Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Madrid Gets Ready to Strike

Sunset in Madrid
I am in Madrid at the moment, coinciding with the General Strike.
Until very recently the view, based in the results of the General election was that the country was ready to accept the austery measures and dismantling the welfare state.

I am not sure, based in the results in Andalusia and Asturias last weekend this really stands.

Tomorrow we will know what is the support, will the country show how displeased it is with the measures taken so far or will fear stop people from striking. Fear of losing your job in a country with 25% unemployment.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Leaving Providdencia, Leaving Paradise

After our last spot of diving, which was frightening, when I got high on nitrogen and felt I was flying and found my self 55 metres below the surface and amazing at the same, at least the second immersion which was very shallow, leaving Providencia is painful.
The people here are truly hospitable, the place is gorgeous and the sea is just a bliss.
It looks like I will be back

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Divine Child of Providence‏ ( El nino divino )

We thought it would be a good idea to go and have some seafood before leaving Providence. So after two dives and feeling enough hunger to eat a horse, not something I would say to one of my fellow divers who owns two, we walked towards South West Beach.

The long, almost deserted, beach has white sand and palms trees that seem placed there to be phtographed. The mangroves just behind do give the water a slightly muddy look, but only for a couple of metres. Look further into the sea and water is crystal clear and inviting.

The Divine Child is one of the three beach huts along the white sand, unmissiable with a Baby Jesus at its front, well more like a toddler.

Thankfully I didn't let this put me off as the mixed platter was truly amazing, fish, crab, half a lobster, rice, platain all for less than 9 quid.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Old Providence, not Oil Providence, it is good to have hope

Although when you read the news it feels all doom and for every piece of feel good news there are ten of men's greed, of environmental degradation, it is good to hear that sometimes things happen as they should.

Two years ago the Colombian Government and a foreign oil exploration company wanted to drill in the reef off the coast of Providencia but a local campaign was started to stop the drilling. I am sure the prospects were not that great, otherwise oil may have prevailed, but the noise the locals made put an end to the drilling.

The locals feared a spill would destroy the reef, rightly so, and take away their main source of income. It was capitalism at its best. Although people may care for Nature they care more for their stomachs and where the money is going to come from to feed their kids.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Night diving in Providencia

After a year and a half not diving, I thought I was going to take it easy at first, however, nothing ever happens as planned and I did not do one, nor two, but three dives on the same day, finishing with a night dive.

Diving has the very rare ability to relax you whilst at the same time getting your heart pumping with adrenaline.

The excitement of descending into the depths mixes with the beauty of nature, the colours of the corals and its fish, and brings inner calm and peace.

I am surprised at the good state of the coral around here, by the diversity of the fish. While other areas of the Caribbean have suffered from over fishing, and climate change has led to coral bleaching, here the colours are intense and big and small fish mix.

This has been my favourite ship wreck dive so far, probably because the water is much calmer and you get to see more, including a large nurse shark.

Preparing for the night drive

Monday, 19 March 2012

Providencia, that little dot in the Caribbean‏

Sometimes, when stupidity and back stabbing at work goes beyond what I am used to I keep thinking that I should leave. But then I come to places like this, Providencia in Colombia and it all melts away like ice does these days in the Arctic.

Obviously I am not here for work but work has allowed me to extend my trip to Colombia for an extra week and I have come to dive in this little piece of paradise. We are closer to Nicaragua than Colombia and I am not sure why this bit of land belongs to Bogota.

Like in the Bay Islands in Honduras people here speak creole, that mix of languages including African languages from those taken as slaves.

It is nice and warm here but not too hot, and the water is a pure delight, the hues of blue are mesmerising. Yet nothing can be compared to diving but I leave that for tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Not the Menu I Wish for Anyone

I love this place, the country, its people, but for all their new found wealth, poverty is still rampant.
The malls for the middle and upper classes are full, the mood of retailers is buoyant, everyone wants to come and get a piece. River Island, Oasis, Karen Millen all want to be here. However, out in the streets there are people, and not a handful, picking their food from the rubbish the others dump in the street.
If crime is so in the minds of those that have got something to lose, would it not be easier to create a fairer society, where those that nowadays have nothing feel they are part of

Friday, 16 March 2012

Yes Minister

I guess not every day I get to attend an oficial opening for a store with a UK Minister, from the Foreign Office. We have just had our official opening of one of the stores in Medellin, attended by the quite dishy, and nice deep voice, Jeremy Browne. He is a Lib Dem and Minister for South America, quite and quite handsome though he needs to do something about his teeth.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Fear in Colombia and coke stories

Sometimes you can´t help but to be overtaken by stupid fears and worries, based on stories you have heard.
I am currently in Medellin, Colombia, and after smoking a fag and offering a lighter to a stranger that started talking to me, I walked back to the lobby of my hotel.
Out of my pocket a little bag falls off, with some off white crumbs.
I felt like all blood was drained away from my face.
I looked around and picked up the bag quickly and looked around waiting for someone to approach me and take me away, stories from my backpacking days.

Once I recovered my cool and looked at the bag, I realised it was nothing more than the crumbs from some wafer we had bought earlier.

Nonetheless by then I had almost wet my pants.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The rain in Bogota

There is something really nice about Bogota and its people. Although, like in Chile, the country is seeing an unparalleled level of growth, you still get the feeling of being in a sleepy town that takes its time to wake up.
I keep wondering why so few English or Galician have migrated here, it's grey and wet, I feel like I am at home