Friday, July 24, 2009
This is now offically my old blog.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
This month, an updated edition has been published featuring five new stories.
If you turn to the last story, you'll find mine ('Copies').
It's far too early for me to be sitting in a book alongside Mansfield, Marshall and the Maurices (Shadbolt and Duggan)... but when the collection was reviewed on National Radio this morning, 'Copies' got a special mention. Listen here if you're interested.
My only complaint with the book is the lack of author bios. Okay, for all the luminaries you can look up their NZ Book Council page (I like the new look, by the way) , but for the "fresh young talents", readers have to make do with whatever Google throws up.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A few things have changed. I've noticed my hometown of Palmerston North is a lot more Australian than the last time I was here, and this may be true of the Kiwi culture more generally, I'm not sure yet.
I have a little over a month before I have to submit the final manuscript for my short story collection. I also have to find a job and a place to live (both hopefully in Wellington).
So you'll forgive me if I takes a wee while before I decide what to do next in the blogosphere. I have some ideas (including one frontrunner), but no announcements yet.
As for writing, it was strange reverting to a non-writer for over five months after last year's insanity. Not difficult, just strange. I only made about 10 pages of notes in my notebook over that time. So I wasn't exactly brimming with ideas. I may write a travel-related story in the next few months, but it's one based in Turkey and Australia (drawing on experience from almost a year ago to the day).
So, as I ease myself back in behind the keyboard, here's some holiday snaps taken since my last blog entry...
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Countries Visited Since Leaving Edinburgh
Countries Left To Visit Before Returning to NZ in May
* Falafel in pita with salad, Luxor, 1 Egyptian Pound (an eighth of a British Pound)
* "Enchillada" (unlike western enchilladas, this was a deepfried pocket filled with spicy rice then topped with coleslaw and wrapped up like a soft shell taco), Grenada, 5 Nicaraguan Cordobas (about 50p)
* Guanabana yoghurt drink, Lima (1L for about a pound)... a meal in itself
Common denominator, as ever, is price. All that street meat (and veg) means I'm pretty immune to most of the nasties out their. (NB: I did get really sick in Cairo, but that was a bug that went around the tour... nothing to do with the cuisine).
Best Historical Sites
1. Karnak Temple, Egypt
2. Philae Temple, Egypt
3. The Sphinx and Pyramids, Egypt
4. Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Egypt is pretty hard to compete with when it comes to ancient stuff. The mayan ruins at Copan in Honduras were pretty cool, but just can´t compete with Egypt when it comes to age, scale, presevation or quality of artistry.
Best Museums / Art Galleries
1. Vatican Museum, Rome
1.a Egyptian Museum, Cairo
At the beginning of this trip, I was most anticipating a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and by the size of the queues (4 hour wait to get inside without a 4 euro booking) everyone else was too. But it was just a decent art gallery. Sure, there were five or six pieces I studied back in High School Art History, and I´m glad I went, but I was not blown away as I was with the two places above. Both wow with scale: the Vatican museum has whole rooms dedicated to scultpures of animals, or busts, or maps of Italy. In the Egyptian Museum you can find rows upon rows of sarcofagi, or figurines included in burials, or trinkets, or stamps (used with ink rather than postage stamps). And both have pretty awesome pieces de resistance (Tutankhamon´s sarcofagi; Sistene Chapel).
* Half frozen Niagara Falls, from the Canadian side of course
* Being a foot and a half away from a snake (first snake I've seen in the wild) in Costa Rica... and not just any snake, a fer-de-lance
* Top of the Empire State Building at night (freezing cold and cliched as hell, but totally worth it)
Best Cultural Experiences
* Seeing an NHL hockey game in Canada (Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins, 31 Jan 2009). The game had everything: former captain's banner ceremony (+ free Dougie Gilmore bobbleheads), nine goals, an awesome fight (my video below), and the Leafs won (a rare occurence).
* Taxi ride from Cairo airport
* Dancing in jandels and shorts in Nicaraguan night clubs
Biggest Pains in the Bum
* My aforementioned sickness in Cairo
* Trying to change a flight with Aerolineas Argentinas (ongoing)
* Being talked to in English in Costa Ricano matter how hard you try your dodgy Spanish
Oh well, that's all for now. Off to the Peruvian Amazon tomorrow. Bring on those Anacondas!