Check out this mini-story I made as a slideshow

View slideshow I hope you enjoy it!

Inanimatealice project from iStories

This blog is, as from today (12 Dec. 2009), a tribute to James Hadley Chase, who wrote with great precision zillions of novels set in the USA , without (hardly)ever having set foot in it. I hope I can measure up to him -even if only just a bit.

Afterthought

After some painstaking and futile attempts I've realised that Chase must have been a much more conscientious man when it came to geographical accuracy (or just plainly much more into maps than I am). So, while still dedicated to him, I hope readers will forgive -and perhaps enjoy- some creative licence on my part...

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Life

I've been on the island for a couple of days now. Life is simple. I get up in the morning to have breakfast, then go down to the beach and sunbathe until I feel warm enough to dip into the ocean.

The sand is white and powdery like thick flour. The water's green and then blue. There are ripples, but no waves. It's very different from the beach back home, back in my childhood: then the sand was yellow like corn and the sea, always frothy and brownish because of the waves. It was fun to dive into the waves before they broke; you could always play to perfect your timing, wait for that perfect moment when the wave is as big as it will ever get...and then dive in. Mothers and younger children would play the other way round: catch the wave when it's getting smaller and let it bring you back to the shore. It's different here. There's no flag to warn you about the sea each day -I can still remember longing for that light-blue triangle which hardly ever rose. But there's no need here. You can walk around in the sea confident that there'll be no sudden currents and without worrying that you'll miss a step because there's a pothole in the sand below. I loved all that as a child. This predictability and tranquility suits me now -for now.

As I lie in the sun I think of nothing and just let my ears be filled with the various sounds. A gym class takes place in the swimming pool at noon.

After that I read in a nice spot in the shade -Strangers on a Train- until it's time for lunch.
No-one asks too many questions, and they're friendly. Some people seem to find it a bit odd for a young woman to be on her own here and at the same time opt for a quiet life. But it's alright; there's just one waiter that keeps asking, and so I try to avoid him as much as I can.

Then I just go to my room and take a shower and a nap. I wake up just in time for salsa by the pool. It's fun and lively and the music begins to change into -I wonder what you call that kind of music. All I know is that it's the only time you'll here people say the roof is on fire with such glee.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Getting there

I took the red-eye to Punta Cana -that means about 8 hours spent (after a very long day) on a plane full of strangers. I usually don't mind flights -not even long-hauls- and have even developed a system (I suppose everyone does after a while -emphasis on after a while before my mum reminds me of that 40kg holdall I took to a 4-day vacation in my early teens...).

Anyway: I've got my special travel socks to minimise circulation problems, my slippers, comfy pillow just in case and "the master...rucksack" (Sorry -inside joke for Argentines that like TV soup commercials). It's got the right number of compartments, with the right sizes to put everything for every possible need I may have on the plane (need, whim...poteito, potato). And, amazingly, this light-blue wonder master fits perfectly under the front seat -overhead compartments are simply not an option when your height's 1.53m. Unless...but it's not the case.

Aisle seat. Check. Window seat occupied. OK. Seat between the two...TBA  TBA. And that is when I start hating every passenger that's walking on the aisle. Keep walking...not your seat...More people keep coming in (do I take off my shoes now or wait to see what happens with middle-seat?). I lower the tray to start reading and sure as rain comes Mr middle-seat. "I think that's..." "Oh, are you sure?""Well, yes, it says so, see?""Mmhhm". How can I compete with a spotless boarding pass?!
Then of course:
"Sure-let-me-put-this-up-and-oh-yes-there-must-beroominthecompartment, no, please, I'llsitdownwhenyou'reready..."  While all the time all I'm thinking is there should not be a seat there at all. Just a void and then the window seat. Sorry if I'm disappointing romantics, the socially-inclined, and others. This is me. It's a long flight. It's been a long day.

I'll spare you other meaningless details like food (I actually like plane food) and other things.

It's finally quiet. Main lights are out and I pull down my mask, try to find a nice enough radio station and go to sleep. I have the nicest dream. This is already working. I wake up to the smell of warm croissants with ham&cheese, to the aroma of coffee (really not fussy about coffee quality)...Window-guy lifts the blind just as I finish pulling my mask up and rubbing my eyes... and I here's what I see:

open your eyes

What a view to start my holiday...

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Change of plans

I'd like to thank the one other person that voted for a destination (I think I might have an idea who it might be...It was very kind of you). Within hours of poll closing, I don't see much of a point in waiting for more votes so I will simply do a Shirley Valentine (thank you, J. Aitchison :)) and go on my own. To honour the poll, I'll go to an island.

Capri will have to wait, however -so if you're waiting for me at la piazzetta, please don't for now (but do send in pictures and have a great time!!)

Anyway, I've decided to go to Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. I've heard great things about it: the weather is terrific, and hotels provide peace and quiet as well as fun and entertainment (how they manage it is up to them. I'm just going to relax and enjoy it...). And -hey! If I'm lucky enough, I might even get a flight attendant like the one below to make time pass faster...

In come my suntan lotion, swimsuit and shades...Hands free so I can clap along -I'm not that mad yet, press play, please.





video

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

My ideal destination

I'd love to go to Capri -which, granted, is an island (though not remote so I voted "other"). It's just a few miles off the southern coast of Italy and, in fact, many tourists travel to it from Naples.


The island comprises two main towns: Capri itself, and the village of Anacapri. The weather is mild and, unlike what happens in other seaside places, it doesn't really get chilly as the sun goes down. Actually, the climate there is often described as "stimulating and invigorating" -just what's needed after a long year of work and study...The wildlife is stunning; you can see numerous species of marine animals, such as the large diomedei gulls and some rare reptiles like the blue lizard of the Faraglioni rocks. There's also a vast variety of plants and flowers, which make hiking very pleasant and interesting.

Nature, however, is not the island's only attraction. You won't find yourself in a secluded and solitary place at all, because it's a very popular place for day trips. Your trip will probably start at the heart of the island, the Piazza Umberto I (better known as "la piazzetta") from where you can take a bus to Anacapri or a funicular to Capri. I'd personally love to take the funicular. An interesting thing to do is walk along "Via Krupp", commissioned by Mr Krupp in the early 20th century and labelled as the "world's most beautiful road". You can also visit the Gardens of Augustus and see the statue of Lenin, erected to commemorate his stay on the island -the more I learn about Capri the more it seems to me a place full of condensed history, with German magnates living there, Russian socialists visiting and Ancient Romans establishing part of their Empire there. So much and so many seem to have come and gone, left their imprint, and yet the island has somehow managed to appear untouched, with all its wilderness still there for us to enjoy.

There are numerous natural caves, promontories and interesting man-made churches to visit. However, what I'd love to see there is the Grotta Azzurra: you can only enter in a small boat shared with two or three other people at the most, lying on your back. The view is supposed to be amazing: by some natural phenomenon, everything that is above water is cast in a blue light, and what's below shines with a silvery quality. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be there.

There are other attractions, of course, but after the Grotta Azzurra I think I'd just go back to Anacapri or Capri and sit in the sun sipping some limoncello, watching the crowd from afar and taking the time to just finish taking in the whole experience.

Then, at night, I'd visit one of the local bars for some live music, chatting and maybe dancing.

Anyone up for Capri? Just follow the road and meet me at "la piazzetta"...


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Why Journey Journal

Hi guys!!!
Hope you're all well.
As I said above, I think we all deserve a good treat this summer
after working so hard.
A trip seemed a good option, I hope you'll agree.

The thing is, credit crunch and all, I'm afraid for now I can only offer virtual trips. I hope you'll understand.
(The travel agent kept saying it's the greatest thing these days -any reason not to believe him?)
So sit back, relax and enjoy our trip...

Oh, wait! I forgot to choose the location!! (I bet it was those gorgeous blue eyes in the agent). Could you cast a vote here on your right? That'll be our starting point.

Another (I don't want to say "catch" but...) I thought documenting our trip would come in handy when we come back and face our bills -you know, we publish our "Journey Journal" and hope for some royalties (wishful thinking?)

What do you say?