Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Mexico City

I got back from Mexico City just a couple of days ago. 20 mln people, all in one city. One of the most impressive things on this trip was the descent on the plane and seeing an endless concentration of urban activity, spreading over miles of flatland and mountains. I took two side trips, one to Teotihuacan and the other to Acapulco, which allowed me to see the city's outskirts both north and south. Again, the suburbs just would not end and their density did not change into anything resembling suburbia, but remained concentrated right until the last street. The city bustles with activity day and night - it's really like an ocean of people in constant motion. The metro system works remarkably well, though it does get packed at peak times. I heard they use those people-squash pushers like in Japan to fit as many people as possible when the traffic is high. The system is so vast that you can easily spend an hour or two sitting (though more often standing) on the metro.

The diversity of Mexico City's neighborhoods reminds of that of London or NYC, but are still far less commercial and more crowded with side-street stalls and tilted churches. I did not feel threatened at any point and people there were really welcoming and helpful, though not as English-speaking as I expected. We stayed with a Venezuelan/Chilean family, which had moved there about 3 months ago. Great exhibitions, Chilean wine, and delicious food were only some of the highlights of our stay there.

Oh yeah, feel free to check out my Mexico photo album here...

Friday, 15 June 2007

Paul Potts

What can I say, I've never been into or watched Idol or Talent (if that's the name of this show), but I've been getting emails with links to this guy and well, he is pretty impressive for what it is.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Not so bad after all...

Bringing up baby
Jun 14th 2007
From Economist.com

EUROPE'S demographic picture has long been painted as one of low fertility and a declining population. But according to Jitka Rychtarikova of the Charles University in Prague, there is a demographic tale of two Europes. From Scandinavia to France, countries' populations are recovering and childbearing is increasing. Indeed, France and Ireland are reaching the magic replacement-level fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman in a lifetime. By contrast, from the Mediterranean through to eastern Europe, low fertility rates and ageing populations still abound. Various measures appear to encourage having more babies, from flexible working hours to removing the stigma from illegitimacy.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Just a taste of it...

Here we go, the London Olympics team has finally given us what I guess was at least intended to be a pleasant prelude to the whole monstrous event. Having sat through the underground train delays, taken bus replacement routes, and generally thought of emigrating for a while from London for the time of the Olympics, you would think that at least the symbol I'm might be seeing all over London for the next 5 years would be designed to be more visually pleasing. There have actually been reports of people having epileptic seizures upon seeing the logo! (You can read about it here...)

With London having more than enough tourism as it is, I can't think of what the city will be like when thousands of people will arrive and behave pretty much as the British do in eastern Europe - which is watch sports with too much alcohol and drugs while effortlessly making the lives of the day-to-day Londoners that much more to get through. As though this wasn't enough, all of us getting through the construction and the dubious entertainment of the Olympics tourists, will also have to cover the bill at the end of the day. Yay!

I can't even imagine what the public transport will be like around that time either, as it is not much fun to be on the underground in the summer as it is considering both the amount of people trying to breathe in the same space and the novelty-free approach of the tube management to provide any wider scale cooling system. So far the only 'hot weather advice' is "Carry a bottle of water with you and, if you are feeling unwell, contact a member of station staff who will be able to help. Water will be available to passengers if it is needed." Luke-warm water anyone?
By the way, I've added a new album with some of my May 2007 London pics. Feel free to check them out!

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Two Stupid Dogs

These are some of my all-time favorite cartoons, which my brother and I (perhaps regrettably) grew up on...

On the other side

Hi everyone, I'm back and this blog is officially still being written! I made it through the hellish few too many trips from Budapest and am now recuperating from yet another case of bronchitis. I took a train from Budapest to Krakow to see my parents, a day later another train up to Warsaw where I saw my dear brother, a day later a flight to Amsterdam, and a dose of antibiotics later yet another flight, this time an 11 hour one to the heart of Texas. I've really come to not expect too much upon boarding a plane or train. It's kind of like getting into a really long tunnel with high traffic - you just hope you get out in one piece, when becomes a little less important.

I shall keep y'all (as they'd say it here) up to date with my 'adventures' here...