Patagonian Wind

Be Careful with the Patagonian Wind’ read the small label on the inside ledge of the driver side door. I remembered Alejandro’s words and slowly wound down the side window. Wind hissed in as though escaping under pressure and a blast of cold air nearly sucked my sunglasses from my face. Holding both the door handle and the frame I cautiously began to open the door. Stable at first, the door soon became a wild beast of a thing as it began to catch a proportionately larger share of the wind and when it was side on it took off like a greyhound from a trap. I was physically pulled out of the driver’s seat and onto the ground, only just managing to maintain a hold on the door and stop it from being torn from its hinges and blowing into the wild blue yonder. Welcome to Patagonia. Continue reading

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Space Rocket Palace

Shopping is not, ever has been, nor ever will be, high on my list of priorities. Thus walking around city centres can often leave me a little bored unless I raise my gaze away from the plate glass windows that have been ripped out of the bowels of the buildings and look at what lies above. London, Paris, New York and today Montevideo: the assortment of architecture in an old city can be breathtaking. And today, on rounding a street corner, I was rewarded with a rare treat, a fabulous confection of a building rising 27-floors up and above the Plaza de Independencia. Watched over by Uruguay’s homegrown liberating hero José Artigas astride a massive mount, the Palacio Salvo was the work of Italian immigrant Mario Palanti, a resident of Buenos Aires. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Tennis Courts

Travelling, whilst embracing a whole host of new opportunities, inevitably involves leaving some things behind: old friends, family, a secure base, that which is known and familiar. For me, as well as all of the above, I had to forgo my guitars and my tennis, two major passions. Fortunately, however, guitars did appear at odd intervals along the way and I did get to play tennis twice whilst on this trip, on different continents and across a huge economic and social chasm. Continue reading

Weekend in Paraguay

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

Remembering Renato

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

The Best Beach in the World

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

Walking to Panama

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