A few days beside the seaside….Mar Del Plata

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 31-03-2006


From Buenos Aires we travelled south to the coast. Mar Del Plata is your typical seaside resort style town. Its not the prettiest but was good fun and a nice break from the huge city of BA.

Just by the beach were a load of pensioners playing this disc game. Unfortunately members only…

The well travelled cows

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 28-03-2006

It feels like these cows have followed me around the world, even though I have only seen them in two cities now…


Saying that, this lot were all different to those in Bratislava.

Celebrity Cemetry

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-03-2006

We spent Saturday night out and about in BA including a visit to a cemetry for families of high social status or people who are just plain rich. It is a walled of area with loads of different tombs along the streets. Most are old, grand and detailed but there are a few modern, shiny marble ones.

Cool fact: the tomb space costs more per square meter than in the nearby expensive area of town Palermo!

This is a photo taken from within one of the tombs:

Saturday night we went to see a superb Tango show in San Telmo. It was in a cool basement room with walls of just showing brick, completely different to the grand, fancy restaurant and hotel upstairs.

The band consisted of a huge double bass, an accordian and piano. The show was a mix of dancing, drumming and acting based around a basic story full of passion driven by lust, jealousy and typical Argentian front.

The Big One – Boca Vs River

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Posted by admin | Posted in Argentina, Boca Juniors, Buenos Aires, Football, River Plate, South America | Posted on 26-03-2006

Boca Juniors Vs River Plate

Sunday 26th March 2006.

Well, this match turned out to better than I could have imagined. The whole spectacle was just about unbelievable.

I’ll start with the only slight downer which was the price. There were no tickets available except to members, so I ended up going through a kind of local tour operator called ‘The Godfather’ and soon found out why they chose that name!

They put on a cool bus with a driver who was continuously beeping the horn to random tunes on the way down to the cancha (stadium). I assumed he was into the footy after the game he asked us who was playing!

On the way I had chatted to the organiser dude (I can’t remember his name so I’ll call him Che – everyone calls everyone Che here, it’s like us saying ‘Hey’) who turned out to be a River fan and kindly let me know that we were in the River supporters away end! The German bunch of guys I the group only found out this after we stepped out of the bus and one of them went to put his new Boca cap on! Che looked like he had sh!t himself and jumped at the guy to get him to hide it down his pants!

Oh, and here comes a truth many of you won’t like; I am (now) a River supporter.

The Boca neighbourhood looked like a war zone, with loads of streets cordoned off making only one zigzagging route to the cancha. Each barrier had a row of policemen and every so often we had to go through a security check where a line of police in a different uniform padded us down. There were seven of these checks in total and the German guy lost his hat at the second! Che was sweating and looking terrified leading a group of gringos through Boca. Around one corner we were confronted with a tank with two water cannon turrets on top. At the penultimate corner a row of proper hardcore riot police were waiting; but at least Che managed to crack one joke by saying ‘I’ll give you 500 pesos if you go up to that lot and tell them their mothers are all putas!’.

And I can confirm that the Argentinian police have bigger truncheons than the English. Sorry Steve.

When we got into the stadium at about 1:20 a warm up match was playing between the reserve teams of both clubs. Che said that the best views are towards the top so I left then group and nudged my way as far up as I could. The reserves were pretty good and Boca ended up winning 4-2. The River fans constantly came out with new songs and were almost as vocal and passionate during the warm up alone as any fans I’ve seen and heard.

The stand was pretty full already and as I did’t want to lose my place I ended up standing in pretty much exactly the same spot for almost 5 hours – the stand was terraced – and kick off was not until 4:10pm! It was a hot day and the sun was beating down since there was no shade in the away end. I survived on 1 ice lolly but also, luckily, because of clouds that passed over every now and then.

Quick description of the cancha then the main event. I was on the top (3rd) tier in an all open stadium behind the goal at the opposite end to the crazy Boca stand. The stand was really steep and there were hardly any bars at all so when the crowd moved, you just moved with it.

‘El clasico’ is what they call this match. Before kick off the whole pitch was swarming with people; photographers, who were bunched over one area to the side (reading the paper the next day it turned they were taking pics of Maradona who is the Boca director of football), officials, dancers, I don’t know what most were doing.

The River players came out to warm and were running among all these people. When warming up the keeper with shots, the full back had to dodge around a photographer who was sat on a stool just outside the box. It was all pretty hectic. During this time the Boca fans had been singing one song, led by their full band, constantly for about half hour!

It all really hit me when the Boca players came out. Suddenly you couldn’t see the opposite end for bog rolls floating through the air from the top stand, blue and yellow confetti coming from all over and manic noise from the fans! I couldn’t believe how long all this went on for either! When some cleaners had finished clearing the bog roll of the pitch (which took a while as every time they finished another would rain down into the goal mouth) and when the guys had shifted the confetti with leave blower machines, I looked around and every single seat was filled.

Just before kick off a gigantic banner rolled down out of nowhere over 2/3 of the middle Boca stand and swayed from the fans pulling it about. Then another appeared with some text about River. That was really cool to see.

The game finally got going and was absolutely great to watch. The Argentinian matches tend to be really open, partly due to the skill of the players, any of whom can take it past a player, but also due to a lack of defensive organisation.

It had everything, a good goal before half time for River, an equaliser on 89 minutes for Boca via a penalty that came from a silky solo run, 3 red cards – 2 for Boca which were disgusting desperate challenges when the attacker was 1 on 1 with the keeper and then a defender and 1 for River which didn’t look like a foul at all. I know that sounds biased but even the Boca based newspaper agreed the next day. Oh, and both goals were at my end – sweet!

The best moment for me was when River scored. The crowd went nuts. The passion was more extreme than I realised. I ended up drifting with the crowd about 5 metres forward and then to the side and finished pretty much where I started.

The reaction of the crowd after the Boca goal was incredible, every single person bouncing up and down.

I learned a few more Spanish words that day but I think most wouldn’t be repeatable anywhere but a football match (especially “El Superclasico”).  I honestly think I heard the words puta / puto (b!tch or wh0re) several hundred times at least.

The whole thing was fantastic. They are unbelievably passionate about football and the fans have complete and utter hatred for each other. I can honestly believe that many would kill for their club! I kept my mouth shut a lot and either sang the 2 songs I thought I understood or mimed others – I survived it.

“Vamo Riiiiver Plate!”

Although all photos have, so far, been taken by me; I was advised not to take my camera (or anything of value!) to this match and so the pictures in this entry have been randomly borrowed and are not necessarily from this particular game.

Buenos Aires

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-03-2006

Simply put – this city is nuts!

It’s dusty, well noisy, really busy in traffic and people, vibrant and fantastic!


We spent the first 3 nights staying at a hostel in San Telmo, which is the old side of town and is associated with being the Tango quarter. The streets are all old looking, cool antique / junk shops, mini art galleries, local cafes, restobars…you get the gist. It’s a cool place to walk about, go for dinner (no earlier than 11pm though!) or check out some bars. I really like the area but our hostel is also a restobar downstairs and is unbelievably noisy. The rooms have shutter style high doors, really high ceilings and feature almost nothing more than two beds pushed together and a sink. There are areas where you can see directly down to the bar from the landing with only some netting between you and the people eating, drinking and talking (the locals’ version of drunken talking here is pretty much as loud as I can shout). It was fine for midweek as we went out until fairly late anyway but we were warned not to expect to sleep before 7 or 8 am during the weekend and last night (Thurs) was a good taster of that (it quietened down about 6ish).

So, we’ve moved on to a place in the more northern side of town, partly to give us the option of sleep in case we don’t stay out as late as we plan tonight and tomorrow but also to see a new side of the city. This city is huge with loads of areas with their own characters.

What have we been doing? Right, we spent hours going around La Boca Tues looking for ways of getting a ticket for Sunday’s match – Boca Vs River. No luck. Members only! By the way, I quote from the Lonely Planet about the area (barrio) of Boca “The worst neighbourhoods you, as a tourist, will encounter are La Boca (stick to those few tourist streets like glue, even in daylight)…”. We got lost twice and trekked most of the area and it wasn’t all that bad. Don’t ‘always’ believe the hype. More details will follow about Boca next week but I HAVE GOT A TICKET.

Like good tourists, we also checked out the main squares and stuff on the first day and joined the masses for the ritual of lunch. A real big deal here. We’ve had some good meals and some average. A Uruguayan restobar had good food – one was thin chicken wrapped around ricotta and other good fillings which I couldn’t work out and the other was close to a big fry-up style bap. Tasty. Plus the beer was good and cheap – 1.20 pounds for 1 litre.

That reminds me, Buenos Aires is very very cheap. That meal I mentioned was 5 pound for 2 main meals plus 2 litres of beer.

We also sampled a few big bifes (various types of steak). Most have tasted awesome, perfect texture but they also tend to have too many fatty bits for my liking. Especially one I picked up from an asado on the street by the river. There are loads along this big stretch, little stalls with a tent style roof, painted sign and huge BBQ with monster slabs of beef cooking on them. By the time I had dissected my way through that one I was covered in grease and sauce. The sauces, however, have been consistently quality. Chimichurri is my favourite so far – fresh herbs, garlic, chilli and oil. Works a treat.

Best wrap this up. The meals have been mostly really good, the bars great, the weather real good but real hot and humid even though around only 27C temperature.

The new hostel is more intimate and we can use the kitchen and the roof terrace which is sweet as! I’m gusselling a bottle of red wine right now, we splashed out on a more expensive bottle at 1.20 (pounds) and are going to cook for the first time and enjoy it on the roof. Then off out to check a new area of bars we’ve ben told about…

Turtle Sanctuary

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-03-2006

Yesterday me and Jordi had an afternoon out at the turtle sanctionary and then at the beach. The sanctuary’s pretty cool, as you might expect they rescue turtles and if possible release them in the future.

A couple of the turtles’ names caught my eye…


…firstly Bentley looking as aged as always…

…and also Jonah…

…some strong resemblances eh.

Jordi tells it like it is….Pets

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 17-03-2006



After the Molly entry I have now been informed by my cousin, Jordan, about the other pets that she can remember them having…..

“All the ones I remember having…a snake, an iguana, 4 turtles, 2 guineau pigs….ok….”
Jordan lists these off whilst making me feel ill because she’s bouncing up and down on a giant space hopper…

“4 dogs, yep, 4 dogs, ummmm, 4 cats, 2 hamsters” she is now making me dizzy by pacing round and round the room whilst thinking of any others…

“I had a slug for a pet for a day. And I had 2 millworms. It’s a worm that turns into a bug.”

“That’s it.”

Meet Molly!

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-03-2006

Meet Molly; one of the local resident pets at my Uncle Chris’ house in Florida along with another – much more butch – Rotweiler called Rascal, a very vocal and chatty cat named Sooty, a more elusive moggy by the name of Magic plus numerous other non-residents including lizards, frogs, birds and some omni-eating squirrels.
Molly!

Chillin’

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-03-2006

Ez

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool…unfortunately there’s been no B Ball as of yet but I’m hopeful about shooting some ball before the party on Saturday as the guy is supposed to have a marked out half court in his front yard.

Just been chillin’ in this garden.

You’ll have to bear with me on these cheesey lyrical references – but don’t worry, they should drift away from the Will Smith theme soon…!

Welcome to Miami…bienvenido a Miami

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-03-2006

I was well surprised by just how Hispanic Miami is! Every single sign has it’s Spanish translation, the majority of adverts are in Spanish and we heard far more Spanish voices than any other.

We spent 2 nights here and got a decent feel for the place. I really like it, there’s a lively and positive atmosphere although it did happen to be Spring Break which meant there were plenty of youths chilling by day and making the most of their time off by night.

Our hotel was great – a real old building (especially for the U.S.) on the south side of the river. The pool was refreshing after you’ve been sweating in the tasty heat and all day sun! Although if you ask any local to Florida the water is ‘freezing’. Bloody Brits!

We checked out Miami beach and South beach which were as expected, a good stretch of quality sand and gorgeous luke-warm sea. There’s a good range of shops, bars and cafes and we found 2 fantastic restaurants thanks to tip offs from the hotel woman. First night we had quality Mexican (a certain American friend of mine was proven absolutely right, at least based on this one restaurant, as he always went on about how much better Mexican food is in the States commpared to Europe) which was unbelievably cheap. Then on the Friday night we went to a crazy Cuban place. The eating part was HUGE and pretty much empty. I had some damn fine Pargo (Snapper) while Clare sampled a seafood platter. Afterwards we checked out what all the commotion was about in the adjacent bar. The bar was cramped and packed with a small stage with two dancers (I think kind of Flamenco) and the most skillful guitarist I’ve ever seen up close (sorry Geoff, he even surpassed your mighty skills). He was pretty old, didn’t use a pick, was playing an antic-looking guitar (I’d say was older than him) and honestly looked like he lived with the guitar permanently in his hands.

Anyway, enough. Miami was sweeeeeet!

* Every different nation, Spanish, Haitian, Indian, Jamaican
Black, White, Cuban, and Asian *

On a Jet Plane

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-03-2006

‘No alarms and no surprises’. Strange tune to be playing in the plane as we walked aboard. Had a quality curry last night, a couple of pints, some wine and a sambuca. Perfect prep for an early flight eh….

Next stop Miami.