Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

One more cup of coffee

I crossed the border to Guatemala with relatively little hassle all things considered, and caught the collectivo to St Elena. From there I caught a cab to Flores. But only after having the usual argy bargy with the driver over the agreed fare. I remember my friend Claire saying she never tipped cabbies on the assumption they were taking their tip anyways. I suspect she might be right. Got no change, my arse. Fucker.

It was pissing down when I got to the gorgeous rainforesty Los Amigos Hostel (this was the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey who was making headlines and making his way to the Belizean coastline). I was welcomed by London Mike and the two Carolines. Mike showed me where the ATM was, so i could withdraw Quetzales. We agreed it was just easier to call them Pretzels. We got stuck into the drinks, played a few rounds of Pigs and then I snuck off for a nanna nap. Toowoomba Caroline woke me up for a skinny dip. Some people love getting their kit off in public. I am not one of those people. However, I was totally up for a night swim in the warm freshwater that surrounded the tiny island. We later went out for a few drinks at a couple of bars, where we watched an excellent 7 piece band squished into a space that we’d see 3 musos in, back home. I got my first chance to observe the locals. First impressions? The females ‘carry the race’, as my Dad would say. Meaning the girls are much better looking than the boys.

They all left the next morning. Because I am traveling slower than everyone else, I feel like everyone’s always leaving me. I’m getting used to it now. The upside is, I’m constantly making new friends.

I had brekky in a cafe with a vista of the lake, revising my Spanish notes and then spent the afternoon taking photos.

On Monday I got up at 4 to take a tour of Tikal. Of all the Mayan ruins I’ve seen so far, this has by far been the most impressive. I won’t bore you with all the historical details, here. What I will say is this: The area the National Park covers is approximately the size of the Byron Bay shire. It is also one of the locations for the original Star Wars films. Nerdcool!

I retired early after being bored to bits by a very earnest Dutch boy who wanted to talk stats pertaining to world economics. Should have crapped chatted him, but I was so dang tired I couldn’t be bothered.

Next morning I jumped in a tuc-tuc to the tiny airport to get on a tinier plane for the flight to Guatematla City, where I was picked up by a driver from my school to take me to Antigua.

We drove past what seemed like a million billboards for a multitude of candidates running for President. The election is on 11 Sept. One woman has divorced her husband so she can be eligible to run for office. There have been reports of politically related violence including the murder of three candidates since campaigns started in May. Checking the smarttraveller website, it warns I should reconsider my need to travel. Mmmmm.

It’s hard to image why. Antigua is so ridiculously pretty with it’s quaint cobblestone streets and colonial buildings. It’s nestled between three impressive volcanic mountains, which wear cloudy cloaks. This time of the year, it’s mostly Spring-like sunny days with the ocassional afternoon shower which provides a perfect excuse to duck into a very European-feeling cafe. Guatemala has what is considered to be (among) the world’s finest coffee beans and what’s more: they know how to make it here!!! It has its own Central Park, where horse-drawn carriages wait for a fare. Young lovers steal a furtive but passionate kiss. And bored armed policemen watch the girls go by. It’s a big city and from what everyone tells me – it’s not without its problems of petty crime. But there’s a very cosmopolitan international feel to the place and it’s all wrapped up in this old world charm. Yes, there are many expats and tourists and students but still the locals look you in the eye, smile and say ¡hola!

I just know I’m going to be very happy here for the next month, while I undertake studies and training to become a teacher of English to students for whom English is a second language (TEFL / TESOL). Teaching is something that takes my interest as a potential alternative career (I’ve been in marketing for 12 years and prior to that I was a graphic designer). This seems like a good way to test the waters. I’m also hoping it will help my own pursuit of a second language. And additionally it may become a source of income to help sustain my travels for a bit longer. (I just may need to take on my stage name for professional purposes.)

Wed 24 Aug

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Dirty Boulevard

The streets are orderly but that’s about the only thing about NYC that is. Chaos Theory lives here. And She’s not even trying to hide her crazy. In fact, She and the whole goddam city is gunna shake it all about.

I spent my first day walking around laughing at all the nutbags, only to resemble one myself. I swear I was standing next to Woody Allen on a street corner, who was urging the pedestrian lights to turn white with an emphatic Brooklyn accent, “oh-Kay, oh-Kay!”

So, here are a few random observations about this vivacious city, which had me at hello.

You can appear in an interactive billboard ad in Times Square. However, there would be zero brand recall due to the bigger, brighter, more badass billboards that are EVERYWHERE.

There’s a lot of booty in NYC. Some of it – good, some of it – frankly alarming. And you can buy jeans that in that shape.

There are more delis than you can poke a pickle at. There are more pharmacies than you can poke a Panadol at. And what’s more, you can buy a 6 pack with your Zanax. (crib note: I find it disconcerting that my iPad knew that’s what I wanted to spell.)

New Yorkers are super polite, super friendly and super helpful. Expect to be blessed by pretty much everyone around you if you sneeze.

Male to female ratio in pubs, bars, clubs, parties, etc: much better than in Sydney. If you’re outnumbered in Sydney, you are in a gay bar. Or at the Commercial at Liverpool, near Campbelltown. If you are in the Commercial at Liverpool, and are still alive, you need to leave NOW.

Toilets and paper towels are for the most part very confusing.

If you so much as look sideways at a man, he will shower you in compliments. (The following must be read in any variation of a New York accent): “You got a gorgeous smile, sweetheart!”; “mmmhmm, nice ass’ girrrl”, etc etc.

All homeless people have got a story.

You can’t get a decent feed midtown. The coffee all over town is mostly rubbish, average at best. And they want to intravenously fill you with that shit.

Bartenders know their trade.

So, I managed to cram quite a bit in, in just one week:

Sunk beers with a Sergeant from the NYPD.
Had brekky with Naomi in a proper diner.
Walked the streets. Yes, almost all of them.
Cruised around Chelsea Markets. Saw a free short film in a pop up cinema.
Strolled around Central Park with Lea, we visited Strawberry Fields.
Did the Met (later i did the MoMa – my kind of museum).
That night, Charlotte took us to a warehouse party in Brooklyn.
Saw the Statue of Liberty (she’s purdy). On Statten Island, we fell into in a tiny jazz jam in someone’s house.
Saw the WTC site.
Got a massage in Chinatown.
Had an appletini in a salsa bar.
Bummed around Brooklyn. It’s gritty urban colorful cool. Had an amazing wood smoked salmon BLT.
I made my own muppet in the toy store where Tom Hanks danced on the floor piano in Big. I’ve named her Sassy and she’s staying with Angie while I travel.
I had emergency root canal.
Did the Top of the Rock, and then
last night Angie & Dave took me to some cool lil digs around the Lower East Side & surrounds. I was shuffle board queen in a studenty jazz bar, where you can get a $1 massage (!) On Naomi’s recommendation we went to a place that specializes in Mac&Cheese. We then rung a phone to get into an old prohibition bar called PDT. Gorgeous cocktails, lots of stuffed animals. And a no phone rule. Dave’s Old Fashioned had a bacon smoked ice cube.
Today I’ve been dodging the rain in Greenwich where Bob Dylan & Kerouac hung out…and finally I’ve found a decent cup of cawfee.

So, yes I’ve fallen in love. With a whole goddamn city. New York – I’ll see you soon x

PS, I’m now on the flight to San Francisco from New Jersey. Can I just say, I love the joisoy accyent.

20 May