Thursday, May 31, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Last night as I was walking home I witnessed a tramp having a wank in a large, glass fronted, very well lit ATM cubical.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
I read Memoirs Of A Geisha the other night. What a confusing book, on the cover it says it's a novel, and then before it starts it has a note from the translator saying how it was dictated to him by the Geisha herself, and then at the end, in the acknowledgments it says it's a complete work of fiction. Anyway, I'm sure it's all very clever, but I really don't want my book to seem like it's been written by an amateur. At the age of six she was told she was a clever girl for saying that her dad's head looked like an egg. She seems to have taken this to heart and has made sure she uses at least six clever metaphors (ok, allegories, whatever) per page.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
(Correction) Of course Swiss follow the type of their language. Germans are nice, I like them. French are strange. Always. Italians have that food complex.
Don't be a knobber. No one likes knobbers. No one cares how many countries you've been to, or how long you've been travelling. And you're just going to get knocked out of the water by that quiet guy in the corner who's just waiting for you to ask the tired and tested traveller questions that everyone else got bored with years ago. And no, two weeks is not long enough to "do" India.
Don't get complacent. After a week in Rio, several of which were spent on the beach (taking, as advised, the absolute minimum), I was feeling pretty relaxed, but that's just when they strike! I left Tatiane on the beach to go and get my book. While at the hostel I decided to pick up my mp3 player and some water too. Little did I know that a crime wave was about to hit Rio! I returned to the beach. It took me a while to notice that something was missing. Tatiane was still there, as was the sarong that she was lying on. But my nearly empty bottle of suncream! Where was it? Gone! The swine! I bought some more and kept a careful eye on that, and my mp3 player.
Don't (necessarily) trust the locals. Arriving at my latest port of call, I asked the guy sitting next to me about getting the ferry to my next port of call, Ilha Grande. He told me I would have to get another bus for about 4 hours and then change again. I wondered how the hell the Lying Planet could have got it so wrong. It hadn't, he had confused islands.
Buy stuff. Most of my regrets of this trip arise from not buying things. From the freakiest winking Jesus pictures in Ipiales (if you go there, please buy me one) and the second armadillo that was all of £5 to the stolen pair of classic Ray Bans, the only sunglasses I have ever liked, I wish I'd bought them all.
If the weather seems consistently bad try getting up earlier. It may be really beautiful, intensely sunny beach weather in the mornings and then always get cloudy around 1pm, just as you're getting up. (See Rio)
Don't show me your photo milliseconds after you've taken it. I know what it looks like, I can still see it, right in front of me. And I don't care how good your camera is on paper or what genius artistic skill you might have, that 3" LCD screen really can't add anything to the incredible panorama before me.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Brazilian men are so unsubtle at staring at women. I end up watching the men watching the women, it's so entertaining. Mind you, there is, ahem, a lot to look at :)
Friday, May 04, 2007
Avoid taxis. The trouble is, sometimes you don't know where you are, and you don't know where you're going. You're vulnerable, and want a nice safe warm taxi. But taking a taxi will make it worse, you won't learn anything by taking a taxi. Apart from maybe the wisdom of my words. And they will rip you off, sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly. In Cholula Christian and I asked about the bar district and were advised to take a taxi. The taxi went around the houses and the fare seemed fair (sorry). Our taxi back only needed to drive about four blocks. Really, we could have walked thanks. If we'd only known the direction. And so it was that I arrived in Rio and headed for the bus stop, despite the Lying Planet's dire warnings about how dodgy the area was. And did I get mugged? No, I got onto the waiting bus, followed the journey on my map, learnt the layout of the city and saved myself about $15 in the process.*
An observation rather than a tip, hotels and hostels always have pros and cons. Even the cheapo shit ones have good points (usually the price) and even the expensive hotels have bad points (usually the price). For example, I may be staying at one of the plushest places I've stayed at so far. I have a six bed dorm to myself, an on-suite bathroom and, get this, an on-suite kitchen! And by Brazilian standards it's cheap. But the trouble is, there's no one here. So I am hanging out at the more expensive and crappy, but popular, place down the road and sleeping and eating my breakfasts here in solitary luxury.
Caipirinhas are strong! I went to my first Brazilian party last night. It was much like other parties in other parts of the world, except that as the night wore on more and more of the men started to take their T-shirts off in order to exhibit their breast like pecs to the women. The funny thing was though that it ended up being extremely gay as the women thinned out and the guys began hanging round in groups admiring and preening each other. Anyway, I only had about four caipirinhas and I think I am still drunk. 12 hours later.
The Swiss are nice. I think they are my second favourite nationality after the Germans. And it seems really easy to dislike your own countrymen, but maybe that's just because I am British ;)
* Although of course there was the time with Maddy when our bus skirted the outskirts, we got off way too late, got another bus back into town and still had to get a taxi to where we were going. We could have saved money by just taking a taxi in the first place.