The El Tigre bus shuddered to a halt at Platform 9. It looked nothing like the picture above the office where we had booked that morning. This ‘tiger’ was a toothless, slack-striped old growler of a machine. The day suddenly looked like being a lot harder than anticipated. Continue reading
At least two or three times every year I think of Renato, even after 28-years since he died. And whenever I recall him it is always with a smile on my face. That was Renato, a creature who walked this earth with the sole purpose of spreading as much happiness as possible – and to a very large degree he succeeded. Continue reading
Mention British beaches to many foreigners and they will screw up their faces and tell you that they are all stones and rocks. Well, yes, there are some like that, as there are all over the world, but they are in the minority and the actual diversity of UK beaches is staggering. With over 7,500-miles of coastline the United Kingdom gives you a lot of coastal bang for your buck. But a certain part of that green and pleasant land holds what, to me, are some of the finest beaches in the UK and, I’ll go out on a limb here and say, one of the finest in the world. Continue reading
It wasn’t until our eyes adjusted to the lack of light beneath the thick canopy of jungle that we saw the rifles leaning against the trunk of a palm tree.
“Hola, buenas dias,” we said walking across the clearing, making sure to maintain eye contact with the three men sitting on upturned buckets and not at their armoury.
‘Buenas,” they replied giving us the scantest of looks. Continue reading
It was the most beat up, tattered wreck of a book that I had ever seen, but the sight of it filled me with an enormous upwelling of pleasure. The owner was initially reluctant to part with it as she was immensely fond of the book. Rummaging through my rucksack and pulling out the best of what there was to barter I laid them out like cards on the table before her. She was a fussy reader but there were some strong names there so I felt as though the exchange could happen. Taking her time she read the sleeves and back covers before selecting a Conrad and a Hemingway. My two best, she was driving a hard bargain, but I had to have that book so acquiesced with barely a murmur. Continue reading
“El viejo es muerto!” They cry in the streets of Miami and Havana, some with joy, some with sadness, but all must wonder what the future holds for the island of Cuba now that one of the most iconic and controversial figures of the 20th century is no more. Continue reading
They all looked like children and had been chatting animatedly for over half an hour. Two then upped and offed to the bathroom leaving a teenage girl with wispy brown hair sitting in the corner. A hummingbird hovered above her head as it probed the plastic feeder hanging from the gutter for sugar syrup. Continue reading
Over a year ago I wrote a post entitled ‘Awesome’ which celebrated the hospitality of the citizens of the Unites States of America. Having just spent another hugely rewarding 3-months in that country it is time to update my feelings about the folk who call the US home. Continue reading
It was a beautiful November day in Topanga Canyon, California. Driving down the twisting canyon road to the Pacific Highway we passed a 25-year old silver BMW parked on the verge: the registration plate read BAN NUX: a slogan that had a more sharply nuanced edge this morning. Continue reading
I have never been a terribly political animal. Something about the whole business of politics and politicians just seemed to be unwholesome, so duplicitous and self-serving. But all of a sudden here in America my political conscience has been pricked. Why? A good question and one my sleepless nights in Seattle tried to solve. The first point to be pinned down was a recognition that the male nominee running for president of the United States was at heart a bully: that he is many other odious things as well need not clutter the page. I have a loathing of bullies – in every form – that goes back a long way. Continue reading