of international cuisine and alcoholic drinks. Dishes from all over the world are served, usually Argic or Europan; often a taste of Andallan cuisine is also added. Fireworks and firecrackers are common in Andalla during the New Year season, a trait inherited from the Gioktons. The production, distribution and sale of such explosives are discouraged but lightly-regulated, though the government enforces a list of banned dangerous firecrackers. However, this list is also lightly enforced and many illegal explosives are still set off during the New Year. Arkhavn has been noted as one of the world's "loudest cities" during the New Year. Noise levels are said to reach as high as 130 dB in the streets for extended periods of time, which is considered very dangerous. It is advisable to stay indoors for those with sensitive hearing. Especially in urbanized areas, it is not uncommon to celebrate the New Year in a mall. Television or entertainment companies will usually rent out a large open space, then host a countdown featuring various performances usually by Andallan pop singers. Large fireworks displays are also set up, often among the largest annual fireworks displays in the world. Karaoke is another popular New Year tradition. Usually, a large tent is set up in the street for neighbors to gather around in. It is common to get drunk during a karaoke party. Food is also often served, resembling a byersfrokost. Parties and firecrackers can continue until past 3 AM in poorer areas of Arkhavn. In the morning, a thick haze covers the city. This is caused by all the smoke released from the previous night. One final feast is held, the "Nyttårsfrokost" or New Year's lunch. Similar to a familiejulefrokost, members of a clan attend the meal; international cuisine is served. A nyttårsfrokost usually lasts from lunch until sundown, and is an important bonding time for the clan. Usually the family with the largest house is selected to host the meal, while other relatives arrive early to assist in preparations. It is also common to sleep over and celebrate the New Year in that house instead. Giokton Lunar New Year The Giokton Lunar New Year, known in Giokton as 新春節 or sin-tsun-cheh, is an old tradition brought to Andalla in the 1700s. Also known as the Spring Festival, the Lunar New Year marked the beginning of a year on the traditional Giokton lunar calendar which was based on astronomical phenomena. Today, the Lunar New Year is celebrated to retain the tradition instead of actually representing a new year, as Giokto already switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1949 after becoming a protectorate of Andalla. Traditionally, the Lunar New Year takes place on the second new moon after the winter solstice, therefore the exact date fluctuates yearly but is almost always in early February. Each Lunar New Year is accompanied by four distinct cycles: The Earthly Branches (地支 or tōe-chi) are a cycle of 12 zodiac animals that rotate yearly. The Earthly Branches are the main method used to distinguish a certain year; the zodiac animal of a person's birth year is said to determine his personality and future. The Heavenly Stems (天干 or thian-kàn) are a system of 10 ordinals which were originally used to name the 10 days of the Giokton calendar week. The Heavenly Stems are also used in combination with the Earthly Branches to produce a compound cycle (干支 or kàn-chi) that repeats itself every 60 years. Each of the Heavenly Stems are associated with one of the five elements (五行 or ngó-hîng) in Giokton astrology, namely wood, earth, metal, fire and water. The cycle rotates every two years, which means that two heavenly stems are associated with one element. This system is also often used to distinguish certain years; for example 1996 was the year of the Fire Rat, where its zodiac animal was the rat and its element was fire. The yin and yang association rotates each year. The Lunar New Year is enshrouded in age-old traditions dating back to the ancient Huang people of Alharu, many of which are still observed in Giokto. In Andalla, the Lunar New Year is celebrated as a time of joy and good spirits; a short jump back to the festivity of the Christmas season amid the regular stress of work. Traditionally, Lunar New Year festivities last for 15 days with specific activities done on each day. In Andalla, the official non-working holiday lasts for the first three days of the festivities, while the defined activities are usually not observed except in conservative Giokton communities. The Lunar New Year season will start as early as two weeks before, when businesses (especially Giokton-owned businesses) will begin to decorate with lanterns and red posters or scrolls containing idioms or short poems relating to good luck. Temporary New Year markets selling New Year food, charms, and decorations would be set up at this time, usually in predominantly Giokton communities. Local bakeries and delicatessens will also begin to sell nyttårskager (see "Local Cuisine"). Brought from Giokto in the early 1800s, nyttårskager is a sweet, thin glutinous rice cake that is usually fried. During the week right before the Lunar New Year, families and businesses will often give out boxes of nyttårskager as gifts. Elder relatives will also give out small red packets containing money known as angpao (âng-pau, literally "red package") usually to young children in the family. During the Lunar New Year season, lion and dragon dance performances are held in many public centers, notably malls. Large Giokton businesses will usually hold such a performance at the end of the last working day before the New Year, preceded by a short thanksgiving ceremony (usually a religious prayer). Especially in the Giokton community, extended families will get together on the eve of the New Year to hold a large reunion dinner; this is considered the most important meal of the year. Firecrackers and fireworks are lit from evening until past midnight, at nearly the same intensity as the usual New Year. It has also become a common tradition only in Andalla to play Giokton music, especially those translated from the @Fulgistani language by the renowned Fulgistani singer Patricia Pang. After the reunion dinner, most families will stay at their relative's house until the next day; therefore usually the family with the largest house in the clan is chosen to host the dinner. The first day of the New Year is regarded as a time to honor the family elders and ancestors. Malls will hold many performances and bazaars on this day. On the second day, people will usually get together with family friends and other distant relatives. The second day is considered a time for generosity towards the needy, with many people giving angpao to beggars along the streets. The Lunar New Year is usually celebrated up to the third day in both Giokto and Andalla. Visiting other people's houses is generally frowned upon and is considered bad luck, though meeting in public places is still acceptable. On the third day, Giokton communities will set up small gambling tables in a public center while others flock to casinos; in ancient times it was on the third day when people would pray to the God of Wealth for prosperity in the year. Work resumes as usual on the fourth day, while many Giokton businesses will hold a corporate lunch on this day to thank their employees for the work done the previous year. Minningstid Minningstid is one of the most important annual observances in Andalla, lasting a week from 25 October to 2 November. Minningstid is celebrated in honor of the dead, culminating with All Saints' Day (Allehelgensdag) and All Souls' Day (Allesjelersdag). All Saints' Day is also informally know as Dødenatt, descending from the original term Daudnátt ("night of death"). Observing a day in remembrance of the dead has been a longstanding Andallan tradition, predating the arrival of Christianity in the early 17th century. Originally known as Daudnátt, All Saints' Day in Andalla traces its roots back to the arrival of the first Sjådska inhabitants in the archipelago. According to the Saga of Erik the White (Eiríks Saga Hvíta) which records the events of the Great Sjådska Exodus (Afgangr), it began as a a ritual sacrifice to the Sjådska gods in honor of those who died during the Great Storm (Stórrbylgjan) while crossing the North Thalassan Ocean. From then on, Daudnátt was observed every year near the end of the Sjådska month of Stekktíð, often falling on the third week of June. Andalla Day, which commemorates the first landing of the Sjådska in Møllerup, was traditionally calculated using the old Sjådska calendar even after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar until it was permanently fixed at 12 June. Most cemetery visits take place on All Saints' Day, while All Souls' Day is observed as a continuation of the former. However, it is not uncommon to see many people already visiting cemeteries throughout the week before, as the notorious November 1 traffic jams (informally known as "Allehelgensprop") are widely considered to be among the worst in the country annually. On this day, Andallans flock to cemeteries to pay their respects to dead relatives and loved ones, to clean gravestones and to offer prayers, flowers, candles and even food. It is not uncommon to have large groups of families gathering around the burial site of a common ancestor; other clans would even opt to purchase a single large lot in the cemetery where all relatives would be buried. Especially in large cities, major cemeteries are filled with people from morning to evening. As November 1 is among the few days in the year where the whole clan would gather together, most families will also hold a reunion known as minsamkomst. The reunion is usually held within the cemetery, at the burial spot of a common ancestor; other more affluent families would hold minsamkomst at their houses or in large restaurants. In the morning, a large tent is set up at the site to accommodate the attendees to the reunion. A typical minsamkomst consists of lunch and dinner with snacks in between, lasting the whole afternoon at the location. Though styles differ from family to family, minsamkomst is usually held as a potluck where each family is assigned to bring different parts of the meal. Other families might also opt to bring entertainment such as board games and even karaoke. It also become a popular tradition in Andalla to spend the night at the cemetery as part of minsamkomst. After a quick dinner, families attending the reunion would set up mats or sleeping bags under their tents. Others might also exchange turns keeping watch over belongings, especially in crowded cemeteries. From sundown to sunrise, families light candles around the tent to serve as a source of light and to ward off evil spirits. Especially in more urban areas, however, conventional wax candles have mostly been replaced by special long-lasting candles or electric lamps. Most families opt to wake up before dawn to watch the sunrise at the cemetery. A quick breakfast may also be held, after which the families would then return to their respective homes. GETTING AROUND Air Andalla's air transport network is highly-developed, with several airlines servicing most major cities. Naturally, being an archipelago, small airports hold a place in our hearts too — numerous small scheduled and charter airlines as well as some major carriers also provide service to smaller towns and less-populated cities where tourism may still be strong. Ivan Petersen International Airport or ARK is located in Arkhavn and is Andalla's primary airport. IPIA is ranked as one of the world's best-connected airports. It's popular especially with travelers as several Andallan airlines offer cheap connections between Europa and Alharu or Aurelia. Other major airports include Holtrup-Standsted Airport, New Brumundvik International Airport, and Thorbjørn Povlsen-Møllerup International Airport. Andallan airlines are known for low ticket prices, due to low equipment and labor costs. Andalla is home to 5 major international airlines: Andallan Airways, also known as AL, is the Andallan flag carrier and the largest airline in Thalassa. AL flies to all 6 inhabited continents, as well as to most Andallan cities. Though not entirely world-class, AL makes up for its shortcomings through service. AL is world-renowned for its friendly and hospitable crew. Especially on long-haul flights, cheap tickets and warm service is what really draws attention to Andalla's leading airline. LuftAndska is a regional boutique airline and the second largest full-service airline in Andalla. Formerly almost on par with rival Andallan Airways, the airline faced fierce competition throughout the 1980's and was forced to downsize most of its operations. Today, LuftAndska connects most major Andallan cities as well as popular destinations across Thalassa. The airline uses quality service and low prices as its selling point, offering greater seat pitch and better services than Andallan Airways at a matching or slightly higher price. This has led to the domination of LuftAndska in several domestic routes; however, international flights still remain far less affordable than Andallan Airways. Sudholm Thalassan Air, colloquially known as Sud-Thal, is the largest budget airline in Andalla, flying around Andalla and Thalassa. Known for friendly service and value for money, Sudholm Thalassan operates using the low-cost model but also focuses on excellent service. Sud-Thal also operates a handful of long-haul flights to Argis and Europa, competing against Royal Air Andalla. Royal Air Andalla is a low-cost long-haul airline and a subsidiary of Royal Air, the largest Giokton budget airline. Originally an extension of Royal Air operating flights to and from Andalla, the airline opted to convert it into a full subsidiary company based in Arkhavn. Royal Air is notably the only major airline to benefit greatly from the 1993 Andalla-Giokto Single Aviation Market Agreement (AGSAMA), which allowed Giokton airlines to operate from Andalla and vice versa. Today, Royal Air Andalla remains the oldest and only Andallan airline in its category, offering flights across the world at surprisingly low prices. AirAnda is a budget airline focused on the ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC) model. AirAnda provides point-to-point services within Andalla and onwards to Thalassa. AirAnda has taken a different approach to air travel, offering services to more rural areas and targeting customers who may not be able to afford proper air travel. As such, it is often the only major airline operating to the smaller airports of Andalla, as well as around Thalassa. Since its creation in 2002, AirAnda has been expanding aggressively and now operates a @Sunset Sea Islandsian subsidiary, AirAnda Yuyake. Recently, AirAnda has joined the long-haul competition with the introduction of AirAnda X, a separate subsidiary focused solely on long-haul flights to Argis. Road IPIA is connected to Arkhavn primarily via a toll expressway known as IPLEX (Ivan Petersens Lufthavn Expressway). A common toll-free alternative is through Riesel Avenue, which runs from downtown Arkhavn to an area south of IPIA. Riesel Avenue is notorious for traffic jams during the day; however at night there is virtually little time difference between Riesel Avenue and IPLEX. Road infrastructure in Andalla is generally poorly-developed, due to the geographical constraints of an archipelago. However, in flatter areas such as plains the road network has been greatly expanded to cover more areas. Most of Andalla is connected by two-lane roads, while major towns may have four-lane to six-lane roads running between then. Arkhavn serves as the hub for the C-1 road network (Circumferential Road 1), a series of roads and highways that link most major coastal settlements on the island of Sudholm. Large expressways are uncommon in Andalla; most are just high-speed two-lane toll roads running between important cities. Andalla's largest cities are mostly located on different islands. Road infrastructure within Arkhavn itself is generally well-developed, with major avenues linking transport hubs and population centers. Though traffic is not a pressing problem in Arkhavn, the city is known for having occasional traffic jams especially during rush hours (see here). Public Transport The bus is the main mode of public transport within cities. In most large cities, a handful of bus companies operate services between important areas. Other buses (known as provincial buses) connect far away cities and towns, many of which might not be served by commuter rail. Point-to-point bus services are uncommon; provincial buses will usually make a quick stop in every town along the way. Most cities will have taxis, though in smaller cities it is more advisable to wait at a designated taxi terminal due to their scarcity. However, one must exercise caution when hailing an Arkhavn taxi - not all drivers are polite and accommodating. Some may outright reject the destination requested and refuse service altogether. Though the practice is illegal by law, it is largely unenforced in most cases. Beyond that, however, taxi drivers are rarely dangerous at all. Rail Also due to geographical constraints, Andalla's railway network is far less developed than its road network. Where railways are applicable, however, infrastructure is well-developed. The largest railway company in Andalla is AB or Andska Baner, which provides express and commuter services across the archipelago. Rail transport is the most common way to get around cities and towns that would otherwise be too short or too costly for a flight. Commuter services run between major cities and satellite towns, while express trains serve important city pairs. AB runs two HSR lines: the Sudholm HSR connecting cities along the east coast of Sudholm, and the Brumundvik HSR connecting cities along the Himøy Gulf. While not considered high-speed rail by definition, the lines operate at higher speeds than the usual express lines. Within cities, only Arkhavn and Holtrup have dedicated metro systems; however, other large cities will have a metro of some sort operating as an extension of its commuter rail services. Most metro stations are at-grade, while few are underground or elevated. AB has maintained a longstanding alliance with the Samura Corporation of @Kipan; as such, most of its rolling stock is built by Samura. LOCAL CUISINE Due to the scarcity of common Sjådska ingredients, early settlers were forced to create new recipes based on existing knowledge. After making contact with the ancient Giokton peoples, many Giokton recipes were adapted into Andallan cuisine. Further developments occurred as Andallan merchant vessels frequented Europa and returned with new recipes. Andallan cuisine is now a mix between the three, making it unique among the world's many other cuisines. You know, I just find it so amusing how I actually ate nearly every dish on this list since the time I started working on it. Philippines, really. edstager: Pork or chicken, marinated in vinegar and soy sauce. A recipe that has existed since the very first settlers in Andalla. A staple meal often considered as the national dish. kullhøner: Chicken marinated with a mixture of ingredients, primarily litlime, then grilled over hot coals. Holds a near-equal cultural status with edstager. svinemager: Crispy deep-fried pork belly, often served at special occasions. lømpjer: Minced meat or vegetables wrapped in spring rolls and fried. A popular dish and almost always served at special occasions. panisiter: Andallan-style noodles originating from Giokto. Panisiter can vary from place to place, giving rise to dozens of variants all over Andalla and Giokto. luteboller: A traditional dumpling recipe originating from the Giokton siomai. After generations of evolution, the Andallan adaptation of siomai has become a distinct variant of the popular dish. gedstuvning: Goat meat stewed with vegetables and often tomato sauce. Commonly served at special occassions. brasereter: Pork, beef or chicken braised in tomato sauce. Very similar to gedstuvning. farsbrød: Andallan-style meatloaf saltbrød: Soft, fluffy, sweet bread rolls, traditionally made with low-quality imported wheat (Andalla does not produce wheat). Found almost everywhere and eaten by everyone from all walks of life. kønris: Rice flavored with turmeric ("køner"), giving it a slightly meaty and aromatic aftertaste. The rice appears yellow and is usually served alongside barbecue. hvilris: Rice fried with lots of garlic and served as a popular breakfast dish. Hvilris is most often paired with dried fish or other breakfast dishes. Using fresh rice for the dish is generally frowned upon, as the concept of hvilris was said to have originated from the desire to save food. risgrøder: Glutinous rice porridge cooked with meat, fish and other ingredients to add flavor. sødrisgrøder: Risgrøder mixed with tabelatter (pure ground cocoa formed into small tablets). A popular breakfast. blodstuvning: Pork offal stew simmered in pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar. tahåer: Soft tofu mixed with a sweet sauce made of brown sugar that is caramelized and diluted; often topped with sagå or tapioca pearls. A popular desert, found everywhere from street vendors to gourmet restaurants. bananruller: Banana wrapped in spring rolls and fried. A popular street food. riskager: An umbrella term for cakes made with glutinous rice flour ("limrismel"). hvidekager: Another umbrella term for rice cakes that are steamed. The hvidekager family stemmed from a single traditional recipe of the same name, which was made simply by steaming a mixture of yeast and soaked rice dough. Over time, more complex recipes developed along the concept of steaming these rice cakes, and hvidekager came to refer to the entire family of variants found all across the country. However, the term still generally refers to the original recipe itself, which continues to be a popular Andallan snack. almriskager: The more proper term for traditional hvidekager, though it is rarely used except in formal communication. "Alm" is a shortening of "almen" which means "common". tugriskager: A popular variant of hvidekager which is made with black rice, which when cooked gives tugriskager its distinctive purple color. Tugriskager is unique since it is steamed in large bamboo tubes ("tug") instead of steamers. Tugriskager is a very popular snack especially during the Christmas season, and is often served at Christmas feasts (Julefester) along with bakriskager. bakriskager: Similar to hvidekager, bakriskager is an umbrella term for rice cakes that are baked. Bakriskager also originated from a single traditional recipe wherein glutinous rice ("limris") is soaked and fermented overnight, then ground into a thick paste and baked. The term bakriskager also often refers to only the traditional recipe itself. limenskager: The proper term for traditional bakriskager. Limenskager is an extremely popular Christmas snack in Andalla and almost always accompanies tugriskager during Christmas feasts. Often served with hvidester. nyttårskager: A thin, sticky cake made of glutinous rice paste and brown sugar. Nyttårskager is descended from the Giokton tikoy, which is traditionally and still very often eaten during the Lunar New Year. In both Andalla and Giokto, it has become popular to first dip the sticky batter in beaten eggs before lightly pan-frying it, giving it a crispy crust yet retaining the sticky and chewy structure inside. melkflan: Crème caramel made with condensed milk and more egg yolks than usual. Originates from Europan influences in the 19th and 20th centuries. bland-blander: A mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk, and various other ingredients. A very popular dessert that is spreading to other parts of the world. tang med sagåer: A sweet drink consisting of seaweed-based gelatin cubes ("tangstivner") and tapioca pearls (traditionally sago or "sagåer"), suspended in fruit juice. tabelatter: The Andallan variant of hot chocolate. The term tabelatter actually refers to the small pellets of pure ground cocoa, which are then dissolved in boiling water and sweetened with sugar to form the popular drink. Tabelatter is often served in restaurants, especially as a breakfast drink. SLEEPING Several hotels are available in the vicinity of IPIA, the most popular of which is the Ivan Petersen Airport Hotel itself. Choices range from two to three stars and are very affordable. A single small five-star hotel is located nearby as well. In recent years, Arkhavn has seen a number of foreign five-star hotels set up shop. Most hotels in Arkhavn are affordable to foreigners and range from three to four stars, usually found on major roads or financial centers. Look close enough and you'll also see that Arkhavn also has a fair amount of budget hotels, which are usually located on a small road just next to a financial or residential center. Thanks to commuter rail, it is also feasible to book a much cheaper hotel in an outlying town while at the same time being within a short trip to the city.
  14. Okay. So you've gotten down to writing about your airports. But what are these seemingly random three- or four-letter codes you're seeing now? Everybody seems to have them — what exactly are they, and how do you assign such codes to your own airports? If you've ever flown on a plane before, chances are you've at least encountered the three-letter codes. Examples include LAX (Los Angeles), MNL (Manila), YYZ (Toronto), CGK (Jakarta), and LED (St. Petursburg). On the other hand, you might have never heard of the four-letter type. It's used more often for technical purposes, where you'll see codes such as KJFK (New York), EGLL (London Heathrow), EGNJ (Grimsby), and RPVM (Cebu). So, let's get started... AIRPORT CODES - WHY? You might have wondered — why did we ever need these codes in the first place? The answer's simple: you wouldn't want to have to say Thiruvananthapuram when you can just say TRV, wouldn't you? Jokes aside, airport codes serve the exact same purpose as any other kind of code would do — simplify. Long, long lists of airports would look so much better if those airports are listed in three-letter codes. The codes also encourage standardization, which again goes back to the original goal of simplifying everything. Wait — simplify ?! What do you mean, "simplify" ? Some airport codes are absolutely nonsense! How could YYZ ever stand for "Toronto"? RPVM and "Cebu"?! Calm down. There's a bit of explaining that needs to be done here, so listen well... THREE OR FOUR? Actually, both. Most airports actually have both three- and four-letter codes, such as AMS and EHAM both referring to the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Other smaller airports like rural airstrips might have only a four-letter code. To understand why, here's a bit of IRL history. You see, today there are two main international organizations governing the laws of the sky: IATA and ICAO. IATA, which stands for International Air Transport Association, is a trade organization of airlines, while ICAO, which stands for International Civil Aviation Organization, is a branch of the United Nations dealing with international aviation law. Both organizations seek to regulate commercial aviation to ensure that certain safety or performance standards are met. Instinct told both organizations that assigning airport codes was a very important stepping stone. Yet even though they had the same idea, they did it quite differently. IATA, being a trade organization, wanted simplicity. They called for short 3-letter codes that slightly resemble the name of the airport or city so that passengers could easily understand. These are the codes you see everywhere — on boarding passes, signboards, and everywhere they might be needed. ICAO, on the other hand, is a branch of the UN. They called for organization, using a special system to assign 4-letter codes to airports. As a passenger, you'll never see these codes. But pilots and air traffic controllers will. Everything technical references the ICAO code and not the IATA code. Of course, for efficiency, you'd better assign both codes to your airport. Perhaps leave the IATA code out if it's a really small airport. But you can't just jump straight in — you'll need to read on. GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Alright, it's time to do the dirty work. How exactly does this system work? Allow me to explain the IATA code first, as it's simpler and more commonly used. If you've noticed, IATA codes do resemble the cities — JFK for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, HKG for Hong Kong, and BRU for Brussels. Those three examples make up the simplest kind of IATA code — abbreviations and acronyms. These codes are designed to be as recognizable as possible; as such, they are usually assigned to major airports. Other codes will bear some noticeable resemblance, but not much. Codes like CRK for Clark, HKT for Phuket, and TEB for Teterboro are good examples of this type. You see, 3 letters will get you over 17,000 possible codes — but remember, certain letters such as E, A or C are used much more often than letters like W, Y, or J. Therefore, to conserve space for larger airports, less-significant airports will receive a code that somewhat resembles their name. Then we have the X-codes, and there's a lot of them. LAX for Los Angeles, DXB for Dubai, and CNX for Chiang Mai are some familiar airports that come to mind. The "X" doesn't signify that these airports are insignificant, as LAX is one of them. The trend actually emerged in the US as a way to simplify certain airport codes, but other nations followed suit as well. Just don't overuse the "X" — don't want to look too edgy, do you? Lastly, we have those codes that are complete nonsense. YYZ for Toronto, ORD for Chicago, and CGK for Jakarta are some codes that must be memorized by heart. These codes have quite a history behind them — at least, the big airports do. For example, Jakarta's airport is located in an area known as Cengkareng, hence the code CGK. Chicago's ORD references an old airport which used to stand on the grounds of today's O'hare International Airport. LED for St. Petursburg, of course, refers to Leningrad, which is glorious city of great mighty Soviet Union. Airports like YYZ might need to do a little explaining as to why their code really is absolute nonsense. Want more information on why IATA codes can be so messy or so neat? See here. ... Alright, we're done with that. If you're not overheating from the information yet, here's a guide to ICAO codes. As I've said, ICAO codes represent the four-letter technical codes that nobody uses. However, there is a very organized system as to how an airport receives its code. First, let's take an example. RCTP is the ICAO code for Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei. Every ICAO code has 3 parts: First, the R. The first letter represents a certain geographical area or group of countries, to which a letter is assigned. In this case, "R" is assigned to all airports within the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Other examples include E for the northern half of Europe (such as EGLL for London Heathrow) and K for the contiguous United States (such as KBOS for Boston). Next, the C. Within the R-group, each respective country or territory is assigned a specific letter. Taiwan gets "C", so all Taiwanese airports begin with the prefix RC. Similarly, we have RJ for Japan and RP for the Philippines. Usually, the second letter is much closer to the actual name of the country than the first letter is to the region. Don't worry — we have a map. As you see, we've already assigned our first letters to certain regions. The second letter would correspond to your own nation's name, unless it's already taken. You'll be assigned another similar letter if that does happen. A list of the country codes can be found here. (Credits to the almighty @Gallambria.) We've decoded the first half of RCTP. How about the second half? Well, it's pretty simple from here — you get to decide. As "TP" somewhat resembles "Taipei", Taiwan decided to use that for the second half of their ICAO code. It's all up to you. SPECIAL CODES? While browsing around, you might encounter codes like VHHH for Hong Kong and WIII for Jakarta. How do they do this? Well, they've actually used the second letter to their advantage to create a catchy code. As Hong Kong has only one other airport, they could simply add HH to their prefix VH to get the code for their very popular airport. Indonesia has done the same with Jakarta — since they have nothing to do with II, they add it to their prefix WI. Again, it's up to you. A very special example is Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Their airport code is WBSB, which closely resembles the name Bandar Seri Begawan. They can do this because of their second letter B, which is also the first letter of the capital's name. A simple trick you can use to make really catchy codes as well. I myself have done the above with Arkhavn's airport, with the code CARK. As my prefix is CA, I simply add RK to resemble the name Arkhavn. For a bonus, we'll look into an extra system used in the Philippines. As I've said earlier, the Philippines' first two letters are RP. But how come Manila gets the code RPLL and Cebu gets RPVM? This one's pretty simple too. The Philippines is divided into 3 major geographical regions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. To put it straight, the third letter represents the region and the fourth letter represents the city name. Let's look closer: Manila is located in Luzon, so the third letter would be L. Combining this system with the other "catchy code" system, we double the "L" to get RPLL. In the same way, Cebu is located in Visayas and its airport is located on an island known as Mactan, hence RPVM. The same goes for Davao, a city in Mindanao — that's right, we get RPMD. And, that's just about it. A little guide to help you in creating your airport codes so we could steal them and put them in our lists of airline destinations. Game-changing? Nope, not really. But nevertheless it's here to help. Cheers!
  15. "SMOGHAVN" PHOTO GOES VIRAL WORLDWIDE By: Oscar Lim | February 11, 2019 The picture received international recognition and even evoked a response from the Ministry of Health. ARKHAVN - A photo of the Arkhavn skyline blanketed in a thick layer of smog after the Lunar New Year went viral worldwide yesterday after receiving widespread attention both in Andalla and worldwide. The photo, taken by aviation photographer Kenan Jeppesen from atop a highrise in Sognhøj, shows Maltelev and Bonskøbing completely engulfed in smog on the dawn of the Giokton Lunar New Year, with only the upper floors of skyscrapers showing. Dubbed by netizens as "Smoghavn", it was originally posted to Jeppesen's Instagram and Wittier accounts last February 5. "Perfect balance - a bleak, calm dawn contrasts the noisy, festive Lunar New Year. Looks like the ensuing annual smog has decided to linger for a bit longer than usual," the Wittier caption read. According to Jeppesen, the photo gained upwards of 4,000 likes on Instagram within the first 2 days of its posting. His profile, @sogn.spotter, by comparison only had about 1,700 followers before the photo was posted. The number has since then spiked to over 6,000 followers as of yesterday. His Wittier post soon followed suit, garnering over 2,500 likes and nearly 1,000 retweets by Thursday. His profile, which goes by the same name of @sogn.spotter, had gained an additional 3,900 followers up from only 800. By Saturday, February 9, Smoghavn had received significant international attention after making its rounds within online Andallan communities. Several major news sites have cited the picture in Wits and articles. The image has gained traction particularly in @Alenveil, after the Sarbo Broadcasting Channel quoted Jeppesen's Wit on its Wittier account last February 8. Jeppesen was initially surprised by the attention. "I knew it was a good picture, though I didn't expect attention on a national level - much less internationally," he said. "But I did have a feeling deep down that something was about to happen." An events photographer by profession, Jeppesen takes photos of aircraft at IPIA during his spare time. "Besides, people come to my profile to see my pictures of aircraft." he continued. "This was just one special occasion." Jeppesen cited air pollution caused by fireworks and firecrackers set off at midnight as the main reason for the unusually dense smog, while light rains caused by a low-pressure area further enhanced the density of the smog that morning. "There were some buildings that went almost completely invisible just after midnight," said Maltelev resident Jonas Ivansen, also citing air pollution. Despite the relatively awestruck responses to the image, environmental groups such as Greenquiesce have expressed shock and dismay to the situation in Arkhavn. "The sheer amount of air pollution damaging the environment in Arkhavn especially during these times is grossly unacceptable," said Greenquiesce in an online article. In the environmental debate, others have argued that the picture represents only a very short period of heavy pollution while other cities may be experiencing dangerous levels of pollution year-round. In a statement earlier, the Ministry of Health warned that the one-time event would eventually occur much more often if air pollution would not be properly regulated. It also advised against setting off firecrackers, due to the extreme risk of injury. Aside from increased sales taxes and tighter restrictions, little has been done to regulate the amount of firecrackers and pyrotechnics used during special occasions such as on January 1 and the Lunar New Year. "Explosives as a form of celebration are deeply embedded into Andallan, Giokton and even Thalassan culture," says cultural historian Edgar Elhus. "It's not something you can take away in an instant. All there is left to do is to regulate it wisely and to use such explosives responsibly." According to ABN resident meteorologist Nathaniel Kryss, the chances of having another "smog dawn" are slim, as the factors causing the phenomenon were greatly affected by the rain. OOC: I'm changing Instagram as soon as we have an IC alternative for it, but right now just let it be.
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