Archive for Travel

Taboo: In defence of prostitution

There is a yin and yang at the basis of humanity – the duality of self versus other.

Yin: My body is incontrovertibly mine. It is the only thing I truly possess, and as such I can do with it anything I choose.

Yang: My body does not belong to anybody else (including the state). No one else has the right to do anything to it.

Read the rest of this entry »


This is not a pipe dream

I have no idea who reads this blog. According to the stats, hundreds of you. According to the comments, about half a dozen.

If you know me well and you’re hearing this news for the first time, I apologise for the impersonal means of its conveyance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Second honeymoon

I’m off to Paris for a second honeymoon (read: dirty weekend), just two months after coming back from the first.

J and I got quite a bit of cash as wedding gifts, because it’s traditional in Spain to give the bride an envelope of money rather than a toaster or gravy boat (my mother was informed that it would be very rude indeed were I to refuse the envelopes, and I hate being rude).

So we had all this money, in Euros, and were wondering what to do with it. We definitely didn’t want more stuff – we already have seven years of stuff we’re trying to get rid of.

On top of that, I tend to believe that crazy experiences are worth more than most three-dimensional things – they don’t break or devalue, for a start, and happy memories are always going to make you smile.

So, what did we want to experience? Easy.

Fine dining! Fancy living! MICHELIN STARS (plural)!

So tonight, I am going to be eating here,

Le Pre Catelan

Le Pre Catelan

sleeping here,

Hotel du Petit Moulin

Hotel du Petit Moulin

and wearing these (NSFW).

Ooh la la!

1st January, 2008

Dearest diary,

If this first joyous day is indicative of those to come, I fancy the next twelve months shall be most agreeable.

I started the New Year with an activity most cordial and satisfactory, that I yet blush to recount here.

[Camp beds rock! And squeak.]

There followed a most invigorating stroll through the snow, with the ensuing hunger sated by a traditional German breakfast.

[Käse mit Brot, Käse mit Schinken, Käse mit Ei oder Käse mit Käse.]

The afternoon was spent in the pleasant confines of a spa, admiring the healthy German form from behind a small sundowner.

[Naked mixed saunas rock much harder than camp beds.]

Finally my day drew to a close with a hearty repast of Klopse and Kartoffeln, and plenty of Glühwein to ward off the cold.

But, dear diary, I digress. To the important matter at hand!

In the year of our Lord twenty hundred and eight, I resolve to:

Learn to read Mandarin
It became very apparent while I was out in Shanghai that being able to read Mandarin would be invaluable if I were living in China, as many of the languages spoken there use the same hanzi. For example, in Mandarin you say yi, in Cantonese yat and in Hokkienese tsit, but all three words have the same character “—“ or “one”.

So basically, written Chinese is like a secret spy cipher, and that’s cool. Trouble is, it’s complicated. My aim is to be able to read a newspaper by next New Year, but that is going to mean learning about three hanzi a day, and I’m already four days behind.

Go to more live music
I love love love rocking out in a crazy mosh pit, but never seem to do it any more, and never know what’s on and where. Plus I’m rubbish at getting into new music, so I need you all to take me along to stuff whenever you go to cool gigs. Thanks!!

Happy new year!!!

They say (they? who?) that we’re only ever two meals away from losing civilisation. If this is the case, then Germany must have skipped lunch on New Year’s Eve, because at midnight Berlin went absolutely fucking mental.

We made our way, along with the thronging crowds, to the Oberbaumbrücke to see in the new year on one of Berlin’s most beautiful bridges. When we got there we were confronted with nothing short of a pyrotechnic-crazed mob.

People were hurling lit fireworks at each other, at trains, into the Spree. In one inspired move I saw a guy send an unanchored Catherine wheel frisbeeing into the air. The 100s strong crowd carried us lurching backwards and forwards as we tried to duck the missiles, and broken glass splintered and cracked around us.

I have to admit, a base and animal part of me (the bit that likes to bite) found being trapped in the middle of such seething intensity deeply exhilarating. Seeing how quickly people shrug off their civilised mores def gave me an edgy thrill

Until the sirens started, shortly after midnight. They were still sounding when we turned in at 5am, and at random points through the night I had sudden, sickening visions of a face full of glass or a hand blown to pieces.

On the bridge at midnight