Thursday, May 31, 2007

Does He Take Sugar?

FolkloricaNow don't get me wrong, my Spanish is pretty bad, but after a month in fucked-up-Portuguese speaking Brazil having to struggle through the simplest restaurant request, I'd forgotten how much Spanish I actually knew. Yesterday I went to get my hair cut, it was the first date I've ever been on at a hairdressers, but anyway, I couldn't really get much of what he (the hairdresser, not my date, who was female :P ) was saying, though he still complimented me on my Spanish, and then later that evening I was chatting to a guy on a bus and really got everything that he said, I was pretty pleased with myself, I think I am beginning to see why people like learning languages.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Back In BA. Again.

Welcome HomeAt the risk of sounding like a pretentious knobber, comng back to Buenos Aires really felt like coming home. Mexico was my favourite holidaying place (sorry Sonia, Colombia comes a close second) but Argentina is the place that I'd emigrate to. They just know how to do things right, from the buses, food and wine, to the food and wine on the buses. The mosquitoes really know how to bite. My hand and wrist have swollen due to a couple of nasty ones. It's strange as it's so cold here, and I wasn't bothered this much even in the Colombian jungle.

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

Review 2007

Rio De JaneiroI watched City of God the other night. I can assure you that that is not the Rio that I saw. The Rio I saw seemed like Brighton compared to the Rio of the film. Just with lots of high rises, and the beach was a little bigger and better. But I suppose even Brighton has its Whitehawk.

JapanI 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

Tips For Travellers II

  1. (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.

  2. Jamie's A KnobberDon'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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. BlingBuy 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.

  6. 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)

  7. 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

Famous Last Words

It's pissing it down. Until Friday apparently. I wish I'd wasted my time on the beach yesterday instead of using it wisely.

Monday, May 07, 2007

At The Copa, Copacabana

Rio De JaneiroI know I'm not supposed to brag about how amazing stuff is, and being the stereotypical reserved Englishman that I am, it's usually not difficult. But Rio is great. I'm not much of a beach person, but I had a lovely day at the beach today. I managed to stay in the sea longer than three seconds and even did some body surfing. And have been leaking water from my nose since. In fact as I bought a sandwich a stream of water escaped from my nose and landed on the counter. The proprietor look suitably disgusted. Then at dinner I just managed to avoid spraying two of my fellow eating companions with nostril water.

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

Tips For Travellers

  1. 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.*

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sorry What?

Man, Portuguese is one fucked up language. It sounds like a mixture of Spanish/German/Norwegian. All spoken with an egg in the mouth. Actually I know why it is, they nasalate loads of their vowels. "No" is "náo", which sounds like our "now" said mostly through the nose. But it's not just that, get this, they number their days, "Saturday" and "Sunday" are the same as in Spanish, but then they have "Second-Day", "Third-Day"... you get the picture. And "hello" is our "oi". I just cannot bring myself to greet people with "oi". Although I was just helped to face my phobia when the receptionist got me to shout after someone leaving. "Oi" I shouted, "oi, oi!" And they say their "d"s as we say our "g"s. And their "r"s are our "h"s, which does make talking about Batman's side kick quite amusing. "But why are you, a Brazilian, referencing an old English children's TV character who is a horse?"