Marimba season

Marimba music is all well and good. But why begin at 5 AM? Accompanied by a heavy artillery of firecrackers? Who got the idea that the Virgin of Guadelupe likes startling booms in the pre-dawn chill? Is it some sort of reference to the use of the Virgin as a symbol of Mexicanity in the…

Dislikes

State and mafia violence, farcical politics and bad street signage.

Åtminstone fanns det en vessa

Describing the horrors of developing acute food poisoning half an hour into a 15-hour bus journey, seated at the back, over serpentine roads. Because of having eaten bad pulses before an Easter bus trip… for the second time. Entry in Swedish.

Baseline

Chayote, odious white goods, comments on class and variable geography.

Ayotzinapa ‘disappearances’ protests

The extrajudicial kidnapping and killing of the 43 student teachers from the radical teacher-training college in Ayotzinapa has had the country in disgusted upheaval for months now because of the way it revealed the cosy cooperation between Iguala municipality’s mayor, drug gangs, the police and the national army. For those of us coming from the…

"London Orbital". Read it drunk.

This is part of my London book fix from Daunt Books on Haverstock Hill. I went to stock up on UK reading as a slightly desperate attempt not to lose touch. Plus now that I wasn’t a Smoke resident any more, I could read books like ‘The Biography of London’ without looking criminally smug.The pleasant…

?Tienes revistas con hombres desnudos?

Here’s a surprise: I found a really nice glossy magazine. It’s got everything you want for diversion and stimulation: pop culture, real-life dilemmas, celebrity interviews, and buff bare flesh in the fashion shoots. But where most women’s magazines’ fashion and beauty features seem to promote anorexia, bad feeling and spending £495 on shoes, this one…

Book review: Beware of Narcissists

There are people out there who can make our lives hell. A narcissist is someone who thinks that the rest of the world is the same as he or she, that their world is the only one in existence, and hence assumes that everyone and everything will do their bidding. These people are characterised by…

Anecdote of the day: St Ives

My colleague BKB on the phone: “Ok…Ok… but the bathroom will beready?…Ok…Tomorrow? We have to clean it during theday…Ok…Right”.Me: “You're moving in tomorrow right?”BKB: “Yes. But they still have to tile the bathroom.My old contractexpired a week ago but the landlady has let us stay an extra week.”Me: “Listen, if you get a real crisis…

Weird shit story no. 3: soap and the hereditary unclean

We came to visit a Dalit (Hindu casteless people) NGO, Parittran, outside Khulna (in fact, right next to that stretch of bad road I wrote about). These guys were the only angry ones I met during the visits. They had a burn in their eyes, a grudge, a seething knowledge of all the injustice they…

Joke about work

“I will try to translate a joke for you, so that you can understand our organisation better. Here. There was a man who died and was condemned to hell. But he was a borderline case, he wasn’t a very bad sinner, so he had a lighter sentence: he was allowed to choose the section of…