Thursday, September 29, 2005

Artemedio´s Deadly Sins

From a Mexican artist called Artemio Rodríguez, which I discovered on my good friend from Chile’s blog

Part of an old essay I found on my pc disk...

Historically it was religion which served as the medium by which people were formed. Christianity, Islam and most other religions were set up in order to shape their follower’s minds in a homogeneous way, in order to outline a behaviour, an identity which would coincide with that of their society. Commandments such as “Do Not Kill” or “Do Not Steal” are obvious attempts to create a society were every day interactions can occur. Modern religions, and before that ancient gods and beliefs, were the tools that allowed us to shape every generation’s identity in order to drag mankind out of the forest and in to the cities. The Bible, the Koran, the ancient Egyptian scriptures were all there to educate, to shape. They allowed peasants to live tiring lives by giving them hope of paradise, they gave the slaves the motivation to build the pyramids, they were the balm that soothed the minds of the poor and the oppressed throughout time. They were the fundamental force behind the creation of a collective societal identity.

To a certain extent, nowadays, religion has been replaced by science and culture, at least in the western world. It is no longer priests, religious tomes and temples which shape our identity, but politicians, movies and schools. With the advent of modern science we have begun to understand that our existence cannot be explained solely with gods and myths. We can no longer believe that a pharaoh is a god on earth because we have proved all men equal, we can no longer gaze at heaven because we now know it is only space. Our whole civilisation’s existential paradigm has been given a severe blow.

However, the way in which we attempt to impose a collective identity has remained quite unchanged. Whatever society has chosen to believe, society must imprint in it’s young. It is crucial for society as we know it, to impose its own understanding of life to its members, especially when young, in order to retain its significance. It is impossible to control men if they are bitterly opposed to what they are doing. Only by shaping our minds at an early age can society be sure that we will do what it needs. By making us believe that what it stands for is some absolute moral righteousness, we are cheated in to believing that if we rebel we are going against the cause of good.

The perfect tool for this modern brainwashing, is education. From an early age, when our minds are still malleable, we spend most of our time in school. We are consistently pushed towards a shared identity, day after day, forced to understand a vision of life society has chosen. If we do not comply, or do so too slowly, we are punished or penalised. Only once we agree with a set of predetermined moral obligations are we allowed to discuss and argue on minor issues. Month after month, year after year, our minds are force fed rules, beliefs, attitudes. We are told what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad. By the time we leave school, our minds are so packed with information, so brainwashed by ideas that it will be too late for us to develop an identity which is incongruous to society’s will. By the time we need to enter the world of work, we are perfect little clogs in society’s machinery, or at least that is the plan.

Harry Pothead

Yesterday was feeling quite ill so took a day off from work and spent the afternoon at home. I took advantage of this fact to start reading the latest Harry Potter book which I had previously downloaded from the web (I aint going to spend 30 euros on a Harry potter book after all). It was relatively pleasurable, though it is getting quite repetitive, but one there was one thing that left me a little confused.
In theory, in the latest book, Harry is in his second to last year of school and thus he must be at least sixteen or seventeen. Strangely, however, there seem to be a few things lacking in his life which, in contrast, characterized my late teens: sex, drugs and hard house.
There is a total lack of any kind of sexual activity in Hogsworth. No one seems to be getting laid or even getting close. I mean, it would be more interesting if Harry and Ron spit roast Hermione or if the little elf thing starts a bondage club with the some of the crazier students. If you also add magic to the mix some very interesting things could happen. Imagine what pleasure Hermione might be able to experience with a special enchanted dildo, for example.
Furthermore, the kids at the magic school do not seem to be as interested in drugs and alcohol as the kids in my school were. Harry could use his wand to make a stunning blonde appear and then turn her in to a spliff once he has had his fun. Or imagine the popularity of the enchanted never ending beer bottle!
In conclusion Rowling should have thought longer about what teenage kids are really interested in and have written the book accordingly to make it more realistically. Lacking that you can always check this out instead.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Leg Tattoo

By the way... A few months ago I gt a new tattoo done on my thigh. Yesterday my sister sent me a photo of it she took a few days after I got it done. Six hours of work, 400 pesos and this is the result.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Strange sign

I got this sign sent to me today. It translates as: Italy - Police Arrest Mother, Uncles, Grandparents: All Depraved. Havent managed to find out the story behind it though. If anyone has any clue let me know.

Chorros de Mierda!

Reading the Guardian today (like every morning) came upon this article:

The world's richest art institution knowingly bought scores of archeological treasures looted from Italy, it has been alleged.
Despite being warned as far back as 1985 that dealers were selling stolen goods, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles continued to buy them. The practice continued for so long that, according to the museum's internal review, almost half the masterpieces in its antiquities collection are likely to have been acquired illegally.
Getty officials spent $10.2m (£5.7m) in 1985 to acquire three objects taken from ruins near Naples, despite being warned that the purchase was in clear defiance of Italy's "cultural patrimony" laws, which state that all artifacts discovered after 1902 are government property;
That the museum purchased an ancient urn for $42,000 despite being told that the Italian police were looking for it;
That it spent $18m in 1988 on a statue of Aphrodite dating back to 400BC which was probably the centerpiece of a Greek temple in southern Italy, even though officials were suspicious of the dealer's explanation about where it came from.

Bloody Bastards!! And I bet that nothing will happen to them like usual. Like the time two US pilots killed a dozen people while trying to fly their jet plane beneath the cable of ski lift because of a bet, the time the two Texan girls got drunk and set on fire a Roman Hotel (killing a few) and the last episode when US soldiers tried to murder our recently released hostage because she looked suspiciously like a Muslim!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back to the……Middle Ages

Supporters of the theory of evolution battle with proponents of "intelligent design" in a US court today in what is considered a crucial cultural duel for American education.
A group of parents in the small town of Dover, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is seeking to overturn a decision by the local school board insisting that intelligent design - the claim that complex organisms have been designed rather than evolved in response to natural selection - must be included in the curriculum
This is totally preposterous. I might as well argue that humans were created by a huge blue bunny that lives in the sky and thus we should venerate carrots or that we were created by a flying spaghetti monster (see post)
It seems to me that recently we are definitely going backwards and entering another dark age. Fundamentalist religion is once again raising its ugly head and threatening the well being of all us atheists. From suicide bombers sprouting like mushrooms in Muslim countries to wacko creationists declaring war on the world in the US, the world seems every day filled evermore with insane religious freaks. All we need now is people to start burning books and killing people on the stake and Torquemada would feel right at home.
Its like all that bollocks when the last pope died. We are talking about a man who says condoms don’t work, premarital sex is a deadly sin and that homosexuals will burn in hell and yet, they made it out as those he was some sort of saint. The current one is even worse! Last week he was on TV pontificating about how we should give more money to the poor and at the same time he had on his fingers enough gold rings to feed half of Africa. The day he sells his diamond encrusted throne and his half a million euro pope mobile I will start listening to what he says.
It is time the atheist hordes arise and overthrow our religious overlords. Long live our secular creed and thank god I am an atheist!

Poem about a Storm

Grumble, thunder, flash
Pause, grumble, splash
Shred, melodrama, patter, sun

Update on my resolution

Well, I promised you an update on last week’s resolution and here it is. All things considered I have achieved only a partial success but am still quite satisfied with the result.

Possibility 1 (The American Chick): Let’s start off with my only true success. Friday I went out with the Betty Boop look alike and shamefully tried to get her in to bed all evening. We went out for a meal where I did my best to make her drink as much red wine as possible while complementing her on her looks / intelligence all night. After a couple more drinks in a nearby bar I proposed we go back to my flat for a drink. She actually replied that she didn’t want to drink anymore but that she was happy to go back to my house to fuck (her words!). This took me a little by surprise but then again, who am I to argue?

Possibility 2 (The Receptionist): Well, this was a bit of a difficult one seeing as I actually quite like the girl and am looking for more of a relationship thing. Invited her out for lunch on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day and we went to la Recoletta and sat outside, chatting and drinking beer. Later we sat down on the grass and I kissed her. She seemed quite pleased so I continued and even brought her back to my flat. However, I had promised myself to take things slowly with her and thus, apart from some kissing and fondling, nothing happened.

Possibility 3 (The Older Bar Girl): This was my only failure. Actually it was more of a “no contest” seeing as I realized I have lost her number and thus was not able to call her. Oh well, not much of a loss anyway.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A night out in Wan Chai

Wan Chai is heaving. Countless people jostle past me, cars honk their horns in frustration while an old man sits smirking on a nearby wall. I smile warm-heartedly at him and he smiles back, his leathery face erupting in to a wide, toothless grin. I notice that Greg has left me behind so I start pushing and cursing until I catch up. We are headed for a nightclub called the Venus, which is a typical whore packed club where the drinks are not too expensive. We stop off to buy a couple of small chicken kebabs from an old woman standing behind a rusty grill and start walking again as we eat them. We finally get to the club and walk in. Clouds of acrid smoke drift to and fro, swirling around the room like phantoms. The noise of drunken chit chatter envelops me and I have to shove a few people aside to get to the bar. Greg orders some purple colored cocktail for himself and I settle for a pint of Stella. We look around trying to spot some cute girls but we are not in a hurry. Between Greg and I, we know most of the hookers here at least by sight. We find two stools and quickly pounce on them. We sit for a while chatting about Greg’s restaurant, Bush and the cold weather.
Slowly hookers start coming up to us to say hello and I chat for a while to one of the main mama sans. I seem to remember her name is Mali or something very similar. A mama san is basically the civilized version of a female pimp. Often, the more successful hookers, once they become a bit too old, decide to become mama sans. They approach the shier clients and propose various girls, negotiate prices and generally make sure that everything works out fine. They are more often than not very interesting people, open minded and engaging. We chat for a while longer, both laughing often and sincerely. In the end she tells me she has to abandon me in order to do some serious work. I smile at her, give her a peck on the cheek and tell her to call me if she does not find any customers tonight. She laughs, kisses me back and assures me she will call. Often, if a girl finds no work for the night, she will spend the night at a male friend’s house for free. This way, the girl gets to sleep in the city, avoiding the tiring trip back to Kowloon or Mong Kok and the male gets a free night of sex. It is exactly this kind of arrangement that Greg and I are planning to take advantage of tonight.
Several hours later I find myself quite drunk with four cute Thai girls in my arms. I know three of them from before but the fourth, which they tell me has just arrived to Hong Kong, is obviously unfamiliar. I have bought them all a couple of drinks and I sit on a stool, two girls in each arm, recounting some funny story. Every now and again I gently fondle a breast, stroke a leg or nibble on a perfumed lobe. I get plenty of jealous looks from older British men who are having difficulties finding girls but I mostly ignore them. To only one, who makes a particularly funny joke, do I smile and reply. I am having fun but I am getting quite tired. It is only three so the likelihood of convincing a girl to come home with me for free is unlikely. I weigh my possibilities in my mind. I can either call it a night and just go home and sleep. I can wait until five or six, when I will be more likely to get a free girl or, I can decide to be a little less stingy and fork out enough money to bring home one of the girls right now.
I pull the cutest girl, one of the three I know, closer and start whispering in her ear. I ask her to come back to my house. She giggles and asks for a thousand for two hours. I laugh uproariously and offer three hundred for all night. We argue for a while and finally settle on five hundred for all night. The other three girls leave, looking for someone else. I notice the Brit who made the funny joke earlier and I motion to the girls to go to him. They look at whom I am pointing to, smile at me one last time and then ambush him on the way to the toilets. I laugh as I seem him jump, clearly surprised, and then burst in to a toothy grin.
I turn back to the girl I have chosen and ask her real name. She tells me she is called Sumalee, which apparently means little flower. I buy her a last drink and we sit and chat as she finishes it off. I wonder where Greg is. I realize it is at least an hour that I have not seen him. When Sumalee finishes her drink we decide to leave. We get our coats and walk out in to the cold December night. I start flagging down a taxi but she tells me she would like to eat something first. We walk to one of the many stands that litter the streets of Wan Chai. I buy her something that looks like a glazed pineapple on a stick. She offers me a bite, which I courteously refuse. I watch her eat and am amazed by the dainty way she does this. She looks at me and suddenly I feel a burst of friendliness grasp me. I give her a big sloppy kiss on the cheek and we both laugh loudly. The old woman behind the smoking grill looks at us with a raised eyebrow but then she too laughs along with us.

Drinking at la Recoleta

Yesterday I was feeling a little melancholic (as you can see form the posts) and, thus, decided to try a trick which has often worked in the past. I decided to go to la Recoleta and get drunk by my self. I do not know why or how this trick works. One would think that getting extremely drunk by oneself would be a recipe for disaster, an invitation to fall in to drunken self pity and depression. And yet, for me, it works.
La Recoletta, one of Buenos Aires´ trendiest bar areas, was heaving last night. Thousands of students were taking advantage of the fact that it was national students´ day and there were no classes. Furthermore, yesterday was the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere and people were crowding the narrow streets enjoying the mild weather. It thus took me a while to find a suitably empty bar were I could sit and drink myself stupid in total comfort. The melancholic tones of tango music were wafting trough the air from a set of speakers, mingling with the exited tones of a football match coming from a beaten up TV in the furthest corner. I sat down, gently nursing my pint of beer, watching the crowds pass by. Streams of people going by like flocks of birds, molten lights bathing the streets with their warm glow, gentle notes wafting through the air like shifting smoke. I watched it all while getting progressively ever drunker and thinking about life until, finally, drunk and tired I went home to sleep.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Very Short Poem

Questions racing madly through my mind

Seeking answers they will not find

Doubt growing menacing and dark

Like the shadow of a circling shark

On the difficulty of writing blogs

Sitting down to write a post is a strange feeling indeed. One would like to write something beautiful or at least meaningful, something which people will read and say “How interesting!” or “How deep”. At the same time, however, one tries to write something which is also personal, somehow unique and inventive.
When I get home at night and finally take off my suit and tie, sometimes I sit on my couch listening to music and millions of thoughts chase themselves through my mind. Hundreds of brilliant ideas for new posts flash in to my head and explode in a symphony of wit, charm and originality. I sit there and think about how I can describe an event, gradually changing each line to make it sound better. This is particularly true on those evenings when I treat myself to a spliff. My imagination runs wild and I promise myself that come next morning I will put all these wonderful thoughts on my blog.Yet, when I actually sit down to write, my mind goes blank. All my exiting ideas disappear as though they were rain drops in the midday sun. The few thoughts I come up with are bland and recycled, my ideas boring and shallow. Even as I start to write, those few surviving ideas get mangled beyond recognition. I express them chaotically, with no logical order, and precious little humor. The beautiful river of imagination which only scant hours before was rushing through my mind has turned in to an insignificant trickle that barely wets the parched earth it runs across.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Al Qaeda, Please Bomb the Italian Consolate

Just wanted the vent the frustration I am feeling towards the Italian Consulate in Buenos Aires. I urgently need a certificate which only they can provide me with.
I went on their website three days ago and the first thing I find out is that their working hours consist of a massive four days a week from 9 to 11 in the morning. Knowing, this yesterday and today I have been calling non stop during those two hours.


Calls made: Close to 300
Busy tone: 200
Not Answering: 80
Hung up in my face: 5

Spent all my lunch hour daydreaming about the revenge I am going to take as soon as I have the time and energy.

Posibilty 1: Classic bollocking
Posibilty 2: Blackmail / Kidnapping
Posibilty 3: Arson / bomb attack
Posibility 4: Break in to tears and hope they suffer due to excessive empathy

On cats, mice and sex

I woke up this morning and decided to make myself a promise. Realized recently that I am quite good at picking up girls and getting their number but, often, I am terrible with the follow up. I have lost count of the number of girls with whom I failed to conclude after having got their number and attention.
Thus, this morning, decided to carry out a blitz this week and try to get the three girls I have been working on recently in to bed.
The first one is an American student which lives here and seems quite interested. Incredibly she reminds me of Betty Boop, the cartoon character from the 50´s, and in many ways might be the best bet to get in to bed.
My second possibility is Cristela, the receptionist, which I had a bit of a crush on. We have had lunch a few times but it would be a risk pushing too hard right away.
The third “victim” is a slightly older girl I met in a night club the other day who gave me her number. Out of the three she is the one that probably entails the least effort but, then again, the rewards would be the least as well.
Oh, well. I will give all three a try and let you all know Monday whether any worked out. The only problem is that the story about the cat that chased two mice and lost both of them keeps running through my mind.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Memorias de Mis Putas Tristes

I would like to signal a very pleasant book I read recently. When I found out, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author of One Hundred Years of Solitude had written a new book I was one of the first to buy it.
His new book is short and has proven to be surprisingly unpopular with the critics. I, however, found it sweet, well written and un-pretentious.
Set in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, Colombia in the 1950s, the book tells the story of a lonely 90-year-old man who decides to pay himself a night with a young virgin as a birthday present.
He returns to a brothel he once frequented, but instead of finding carnal pleasures, he discovers a renewed love of life and meets the love of his life
Beautifully written and poetic.

Two interesting blogs

On wealth and happiness

A couple of years ago I was walking around the centre of Rome, pushing myself through the masses of tourists and locals wandering around. Suddenly I stepped in to a gap in the crowd and in front of me, sitting slightly raised on the steps of an old church, was a man. This man in his late thirties was sitting there crying, his Armani suit silky and sleet, his polished shoes glittering in the noon sun. He was obviously rich and successful yet he sat there and cried, his tears falling like diamonds, rolling off his cheeks and hitting the marble floor with a splash. He sat there and cried desperately as the crowds surged passed him without giving him a second glance. The sound of children laughing and people enjoying their day out, overpowering up until a moment before subsided and in the frozen silence of that moment I stopped as though in shock. It seemed to me that time slowed down as though respectful of this scene of misery, a grown man crying in his Italian suit and me, staring at him confused and powerless to help. It must have been only a moment and then I got pulled away by some friend but to me it seemed like hours that I stood there staring at him. I still vividly remember the sensation of absolute loss I felt, the intense empathy I felt. I never found out why this man was crying so desperately yet I think something snapped in my heart that day and that image still burns vividly in my mind every time I think about it. That man crying in his Armani suit still represents, for me all that is pointless and bitter in life.

Children and Drugs

A report commissioned by the Italian Parliament on drug use amongst youngsters in Italy today was released.
Authorities were alarmed by data showing that the age that kids come across cannabis for the first time has once again fallen, hitting fifteen years of age on average.
Furthermore, the study showed that 32% of 14-21 year olds smokes cannabis and 4,8% use cocaine.
Obviously the data was met with consternation and, as usual, was followed by talk of stiffer penalties, disaffected youth, etc…
When will governments realize that it would make much more sense legalizing drugs (thus taking the money out of criminal hands and making it unnecessary for kids to make contact with possibly dangerous dealers) and taxing the whole business (thus making enough money to pay for any necessary rehabilitation centers, to fund hospitals and schools, and to still have a little leftover to steal for personal use). When will they learn?!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Football and bananas

I would like to discuss something which may seem controversial or even downright racist. I assure you, however, that my intentions are good and that I am simply trying to explore an hypothesis.
Recently (and not so recently) we have seen an interminable set of racist instances in European football stadiums. From monkey noises shouted at black players in Spain to anti Semite Lazio chants at the Olimpico. As usual, the teams, the football governing bodies, the players and everyone else involved expressed their indignation. Also as usual, the fans who actually chanted the racist insults took absolutely no notice. It seems as though the more racism is condemned the more it raises its ugly head.
Let me diverge a second. I remember, as a young schoolboy, passing interminable hours learning about Nazi horrors committed against the Jews in the Second World War. I sat through lessons and lessons where we were told how despicable these crimes had been and that, as a consequence, we were never, under any circumstances to insult someone because they were Jewish or even make a joke about it. Now, what obviously happened was that as soon as we were alone, there was a succession of Jewish jokes and insults. I do not think that my friends and I were budding young racists. I do not even think any of us fully understood anything about the historical and sociological dilemma. All we knew was that we had been told not to do it and thus, obviously, it was “cool” to do it. It is interesting to note that in the US, where anti black racism receives a lot more attention, I have been told, that in schools a very similar phenomenon occurs vis a vis African Americans. On the other hand, at school, very little importance was given to massacres like those carried out by Stalin and Mao even though they were just as gruesome if not worst. Similarly, in the playground, I do not think I ever heard a joke against Ukrainians or “Counter Revolutionary” Chinese.
What I am trying to get to here, is that maybe many football fans have a similar reaction to that of my friends when they were fifteen (the level of intelligence is probably about the same! Hehe). Maybe they chant racist songs because not only do they know it will piss off the player but also because they feel as though in some way they are being rebellious. Certainly, this is not always the case as some fringes of support around Europe are inherently racist (see Curva Nord at Lazio, or Ultra Sur at Real Madrid ). However I believe that there may be many who either accept these chants or even go as far as joining in simply to feel that frisson of excitement caused by doing something you are not supposed to.
A recent episode I saw might help to explain my point better. Oliver Khan is Bayern Munich´s goalkeeper. He is white but unfortunately looks incredibly like a gorilla. It is a bit of a tradition amongst rival fans to spend the match throwing bananas at him (to his great frustration!). Most people, including me, find it a case of harmless (though certainly harsh) banter. Neither FIFA nor UEFA have ever commented on this or condemned it in any way. On the other hand, the other day, Spanish fans started throwing bananas at a black player and caused universal shock and scandal amongst the media and football authorities.
I guess all I am trying to say is that maybe the whole “say no to racism” initiative is about as useful as the “say no to drugs” one. Let’s face it; humans are petty minded bastards which will do exactly the opposite of what they are told to do. By splashing racist fans on the news every time they throw a metaphorical banana we are simply feeding their ego and satisfying their need to be noticed. Maybe it might be better for all, if less media coverage was given to the whole phenomenon with the hope that all “part time” racists Europe wide simply get bored and decide to rebel in a different way.
Anyway, this is simply an idea, and certainly should not be taken too seriously. Thus, if you are already writing those insulting mails calling me a racist etc… don’t.

Betting on terrorism

Today, while reading the Italian papers, came upon a strange article. The journalist was complaining about the lack of morality of a new internet game called “Where next?” ( In this game, users are asked to bet on where the next terrorist attack will strike. It uses Google map technology and promises to provide the winner with a t-shirt. The article suggested this was totally out of line and was particularly displeased that apparently it is an Italian site. It was interesting to note that amongst all the sanctimonious rantings, the journalist never once mentioned that a very similar thing happened not long ago in the US. The “Policy Analysis Market,” a Defense Department project ostensibly designed to predict terrorist events through the online selling of “futures” in terrorist attacks made the news not long ago. Somehow I do not remember the same journalist making a fuss then.
By the way, the location with the best (or worst) odds? The Coliseum, Rome

Thursday, September 15, 2005

George Orwell, Big Brother and 1984

There are probably few people in the western world who have never heard of Big Brother. Television seems to packed with references to this term; starting with the reality show with the same name to the Simpson’s episode where Flanders spies in people’s homes with mega screens and brainwashes rebellious citizens.
On the other hand if you were to mention 1984 you would probably be met by blank faces or references about the swinging eighties. The link between George Orwell’s novel and the term “Big Brother” seems to be lost on the majority of television viewers.
One would think that at least the participants of the famous reality show would have asked themselves at least once where the term came from but, somehow, I doubt the vast majority would be able to answer.
This complete lack of culture is typical of our superficial and mostly ignorant society. I have noticed that always fewer people have even the most basic knowledge about literature, history and even science.
The fact that 1984 is so generally ignored seems even graver considering the world we live in. In the last fifty years or so we have seen society, especially in the US, move towards an Orwellian super state which tries to controls us, spy us and indoctrinate us with its propaganda.
It might seem that I am being a bit too vehement, that my description of society is somehow exaggerated. I do not mean to portray an Orwellian society scheming to imprison the will of the people. One cannot compare our modern lives to the horror of “Big Brother” and the thought police. After all, society is formed by its members, all of us. It would be somewhat ludicrous to believe that there are evil men somewhere at the top which deliberately spurn the people’s will for their own amusement.
However, I am remarking on the similarity between the novel and the our current strafe against a homogenized societal identity. We are not subject to torture and fear, but to a more subtle “high-jacking” of one’s identity
It seems to me that the aim of the media is not really to “brainwash” us in to having identical opinions, but to coerce us into excluding various choices. We are not taught what we must think but, instead, are told what we must never think. We are free to believe what we want as long as it respects the current moral and psychological limitations.
We are constantly told we are free, that we have, for the first time in history, absolute liberty in deciding how to lead our lives. We hear our political leaders endlessly reminding us about how it is essential for our current society to thrive in order to provide us with this freedom. Yet, they fails to note one important point. We are everything but free. If we do not conform, if we choose not to take part in this economic rat race, we are alienated from society, we are quietly pushed aside. There is a phrase, which I no longer remember where I came upon, which touched me profoundly:

“The 21st century pharaohs have the slaves begging for work.”

There is in each and every one of us the beauty of individuality, the potential for uniqueness, and yet we are asked to sacrifice this. We are expected to betray the only thing that really sets us apart from everyone else in order to benefit society. We are pushed into becoming sheep, clogs in society’s machinery
Very probably it is true that fundamentally this society we live in is one of the most tolerant in the history of mankind. It is quite plausible that we enjoy more freedom than any other humans in time. Yet, what our society lacks most, I find, is individuality. We are given absolute choice in life but we are robbed of it’s significance. We are given freedom but at the expense of identity.

“The absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar in to the heights, take leave of earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.”

Marc Quinn and Alison Lapper

Today, and for the next 18 months, a new statue will grace the stage in Trafalgar Square. Made by the artist, Marc Quinn, the piece is inspired by Alison Lapper, an English photographer, born with no arms and damaged legs. In the statue, Lapper is depicted as eight months pregnant.
This has proved a controversial move and many in London have voiced their concerns.
Personally, I think it is a beautiful statue which, in many ways, reminds me of the Venus de Milo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Cold, Cold, Cold

I have found one slight problem with my new flat. Outside it is five degrees and my heating does not work! I have spent the last couple of days, getting home from the office and throwing myself under layers and layers of covers with only the tip of my nose sticking out. My plant is practically on the verge of commiting suicide because it feels so cold, my portero simply smiles and sais he will fix it sometime and, apparently, the firm that actually made the thing doesnt exist anymore.
It is quite ironical that one thing that does work perfectly is the air conditioning! Oh well, at least soon it will be spring.

Milan 3 - 1 Fenerbahce

Yesterday was an important day. The Champions League started yet another season and my, team, the great AC Milan was playing at home against Turkish side, Fenerbahce.

I was actually quite happy because, even though the game, due to time zones, was on at three in the afternoon (when I am in the office) they were showing it on tv at ten in the evening.

Managed to ignore all football related info for the entire day, warned all my collegues not to tell me the score and, at 7:30 headed home to watch the game blisfully unaware of the result. As I get home I cant wait until it starts. As I start taking my suit off I turn on the tv (which I had left on the BBC) and stop in horror as I hear the following words: "....and with second half goals from Schevchenko and Kaká, Milan manage to pull of a 3-1 win against the turkish...."


Today, lunchtime, Buenos Aires

Went to lunch with Cristela, the receptionist, today. Brought her to “el Convento”, an eighteenth century convent remodeled as a restaurant. It is an old building with a beautiful internal garden and an old clock tower which juts upwards with framed by a background of skyscrapers, steel and glass. Upstairs, Mercedian monks still live in religious solitude, blissfully unaware of the multitude of office workers that invade their garden every lunchtime.
It was quite pleasant to finally get a chance to chat with Cristela face to face. I had seen her a few times in passing and chatted quite a lot on msn but, so far, hadn’t managed to have a proper conversation. We had a pleasant time and decided to meet up for a drink tomorrow evening.

A couple of years later, a Wednesday morning in Hong Kong

When I wake up, the first thing I notice is the pain. Like red-hot pokers, my eyes ruthlessly bore in to the back of my brain. I cannot believe the pain is so real, so concrete. My subconscious pleads with me, begging me to let my body sleep some more. As I listen to it whine in desperation, I glance around me and, shocked, I tell it to shut up. I stare wild-eyed and take in the damp and dark alley, which makes up my surroundings. A rat scurries a couple inches from my foot, nibbling on a piece of shit. Mold crawls along the cracked walls and a little river of piss cascades from a pipe, landing near the gutter. I try to get up but my legs collapse even before I put my full weight on them. I spy brown crusty blood on my hands and check my body to find out where it comes from. As my fingers glance across my forehead pain explodes in an orgy of chisels and white light. Dried blood decorates my clothes in swirling smears and crimson spots. I finally manage to get up and take a few steps. The pain is still present but it subsides when it realizes I will ignore it. I glance at my watch and realize that in an hour I have to be at work.
I drag myself to the main street and, spying a KFC open a couple hundred meters down the road, I head for it. I walk in and, thankfully, the place is empty. The smell of fried chicken envelops my nostrils and nausea hits me like a sledgehammer. I manage to swallow the acrid puke that my stomach throws up before spilling any of it on to the immaculate white floor. A young Chinese girl behind the bar looks at me, her eyes wide with fear, her lips curled in disgust. I turn around and head for the toilets. The stairs prove to be problematic and I nearly fall to my death. I cannot but find the prospect of me lying dead and bloodied at the foot of some stairs in a fucking fast food joint strangely amusing and I smile. This actually makes me feel better even though I find out that even teeth can hurt if they put their mind to it. I manage to get the toilet door open and then lock it shut. I turn around to face the mirror and am shocked by what I see. A long evil red welt decorates my forehead as though I was some sort of fucked up version of Harry Potter. Blood, probably from the cut on my head, has splattered all over my chest and legs ruining one of my favorite suits. Deep sunken eyes stare at me with red gorged madness. I notice that I am holding my limp hand close to my body and, seeing this, I start to feel the pain from it. I examine my hand and am glad to find that nothing feels broken. One of the fingers rests at a worrying angle but I am quite sure it is still whole. As I glance back in to the mirror I notice that even my forehead looks worse than it actually is. I turn the taps on and plunge my head under the steaming water. A fresh bout of nausea hits me but I bite it down. I use my uninjured hand to splash water on to my face and manage to wipe most of the blood away. I check out the cut and notice that even though it is quite deep, it is rather small. I wash my injured hand and now the pain is more intense. Once it is clean I have another look at it and, even though I am still quite sure nothing is broken, I promise myself that I will get someone to have a look at it.
As I walk back up the stairs I noticed that an older man has joined the girl behind the counter. They both stare at me with distaste as I walk across the white linoleum floor dodging red plastic chairs and miniature tables. I get to the exit and, giving my two spies a red tooth filled smile, I walk out in to the street.

A lazy morning in Rome, when I was twentyone

The sun is blazing outside, my room a humid furnace. I yawn and get up, I glance at the clock and realise I wont get any lunch for at least an hour or two and so decide to go for a swim. I grab a towel and head for the front door. I take the lift down and walk up to the pool we share with another fifty flats or so. I nod at the lifeguard standing watch over the gates and find a place to sit quickly. This is not surprising as the sun is far too hot at this time of the day, and the pool is nearly empty. I take my shirt off, enjoying the fierce glow of the noon sun on my skin. I notice that I’ve lost a lot of muscle in the last three years and I promise myself to buy some weights and improve things somewhat. I get to the shower and, careful not to stand in front of it, I turn it on. The nozzle explodes in a frenzy of icy water and I take a deep breath before I step forward.
I close my eyes and gasp as the water hits me and I feel my chest contracting, tighter and tighter, and then, before I know it, I’ve step forward and the heat takes over again. I walk to the edge of the pool and gaze in to the blue water, it’s depths lacerated by rays of light. I feel my muscles flex and I’m diving through the air and in to the pool. I dive deep, holding my breath and swim scraping the floor of the pool. The water calms me down and I feel safe and relaxed. I shut my eyes and for a moment and, in this embryonic state, I am totally at peace. But now my lungs protest and I need to emerge again, gasping for breath. I swim a couple of laps letting my body distend. I use my shoulders and enjoy the feeling of muscle reawakening.
I finish a few laps, turn around, take a deep breath and dive again. I swim to the other side, calmly cherishing the water as it holds my body lovingly. Emerging at the opposite end, I push myself out of the water and on to the edge of the pool. I walk back to my towel and dry my face, the soft fabric soothing my burning face. I lie down under the sun and feel my skin getting hotter and hotter. I let my body shut down to it’s minimum and let my mind wander. At first all I think about is the pleasure of the hot sun on my back. One of the things I missed most in the last three years in Manchester was the sun. I missed the Rome sun more than anything; more than my home, more than my friends, even more than the food. I realise that the persistent Manchester rain, which lashed the city every fucking day, all year round, in the end got to my head. In part, I would even say, it contributed to the fact that I couldn’t stand being sober for more than a day when I lived there. I smile as I think of how many drugs I experimented with and start to doze off as I reminisce about those days which now seem so distant, yet which finished only couple of months ago. I wait till my skin is on fire, my back groaning with sweat. I stand up and my head spins wildly, blood hitting my brain like a sledgehammer due to the heat. My vision slowly settles and I walk back to my flat, nodding at the lifeguard on the way out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hijezi and the Sea

Due to the Israeli evacuation of the West Bank many palestinians are now able to go to the beach and admire the sea. Up until recently army posts would block them from getting anywhere near it. Hijezi, a palestinian boy, lived a scant few kilometres away and yet had never seen the rays of light bouncing off the foaming waves.

"I came very early, as soon as I had my breakfast and put on my clothes," he said. "I was supposed to go to school. My parents don't know. I was dreaming of swimming. The water is very beautiful and very cold."

It is strange to think we live in a world where people are not allowed to gaze upon something so beautiful as the mediterranean sea even though they live a walking distance from its shores.

Finally it starts again!

On a happier note, today sees the start of another wonderful and action packed season of the Champions League! After last year´s knife in the heart when my team, Milan, got to the final against some shitty English team (liverpool), took a 3-0 lead and the collapsed to tie 3-3 and loose at penalties, I am looking for revenge.

Milan starts off the campaign tonight against Turkish team Fenerbache. In theory the game is at 3:30 Buenos Aires time (when I am in the office) but luckily they are not showing it live and thus I will be able to catch it at ten tonight when I get home.

mmmmmmmmmmmm, beer and footbal make a man happy!

The receptionist again

Today I decided to not give up on the receptionist and give it another try. Managed to find her address on the office server and sent her an email asking her to give me her msn user name. She replied right away and we started chatting on messenger. She told me she is from Entre Rios (a province near the border with Brazil) and that she is studying English at University. She was actually really nice and even tried to convince me to sign a one year extension to my contract, which soon I have to decide on. In the end I invited her for lunch sometime this week and will see what happens. There is a cute restaurant near the office, in florida, where I should bring her. It is extremely difficult to find seeing as it is on the last floor of one of the galerias. It is called “Momentos en el Infinito” (bit of a presumptuous name for 15 peso restaurant!) and has a beautiful terrace where you can eat in the summertime. I think I will bring her there.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Time traveler´s wife

By the way, wanted to mention a very pleasant book I read recently. Possibly the only love story I have ever enjoyed reading, The Time Traveler's Wife (Harvest Book) by Audrey Niffenegger is well written and gripping. The story is about a man who daily dissapears suddenly and travels through time finding himself naked and confused in his recent past or immediate future. After half an hour or so he, once again, vanishes and finds himself back in his present. Between all of these "trips" he manges to fall in love, take lots of drugs and get his feet amputated. Very well written and immaginative.

Free Speech in Argentina

Meanwhile, in Argentina, an important street demonstration against Bush´s visit to Argentina, made up of university students, left wing parties, human rights associations and common citizens was harassed by the police who also blocked them from going anywhere near the city centre.
It is always nice to see how much our so called democratic rulers really care about free speech.

Naked Emperor

Ever heard of the story about the emperor without any clothes? Well, this amusing little game allows you to dress (or undress) our honourable premier, Silvio Berlusconi, in any way you choose. The smurf and bondage mistress outfits look particularly jazzy!

Memories of a Nightmare

I dream that I am flying over the city. All my worries left behind, I soar over the tops of buildings and over parks. I glide, riding the air currents like a hawk through the skies over Rome. It reminds me of the hawks that, swirling and plunging, used to play outside my window in Hong Kong. I continue to fly over the night lights but the quality of the dream is changing and I start to fall, circling, towards the ground. I watch as the parched earth sprints closer and closer and I think I can spot the place where I will crash, brittle bones shattering, to my death. I don’t want to scream but I feel as though I must and my voice explodes around me as I near the ground.
I am in a bed. I feel impossibly hot. Sweat runs down my face like a torrent and pools up around my body, drenching the sticky sheets, which envelop me in their wrenching embrace. My sight is lost in an impassible haze and I cannot understand where I am. I try to get up but fall back helpless. I start to sink in to the mattress, which molds itself around my falling body. Darkness rushes in and I desperately try to hang on to the rapidly fading point of light in front of my eyes. I feel like crying but only sweat wets my cheeks.
Suddenly I feel a cool hand stroke my forehead and gentle hands free me of the sheets that wildly I have twisted in to ruthless manacles. I look around until, with a sigh of relief, my eyes fall upon the face I have so lovingly searched all my life. Ally. Huge blue eyes full of compassion stare back at me and a voice softly murmurs that everything will be all right. I feel silky lips touch my eyes as if inciting me to sleep and, finally at peace, I pass out.

On another note, today was the grand opening of Disney Land Hong Kong. Quite ironic that an amusement park named founded by one of the most active anti communist spokesmen (as a well as part time Nazi) Walt Disney, has just been opened in China, in theory the last great communist bastion. Oh well, as they say, money has no smell and business no ethics (The park's economic spin-off is put at HK$148bn (£10bn) over the next four decades).
It is also interesting to notice that ticket prices are HK$350 (£25), which is nearly two weeks' wages for the average mainland Chinese family

Butt naked and unwashed

Had a very quiet weekend. Was feeling rather tired and thus decided to take it easy. Friday night went out for a couple of drinks with friends but was home relatively early and fundamentally sober. I did decide, however, to buy a couple of joints and spent the weekend smoking, reading and playing Civilization on my lap top. To be honest it was surprisingly pleasant passing the time lazily in my flat, butt naked and unwashed.
The problem with smoking, however, is that it leaves you feeling slow and unmotivated the next day.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bloody Piqueteros

Five minutes ago was trying to decide if I was going to take a taxi or the subtel to get home after work. Now that I have been told there is yet another piquetero demonstration outside I guess I will have no option but to walk. Outside it is raining and it will take me at least an hour or two to walk home. Oh, well... better get going.

Thank God (and his noodly appendages) that it is Friday!

Thank god it is Friday! This week has seemed particularly long and painful. I still have a couple of hours left in the office but then the weekend starts.
Haven’t really planned anything specific yet but will surely end up doing something. Actually, talked to Soraya (the escort / stripper from cocodrilo) today and she told me that she is leaving for Pinamar tomorrow and wants to see my new flat before she goes. Seeing as it is Friday she probably has to go work tonight but was thinking of telling her to pass by after dinner.
Later might go clubbing. In effect am undecided. I have been invited by some friends which are going to a Brazilian club called Devenir (in Palermo Hollywood) and by some others who are going to Mint (Costanera Norte). The latter is a more or less posh club (35 peso entrance!) very similar to Opera Bay (see related post). The first is, on the other hand, a much seedier Brazilian bar and is often full of quite a few strange people. Last time I went there was a really camp bloke from San Pablo with tight trousers and a rolled up t-shirt who kept coming on to me and dancing provocatively next to me. It reminded me of a story that an American friend was telling me the other day. He is an ex Amish from some redneck state who lives here in Buenos Aires, studying Spanish. The other day he was in some club and this stunning blonde comes up to him while he is dancing and starts rubbing herself all over him. He, obviously, is quite pleased but also a little surprised. Furthermore there is something strange about this girl but he can’t quite put his finger on what. He is quite drunk so decides to ask some friends of his, what they think, taking advantage of the fact that the girl has gone to get a drink. Unsurprisingly his friends tell him that the girl, in effect, is anything but. Sickened by the discovery he decides to leave the go home. He leaves the club, gets in to a taxi and suddenly realizes that the “girl” has stolen his wallet and cell phone! I am sure his ex Amish companions would be able to come up with a fitting “serves him right” condemnation.

Trendy Pigs

These cute little pigs are even cuter now that they have their new tattoos. A French “artist” has started tattooing pigs in the name of alternative expression. From his lab in Shanghai he works on local pigs brought to him by Chinese farmers. These two have been covered with a famous designer logo.

Guatanamo Shame

Four weeks ago several hundred prisoners held illegally in the US lager started a hunger strike in order to protest against the shocking conditions and daily humiliation. Recently, however, the majority of these prisoners started eating again when Donald Rumsfeld promised them that in 10 days, the administration would bring the prison into compliance with the Geneva conventions.

Last week, however, it emerged that this was a simple trick and that there is in effect no plan to change matters. Prisoners will continue to be humiliated both sexually and psychologically, detainees will still be beaten, and most importantly they will not have the access to the legal help or human rights watchdogs that even the worst murderers and rapists in normal jails enjoy. Because of this, over two hundred prisoners have started their hunger strike once again and are ready to slowly starve to death.

Binyam Mohammed, a former London schoolboy, held at Guatanamo Bay stated:
"It is now August 11. They have betrayed our trust (again). Hisham from Tunisia was savagely beaten in his interrogation and they publicly desecrated the Qur'an (again). Saad from Kuwait was ERF'd [visited by the Extreme Reaction Force] for refusing to go (again) to interrogation because the female interrogator had sexually humiliated him (again) for 5 hours _ Therefore, the strike must begin again."

It is a wonder that after the initial disgust and anger showed by the international press and by common people the world over, five hundred people are still being incarcerated in a sadistic internment camp without the protection of international law and human rights standards.

It seems to me that the US, with its war on terror, is sinking ever deeper in to a policy of illegal torture, barbaric wars and indiscriminate terror. Furthermore I cannot see how us Europeans, and especially our governments, can continue parroting bullshit about our special relationship with the US and continue stating that we share a common way of seeing the world.
The European Union recently rejected a proposal to terminate our arms embargo on China due to human rights issues. I see no reason why this same argument cannot also be used vis a vis the constant US violations we see every day in order to justify, for example, disbanding NATO.

Kitten or Bull?

I wouldnt mind being chased by this foxy bull!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Some tasty restaurants in Buenos Aires

Parrilla: Yugo (Las heras y Junin)
Chinese: Shing Yuan (Las Heras y Tagle)
Japanese: Asociación Japonesa Nikkei (Reconquista 761)
Sirian: Club Sirio (Junin 123)
Quality Meat: Mirasol (Next to the Hyatt)
Expensive: Patagonia Sur (Rocha 801)
Lunchtime: Convento (Perón y San Martin)

Elves daydream too

White supremacist elves go on a field trip

An early morning surprise

Got woken up this morning, after a night of alcohol induced sleep, by the sound of someone knocking on my front door. Managed to pull myself out of my bed and walk, more or less upright, to the door. Opening the door I find myself looking at a smart looking fifty year old woman who is smiling at me in a very mischievous way. I am incredibly confused, and a little bit flustered so it takes a full couple of seconds to remember that the new cleaning lady was supposed to come today in order for me to meet her and discuss the price and amount of hours. I tell her to sit down while I go to the bathroom to try and pull myself back together. As I shut the door I realize, to my great embarrassment that, not only have I woken up feeling particularly “happy” this morning but, also, that it is currently sticking out of my boxer shorts like a flag pole!

After office al Opera Bay

Yesterday got a call from a friend who works at the Italian embassy. He had recently broken up with his Argentinean girlfriend and, thus, wanted to go out on the hunt. We decided to meet up after work and go to the after office at a club called Opera Bay. It is quite a posh club on Puerto Madero, a strip of clubs on the recently redeveloped harbor, which organizes, on Wednesdays a special night for people who come out of the office. It is a rigorously suit and tie gig and reminds me a lot of a trendy meat market. It is packed with Argentinean girls looking for eligible men.
We met around seven thirty in a bar on Florida where we had a couple of whiskeys before taking a taxi together to Puerto Madero. After paying the fifteen pesos entrance we pushed our way through the crowds until we reached a good vantage point form where to observe the passing girls. After another couple of drinks we decided to start trying to chat up girls. We jumped from one group of girls to the next always reciting the same made up story. We were a pair of Italians, recently arrived in Buenos Aires (in effect both of us have been living here for over a year) and that we were looking to meet new people who might be able to show us round the city. We would then chat for about twenty minutes or so, ask for their numbers and move on to the next group.
This tactic proved to be quite successful at the beginning, when we were still more or less sober, but gradually lost its effectiveness as the drinks started to take their toll. I kept getting mixed up and giving myself away by telling them I had been to a certain restaurant last month or that six months ago I had gone traveling in the south of the country.
I got home around two really far too drunk but with a respectable cache of telephone numbers and email addresses. I nearly fell asleep on the couch before managing to force myself to get undressed and get in to bed.

Sacred drawing

A sacred drawing of the flying spaghetti monster by our holiest of prophets showing Him creating a mountain, trees and a midget.

Church of the flying spaghetti monster

As many of my fellow brothers, I have finally decided to come out of the closet, and publicly announce that I am a pastafarian too. Our great lord, the flying spaghetti monster, who greated all with his noodly appendages, watches over us and protects us from evil.

From this day on I will freely exercise my faith in public and bask in His noodly embrace. I also promise to dress exclusively in full pirate regalia on every friday, our day of prayer and feasting

I include a picture from the blessed texts ( showing Him creating man and a psalm by our prophet, His pirateness Bobby Henderson

"I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence"

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Islam fights porn with virus

A new virus called yusfali is right now surfing the waves searching for degenerate infidels who log on to porn sites. If it finds one of you it installs itself on to your pc and opens a window filled with enlightening arabic text. The message asks you to repent your sins and stop logging on to porn. If you fail to do this it does something horrible to your computer.

Maybe Al Qaeda, the Christian right and the femminist movement can join forces on this one.

By the way... in the US

It is strange to see the US, supposedely the most advanced country in the world, react to a natural disaster in such a disorganised and beggardly way. In comparison countries like Bangladesh and Honduras appear modern and developped.

Maybe it is because, while Bush and his friends enjoy the last summer days fooling around on their yachts and organising pool parties in their mansions, most of the people suffering are, in effect, black.

Cartoon: Steve Bell, The Guardian

New appartement

Last weekend I moved in to a new apartment. It is a little smaller than my old one but it does have several advantages. First of all, and most importantly, it receives a lot more light. My last flat was on the second floor and had a beautiful view on a brick wall. Even my plant, native to the Amazonian underbrush where light rarely reaches, was complaining about the lack of sun.
The new flat, on the other hand, is on the seventh and last floor of a much more spacious street and is daily inundated by a flood of natural light. I am afraid my plant will die of shock but it is a risk I am willing to take. The only negative thing about this new view is that it is reciprocal and I will have to get used to the fact that people living in the flats opposite can see in to my room. I have already traumatized an old lady by walking out of the shower naked and smoking a cigarette next to the window before realizing she was staring straight at me.
I spent the weekend exploring my new neighborhood and am pleased about what I have found. Recoletta is probably the trendiest area in Buenos Aires and my street, a scant two blocks form the central square is quite up market. While signing the contract the other day I had a chat with the owner and it turns out he is a very interesting person. In his early seventies, Rafael, is a surprisingly energetic old man and has a lot of stories to convey. He tells me that he fought alongside Che Guevara and Fidel in the Cuban revolution and was a personal friend of both. He shared a flat with the Argentinean fighter for several years and even accompanied him to China in order to meet Mao Tse Tung.
He shows me several objects, including and African mask, which were given to him by el Che. He also describes the years, during the sixties and seventies, when Argentina was ruled by a military junta led by General Videla. As a left wing writer he experienced a lot of problems and more than once, armed police, smashed the front door of his flat, the same one where I am living now, with axes and arrested him. I quite like the idea of living in a home which, in small way, is an integral part of this country’s history.
I did experience a strange awaking the first morning in my new home. I woke up, quite groggy from the previous night’s drinking. I slowly opened my eyes and got quite scared when I saw a man staring back at me. I stared in to a pair of black eyes, which were staring just as intensely back at me, for long moment before realizing that I was actually looking at my own reflection. I had totally forgotten that there was a large, golden mirror placed directly over the bed!

Divine Judgement

Pope being crushed by meteorite.
Thank god I am an atheist

Empathy lost

I saw her again today. This time she stopped, smiled and said hello. I tried not showing the childish resentment that gripped me. I managed to chat amiably for a while but the whole conversation was edged with fakeness and over-politeness which, I am sure must have given me away.
In the end it is not even her specifically I feel resentment towards. It is a general feeling of malaise vis a vis people in general. Every day I seem to drift further apart from humanity. Every day I feel yet more distanced and alien. It is not too bad when dealing with formal interactions. I even manage to appear jovial and extroverted. However, as soon as the contact involves a minimum of emotion I loose all empathy and start feeling nothing but irritation and a deep sense of disappointment. What really gets to me is the constant rollercoaster of hope followed by disenchantment that seems to permeate my social relationships. I meet someone new and interesting, convince myself of a non existent karmic bond and then feel disappointed when this bond proves to be, in effect, a figment of my imagination. To be honest, I am the only one to blame. Due to the fact that I change city, and often country, every couple of years, I feel a need to connect with people quickly, as though fearing that, caught up in the rush, I am somehow missing out on a series of wonderful relationships.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A momentary vision

Yesterday, once again, I fell in love. Ran in to a girl who works as a receptionist at the office which I had not seen for a while. In effect I had never even talked to her but found out we had a friend in common so stopped and said hello. It was while I was chatting to her that I happened to glance staight in to her eyes at the same time as she suddenly smiled radiously. A warm soothing wave hit me like sledgehammer and my legs started to feel all wobbly. I mumbled a couple of incoherent sentences about meeting up for lunch sometime and managed to make a semi dignified escape before falling to pieces.
I couldnt stop thinking about her all day. Her big brown eyes kept swimming through my mind, distracting me, haunting me, teasing me.
I even experienced a moment of childish euphoria when our friend in common informed me, later that afternoon, that she had asked about me and inquired if I had a girlfriend. I felt as though I was once again a hormone packed teenager struck by puppy love.
A couple of other girls came round for dinner last night but I couldnt concentrate on what they were saying and, as soon as they left, started thinking about her again. I pictured my theatrical entrance this morning, greeted by her wonderful smile, her brown eyes twinkling with recognition and lust.
I woke up this morning feeling elated. Even the local weather god seemed to share my mood, and for the first time in nearly a week, the Buenos Aires sky was clear and a wonderful blue. Strolling in to the office I felt as though half a tonne of coke was rushing through my veins. Unfortunately my office is in another building but, seeing as I had to pass by her´s later for a meeting, I sat down to wait. I worked all morning, even managing to avoid thinking about her too much, until the time approached for me to go to my twelve oclock meeting.
I crossed the road, took one of the smooth running elevators to the fith floor, and immediately saw her. As I walked up to where she was standing I felt light headed and unsteady but determined. A dozen more steps and I would be upon her.
Suddenly she turned around and started walking towards me. Her long supple legs swiftly eating up the short distance. I stopped, bracing myself for the encounter. She was ever closer, scant meters away. I took a deep breath and was about to say hello when, as though she was a swirling whirlwind, she brushed me aside and strode past me without so much as a single glance. She entered an elevator and before I could react the shiny metal doors closed with a mocking swish, and she was gone.
I stood there for nearly a full minute wondering what the fuck had happened until I finally pulled myself back together and walked off, resigned.

Another day in Hong Kong last year

Last weekend at least brought some form of relief in the form of sex. It was getting too long since I hadn’t had any so, Saturday, I decide to go out on the pull. I arrange to meet a couple of friends down at the Irish bar near Lang Quai Fong. Whisky Jacks is a typical paddy bar. Usual piles of blatantly fake traditional Irish junk nailed to every upright surface, dreadful country music and an over abundance of stools. However the beer is cheap and you can normally find a place where to rest your ass. Also, there is one of those big pull-down screens on which they show the football or the rugby. Today there are no games and the screen has been pulled up out of sight. I glance around to see if I spot anyone I know but apart for the owner and half a dozen old drunks the place is empty. I smile at the former who is behind the bar and he pours me the usual pint of Carlsberg. I take it and maneuver towards a corner in which a table and a couple of stools lay as if abandoned. I sit down, sigh and then light a cigarette. I gulp down a few mouthfuls of cold amber liquid and sigh again. Soon enough the front door opens and one of my mates enters. Christian is Italian, like me. He is a chef and specializes in the upper end of Italian cuisine. At only 24 years old he is surprisingly experienced and is said to have a very promising future ahead of him. The only problem is that he is currently unemployed. He sees me, smiles, and then heads off to the bar where he orders a pint of Guinness, pays and then stars moving towards our table. He smiles again, asks me a question and then sits down. He takes a few gulps and lights himself a smoke as well. Seeing as mine is finished I light up another. We start talking about shit. The usual comforting banter about football and our lack of money.
The front door opens again but it is only another of the endless drunks that parade in to here every afternoon after work. Don’t get me wrong here. These are not your conventional drunks, clutching a can of bitter as they lay on the road covered in their own piss. These are the more socially accepted drunks of our world. All between their forties and sixties, suit and tie, and English. Every day, as the offices close, hundreds of these individuals emerge from their buildings and head for the closest bar. They walk in, reddened eyes scanning the bar for a suitable stool and then waddling gently, their huge and bloated bellies swinging back and forth, they sit and taking their beer from the outstretched arm of their savior behind the bar they drink as though in ecstasy. One gulp, two, three and finally, like cattle quenching their thirst at the river, they lift their heads once more to breath. They will sit on their stool all fucking night until drunk and crying they will make their way back to their five thousand dollar a month flat and pass out on their floor. Sometimes, when they manage to drink a little less, they might even go home to fuck their twenty-year-old Chinese mistress who will comfort them and let them cry on her shoulder. Next morning, impeccable in their business suit they will stride in to their office with only a slight red smudge under each eye as a clue to their drinking the night before.
The door opens again and this time another two of our friends come in. Papic, twenty something year old French man from near the border with Italy and an incredibly fat Indian, Amil. They buy a drink and join Christian and me at the table. Anil hoists his huge ass on to the stool and I watch fascinated fearing, as usual, that the stool will disappear amongst the orgy of flesh and he will find himself sitting on the floor. As usual I push away a feeling of disappointment when this fails to happen. It is not precisely that I do not like Amil but his stickiness and constant beaten puppy eyes annoy me. Papic, on the other hand, is far more independent and lives his life constantly gliding from one job to the other, one city to the next. Currently he is also unemployed but he tells us he has found a job in Shanghai and so will be moving there next week. This news saddens me as I have learnt to like him a lot in the three weeks I have known him. I start thinking about how strange it feels. I have been in Hong Kong so just over a month an yet it feels like I’ve been here a decade at least. I realize someone is asking me something and snap out of my reverie in time to catch the last words of the question. I nod my head and watch Christian as he gets up to go get us another beer.
It is nearly eleven when we leave Whisky Jacks and I am feeling quite drunk already. The humid air hits me face like a sweaty sock and I stumble in to the road. Drunken expats mingle in the street with Chinese families and street vendors and once again I wonder how the locals feel about all these foreign devils, quai loes, invading their land. We catch the escalators and head up towards Staunton’s Bar. The escalator is impressive. It is the longest in the world by far and runs up and down the side of the mountain than makes up Hong Kong. From six in the morning to midnight this two-kilometer long escalator slowly hauls thousand s of people up and down the side of the mountain. I would have never considered moving stairs a form of public transport but here in Hong Kong it is exactly what they are. Innumerable bars line the sides of this novel form of transportation and it is one of these, which we are heading for. We get to the bar and I shudder at the sight of the heaving mass of people sprawled outside the doors. Drunk voices and manic giggling hits my ears like a bucket of warm piss in the face and for a minute I think about going somewhere else, but Christian and Papic are already approaching the doors. I use Anil as a battering ram and, leaving a trail of curses and insults behind me, I push my way to the bar. Staunton’s is one of those trendy bars were the beer is expensive and watered down so I order a glass of whisky, no ice. I look around to spot the reason why we have come to such a fucking place, the girls. I do not understand why you can only find pretty prey in these kind of trendy bars and not in the smoky tranquility of some dodgy Irish bar. Well, actually I do, I just do not feel it is fair.
I notice a group of twenty-year-old beauties at the bar but, seeing as they are all with boyfriends, I keep searching. Finally I spot a table, near the other side of the bar, which might be more promising. Five or six slightly older women sit gossiping avidly obviously drunk. I study them and decide they must be career types out on their Saturday night piss up. They are not that pretty and really a touch too old for me but I spot a space at the bar closer to their table and move there anyway. I ignore them for the time being and instead nurse my drink and watch the crowds melt by. I watch, smiling, as Papic tries to chat up one of the twenty-year old girls who as strayed too far from her group. She looks panicky and finally manages to ditch Papic and rejoin the safety of her herd. I hear a crash and turn around just in time to see a mobile phone skid across the floor and come to a rest near my foot. I bend down and pick it up. One of the career girls I was spying earlier walks towards me smiling with embarrassment and I hand the phone to her. She looks Ok, not particularly good looking but with a nice pair of tits and a pleasant smile. She thanks me and I let her go sit down again but not before I flash her one of my winning smiles. She blushes and as she joins her group again she says something to a friend, which makes her giggle. I ignore them and instead start fantasizing about all the dirty things she could do with those heavy breasts. In the meantime another friend of ours has joined us at Staunton’s. He strolls towards us grinning mischievously and I remember he told us he had a date with some foxy Chinese student tonight. Sure enough he starts telling us all about it but I cant concentrate and stare at his tattoo instead. His whole left arm is covered in lines and colors and right in the middle sits a beautiful Japanese woman staring out at me serenely. Nate, that is the name of the new arrival, is American, which, in the way I see things, is very bad. However he is a nice guy and passionately hates the monkey king Bush so I have decided that he is all right. I order another drink and by now I am quite drunk. My vision blurs noticeably when I move my head and I am having difficulties following the discussion that Christian and Anil are having. I decide to finish my drink and go home to get some sleep.
Suddenly, however, the mobile phone girl and her friend get up and get ready to leave. I feel a moment of disappointment as I see this but then realize that even though she has been smiling at me since the phone incident I haven’t made the slightest effort to make a move. I am already regretting my inaction and getting used to the fact that those wonderful breasts will never see my flat when her friend is stopped by someone who wants to talk to her. This leaves my breasted friend alone and feeling uncomfortable halfway to the front doors. I catch her eye, smile at her and beckon her over. She looks hesitant for a second but then starts walking shyly towards me. I smile at her again, this time adding a promise of sex to the friendly taste. We start chatting a while. She tells me she has been working for some investment firm here in Hong Kong for a couple years and that she is not married. She tells me her name, which I promptly forget. I decide she must be about thirty and realize she is quite drunk. She looks a bit too shy but then she wants to know what I am doing tonight and asks me to come for a drink with her friend in a bar I don’t know in Wanchai. I accept.
Outside she introduces me to her friend Susie and we hail a cab and head to Wanchai. I start checking out Susie and realize she is quite cute. She is English, black and has the foxiest little smile I have seen in a while. I fantasize about bringing them both home for a bit of fun. I visualize a pair of laden, creamy white tits rubbing gently against Susie’s silken ebony thighs and imagine myself coming all over both their faces as they kiss. I ask Susie if she has a boyfriend and she tells me she is newly married. This news kind of dampens my ardor. We get to Wanchai and walk in to some club, which I am sure I have been to already. The place is packed with drunk English and I spot quite a few cute girls. Susie says she has to go find someone so I remain alone with my date. I ask her if she wants a drink and when she answers I go to the bar to get her a gin lemon. I get a whisky for myself. We start chatting for a while but I am getting bored and, seeing as I am quite drunk anyway, ask her bluntly if she wants to come back to my house tonight. She looks a bit uncomfortable but not particularly scandalized so I decide to push my advantage. I take her in my arms and start nibbling on her ear and nuzzling her neck. I feel her loosen and she looks at me and gives a horny little laugh. I can’t resist the temptation and gently squeeze her left breast. It is as heavy and firm as it looks and I am looking forward to the rest of the night. She laughs, brushes my hand of her breast and then grabs my ass. This kind of startles me and I decide that later I will get my revenge. We keep chatting a bit but I am getting bored so I tell her to finish her drink and follow me. She starts to protest, saying that she still doesn’t know if she should or not. I shrug, take her drink from her hand, lay it down on the bar and tell her to follow me. We walk out of the door and flag a cab. I tell the driver to go to N. 2 McDonnell road. The ride is short and neither of us says a word. She smiles but I look away and stare outside at the passing traffic. I have always found cities so much more beautiful at night. Refracted lights and molten steel flowing past the taxi windows like visions. We finally get to my place, walk in to the lift and I hit the button for the twenty-second floor.
I open the door to my flat. Well, flat is not the right word. It is basically a hotel room with a stove jammed in to one of the corners. A sofa and a T.V. are in the opposite corner and the door to the toilet is just beyond. The rest of the room is taken up by a very large double bed. I push her down on to this bed and start kneading those heavy breasts.. She starts to say something but I kiss her on the mouth to shut her up. I take my shirt off and throw it on the floor. She seems surprised and asks something about the tattoo I have on my chest. I answer and then turn around so she can see the dragon on my back and she asks me if I have any more. I stand up and slowly take my jeans and boxers off. I take my eyes off her and look down at a spot just above my knee where the tip of a silver snake starts meandering up leg, wrapping itself around my thigh and then heads, tongue flicking, towards my cock. I look back at the girl sitting on my bed and smile at her. She smiles back and then sits closer so she can take my erect cock in her mouth. I watch her as she sucks and moans and feel a moment of sadness. I close my eyes and decide to enjoy the blowjob instead. I push her off gently and lay her back on to the bed. I tell her to take her clothes off and we exchange places; me on the bed, her standing up at the foot of it. I tell her to take her top off, which she does, and I stop a minute to take in the sight of her heaving breasts. I motion to her to come closer and as she approaches flip her on to the bed underneath me. I take her jeans off followed by her panties, and am surprised when I see she is totally shaved. I part her legs and bury my face in her cunt sucking the wet folds of skin. I hear her moan louder but decide to be a selfish bastard and to relieve my needs instead of hers. I push her on to her back and even though she protests feebly I enter her and start pumping away. I notice the fact that I am quite hungry and start thinking about what my choices for breakfast are tomorrow. She moans a little loader and asks me to stop. I think she wants me to be a bit more understanding, some foreplay maybe even a couple of kisses. I do not like kissing one night stands on the mouth. Like hookers I reserve kissing as an act of love not to be wasted on a simple shag. She starts to protest a little loader and starts to wriggle away. I realize I haven’t even put on a condom so decide to pull out before I come, which I do. I remember her grabbing my ass and decide to get my revenge. I point my cock to her face and bust my load hitting her just above the mouth. I wipe my member on her cheek, turn around and fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.
Next morning I wake up as she gets up but I pretend to be still asleep. She goes in to the toilet, I hear water running and then she comes back in to the room. I keep my eyes closed and listen to what she is doing. She gets dressed in total silence, grabs her purse and leaves. I sigh with relief and get up to take a piss. I flush the toilet and then notice she has used my toothbrush. I pick it up and throw it away disgusted. Stupid invasive bitch, why couldn’t she leave last night? I decide to go back to sleep.

Friday, September 02, 2005

One afternoon, last summer, in Hong Kong

The worst afternoons at the office are those in which I have nothing to do. I just sit there, back slumped, one shoulder slightly dipping forward, thinking. Actually that is not true. It is not really thinking. It is thought but with a complete absence of direction, a total lack of meaning. I sit there, perfectly still, and do not think.
My office is nice. A large circular work area surrounds me, a brand new P.C. hums quietly in front of me, and pretty Chinese girls in short skirts endlessly parade to and fro. It is warm, but not hot, the expensive air con system doing its work impeccably. My tie gently wraps itself around my neck as though in a loving embrace of a sleeping snake. My ass rests comfortably on my padded chair and tranquility reigns the office currents supreme. Basically, a picture of bliss. Yet, somehow, it isn’t so.
I have checked my e-mails, read both the Italian and British papers, had a coffee and spent a couple minutes chatting shit to my colleagues and now I have nothing to do. I just sit, perfectly motionless, waiting for a thought to enter my head. I take this thought and, as though it was some mangy dog, observe it, slightly wary, as if from a distance. I reach over cagily and stroke it. I feel a mixture of disgust and fascination, but mostly I feel tired and so I gently nudge the thought with my foot and watch it floating away, turning over and over again until it drifts off back in to my sub conscience. I blink and decide to shift my head slightly to the left. I fix my eyes once more in to the middle distance, and wait for the next thought.

Just a thought

I can’t really remember when the realization hit me. Nor can I remember whether it was a sudden illumination or, on the contrary, whether it was a slow and gradual process. I do, however, know that it has become a certainty.
When I was a child I thought, or more accurately was convinced, that I was special and that thus special things were in store for me in the future. I imagined myself flying around the world saving endangered animals. I pictured myself in the jungle, surrounded by fellow revolutionaries, fighting US troops. I saw myself curing sick African children and being rewarded by their warm thankful smiles.
Similarly, I was convinced that meeting my “twin soul” was simply a matter of time. I was convinced that everyone, no matter how unpleasant or ugly, simply had to wait in order to meet someone whom to love and be loved by unconditionally. Often I daydreamed about finally meeting that special person. I pictured the encounter in detail. I imagined how she would be dressed, the colour of her waving hair, the twinkling light in her eyes. I would recite what I would say, what she would answer. I would sit and try to imagine the wonderful feeling of long awaited peace and acceptance that such a meeting must surely cause.
As I said, I do not remember how exactly I became aware of how ridiculous this concept of fate was. I am not special. You are not necessarily special. And, most importantly, life has nothing special planned for us.