Archive for April, 2009

Tostones, or maybe patacones

by Alex on Apr.30, 2009, under Blog

I first had tostones in Colombia, I think. But they were called patacones. They are, I guess, the nutritional equivalent of chips/fries and I suppose not so different taste-wise. I knew they were simply fried plantain but until last night I had no idea of exactly how they were made. If you’re a lover of both chips and diversification then read on to discover how to conjour up an alternative to the west’s most beloved deep-fried staple.

Some tostones, yesterday

(continue reading…)

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John Oliver RIP?

by Alex on Apr.30, 2009, under Blog

I’ve just been told that John Oliver has been murdered…

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“Private salsa lessons”

by Alex on Apr.29, 2009, under Blog

So I’m in a cafe, internetting away and this guy who I’ve chatted to a few times asks me to translate an e-mail that he’s just received. It’s in English and he appears not to understand its finer points…

Hello Marco (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).

I saw you in club gringo the other night and have to say that you look very sexy when you dance.

Can we arrange “private salsa lessons”?

Yeh, you hear about that kind of stuff but I’ve never seen it before…


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When no can’t possibly mean no, apparently

by Alex on Apr.28, 2009, under Blog

There are lots of street vendors here, in Granada (Nicaragua). Those who have stalls and those who walk round the streets selling their wares. Some of the wandering ones sell goods for the local market such as wallets and mobile/cell phone chargers, and cheese. Well, I guess that primarily they are aimed at the local market but that doesn’t stop those eager to sell from touting their goods to all on Sunday (mum, I know you’re wondering – that’s a bastardisation of ‘all and sundry), irrespective of whether they are local or tourist.

‘Do you want cheese?’ exclaimed a guy sporting a large aluminium pot atop his head. (continue reading…)

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John Oliver

by Alex on Apr.27, 2009, under Blog

“Work all night on a drink a’ rum” sang John Oliver as he walked behind us. It was a Friday night in Granada (Nicaragua) and we’d had a few beers so my response could be nothing other than “Daylight come and me wan’ go home”. Dreadlocks sprouting from the top of an otherwise shaved head, John walked with a limp and looked as it he lived on the street. We finished the song, we laughed and joked and then he introduced himself – an artist, a street poet. I was out with Franzi, whom I’d met at a cafe earlier that evening and so that John might share a love poem with us, we pretended that we were ‘together’. John’s eyes shone brightly as he recited his work, powerful words spoken with passion, as if straight from the heart. His poetry was moving as was the fact that this talented man, who might well have a very different life were he to have been born elsewhere, lived on the streets, scraping a living from people open to paying him for entertaining them with his work. (continue reading…)

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The dark side of Dubai

by Alex on Apr.12, 2009, under Blog

A very enlightening article from The Independent On Sunday (UK newspaper), well worth a read.

The dark side of Dubai

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Mini Supers

by Alex on Apr.12, 2009, under Blog

When I was little, everything was mega. Mega good, mega skill (spelled with two ls as ‘they’ said that skil with one l was an American bum disease, so one had to stipulate), mega lush, mega ace, even mega tiny. The fact that mega tiny was an oxymoron didn’t bother us. One, as we were four and so had no idea what an oxymoron was, and two, mega in our vernacular simply meant ‘very’.


Mini super though? What is that all about? (continue reading…)

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Gotta lotta bottle

by Alex on Apr.09, 2009, under Blog

For those of you who didn’t grow up in the UK, or did but are too young to remember crap 1980s TV advertising, you can see where the title comes from below. For the rest of you, who are no doubt humming the tune or at least have it going on in your head, why not click away and return briefly to those halcyon days of dodgy perms, massive shoulder pads and day glo jumpers.

Click me

So, bottles… Back in the day, it was perfectly normal (in the UK at least) for drinks manufacturers to re-use their bottles. You’d buy some awful, sugary, carbonated, tartrazine-laced concoction from the corner shop and on returning you’d get your 10 pence deposit and probably spend it on a sherbet fountain or some Black Jacks (probably now called Chalk Jacks or White Jacks), bouncing home on a sugar high. Sadly, for those of an eco bent, the days of bottle reuse is limited to delivered milk, and who gets milk from the milkman (milkperson, bovine lactate product delivery agent) nowadays? (continue reading…)

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I’m tired…

by Alex on Apr.08, 2009, under Blog

and I want to go to bed. I’ve not even had the pleasure of partaking of a little drink about an hour ago!

Thanks Duncs for helping me set the site up, it should be fun. I foresee that I’ll be spending a fair amount of time working on this for the next while. Oh well, what would I be doing otherwise? Sunning myself on Costa Rican beaches, relaxing in cloud forest heaven, watching Scarlet Macaws flying into the sunset, hmmm… Yeh, thanks Duncs, thanks a lot…

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