Thursday, 10 May 2012

21/04/12 - Caipirinhas Calling

The heavy exhaustion of travel still hounded us horribly, so we spent the following day on Ipanema Beach despite attempts to dissuade us from the grey sky (I was given the impression Rio was supposed to be sunny all year round...).

 The night proved to be far more eventful: quickly making friends with two Swiss girls we headed out for a party on Ipanema Beach; a small bar was enclosed by massive palm fronds and fiery torches that nicely complimented the lights of the Favelas gently winking on the distant hills. Here was where I tasted my first Caipirinha, the national drink made from Cachaça (Sugar cane rum) , Sugar and Lime. It´s sweet laquor mixed with it´s potent content happily pushed us down the steep slope to inebriation. A few more and we got talking to a friend of a friend of a new friend who invited us to flat party in Copacabana. The only obstacle getting there was surviving the reckless driving of the taxi man, who made it his mission to run every red light we came too whilst the five of use squashed in made it ours to spill as little Caipirinha as possible; there´s nothing fun about glancing out the window and seeing a truck vigorously making it´s way too a meeting with your side door. Many near misses later we mingled with various socialites and event organisers, and somehow got ourselves invited to an opening of a new club night; one studded with an array Brazilian celebrities who I´d never heard of. Here I also received one of the odder compliments of my life, from the world´s campest woman: "You are like a Peacock, you open your tail feathers and shake it!"

The night soon lost itself into a blur of rum, beer and peacocks, and as the sky began to obtain the steely hue of early dawn we jumped on a van home - encouraged by a young boy who´s sole job was to acquire Gringos whilst hanging out the side door of the van as it raced down the street at perilous speeds. Rio was quick in establishing it´s party reputation.

20/04/12 - First Steps In A New Land

An expansive golden web clung to the dark earth below, it´s body warped by the silhouettes of the mountains and the flat, black plane of the Atlantic ocean. This was my first glimpse of Rio de Janeiro as we moved through the night sky, and closest I had ever been to South America; a distance that shortened with an exhilarating speed as we began our descent into Galeão International Airport.

After months of planning, and 32 hours since departing Leeds, this geometric sprawl of light alone reconciled the time spent working three jobs, and vicious curtail of  expenditure of the last eight months. Although beautiful the beginning of our Journey wasn´t without mishap; encouraged by a burgeoning spirit of adventure, an eagerness to save money and our minds clouded by the lethargy of travel we took it upon ourselves to get one of the extremely cheap buses to Ipanema, Zona Sul - the site of our Hostel. Enquiring in shaky Portuguese whether this bus went to Ipanema and receiving the encouraging answer "Ipanema? Si!" we boarded. The driver himself cheated one of use out of our change, something we probably should´ve taken as foreshadowing, after talking to one of the locals it turned out that the bus wasn´t heading to Zona Sul, but destined for Centro. Of course by this point the bus had began to pull out. Que a mad dash and much shouting to quickly escape. Slightly out of pocket and a tiny bit disillusioned we thought it best to get a Taxi. Although getting slightly lost, after much pointing at maps our driver managed to get us to our hostel. Thus ended the first night of our journey....

(Top Travelling Song: All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix - cover of Bob Dylan)
(Book Started: The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Phrases to Forget: “Why Me?”

This phrase is born from disadvantageous situations where the individual feels personally victimised, probing themselves in search of emotional validation. Such examples could be “Why did this have to happen to me?”, “What have I done to deserve this?” or even “Someone up there hates me!”. Such an introspective thought often leads to a spiralling of negative feelings, resulting in an emotional malaise that breeds a temperament made of dis-empowerment, despair, contempt and self-righteousness. This is upheld by a stream of conscious justifications for this state; I didn't deserve this; the world is cruel; I deserve pity. This continues, seemingly feeding off each other as the individual wallows in their despair; the phrase ‘Why Me’ imbuing them with thoughts of victimisation and seeking emotional validation from their mental probing.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

“¡Democracia Real YA!”

Puerta del Sol, Madrid.
On May 15th Barcelona and Madrid were plunged into dissent as the Spanish population voiced their objections against the reigning government, ruled by a unrepresentative two-party system, and protesting for basic human rights and fair economic policy which the current political class have failed to address. Designated 15-M, the movement began with an initially youthful crowd organised through social media networks and the ¡Democracia Real YA!, or ‘Real Democracy NOW!’, group. However on May 17th 15-M transcended social and cultural boundaries, with peoples deriving from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds becoming involved. Since then it has exploded into protests across Spain in 58 cities, however despite this Spanish politicians have somewhat disparaged the protests, labelling them as ‘leftist’ or ‘just students’ in an effort to diminish their significance; a notion that has been somewhat absorbed by international media. The next few weeks will prove crucial to the movement; however its non-party political orientation may prove to be a disadvantage without any significant governmental support.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Bible and Homosexuality: 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 1 Timothy 1:9-10

This is the final post in the ‘Homosexuality and The Bible’ series that deals with passages often directly quoted by various Christian conservatives to be used as ammunition against homosexuality. Such denominations and movements, especially Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, take biblical scripture at face-value believing it to be inerrant. However such interpretations are often erroneous and liable to errors in translation, and ignore the influence of historical context and author bias.

The passages of 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 in particular are the subject of debate because the words used to condemn homosexuality are wholly based on modern interpretation and could well be misinterpreted. Whilst not as influential as Romans 1: 26-27 and Leviticus 18:22 and 20:18, they are no less significant. Indeed, similarly to Romans, these letters are claimed to have been written by the apostle Paul; a highly influential figure in Christendom renowned for his pre-conversion background of a zealous, antichristian Jew. Due to the similar themes addressed within the two passages both will be discussed together. All quotes below are from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Photography by Nick Clark
This week was my birthday and, inevitably, the subject of aging arose. At the time it was treated jovially, but I find that it’s all too common that people express their fear of growing old, and in turn this fear is oft extended to death. I lightly touched upon this subject in my previous post, where I explained my reasoning that because death is inevitable there is no point to fearing it, and such a fear is only restrictive to an individual’s productive achievement. That is not too say death itself is insignificant; it’s finality certainly brings purpose to life, and obviously the death of someone is sorrowful. The fear of old age holds more merit; I’m certain no-one likes the idea of becoming dependant or their flesh aging. However associated health issues are best prevented in living a healthy lifestyle before reaching such an age; senescence is of course inevitable and thus, through a similar reasoning used above, should be taken in stride; whilst other, inescapable aging problems are left to fate, although that’s not too say they shouldn’t be contended with all your spirit.

When this topic of conversation occurs one notion invariably materialises; immortality. If the chance arose for you to become immortal would you take it?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Chevin Adventure A GoGo!

The Destination.
The other day I awoke to a rather glorious sight; the sun was in ascendant through an azure sky, its light burnishing the vegetation throughout my valley with a resplendent green. Immediately I thought of one thing: photography. There was no way I was letting such a wonderful day go to waste, especially since the previous days I had encarcerated myself within the confines of my house in order to prepare for my university finals.

However I lacked a camera. Fortunately this rather major issue was quickly resolved; a quick Facebook message later and I had managed to persuade my friend Rowan to accompany me whilst I abused his substantial, Canon EOS 400D camera. My objective was to photograph the expansive vista, known as “Surprise View”, that provides a massive 60km panorama of West and North Yorkshire. However such a view is only accessible by hiking to the top of the Chevin, the more prominent hill of my valley that dominates the southern horizon. The Chevin, a name derived from Celtic ‘Cefyn’ or ‘Cefu’ meaning ridge, has been a constant character throughout my life with some of my earliest memories being me playing on its steep slopes. Despite forming the valley within which my town is situated I hadn’t visited the old hill for some time, so the beautiful day that presented itself to me was the perfect opportunity to rediscover its secrets.

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