Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The much anticipated sex museum gallery (Shanghai) is up.


Friday, November 21, 2008

San Francisco - Travels Without My Camera

...once stateside, I soon realised, SF was a tougher challenge than I could have imagined. From the straight-up grandeur of the Golden Gate to the calligraphic chaos of Chinatown, from the Tex-Mex melee of Mission, to the venerable Victoriana of Nob Hill, California's hipster capital is a very lonely place without your digital camera. And it's not just the beautiful stuff that begs to be photographed either, it's the crassness and kitsch too: the pirate themed cutlery shop called 'Here be knives,' the hick tourists posing for their obligatory Golden-Gate-in-the-background shot and trying so hard not to be discomfited by the adjacent gay couple...Believe me, when you've just quit smoking, you can smell tobacco everywhere.

Moreover, I started to notice how many other people were taking photos really badly - dammit, I was just itching to jump in and say 'No, you don't want to do that...' For instance there was this guy desperately trying to take that perfect but perfectly dull-photo of Alcatraz. Yet just to his left a grossly obese couple were walking a pair of greyhounds in front of no less than three fast food outlets. It was a great all American shot, yet it was also quintessentially SF (for they were lesbians). And here my man with the flashy Olympus was, squandering his energies on replicating a postcard.

Worse still, for someone trying to get the photographic monkey off his back, temptation was everywhere. DIGITIAL CAMERAS - ONLY $39! screamed a sign; I have to admit, I was tempted... Or how about a disposable camera? Just the one, go on. Or even the camera in my phone? I found myself reaching for that several times. But the pictures are so awful it's no substitute - a bit like drinking cough syrup when you really want heroin...

Continue reading Travels without My Camera


Saturday, June 12, 2004

Slow Coach

With no volcano to climb and with the beauty contest but a lingering memory, there wasn't much to do in Legazpi. So I left in the most leisurely fashion possible. That is, I decided to get the train. Apart from Manila's metros, the Philippines has exactly one train line, a single narrow gauge track which extends about 400km south from Manila to Legaspi (you can spell it both ways). To say that this railway is slow is an understatement: every day one train runs each way sometimes they reach the terrifying speed of 30 kilometres per hour.

I took the train to the next big town up the line, Naga. My carriage was about an eighth full and took about four hours, twice what a bus would. The only compelling reason to take it, as the woman opposite me said, is 'to count the coconut palms.' For some reason, people tend to get all misty eyed about rail and kick up an awful fuss when governments close lines, but the only people I can see mourning this one are a few dedicated rail nuts who also like to count palms. It will doubtless soon be a piece of history - and the sooner the better.

I'd gone to Naga because it had a volcano which, unlike Mayon (see last post) was in a state of quiescence and therefore climbable. But first I had to find a hotel. Actually the room I found - and there were not many - was recommended to me by the guide I was going to take up a volcano. It cost slightly less than two pounds and, I suppose represented some sort of value for money. But if I could have found somewhere that cost ten or even 20 times as much, believe me, I would have stayed there. The only thing my hotel had going for it was a front desk that was unhelpful to the point of being faintly amusing. Indeed, while I climbed the volcano, the woman there helpfully sent my laundry on a 48-hour grand tour of the Bicol peninsula. (I would later locate my smalls by dialing a number on a free biro that I'd been given.)


The next day, rather before the crack of dawn, my guide Toping arrived at my jail of a hotel. We set out in a Jeepney and, presently we arrived at a village in the middle of nowhere, hard by a rather nice jungle-clad volcano, Mt Isarog. Most of the mountains here create their own weather systems; with so much moisture in the air anything about 1200 wears a nice little sombrero of cloud from about 9am onwards. For the casual hiker this means that you will trek for three hours in blistering heat, then two in a climate rather like a cold rainy English April.

Anyhow, volcano climbing in the Philippines is a bit like a five-hour work in a Turkish bath full of saw grass and leeches. Every couple of years I feel obliged to go into the jungle and remind myself that, much as I approve of conserved tropical forests in principle, in practice, I don't really want to play. It really makes you appreciate the fortitude (or cussed stupidity) of the Japanese soldiers here, who, not realizing World War II was over, hid out in Philippine jungles until most of them were logged in the 1980s (largely to satisfy the Japanese appetite for hardwood).

Despite being something of an SAS survival course, at the top it was rather pleasant. At a mere 20-25C (rather than the 35C at the bottom), it was cool, limpid and very wet. Indeed, the air was so damp that moss and plants grew everywhere - on tree trunks, on vines and so on - making the area look a bit like something out of Lord of the Rings. I fancied that if I stayed up there for long, they'd probably start taking roots in my damp crevices. Toping and I shot the soggy breeze for a while up there. I liked him. He was funny, his English was pretty good, he wasn't religious and he was 26 and had no kids. His first love appeared to be his mobile phone and he sent upwards of 100 texts per day. The Philippines needs a lot more people like him.

Getting down was about as much fun as getting up. The mountain was so wet and steep it was a bit like a mudslide except that these are not normally full of boulders the size of dogs. Having got to the top scratched to hell, I got to the bottom also bruised to hell, from falling over on average once every hundred vertical metres. Anyone who thinks that jungles are great obviously doesn't spend much time in then. Just to keep things interesting we then went swimming in the sea, where I added jellyfish stings to my woes. Despite this, I actually enjoyed myself - it's true I really did. It did occur to me on the way back that perhaps I like suffering and there's something a bit weird about me.

Eating Out (of necessity)

Back in Naga and smelling like a rugby player's jockstrap, I asked Toping where he'd recommend I eat. He said that a joint called Chilli Peppers was the best for the local cuisine - which is legendary for its fieriness. Toping was right -Chilli Peppers was indeed the best local restaurant. But this is a bit like saying someone is the best high-jumping midget.

I have now eaten Filippino grub everywhere from high end restaurants to village huts. I have snacked at street stalls, fed at fast food joints and been to the best of local restaurants; I have explored almost every culinary dead-end this country has to offer. It is all crap. My guidebook says that the Philippines has "a rich and varied cuisine." Which cretin wrote this crap? Someone who has lived on nothing but Mother's Pride and cherryade all their lives? A typical menu involves a lot of deep fried stuff, a lot of bits of pig, few of them very nice and a few long-stewed, short flavoured veggie dishes. Even the fish is nearly all deep fried in palm oil, thus obviating any taste and nutritional value it might have. There is also a dark, almost black dish which I am too gutless to try. Perhaps I lack the guts because the dish almost certainly doesn't doesn't.

Anyway Toping was right. At Chilli's I scored a plate of fish that had been cooked in an tolerable semi-sweet sauce, and with served rice, some of that frozen dolly mixture veg and, weirdly, a single scoop of instant mashed potato. It was one of the better dishes I've eaten. I remember a while back reading a Paul Theroux book where he opined that he really couldn't care less about foreign food. At the time I'd thought this rather odd, even a bit Philistine. But he was travelling in sub-saharan Africa which is not noted for its cusisine either. Now I totally understand - eating has actually become a chore.

Any port in a storm

After Naga, I got a sweaty bus through lush and steamy mountains for six hours and was eventually dumped in Lucena, a port city from which I hoped to get the ferry to the island of Marinduque. Time was tight, the last boat was leaving soon and the owner of a Jeepney (a sort of bus-cum jeep, which seats around twenty) said that I wouldn't make it - unless I hired his entire bus. So I did: my own bus for a half-hour journey for two quid. Transport in this country is, for some reason, far cheaper than anything else. And, by local standards, this man was taking me for a ride.

Just as we were about to pull out a woman jumped on board. She said needed do go to the port too: could she come along? Of course, I replied. We chatted a bit, her English was reasonable; she was called 'Baby' (not an uncommon name) and she was plump with a lot of missing teeth. She also had a letter from a religious organization stating that transport companies should allow her to travel for free as she had some sort of problem, though it didn't specify what it was. I was about to find out.

The jeepney ride was too noisy to hear that much of what she was saying, although I did notice that she laughed a lot. As we got off at a dusty bustling port, she asked me where I was going. 'Marinduque,' I replied. 'Me too,' she said. This was the first point at which I thought 'Uh-oh...' But then I went to buy my ticket thinking that her curious letter would never get her on.

Well, it did. Just as I was spreading and relaxing out for the four hour journey I heard 'Hello Rhyner!!! I'm coming with you.' At this point I twigged that she was perhaps a little mad. Her fair command of English and occasionally perceptive questions had made me think that she was weird, though not totally barking. But I soon realised it's entirely possible to be crazy and bi-lingual. Running around the boat pretending to be an airplane is a kind of universal shorthand for being crackers if you're over ten years old.

I spent the rest of wearily listening to a stream of constant questions, some lucid, some bonkers, letting her read my copy of Vanity Fair, then use it as a hat, a mask, a bird, etc... A local army guy asked me several hundred times where I found my girlfriend (each time wetting himself laughing; he was as bad as she was) then, rather memorably she asked me what the freckles on my arm were before trying to pick them off one by one. There is no polite way of telling someone to 'leave my f--king pigment alone.' As the boat moored in Marinduque's harbour she stood on the bench and loudly told anyone who'd listen 'We're going to Boac [the island's capital] together.'

As you can imagine, by this stage, any charitable thoughts I might have had were long gone - I couldn't care less in the community. Rather I was scooping hard for the boat's exits and even considering swimming for it. The ferry lowered its off- ramp and I was poised, coiled like a sprinter on his starting blocks. I gained the dock and then... 'Hello Rhyner...' Oh Christ, I thought, she's never going to go... And then she said 'I am going this way now. Bye bye.' With that she zoomed off, this time more like a helicopter, into the crowd that had gathered to meet the boat and was gone. I guess that's the good thing about nutters: you never know what they're going to do next.


Sunday, June 06, 2004


We bounced into Legaspi's airport cum airstrip and, I immediately thought, well, this is a bit more like it. The sun was shining, it was scorching (at 10am) and the volcano was looking good. The volcano, of course is Mt Mayon, the world's most perfect volcano (tm). In all fairness the WMPV is a pretty arresting sight. At 2500m, it's not especially high as mountains go, but the thing is it rises to this height from sea-level. It is also exactly, geometrically perfect, just as the people promise. So, hats off to Mt Mayon. It's worth a 45 minutes flight just to enjoy its pleasing cone shape.

At the airport a taxi driver tried to charge me twenty times the going rate setting a new record for rip-offs. I probably would have taken him down by half, and congratulated myself on a deal well struck, but a voice behind me said. ‘No, it should be P40, not P800’. This was Hoji, a Japanese Aid worker. So I shared a tri-cab with him and wound up staying at his hotel.

Once ensconced in Jennifer's Garden Apartments I headed downtown. You quickly realize that Legaspi is not much of a tourist destination. 'Are you a missionary?' people kept asking. I had to say that no I wasn't. 'Are you Andre Agassi?' they then asked. I am assuming that this was not a reference to my on court prowess.

Mission Out

Anyway, pretty soon I had bumped into some real life missionaries. I was wondering what missionaries were doing in these parts. After all, if anything the Philippines has a surfeit of religion; it is things pretty much as the Catholic Church would like them. But these guys were Mormons. I guess their pitch was that instead of having eight kids, you could have eight wives.

Anyhow, they seemed nice enough. So I asked them how long they'd been in town. About two years they said. Great I replied, could you tell me where I can find information on climbing the volcano? Nope. OK, could you tell me where a man might get a decent meal in these parts, a good restaurant? Nope. Perhaps a good cup of coffee. Nope...then he blessed me.

What it must be to be so utterly incurious about everything. I guess that's what happens when God has all the answers. Later I bumped into the older of the missionaries again, in a hairdressers where I noted that the Lord had blessed him with a fine rug, like a young David Hasslehoff, in sharp contrast to my rather sparse and Godless covering. After my haircut he blessed me again, rather harder this time.


Mountains are not there to be looked at, so I set about finding a guide to climb the comely volcano. He was called Emille and seemed a bang up sort of chap. We struck a price and I gave him a 10% deposit. After sitting out a tropical cloudburst trapped in a Dunkin Doughnuts (retribution for not enjoying my double blessing) I went back to the hotel. There I told the manager I was going to climb Mayon. She gave me a funny look and told me to phone the volcano observatory.

The VO told me I was welcome to climb the WMPV if I signed a waiver saying that my death was my own fault. The WMPV was on alert level 2 he said, adding that alert level 3 meant lava was coming out of the top and level 4 meant that anyone within ten kilometers should run like hell. The WMPV was not to be trifled with, he said, adding that Mayon had killed several hundred people over the last five years, many of them stupid enough to be climbing it during periods of heightened alert…

So I phoned up my guide. 'You didn't tell me that the friggin' volcano was limbering up for another explosion,' I said.
'Who told you that,' he asked.
'Professor volcano at the volcano observatory.' I replied.
'What does he know, he is not a climber.'
'No, f-kwit, he is a vulcanologist.'
'But he is not a climber...'
Eventually I just put the phone down on him, decided to forget about my deposit and looked forward to the day when he tried to climb some lava.

Naturally I was saddened. There's not much to do in Legspi apart from love the volcano and, at the moment it was smoking a little but hardly erupting. I briefly visited the Cassaga ruins, the bell-tower of a Catholic church near the base of Mayon. Here, in 1814, 1200 people sheltered in the church while the volcano did its thing. In this case its thing involved burying the church in lava and killing everyone inside. It is a highly illustrative example of both the destructive power of volcanoes and the practical limitations of religious faith.

Bikini Atoll

Still not all was lost: luckily my hotel was staging the Bikini Babes 2004 competition that very evening! Building on the success of BB 2003 this was aiming to find Legaspi's most beautiful babe in a bikini. Entrants had to be between 16 and 20 and over five foot tall.

Hoji and his friend June (another Japanese guy) were there as was Rane, a local friend of Hoji's. I liked Rane - she was a law student of 24 and a lively conversationalist – she certainly had something about her, possibly the fact that she looked about 15. I think Hoji liked Rane too, in a rather more fervent way. Sadly I don't think she liked him back. Hoji was one of those slightly fastidiously plump men that babes (bikini or otherwise) just do not dig. June was funnier and more insouciant; I thought he might have a chance. He wasn't actually interested, which is probably why.

Anyhow, our hosts for the night were the local radio hosts Romeo Tango and Rick Shadow. And our sponsors were Colt 45 beer, Chuck Norris Converse trainers and Levis. Rick and Romeo had quite a rapport going, much of which went like this.

RT: 'Whoaa dude. These girls are so hot, so hot they're sizzling tonight. Me too. I'm so sizzling I need a Colt 45 to cool down... You must be excited too Rick.'

RS: 'Yeah man, so excited I did not sleep for two nights. I spent the whole time drinking Colt 45 beer in my Chuck Norris trainers and Levis jeans.'

And so it went. The lovely ladies paraded and were awarded Chuck Norris trainers for their troubles. There was a beer drinking competition. 'These men are not drunkards, they just love Colt 45 every day.' So much in fact that the winner later left his Colt 45 all over the hotel restrooms.

Sing along a ding dong

The Christina Viva, who had been chain smoking at the judges table got up to sing. Christina was one of the Viva girls a sort of Philippino sub Spice Girls act. In her favour she was a lot better looking than any of the spices. Though, in her disfavour, her singing was no better as was evidenced by her attempt to sing a Dido song without the aid of backing music.

Then Christina asked for volunteers from the audience. Uh-oh, obvious foreigner, I thought, trying to blend into a potted palm. Hoji was picked. He ran and hid, the coward. June was picked. He rose to the challenge. It really was only a matter of time. Christina’s pretty eye landed on me and I cast my lot with June.

Christina explained that we were to dance with her, while she sung a song about groping. We had to do a routine which involved miming booby gropes, butt pats and pelvic thrusting. Well, I can't dance and moreover, I had never seen Christina's song before. I did my best; I fear it was not good enough. Still, June and Christina did pretty well. I provided a sort of comedy third man. It was a new high water mark in public humiliation.

Judgment day

Shaming over, I rejoined the audience to smirks and sniggers for the final judging, courtesy of Colt, Chuck Norris and Levis. 'Well Rick I think we can agree that all the girls are beautiful' 'Yes Romeo, I would have sizzling erection in my Levis if only I hadn't drunk so much Colt 45.'

After much agonizing (and the mysterious disappearance of the one plump entrant) the results were announced. Third was number 1, a lovely girl, but only 16, making her, pleasingly, barely legal bikini babe. Second was the averagely pretty number 12. The winner was number six my personal favorite who wanted to be an airhostess. She made a short, but touching speech about how the world would be a better place if we all drank more Colt45 and wore Chuck Norris Trainers.

We congratulated the winner, who once off the stage looked like adolescent she still was, then Hoji, June and I hung with Christina for a while. She was an odd mixture of pop-star player and small town girl, done up in that Christina/Britney/hooker look. I had no doubt she'd be absolutely awful in a year or two, but she was quite sweet right now - and she chain-smoked so prettily. Needless to say such a stellar gathering attracted the local press and Hoji, June, Christina, number 6 Rick Romeo and I will doubtless be gracing the front of the Legazpi Gazette next week or who knows, even advertising Colt 45 and Chuck Norris shoes.


Friday, June 04, 2004

Manila Thriller.

Manila is not much of a tourist destination. I knew this already, but hey, you live in hope. I mean, Phnom Pen is associated mainly with brutal genocide, but it's a pretty nice place with some cool barsAnyhow, I got my first hint of quite how far Manila is off the average itinerary at Hong Kong Airport.

I'd spent an uneventful flight from Londonenlivened only by the necking of the couple next to me. This wasn't actually as bad as it sounds. For starters, when they weren't playing tonsil hockey, they were actually pretty nice people. Plus, they were uncommonly good looking. He was tall and rugged while she was like a rangier, more amazonian Winona Ryder (this is good thing). When people are this pulchritudinous, you can almost forgive their public canoodles.

Then I changed flights. And, not only did I have the entire row to myself, but I was one of three westerners on the plane. One was a youngish British guy who was married to a Filippino. He was patronising his wife like you couldn't believe, talking to her like an unpleasant father might to a five year old. It looked like a mail order marriage that that needed returning to sender. The other was an American who got rather upset about my putting my rucksack next to his laptop in the luggage locker. So upset in fact that I felt obliged to tell him my bag was full of porn and viruses.

Flying into Manila, you start to see why people stay away. It even looks poor and swampy from the air. You come in over Laguna de Bay, a lake on the south side, whose horrendous pollution is visible from the air. The whole place looks rich in water and mosquito-borne diseases. I'd also heard it was pretty dangerous, with knifings a local specialty.

Actually it's not that awful: it's just a bit...well, there's no compelling reason to be there. Like most Philippine cities, it looks like America would if it was poor. And not in a romantuc sort of way either, just rampant consumerism without much money. I was staying in an area which looked like Soho might if all the buildings were mildewed and crumbling and the sewers overflowing.

My hotel was OK. It had a starbucks at the front of its garden for some reason, but given the usual quality of coffee in these parts, this is not the negative it might at first appear. Along with the coffee it also boasted a gay guy who fancied me. He told me I was handsome. I thanked him and told him I was married. He grabbed my arm and replied imploriningly that 'this is the worst day of my life.' It is an interesting - and, for me, entirely inexplicable - fact that the two groups who find me most attractive are foreign swishes and women over 45. This is my gift; I just wish I would re-wrap it and give it to someone else. In the meantime, I might set up a coaching service for bi-sexuals who fancy older women: 'No...say it like this...'

Shock of the cock

Having slept off 60% of my jet lag, I woke for an early breakfast at a pleasant, but surprisingly overpriced restaurant opposite the hotel. There I fell into a lively conversation with the waiter about cockfighting, one of the Filippino national sports. I think this was somewhat to the the disgust of the British woman next to me, Valerie.

Naturally I passed this off as being interested 'y'know, in the cultural aspect of it, the fact that it's such an obsession here.' She seemed mollified by this excuse for my bloodthirstiness (and it's only half a lie, I just happen to enjoy watching the sunday roast kick its best mate to death, too) and we fell into conversation. She was a granny who had sold her house and was spending her retirement travelling - and quite impressively. She'd been all over the shop - depite a badly athritic knee - and picked up a whole lab full of nasty tropical maladies.

Anyway, having eloborately sketched directions to the local cock-pit, the waiter told me that there were no cock-fights that day, so I went back to the hotel and booked a car to the nearest volcano. On the way to my car, I bumped into Valerie so I invited her along.

Volcan do

Although the Taal volcano doesn't look like much on a map, situated as it is, just beyond the southern fringes of Manila's endless sprawl, it's a pretty casual geological formation in real life. The main crater - so vast it doesn't look like a crater - has a huge lake it in it. In the middle of the lake there is an island with the new volcano on it.

Scattered all around this rather stunning, verdant vista are the blingin' weekend retreats of Manila's wealthy elite. Money has certainly not bought them taste, although it has bought them nice gardens. The Philippinos are great gardeners and garden centres line the road, while tropical blooms scent the air. This, combined with the gaudy architecture gives the whole a sort of Dallas meets the Chelsea flower show feel. It's not disagreeable.

Having lunched in Leslie's restuarnt on the rim (great view, great name), where Valerie displayed an unexpected talent for puddings, we headed down into the crater, where we hired a boat and struck out for the island. Twenty drenched minutes later we were on its blackly volcanic beach.

It is normal here to take horses up, but as a horse allergy sufferer, I alas cannot. So I elected to walk, after having told my boatman for about 15 minutes that, no, I didn't want to give him more money to act as a guide on a trail I about as obvious as a motorway. I do believe that, when in tourist spots, one should behave as a tourist. That is, not find the cheapest possible way to do everything, a la Lonely Planet - and put something back into the local economy. However, when someone you've already paid (and fairly handsomely) starts whingeing at you to accept a service you neither want nor need, you do feel the local economy is taking the piss.

Perhaps mindful of the gay chap from the night before, I decided to run up the volcano in 34 degree heat to reinforce my manly credentials. It took half an hour and earned me a lot of odd looks, but no-one made a pass at me. At the top, the views across the lake are rather splendid (still no unwanted advances) and you can also see another caldera and within it another lake, with its own tiny island. This makes the small island..wait for it an island, within a lake, within an island, within a lake, within an island (Luzon). Somewhere in the US, they claim to have the highest order of this phenomenon, but I think the Taal volcano may just have the edge in what is a rather pointless set of geographic coincidences. I suppose to be really sure, someone could dig a pond in the smallest island.

Somewhat knackered and sporting a pair of blisters from my volacano running I returned to Manila for my tenth sub-adequate meal, the Philippines being the exception to SE Asia's normal great grub rule. Local stuff is bad and so are the imports. This rough repast was a pizza of rather egregious cheesiness at a place called Bar Havana. It was, I suppose authentically Latin American inasmuch as their pizzas are awful, but verisimilitude is not necessarily a good thing.
The waitress gave me a brief burst of excitement by greeting me with 'Hola Que tal?' Cool, I thought, someone who speaks Spanish, so I replied "Muy bien chica, hablas espangnol, me tambien..." Before realising that she habla'd only 'Hola, que tel;' because she worked at Bar Havana. No hay mas parablas.

Stereotype you like

No matter - my meal was further enlivened by my table being being between to other sets of foreigners, who, as it turned out were staying at my hotel. I briefly thought there could be some conversation here, but no. Proving that you should never underestimate how useful stereotyping is, the two Germans behind me were reassuringly, inflexibly rude.

The trio of Americans in front were rather more three dimensional than this, being stupid, rude and loud. They also had a way of describing stuff like they'd only just realised things could be like this, e.g. "Gee, if people's parents aren't rich and they give them SUVs and Gold Amexes they have to walk everywhere and clean the streets for a living.' Well, I would love to think that this note of permanent surprise in these borderline-retarded apercus was some sort of clever rhetorical device. But, I fear these epiphanies were as genuine as they sounded. What it is to be an moron - every day with the shock of the new.

The next day I cabbed out to Manila airport while my driver chatted about the various nationalities. He told me that he too found that the abovementioned stereotypes were a good guide. Rather charmingly the Philippines recieve so few British tourists that he had yet to divine our national stereotype. But he needn't worry...with San Miguel at 16p a bottle and cheap airlines aplenty it's only a matter of time.

Then we moved on to the Phlippinos. I said that I found them very friendly; this is true, they are probably the friendliest people on earth. He agreed, adding that they were emotionally sensitive and romantic, to a man. Was he romantic, I asked. Oh yes, he replied: he was 31 and had eight kids.

Departure loungeing

Manila's airport is no great cop (and the food is dreadful - a brie, ham and jam sandwich for breakfast) but it does have on notable innovation. For a sliding scale starting at a fiver, they offer a pre-flight massage. Well, I had twenty minutes to kill, so I scored a massage in the departure lounge: it was friendly, emotional and senstive.

Then it was time to leave. Fairwell Manila, it was, well, fair. In keeping with General McArthur's famous Philippine bon mots, 'I shall return' but only to pick up my girlfriend at the airport.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Exciting news: I am off to the Philippines in about a week. Exciting for me? Why yes - it is a stylish and rather dangerous nation with health warnings slapped all over it and a slim, but present chance of getting kidnapped. Exciting for you? Marginally less so: you get to drink deep of my drivel from this fount of adequacy. Posts should start appearing after 2/6/04.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I'm back now and have been rather busy; hence I haven't really finished this bit which should really have another couple of entries. Still, there's loads of nice new photos, which are a lot easier than words anyway. Why not take a look at them?