In Search of Macondo

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

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The Old Man is Dead

“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

The Lazy Cat

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

Awesome Again

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

The Disunited States of America

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

Sleepless in Seattle

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

Castles made of Sand

Today had a certain rebellious quality to it and bears sharing. On 6th November 2012 the state of Washington in the United States of America approved by popular vote legislation that legalises small amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, taxes them and designates the revenue for healthcare and substance abuse prevention and education. So, this morning it was with huge interest that I showed my ID to the amiable security guard sitting by the frosted glass door and stepped inside the Herban Legend store in downtown Seattle. Continue reading