sábado, 18 de abril de 2009
"To what extent is the linguistic exploration of the process of agreement rhetorical coercion and how much is it extent?"
sábado, 11 de abril de 2009
The rain has forced the snails out onto the path. The Jolly Roger still hangs from the scaffolding. The mud came in through the holes in my shoes and turned my feet urchin black. It’s not unusual.
After an evening of chicken and chat, Monterrey and latino talk, midnight and the underground, London drizzle and cobbles was almost unexpected.
Waiting on the platform at Leicester Square for the train to come, and a drunken suit, pink shirt, grabs my hand and begins to twirl me around the platform, asks what my dance would be, if I could dance any, here on the platform, between the yellow line and the commuters and the couples. I decline. He presses my hand to his heart and asks my name. I guess his instead. It’s not Charles and it’s not Jim. He takes my hand, asks my name, asks if I’ve seen the most recent exhibition at the British Museum. Central London has a different class of drunk. He tells me the last exhibition was a disappointment. Not enough artefacts. All in the head apparently.
As he bounds aboard the train, I slip away to the westbound platform. I will be a story by the friends this morning, ‘remember when you started trying to dance with that girl at Leicester Square?’ It will be funny.
I am sober.
I get on the next train. The woman I sit next to brushes her coat down where my sleeve touched hers, looks at me significantly. The carriage is comatose and in limbo. Jaws are slack and we move with the train.
jueves, 14 de agosto de 2008
I am listening to Kumbia Kings in the kitchen of a hostel in Zihuantenejo. I have a feeling that my enthusiasm for Mexican pop will not be shared once I hit
It is strange to contemplate how it will be to be in London again; the difference in air and climate, attitudes and people, manners and tips, values and way of going about things, the size of the city, and how everyone and everything is packed in together; none of the room to sprawl luxuriously, lazily and unattractively, like the cities here. I imagine the strangest feeling will be the immediate familiarity of all of the above; all of that which seems far away and foreign now.
Alex and I are travelling south down the coast. At each village or crumbly town we reach, at some point it invariably crosses my mind; what a strange corner of the world to end up in. I generally say it each time; considering my repetitive conversation, it’s a miracle she’s still with me. We are travelling in low season. The places we reach show signs of previous tourists; shops of inflatables and sarongs, T shirts and shot glasses, but we are in the Marie Celeste of travelling. We have hotels, buses, restaurants and pools to ourselves. Calculating the number of days it is since we have spoken to another person (waiters and ticket booth operators aside) has become a running joke, and more so, the number of hours we actually don’t say anything at all. We snatch
What a strange corner of the world we have ended up in; a village called Caleta de Campo on the edge of the pacific. We jumped aboard a second class bus as it was leaving for a five hour bus ride. We painfully felt the lack of air-conditioning although the open window blasted my face with salty air, leaves and water, which was the less technologically sophisticated version, but effective in its own way. The hours and minutes slipped past, dragged past and barely passed at all, as it became obvious that five hours was a rough estimate. After hitting the coastal road, the green jungle corridor either side of the road, the repetitive rising and falling of the road and corner after corner for hours on end was almost trance inducing and depending on whether you prefer my or Alex’s bus ramblings, a version of hell or real life (‘Which pill? The blue or the red? We took the wrong bloody one if we ended up on this bus’). Eight hours later we peeled ourselves off the seats and did the usual humiliating farce of getting the bags off the bus at the same time as ourselves. We had arrived.
The saving grace of the village is our view; yesterday evening, wiped out from the journey, all it took was a beer in hand and our view over the ocean; the swell and the rocks, an altogether more rugged view than Barra de Navidad, to regain contentment. We sat on the balcony, shuffling cards with no game in mind, and talked, until we could no longer see the difference between sky and sea; both were black.
We were woken in the early hours by a light storm – enormous flashes of light, eerily without rain or thunder. I lay in bed, my face up against the window, trying to keep my eyes open to watch the flashes of light over the bay. Finally the strange silent movie of a storm was broken and it hit in full force; thunder, rain and wind attacking the trees outside the hotel. Alex crawled across the room, wrapped in a sheet, to my bed. Her bed was soaked by the storm. The windows refused to close. The storm raged.
Now, the morning and in the light, post-storm and post-broken-sleep, we are gathering ourselves. It is time to pack again and stagger through the village. Another bus, another bus station, another town and place to see, afterall, in a week, I’ll be at work. Horrible thought.
jueves, 17 de abril de 2008
Just to keep up with the tradition, or boring thematic repetition of these posts, it’s Sunday evening again, Carne Asada outside again, and I shall tell you that in my dark room, light from the kitchen falls outside my door, and the first isolated words of Because by I Am Kloot are dropping into the silence.
I should be asleep. How I should be asleep. I have another early morning and a 5.15 alarm programmed into my mobile, but I have snoozed on and off throughout the day, and since sleep has now become vital, it has also become elusive. Julia is in her room next door in a haze of smoke, talking to
Last night was really good and lots of fun. Ana and Gigi had a bienvenida party of white - white clothes, and drink and food on a terrace with candles. A lovely atmosphere and combination of languages, wine and mojitos, white chocolate and smiley people on a warm evening. It all became a little bit hazy around the edges and we sped away from it all in an early morning taxi. I shall miss the friendliness and laughter, the switch of one second to a language or another, and translation, the interest and the difference.
Alison Krauss just started singing go to sleep little babe at me. I feel as if I should take her advice.
Oh Christ. Whitney Houston is back.
domingo, 6 de abril de 2008
It is Sunday afternoon. I can smell carne asada outside, which is usual for a Sunday. Julia is playing a Whitney Houston song after I accidentally reminded her of its existence by shouting abuse at someone in the barrio who also feels the need to play it on a loop, along with I will survive. I am staring into the face of the fact that two thousand words I should have written this week are incomplete. More like a paltry thousand, in Spanish I feel I should point out. In my essay career so far, my best word-time ratio was a cool thousand in an hour, sat on the bottom bunk of the green room at
My word count has not been helped by the clocks stealing an hour of my time and the way I punctuate my days with useless activity; absentmindedly listening to BBC podcasts featuring Richard Dawkins and some infuriating woman who is under the strange impression that religion is a serious business, rediscovering the Walk the Line soundtrack, holiday-skinning my legs, writing this, making a splendid salad sandwich, watching a portion of last night’s DVD with Spanish dubbing and subtitles just to watch the strange disparity between the two, and deciding that afternoon tea should be indulged, and going to buy a Bimbo cake to eat with my tea. It was probably memories of
Apparently this week, the temperature this week is going to hit forty degrees. Likelihood is I won’t see it. I hope not. I spend inordinate amounts of time in one room in the uni, to the point where four walls just do not seem sufficient. In moments of weakness I lean up against the air-conditioner to feel my skin cool and watch what passes for television in this country. I think it’s the worst I’ve seen, and I’ve lived in
I went on holiday over the Easter holiday.
To get to
Guadalajara was great; a clean, white hostel with high ceilings and books, cycling through the city (not me, obviously), squares and cathedrals, Tlaque Plaque and I have to say the worst meal I have had in as long as I can remember. I never know you could make pasta so truly repulsive, but failing to cook the flour in a cheese sauce is a good start. I felt worst for Becky; a painful chest infection, having to watch me nose-bleed at inconvenient moments and then a plate of raw flour and slime.
We moved on to Guanajuato and my new favourite place. It’s not that hard to be my new favourite place; it requires cafes and good places to eat, cobbled streets and colour, trees and hidden plazas, interest, at least one market, the ability to walk most places. A Mexican Margie running a bed and breakfast is an added bonus. Oh, and cable television. Being deprived of television does at least give it a great novelty, especially when you discover the strange culture shock of being able to watch some mid-nineties Changing Room episodes at breakfast time in
martes, 5 de febrero de 2008
It’s Pancake Day and I have only just remembered, and it’s touch and go whether I’ll make them. The more I think about it, the more I think I will; the crunchy sweet sour, lemon and sugar mixture might be too much to resist. Although actually it will be the slightly more exotic lime and sugar, since lemons are non-existent.
It’s only a couple of weeks after bone-shattering cold nights and cold air whistling past my ears; Julia and I huddled together in the same bed for warmth. An enormous pile of blankets, almost pinned to the bed, and a small nest of heat, a shock of cold if you dare to move your toe beyond the boundary to the cold sheet beyond. That is all past and I can hardly remember it now. The heat has begun in full earnest. It’s only the beginning of February, and apparently Sunday hit 40 degrees, although I was snoozing it away, so I can’t be quite sure. Already stepping outside feels like stepping into an enormous hot bath, the warm air pressed up against you. My fear of coping with the heat when summer truly hits is genuine. Becky and I remembered all the aspects of life that come with Monterrey in the heat. When the heat well and truly hits, I will:
a) Be sporting mosquito bites, in the double figures. Current record stands at 16 on one leg; a September special that one; heat, wet weather and windows with holes in combined. Apparently I have sangre dulce, which seems to be from some a compliment, although I would rather have disgusting blood and less bites.
b) Carry a jumper through the heat, to wear in any enclosed space; Stepping from a warm air bath into a sharp, cold, air-conditioned shop or room or car or house or building causes my muscles to contract, my shoulders to jump and the particles of sweat that live on every hair to form a small layer of ice. All within 10 seconds.
c) Spend a significant proportion of my pay in 711 on cold, cold drinks, packed with a sugar hit to get me through the next staggering 20 minutes; then, I come to the next 711 and pop in for another Sprite, or iced tea.
d) Spend minutes at a time with the fridge open in the above shops looking for the above drinks, as an extra cooling technique.
e) Have no choice of hairstyle- jaggedy fringe across the face is all very well and good, as well as tendrils to hide my lack of jaw line, but plastered in sweat to the edge of my face? Not a good look. It is then made worse by the constant movement in and out of air-conditioned areas, creating frizz that had previously been considered impossible by science.
f) Be extra grumpy, grouchy and sleepy.
g) Entirely unable to walk normal distances.
h) Dream of nights when curling up in covers was possible, rather than stretched out, wearing as little as possible, waiting for the beautiful sensation of air movement from the fan, on the edge of sleep.
i) Become suddenly aware of the backs of my knees, the little space where my glasses rest, my inner arm, between my toes, and anywhere my underwired bra meets my skin. All places, where, without care, sweat collects. Urgh. How unpleasant.
It sounds like a gale has just started outside. It is suddenly dark. Perhaps I should relax for a while.