It stirs!!

Very satisfying to unlimber my Kiswahili after five years in the deep freeze. In the sediment of the Mariana trench. In the folder at the bottom of the pile.

Books list Q2 and Q3 2018

Pure by Andrew Miller. This actually came about because of a pub-conversation argument, which I lost, about which literary Miller was married to Marilyn Monroe. (It was novelist Henry. Arthur being the playwright of “The Crucible”.) But in the googling I came across contemporary novelist Andrew Miller, and his book “Pure”, about the clearing of…

Cycling the archipelago 1

This summer I fulfilled a medium-term dream and cycled the Archipelago Trail, a loop through the southwestern Finnish archipelago Åbo Skärgård (as it’s called in Swedish). I’d imagined cruising along next to the sea by the smooth rounded cliffs of the local geology, beach grasses swaying and maybe salt spray cooling us off. I recruited…

Books list Q1 2018

My friend Asbestos Bitch only blogs once a year, to publish her “books read” list. I thought it might be nice to try the same, actually writing down the titles I’ve read. Over 30 years of near-constant reading I’ve never made the attempt. Here’s Q1’s list, whose winner is…. Running in the Family by Michael…

Since 1528

San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas: the second oldest colonial city in the Americas, epicentre for the making contact with the zapatista movement, a cool mountain refuge from sweltering capital Tuxtla, anthropologist capital of the world. If you head straight east from here you end up in Mauritania. The picturesque colonial-style city centre is dominated…

Swim review: bad vibes in pretty Tulum

Tulum was my first taste of the famous dream beaches of the “Riviera Maya” in Quintana Roo. The beach certainly was pretty and the water lovely. I stayed in an unambitious concrete hotel in town for MX$500 and rented a bike for $100 to hit the beach. Thinking back, that bike ride was probably the…

Pre-roadkill

I just got my first look at a Chiapas state driver’s license. On the front it has your organ donor status in big letters, standing out more than the personal information above it. On the back it has your blood type and emergency contact. I can’t decide whether the authorities are morbid, in the pay…