Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Marco Polo airport and the last bits of sunshine

As I head back to London and it's below freezing temperature you really come to appreciate the open air terrace of Marco Polo airport. Sadly this is only available to priority customers, as if you are not a frequent traveller you don't need it.
Thank you Mothercare for giving me enough miles.

Monday, 20 February 2012

The vampires of Venice

My friends and I in San Marco

As I walk around I just keep wondering what drives people to dress up like this. It is not the need to hide something, because what people actually want is to be photographed the more pictures the better.
Jacqui looking stunning

Dressing down
Before coming to Venice I thought people dress up to hide something, but I guess this is more an opportunity for something to come out. Here, the shy become camera hungry and behind the mask and new person comes out feeding on the flashes and the admiration of those that pass by. It is the socially acceptable side of what drag queens talk about, the need to be admired or talked about.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

My first impressions of Venice, with a little Martini

I am not sure what I was expecting from Venice, but whatever it was it has surpassed all my expectations.
The city mixes grandeur with decadence in a way that no other place I have visited before seems to achieve, and if you then throw in the Carnival the mixture is intoxicating.

The water taxi takes you from the airport to the town across a labyrinth of small canals on a sunny but bitterly cold day with the wind cutting our faces.

Venice makes you think of times long gone by, of the Dangerous Liaisons,  of the Death Plague, of Cardinal Richeliau, and every other historic novel you have ever read. You can fancy yourself on a duel over one of the small bridges, being the intrepid musketeer, or you could be in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen…I better not have any more Martini Rosso  

Friday, 10 February 2012

Next: Venice and the Carnival

I got back to the UK in the middle of a cold snap, my tan fall off me as I walked out of the Heathrow Express, still on my check shorts!!!!

I can't wait for my next trip, only one week away, I am going to Venice for the Carnival.

I am so excited.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Church of Santo Domingo in Lima, stairs, vertigo and an unexpected view of Poverty

On my last day in Lima I got up really early and spent the day walking around, burning the calories from the Breakfast buffet, topping up my tan ( I am still single and vain ), enjoying the sunshine, it is minus, God knows how much back in London, and sightseeing.

After some good old fashion lies, I don't mind heights, I made my way up to the bell tower in Santo Domingo's church. I was never expecting to get so high up, floor after floor. I never have a problem going up, well almost never, the problem is coming down ( You never get to heaven if you scare of getting high !!!! )

I was taking back by the view, the slums rising over the desolated hills, barren of all vegetation, which probably has been used for cooking. All the signs I have seen all over the developing world. Yet there, I didn't see one single church. While in Guatemala Catholic priests were being killed for standing with the poor against the Government, here they are the Establishment, their churches beautifully embellished, and kept.
I am sure there are hundreds of priest doing a commendable job, fighting the cause of the poor, but the Church and its Pope, their hate of condoms, their love of wealth, spreads AIDS and stop family planning.

Slums of Lima ( Click in image for full view )

Friday, 3 February 2012

Lima, dirty, noisy and grim, God I love it

Having just been for four days in Santiago, going between Alto Las Condes and Parque Arauco, getting into Lima is a breath of 'dirty' air and say that with joy. The town is noisy, filthy, full of micro buses, it is India, Guatemala, Colombia all over again.
Lima's Main Square ( Click on image for full size )
It is crowded, people stares at me, rich whites wondering why am I walking around, the working class why am I not in a large 'carro'. But at the same time they smile, and when you struggle in the bus they tell you to sit down, or that you have reached your destination.

Lima seems to be able to just about balance the fact that is a living megacity with its cultural richness. As its 9 million people get on with their lives, I have walked around and enjoyed a bit of sightseeing.
Yet somehow I could not help but to notice that hardly anyone else was doing that.
Has Lima given itself such a bad reputation that people are scare of walking around?
San Francisco
I was taken back when I found out that our local contact, a very nice lady will not even drive herself to some of the department stores and will only go by taxi as she is convinced her car will be taken from the car park.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The 2nd Wonder

I have been in three different countries in one week, and not since I experience the Wonder Girls and the 1st Wonder I have seen anything remotely near the success of Adele. She is everywhere, in airports, in Hotel lounges, in Malls, she is being murdered in Parque Arauco by the lunch time singer, some very odd costume they have in Chile's open air Mall.
I don't think never has anyone in the history of mankind made so much money out of a broken heart and being dumped, good for her!!!
And she is a chain smoker from South London!!!
I am not sure if we should compare


The old video of the Wonder Girls no longer works so here is a new one

Click here to take you to the Video

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A different Chile : Alto Las Condes

Urban Sunset
I am spending a few days in Santiago, in an area known as Alto Las Condes, green, leafy, glass buildings, but at the same time sanitasied and very American.
It is a different Chile than the one I saw down in Valparaiso, this is the one storming ahead with the price of copper going through the roof and the dollar down, but are many enjoying this life.
Well it seems that life is getting better, at least in Santiago, they have reached full employment, with jobless figures down to 6.1%, but I can't help to wonder, are many here in a job that is probably not paying them enough. I was shocked to find out that the people that help you pack your bags in the supermarkets don't get paid, but actually pay for providing that service....

And somehow we complain  about Britain!!!

Nonetheless, I am enjoying being here, the sun is shinning and I am away from Watford!!!!