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…

Book review: A Supposedly Fun Thing…

My ebook version of “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” by David Foster Wallace came with three essays: one on David Lynch, one on professional tennis, with the titular one last. I gave up halfway through the tennis essay: Lynch gives me the creeps and I’ve never had an interest in tennis, so…

NO! NO CHANGE!

There´s a saying about the ruling political party: “They’ll change everything to make sure that nothing changes”. This philosophy has clearly permeated all Mexican life, at least retail, because it’s near-impossible to get any CHANGE. How can an entire economy be so strapped for coin? s? I needed money this evening to reimburse people’s travel expenses…

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.

"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…

Coping with Ubungo bus station

This time acquiring my long-distance coach ticket to Handeni at Ubungo Bus Station was slightly less adrenalin-pumping than last time. Getting on the bus to Arusha, now that was an experience that made me want to write a long irate section for the travel books to help other travellers avoid the blood pressure risks. We’d…

Sexual freedom in a burqa

The BBC World Service tells me that the French government has banned face-covering veils for Muslim women in public places. Freedom through coercion? What’s going on here? I have pretty ambivalent feelings about the whole thing. I can totally relate to wanting to see the face of the person you’re conducting official business with. I…

Rage against the dogs

As for the scarf (called ulna) I have very strong opinions about it. It’s a totally pointless cumbersome garment and I’m convinced that it’s a conspiracy of the patriarchy. You (woman) are supposed to drape it over your bosom and over both shoulders, to cover the chest area and deflect the destructive attentions of men….