30 May 2007
17 April 2007
As Our Man rightly reminded me, I have a turtle fighting for her life right now, travelling from Costa Rica to the Galapagos. Obviously, and luckily, Turtleocity is not doing it by herself. There with another 10 friends...and guess where my turtle is??? Number 8.
Call for support, love and affection for Turtleocity. Check out her progress on Great Turtle Race and give her all the energy you can.
Check this out for live coverage.
I couldn't have asked for a better turtle, I'm soooo proud.
02 April 2007
tourists or travellers?
Here follows Alex Kapranos' last article for The Guardian's Sound Bites:
End of the road
In the last column charting his gastronomic adventures around the world with Franz Ferdinand, Alex Kapranos is appalled by British table manners in Prague
Friday August 25, 2006
The stallholder glances at her.
"I said, we're leaving TOMORROW!"
Girl Two pulls an anxious face that begs "please" like a dog at a dinner table. "Sorry, we have no more," says the stallholder.
"God, I just can't believe these people," huffs Girl One as they turn their backs on the chimneys. I think something similar. I don't know how many times Prague has been invaded, but tonight it seems to have been invaded by wankers: British wankers, German wankers, North African wankers and American wankers.
A tourist in his early 20s is explaining to another tourist in her early 20s that he is not a tourist: he is a "traveller". They have a tourist map spread on the cafe table in front of them, by the English translation of the menu. He is saying that his experience is richer. He looks, smells and acts like a tourist. I don't get it. Because he stays in a hostel rather than a hotel, is the veritas more veritable? Or is he just a git?
I'm a tourist. I tour the world. I don't feel I have to excuse myself. The travelling bit is dull. In my mind, that is standing around baggage belts hoping that my case hasn't been lost again. Of course I'm a bloody tourist. I don't have the insider's perspective. I feel like a stranger everywhere I go. I like that perspective. In restaurants, I love to sit with my back to the wall so I can watch the other diners. You see what authors and film-makers attempt to capture, but in real time.
Just because you're a tourist, it doesn't mean you have to behave obnoxiously. If anything, you should behave better than you normally would. Two great British cliches are a) to presume that if you are in someone else's country you can do what the hell you like and b) that if you are in a band it's obligatory to behave like a boorish thug.
The festival site feels like an abandoned cosmonaut holiday camp. Loose tiles fall into the paddling pool. The rusted umpire's chair has toppled over by the overgrown tennis courts. In the murk of the surrounding forest are shadows of buildings that could have been dormitories or centrifugal test chambers. Tinny loudspeakers broadcast bloc versions of easy classics: the Cornetto tune, Edelweiss, the one about the meatball rolling down a hill, all with soft Czech vocals. There's a huge home-welded spit and brazier.
The fire has settled to steady embers and two men grunt as they lift a meat-covered pole on to a ratchet system connected to an old engine. The meat must weigh more than either of them. It looks incredible, like a medieval feast transported to the mid 20th-century. Ministry are setting up on stage one. A tech is erecting the skull-encrusted microphone stand. The Pet Shop Boys are setting up on stage two. They are working out how the dancers can burst from the neon-lit white cube. We're somewhere in the middle.
In two weeks we'll play the Reading and Leeds festivals: the climax of a year and a half of touring. It has been an intense adventure - crawling across the planet, performing to millions of people. Each night as I walk on to the dark stage, the white light of the strobes and the white noise of the crowd send a wave of adrenalin to my heart, setting off a vascular explosion that feels as if it could kill me.
The blood feels as if it'll burst from the fingertips as the arteries fling it through my flesh. Before my pick flicks the strings, my toes have already flipped me into the air, hovering over the boards in a fast-frame of anticipation.
It's time to stop. You can only play the same songs a certain number of times before you get bored. It's time to stop because it is still exciting. It's time to stop because I need to live somewhere that isn't a bus or a hotel room. It's time to stop touring, so it's time to stop writing about food. What I eat at home isn't interesting. It's the same as anyone else.
30 March 2007
This is how it started
still a little homesick
Salentu: lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu....vafammokk'
29 March 2007
My Sputnik Sweetheart
Ok, so the situation is the following. I left my work in the UK under pretences that it would be a one year sabbatical. The year expired last August, and I’m not too confident that they’re so desperate to want me back.
More than that, I think my life has now taken a completely different path, where, for as much as it could always be an option, going back now would simply not make any sense.
I see my professional and personal experience so far as a creative and positive lying of bricks, where all I have learned and seen will never be taken away from me.
Now the one thing that I can think of that would make sense for me to do, and that I am quite excited about, is to do a masters degree in something called “Intercultural Communications” in Cambridge. Yet another obsessions of mine, which I will not bore you with.
But that’s what I’m going to do.
I do, however, take this opportunity to ask for your (kind) advice on how to apply for funding for masters courses that are totally extortionate? What do to? Where to go? Etc etcet et.
For the best piece of advice, the price will be a signed picture of me scoffing that cheese sandwich I’ve been fantasising on all day today.
Before Europe, however, I will take the advantage of the time off to do all that I didn’t do during my time in Vietnam, and that is to travel. I am not doing this by myself, of course…. But I’m too shy to share this piece of information. South Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangkok are our next destinations. If I’m disciplined enough, you’ll have it all here.
I will keep you posted with all that happens, and this time I’m going to keep the promise!
So long, cheerio.
All my love to...
Chi Linh - a very special person
and, and, and....Chung, Nga, Nhung, Hung, Nguyen, and all at VSO; all the volunteers....so many people and all very very special to me in so many different ways. Thank you for making this year such a special year, and for giving me your time and your laughter. I will miss you all!
Getting soft again, better go now!
What I have left behind
thought and written on 18th February
One day, towards the end of one of our regular meetings I asked them: “What would you like me to focus on during these last few weeks?”
They looked at each other, exchanged a few words in Vietnamese, giggled and said: “We’d like you to teach us how to be positive like you”.
We’ve come long way, through happiness, disappointment, hilarity, anger, and more, and we’ve taught each other and learned from each other – I am totally confident now that I don’t need to be here for them, because they will know how to develop what we started together.
What they don’t realise? Is that it’s them who’ve taught me the secret of being positive!
Allow me another anecdote to show something else that fills me with pride.
On my last day, as I was saying my goodbyes in my usual clumsy manner, one of the girls said to me: Patty, would it be ok if we keep asking for your help even when you’re home?
To which I replied: Of course, you can count on me, always.
And after a brief pause:
“Yes, thank you. But Patty, we want to be able to do this independently”.
At which point I had to kiss them goodbye and run away.
You may have realised that I've not posted in a long time. I hope you didn't think that that was the end of my VSO experience, and that I was going to leave without saying goodbye?!?!
NO. Just went travelling and didn't always have internet access or inspiration.
Here follows (in the magic blogging world - upwards) an attempt to share the last two months.
Oooh, I also couldn't wait to post this picture - check out Mr Bush and Mr Putin loving their Ao Dais!!