Showing posts from October, 2008

public service announcement

It occurs to me that I haven't really mentioned that I'm now blogging irregularly and semi-regularly, respectively, for both and The Walrus . Click links to see indexes of my posts. There should be a new one on both sites sometime today, actually.

pick up linguistix

This is the wealthiest country I've ever been in where packs of feral dogs still prowl the downtown streets. Any symbolism is left as an exercise for the reader. I checked into tonight's hotel entirely in Spanish, which isn't that impressive, except that five days ago I would have been totally incapable of doing so. It's amazing how language immersion cues the brain; I think pretty much everything I picked up in Peru and Bolivia five years ago has returned. (Which, um, really isn't saying much, but still.) Spanish-speaking countries are frustrating. It's close enough to French and/or English that I can generally get most of the gist of signs, placards, museum writeups, etc, but when they go on for more than a paragraph the effort gets really mentally wearing - I actually got a headache figuring out a long historical explanation written on a wall in Cartagena's Palacio de la Inquisicion (sic?) yesterday. And in person, sheesh - until today, at least, they

tragedy in translation

. Gring(o|a) Meets Chic(o|a) a play in five acts transcribed from Lonely Planet's Latin American Spanish , p. 112-118. Act I: A Party Gone Wrong Would you like a drink? What star sign are you? Shall we get some fresh air? Do you study or do you work? Do you have a light? I don't take drugs. I have...occasionally. Do you want to have a smoke? I'm high. You have a beautiful...body, eyes, hands, laugh, personality. No, thank you. I have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Excuse me, I have to go now. Your ego is out of control. I'm not interested. Hey, I'm not interested in talking to you. Leave me alone! Piss off! Act II: S/he Appears You're very nice. You're great. You're very attractive. I'm interested in you. I like you very much. Do you like me too? Can I kiss you? Will you take me home? Do you want to come inside for awhile? Act III: A Night Of Passion I want to make love to you. Do you have a condom? I won't do it without protection. I think w

The ones that got away

Prepping for my upcoming expedition has me thinking nostalgically about previous ones, and places I failed to see while in the neighbourhood. Not such a bad thing; when you depart a region you should always leave at least one (possible) gem behind you undiscovered, to have an reason to go back, and to cure the disease of feeling that you've "done" a place. (Besides, as I've long said, you can't go everywhere, and you probably shouldn't try.) Anyway, a few of those gems left buried in my wake: Asia 1997 : It'd be great to climb Mount Fuji in Japan, and to hike along Tiger Leaping Gorge in China. (And to go back to Yangshuo , but "places I'd like to go back to" is a different and probably longer post.) In Indonesia, didn't make it to Java to see Jakarta and Borobudur , nor to Komodo to see the dragons, though I had vague intentions to do both; and while I did make it to Lombok, I never got to chill out at the Gili Islands . Africa

fame if not fortune, mine at last

I spent most of the last week in England, Belgium, and Holland, and let me just inflict some pictures on you before I get to the newsy part of this post. Click on any pic to see it bigger: As you can see, it was a fantasyland of mythical bicycles, buildings, and beasts. And I came back to discover that Page Six (how ironic!) of my alma mater's Engineering Alumni Newsletter is all about me. (breaks into song) Me, me, meeeee! I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Brunel! See for yourself . (Warning: that's a PDF link. Here's the HTMLized Google cache .) And whaddya know, some more pre-lettered pages from The Executor have snuck onto the Internet . Soon I will blog about some blogging news. How meta! See you then.