Go Pepe Go Posts

September 1, 2010

I almost made it. Until two days before my return flight to England, I had not been mugged since my last update. What a wonderful swan song for South America, I thought; it would be nice to leave on a high. Instead, I broke a new record: two mugging attempts in two days, both in the same city, Buenos Aires. So, what savage attacks did I encounter this time? The one on the final day was a wonderful parallel of the Quito experience, albeit sans the excrement. Whilst passing by the intersection dividing Florida Av with Peru Av (one of…

Read on...Brute Force

August 17, 2010

San Pedro Prison is located in central La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. Approximately 80% of the inmates are imprisoned for drug related purposes; the remainder have often committed more serious crimes, including murder. The exterior of the prison is unremarkable. In fact, it looks roughshod and decaying. What makes San Pedro Prison unique, however, is what lurks inside. The outer perimeter is secured by armed guards; inside, the prisoners run riot (sometimes literally). Guards do not step foot inside. The prison is controlled by the prisoners. The result is fascinating. It functions as a microcosm of society – a…

Read on...My San Pedro Prison Experience

July 23, 2010

In 1970, the captain of England´s football team, Bobby Moore, was arrested in Colombia under the false premise that he had stolen an expensive bracelet from a jeweller. In retrospect, he probably got off lightly. When I was in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, something worse – much, much worse – happened. I was walking around the Old Town; an area renowned for archaic architecture. It was midday. I was near the Plaza Grande which could be called Quito´s equivalent to Trafalgar Square. In other words, it is the centre of the city, bustling with tourists and, supposedly, security. So,…

Read on...Shit Happens!

July 8, 2010

The border crossing from Venezuela into Colombia was seamless. Here are a few observations of the politik sort: This is the first border crossing I have encountered which was entirely optional. You could just walk from one side to the other. Actually, had I taken a taxi or bus, it would have driven straight through the crossing, so I would not have even had the option. The administrative buildings were set aside and whether you have your passport stamped or not is up to your own volition. Thus, A to the J’s advice from the previous post that I ought…

Read on...Politik

July 6, 2010

It´s a mugger´s game

So, Venezuela was not as dangerous as I was led to expect: I have not been murdered even once. Yet.

However, due to the constant scaremongering peddled by locals, danger appeared to lurk around every corner. And indeed, it was only a matter of time before something serious happened.

Here is the scene: I was walking alongside a busy road – something resembling a dual-carriageway – in Central Caracas. It was 14:00. The sun was glowing and there appeared to be nothing to fear.

Read on...It´s a mugger´s game

March 8, 2010

Hello all, For one last time, I would just like to thank you for all the support you gave me. I met my target by running the marathon in under four hours by finishing at 3:59:19. Considering that I am usually late for my appointments, it was nice to be on time for once. The beginning of the marathon was disconcerting. For starters, even before the race began, there appeared to be a devout group of people whom are best referred to as the Bin-Liner Brigade. Even if there was a possibility of rainfall (which fortunately did not materialise), I…

Read on...Remember You’re a Womble – Barcelona Marathon

August 29, 2008

Travelling overland through China, one encounters an array of bathrooms. Do not envisage thrones replete with trinkets or sinks with saps, sanitizers and moisturisers. A sink is a luxury; soap, a myth reserved for Western movies. Yet, despite the disdain in having to clench your fists and discard your dignity, there is often no alternative. This is egregiously acute on long-distance bus journeys. The problem however is that hygiene abruptly becomes subordinated behind other concerns in such circumstances. Bulging bladders are placed on a pedestal of priority, yet, even such discomfort cannot conceal the horror – the sheer moral degradation…

Read on...Analyse This, Freud

August 2, 2008

Take me back to Thailand. At least there, the buses played Western movies, regardless of how crass (Terminator Three was particularly popular whilst I was there in 2005). In China, different rules apply. Maybe it is because tourism is catered towards a domestic market, or perhaps, that they believe their own movies are of a permissible standard. Indeed, the ones which I have been exposed to are professional productions, replete with suspenseful scores, climatic sequences and astute directing. The problem however is that the Chinese media always appears to be imbued with a strong sense of nationalistic self purpose. Most…

Read on...Agit(ated)-Prop

July 25, 2008

What the next hour, or two, shall entail is daunting. Negligence is not an excuse, but a fact. Every day, if only for a matter of seconds, I contemplated updating this blog. But as the content increased, so did my apathy, for fear of how long it would take to complete. So, without further ado, let’s begin. At some point, the pollution cleared, the smog disappeared (visibly that is, as, even during the Olympics, it will still linger in the air) and sun began to twinkle. That is irrelevant however. I must not digress; I must persist in writing only…

Read on...BALZ-er

June 27, 2008

Innately, I have restrained myself from beginning this new travelling chapter with ‘So it Begins’. This is not beginning, but rather, continuing; whether from last summer or, indeed, my gap year, abandoning Manchester (again) feels more like a resumption of past endeavours than the generation of a new frontier. Thus, let me begin: And so it continues. [MEDIA=1]Click for audio enhancement. The film is rolling. And, like the third take of the same scene, little has changed. The night before I was due to depart, I had yet to pack. Why bother? I had only been home for two days…

Read on...Take Three