Monday, 16 July 2007

Sunday at Bewl Water

As I said in a previous post, on Sunday, July the 8th I sneaked out of our beloved, old London and exchanged my everyday march dodging people accross the swarming town for a more relaxing excursion to the countryside.

Faces glowing with emotion, a bunch of 15 people took the rusty 9.47 train into the East Sussex county and set off for a nice, easy walk from Wadhurst to Bewl Water. We were a fairly mixed group, representative of the variety of London, led by a conscious German PhD student (the guy pretending to read the map in the first picture).

The surprisingly beautiful countryside that surrounds the capital boasts lovely paths through fields and woods.

After the 3-hour trek, we reached the shore by Bewl Water. Bewl Water is a reservoir completed in 1975 in the valley of the River Teise straddling the boundary between East Sussex and Kent. Apparently it is now the largest lake in south east England.

The walkers settled down by the shore to rest for a bit and, shortly after, everyone had spread out their own supplies of food and drinks while a tiny, controlled fire for the barbeque was being prepared.

The afternoon lingered between interesting afterlunch conversations, strolls by the lake, snores from people enjoying a well-deserved nap, and a couple of brave adventure-seekers who did not hesitate to amuse the crowd by taking a refreshing bath.

As the evening sunshine smoothed the edges of the landscape, we headed back towards the train station. We had the chance to have a glance at the local wildlife.

Unfortunately, we missed the train to London for seconds and we had to wait for the next one to come an hour later. However, the hourglass did give time for funny games.

When we arrived at London Bridge train station, it was already a dark night. We called it a day and enthusiastically agreed to meet soon for another walking trip. We have to shake our butts, don't we?

As usual, I shall not leave you, dear reader, without a clip with those most embarrasing moments that I so much treasure.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

July in London

Good evening from London.

I am fairly busy at the minute going to college and dealing with the outstanding points of an overloaded work agenda, so I haven't been able to write in the last few days. However, since an healthy work/life balance must be achieved as part of any successful pursuit of happiness, these July weekends have been delightfully empty of work and full of business.

As part of their well-deserved holidays, my brother Inigo and my cousin Alvaro have accompanied me in my London life for a week. It seems that they enjoyed the experience and freedom of this never-ending, never-still city even though they have endured an atrocious weather and ruthless jokes due to their poor English.

After the rains and hail-storms made me forget it was already mid-July, at last the sunny weather came out eventually and I took advantage of the weekend of July the 7th, 2007. Unfortunately, my relatives had already left after having suffered that hail-storm in Battersea Park pictured in the links above.

On Friday, July the 6th I went to see the melodramatic movie La vie en rose (La Môme in French), the story-tale of Edit Piaf. Although Marion Cotillard's featuring of Edit Piaf is remarkable and made my female French companion cry with emphaty, the overall result didn't strike me as a memorable film. There are already a few films exploiting the hard and chaotic lives of singers and musicians (Walk the line, Ray). Besides, the storyline jumped back and fro so often that the plot was difficult to follow. Besides, the film would have benefited from a shorter length, although its duration might have been due to the representation of several complete songs. An excellent decision was to maintain the original voice of Edith Piaf in the soundtrack.

On Saturday Angy and I joined the 4-million strong crowd that crammed in Central London parks (Hyde, Green and St. James) to feel part of the most important cycling competition: the Tour of France. We stood only 30 metres away from the finish line and enjoyed under the sunshine and the fresh breeze while admiring the speed of the (somewhat dopped?) cyclists.

Finally on Sunday I went for an exploration walk into the wild South East England, more exactly, the Kent County. My aim was, notwithstanding mocking comparisons to the likes of Livingstone or Cook, to discover the legendary lake known as Bewl Water.

I would like to thank to the terrorists of any kind for the consideration of letting Britain live in peace at least for the weekend of the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings. We'll bury them amidst the dust of the History.

Let's remember the victims.

Love and freedom.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Africa cries for help

Where do you place the African person as a thinker, a creator of wealth? - an African man asks Bono.

Err... I believe that Africans' music is their DNA. And Celtic music is basically African. - the singer attempts an awkward defence of his flawed, fashionable "Africa credo", making the audience giggle.

While I am reading the latest issue of Vanity Fair, edited by U2's lead singer Bono, I come to a halt to read a more sensible article in begging him to stop aiding Africa.

Following the reflections mentioned in a previous entry, the latter article, dissonant with the current trend of charity, argues that Westerns should swap the "progre" attitude towards Africa for the one that mean the real progress if we actually care about it. Western countries should stop behaving as Africa's tutors and start listening to the continent that gave birth to them. The motto It's time to let Africa imagine its own future heads some radical ideas that could be summarised with the corolary "And it's time to let Africa EARN their imagined future".

Indeed, the only way Africa will develop and create wealth is if it can attract foreign capital and trade its goods on the world market like every other economically successful does.

If you make Africans rich, they'll be less poor.

Idriss Mohammed, African financer

Africa cries for help... to get rid of the perjudicial aid.

About Vanity Fair's perspective on Africa, I'll talk soon.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Mitterrand supported Hutus assasins

Liberte, egalite, fraterni.. what?!? I can't believe what I'm reading!! Francois Mitterrand supported the Hutus assasins who perpetrated the 1994 Rwandan genocide (French article here, subscription required). Some declassified French documents uncover a long-suspected secret: Mitterrand let, if not helped, the Hutus axe almost a million Africans' lives in little more than 3 months in 1994. A mass extermination carried out at a similar pace as the Jews' Holocaust by the German Nazis.

Mitterrand, the last French Socialist president, former Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez's personal friend; Mitterrand, the one who brought France into the group of countries with atomic arsenal; Mitterrand, the one who brought France into chaos in the early 80's with his absurd left-wing policies. Oh Mitterrand, another fallen leftist hero!

During the press conference at the closing of the 1990 France-Africa Summit hosted in La Baule, France, Mitterrand announced that France’s traditional and longstanding aid would be cooler towards regimes that behave in an authoritarian manner and enthusiastic towards those who move boldly forward towards democratisation (La Baule speech). However, simply put, Mitterrand is just another French President caught helping killers with the aim at maintaining the declining French influence in the world. He is just another Socialist politician who speaks up idealistic and democratic policies at the same time as they allow and support crimes.

Another detail of France's over-hyped grandeur is fake.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Las nuevas 7 Maravillas del Mundo

Vota a la Alhambra en Quedan solo 4 dias.

Espero que ya sepais que el dia siete de julio de 2007 (07.07.07) se van a proclamar en Lisboa las nuevas Siete Maravillas del Mundo, puesto que 6 de las 7 Maravillas del Mundo Antiguo han desaparecido. Las Piramides de Giza mantendran su estatus.

Las nuevas siete maravillas estan siendo seleccionadas entre 20 candidatas elegidas entre cientos de monumentos repartidos por todo el mundo. Entre esas 21 esta la Alhambra de Granada (el unico monumento seleccionado en Espana). La seleccion se realiza mediante votacion a traves de internet o SMS.

Ademas de ser la mayor votacion del mundo hasta la fecha, esta iniciativa genera muchas cuestiones culturales y sociologicas interesantes. Cabe preguntarse: ¿el ranking de resultados de los monumentos obedece más al esfuerzo de cada país o al mérito artístico y simbólico como maravilla mundial? Segun Chimosoler hay una correlación entre los contenidos, las redes sociales, el porcentaje de visitas de cada país al portal de votación y el avance de los resultados de la votación. No debemos pecar de ingenuos, el exito es fruto de un esfuerzo de participacion y de una campana cultural y turistica. Paradojicamente no son los paises mas desarrollados los que mas votan, sino los iberoamericanos y los chinos, y por eso sus monumentos copan las primeras posiciones. Podemos seguir el trafico hacia en el portal Alexa del grupo Amazon.

El ultimo ranking pone a la Alhambra en el puesto 11. El que haya visitado la Alhambra seguro que opinara que merece ser reconocida como una maravilla del mundo. Por eso, y por las alegrias que nos traera en el futuro a Granada y a Espana, debemos conseguir que la Alhambra acabe entre las 7 primeras y sea proclamada una de las nuevas Siete Maravillas del Mundo.

Vota ahora mismo a la Alhambra en

Pasa este mensaje a todos tus contactos a ver si entre todos conseguimos que la Alhambra quede entre las 7 primeras.