Monday, October 30, 2006

IHT-Letter to the Editor

The first time I wrote to an Editor (as me and not as Ford Motor Company), and it got published! All of it! [Blogging and PR]

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Armpit Dinner

"I'm going to buy things to munch on, but bring what you want to eat," said the birthday boy pre-party.

"Ok so I will bring 4-5 tortillas de patatas," I reply.

"No no, I am buying those and drinks, and snacks - just bring what you would like to eat for dinner, for yourself."

Was totally lost. What do I bring? A bocadillo? or kebab? but how do you share that? are we meant to share the food we bring? is it a potluck? felt stupid to ask, so initially I thought I'd take a bocadillo, but then thought it would be embarrassing if we were meant to put our food in the middle to share. Didn't have time to prepare anything for 20 people, so I decided to eat a bit at home and not take anything.

I was the only one without my food. [Which was fine because there was more than enough food to pick on]. Everyone had their non-sharable sandwiches. Aparantly this sort of dinner is called 'cenar de sobaquillo' - which translates to 'dinner of armpits'' because it's like carrying your bocatillo under your armpit for dinner; like bringing a folder to a meeting. Que raro verdad?

Reminded me of the 'dabba parties' we used to have in school as children.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Estoy de bajón

Hoy estoy poco de bajón, para nada. Vaga y muy neutral. Quería hacer muchas cosas pero estuve enfrente de ordenador todo el día, leyendo basura de todo el mundo. No hacia nada de importancia. Pero bueno.

Cuando tomas una pausa de tu vida, como yo, con 6 meses en España; 99% estas maravillosas. Sabes todo, sabes que vas hacer, que quieres de tu vida, donde quiere vivir, y todos las cosas te da alegría profunda. Pero a veces, levantas con un dolor en tu cabeza, y piensas – ¿que estoy haciendo? ¿donde es mi trabajo? que no puedes vivir así para siempre.

Luego piensas, vale, vamos a ver, que puedo hacer: relaciones publicas, escribir, hablar español, bailar. Entonces piensas, que puedes hacer bien – ¿para qué gente te pagará? Nada.
Porque puedes hacer todo, pero nada bien.

Ya lo se, mis objetivos de futuro se solucionará mis preocupaciones. Ya lo se, mañana levantaré y todo estará bien. Pero hoy no veo luz en el fin de túnel.

No estoy triste. No estoy deprimida. Un poco solo, con nadie para hablar basura que necesitas hablar a veces.

Pero quería escribir un poco. No era mi intención escribir en español, pero venga – aquí tienes.

Voy a llamar mi padre.

No quiero saber si hay un millón errores en este artículo.

Dinner at Nacho's

Went to a friends house last night for a wonderful Spanish dinner of pizza, beer and flan. Yes it was Spanish because the pizza had tuna, jamon serrano and alioli, and was from the one-and-only Telepizza; the beer was Cruzcampo, and the flan was home made with 'pan de Calatrava' [ I still have no clue what that is].

Topics talked about yesterday were very enlightening to say the least: how in Valencia you get paid Euro50 for donating sperm but you don't get a room nor Play Boy - you need to use the bathroom [ FYI, women get paid Euro700 for donating their eggs]; how tonic water comes from India (?), how Wikipedia is the best invented encyclopedia and how apparently in India, there are boats in the ocean that have programmers and call-centres operating from there so that they do not have to bide by any laws. Really?

Anyway, amongst us there was a particularly interesting Mexicana who swims oceans for a living, and had just finished swimming the Strait of Gibraltar. How cool!

She swims in the ocean because there is a kick swimming in unknown natural territory, and the danger is something that stimulates her. If her left arm is tired and in pain, she knows how to block the pain with her mind and continue. Every morning from 7am-12noon she is training, then she goes to university as she is a law student. She is 31.

A very likable person, down to earth, bubbly but with a pleasant tone of maturity. However, for the kind of swimmer she is, [with all due respect], she is fat!

Ok not fat fat, but big - plump perhaps is a better word. How can that be? After 5 hours of training everyday? isn't swimming supposed to be the best form of exercise as it claims to use every muscle of your body? It is supposed to build muscle and increase your metabolism, leaving you lean, firm and fit.

No doubt she must be fit, but lean and firm are adjectives you wouldn't even think of when you saw her. I found this very bizarre and if I had had a wee bit more to drink, I would have asked her why she doesn't look like Janet Evans.

Another thing I enjoy is the way people react when you say you live in Dubai. 'What? Really? Woooowwwwwww'! is what I get most of the time. Perfect city, artificial islands in the sea, good money no tax, strange/stunning architecture, skiing in the desert, beach...Abha what else do you want? they ask me. DTCM - well done. Your whole multi-million dollar marketing plan seems to be shaking ground.

This is when comes the question: so why do you not want to live there? I could never answer this question without gabbing on about things like no culture, no personality, no soul, no freedom, artificial etc etc - never seemed a very convincing reply to most the people I chat to. But yesterday, all I said was that 'it's pijo'. This word which you could translate literally as something ''pretentious or overprivileged", immediatley made sense to everyone and the discussion was over and done with. See people pijo are hated tremendously in Spain. They symbolise everything that goes wrong with having too much money. And that is precisely the problem with Dubai.

Someone please come and hit me over the head if something happens and I decide to live in Dubai again.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Strange day. Strange post.

Had a very strange evening a few days ago. Haven't spoken about it to anyone, and am not going to blog it for the sensitivity of it. But need an outlet, so will attempt to relay this evening without using the 6 essential elements to any story: Why, What, How, Who, When, Where.
[this is going to be interesting]

How many times have you done something you didn't want to do, with someone you never would do in your conscious mind, at an hour you would rarely be up and exposed on the street. How many times have you allowed your vulnerability and trust get the better of you. How many times have you woken up with a nightmare of what happened feeling disgusted and nauseous. One minute you tell yourself - 'What were you thinking!' and the next you brush the thoughts aside and pretend it's no big deal, people do worse things, and blame it on being human and alcohol.

What you did is not dangerous or abusive; nor is it out-of-the-blue fucked-up. You are not sure how you are missing a few items, but they are replaceable. You are fine, people involved are fine, people not involved are fine. Had it happened 10-years ago, I would have laughed it off. But at my age, it just goes against everything you think you stand for. Adjectives such as responsible, respectable, dignity and self control explode in your face. You are stoic, slightly bitter, and want to erase every millisecond of that day. You question what on earth is going on with yourself.

No I didn't hurt anyone. No I wasn't hurt. No I didn't take drugs. It was a stupid, stupid day of which I hope nothing will repeat ever. Perhaps my feelings are just exaggerated because I have had time to let them fester. Guess there are better things to worry about.


I feel better now. I think.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Valencia Salsa Congress 2006

Wow. What a super 3 days, (I should say nights) of dancing. I didn't do the day workshops at the congress this time, chose just to watch the shows and dance all night instead. Hmmm...guess I didn't do justice to my one-and-only hobby that I am passionate about. But you know what, unless you have a decent partner (confirmed!) to dance the workshops with, it's practically useless. There is nothing worse than getting stuck with some dude for an hour who cannot dance to save his life (but thinks he his Mr. Hotshot), it is torturous. Although the list of instructors was fantastic, I didn't want to take that chance. Besides, I think if you make it a point to try and catch the good dancers to dance during the fiesta, in that 5 minutes of dancing with them, you could learn way more than in a an hour long choreographed workshop. Anyway, the minute the workshop is over, you don't remember anything you've learnt; well I don't anyway!

Performances were incredible as usual. Swing Guys (Italy), Latin Motion (Australia), Nuno and Vanda (Portugal) and Adrian/Anita were performances that just rocked the stage.

And, the crowd gave a standing ovation to Valencianos Pady and Nico; Nico (she) is 80.
She came on stage with her line 'Salsa no tiene edad!' (Salsa has no age); and then was tossed up in the air, pulled through the legs and lead into a triple spin. INCREDIBLE. Unfortunatley I have no pictures.

I am disappointed with myself for not dancing with the instructors this time. Normally, I'm the first one to take a large slurp of my rum-and-coke and have the courage to ask one of the world-champion-instructors to dance. My experiences have been extreme: either highly encouraging, or disastrous. When they encourage your dancing, happiness knows no bounds, you are in the clouds for the next 2 days atleast. But when you don't manage to dance well with these hot-shots, your confidence hits a tremendous low.

One of the teachers (Adrian - definitly one of the hottest instructors I know of) actually asked ME to dance, night 1 of the Congress. We were in a hall where the AC was on full-blow, it was freezing and when I was dancing with him, I kept wanting to sneeze! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
So obviously I was so unfocused, couldn't dance with him at all; his 2-minute long free-style said it all. Was awful.

Anyhow I promised myself that I would catch him over the next few days to dance again. But I don't know why, I just didn't. Perhaps I was afraid of letting him (and myself) down again, and rather not dance, than dance badly and feel like I can't dance the rest of the night. It's like you rather dance with people you know dance well with, just to keep your spirits up.

No. Bad excuse. I should have danced with him. Mierda. Isn't it amazing how your conscience plays games with you when you don't want it to! *sigh*

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Public Relations and Blogging

Caught an article published recently in IHT on public relations and blogging. With the investment by PR firms like Edelman in monitoring the blogosphere, and then making fake blogs - varied thoughts come to mind about blogger transparency and the ability or inability of successful PR activities directed towards bloggers.

Monitoring the blogosphere is one thing, but PR companies would have to tip-toe very discreetly around the blogosphere if they decide to use it for positive ´messaging´ purposes (as they call it).

Bloggers that write, review, rant and rave about brands or products do so because they want to. It will be interesting to see how PR manages to influence bloggers or use blogging as a marketing tool because it would go against what bloggers stand for: real, untainted opinion. Besides, the intelligence levels of bloggers (and their readers) must not be undermined, surely they will see through subtle PR tactics.

Having said that, will PR companies start having a blogger-list on their media lists? will they end up paying/bribing influential bloggers to blog for them? Will these bloggers compromise the integrity and credibility of their blogs for a few bucks or a nice lunch? Will their readers buy that?

We read blogs because of their genuinity - they are real voices of ordinary people. In contrast, blogs on big-brand websites have no credibility, they are advertorials and I doubt they get a decent hit rate.

I think the blogosphere will loose its charm and purpose of ´raw communication´ if it gets tapped successfully by manipulative marketing personnel. Fellow bloggers, let´s not let that happen.

Steve McCurry Exhibition Valencia

Steve McCurry's fame drew me to an exhibition (just down the road from home!) of his photos from South Asia, set up as part of the International Journalism Congress that begins here tomorrow.

The photos covered mainly India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afganistan, Yemen, Tibet and Nepal. They were spell-binding. Each of his photos told a story vividly that you could sense the minute you saw it. His use of colour and light is very easy to appreciate as he brings out the best of everything in it's natural surroundings - be it a wall, a tree, a person, or an animal.

Having said that, something that confused me about what I felt of his art was that all his pictures were so familiar to me, especially the ones from India. Naturally, I am Indian - but every picture - be it from Bhopal, Jodhpur, Varanasi, Bihar, Delhi or Mumbai, made me wonder how he saw modes of real human suffering (eg poverty, homelessness, floods, desert-storms) and normal existence (eg a full train, tea-pickers, farmers plowing a field, street children playing Holi, a lady in her chaniya-choli walking into her house, a child sleeping) and turned them into photographic art that today people pay money to see and pay a fortune to own. Surely these people have absolutely no clue that they are familiar faces to every other educated person in the world. They will die never knowing that some dude saw in them what nobody else did, captured it and framed it. That they, in a way will always be immortal.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Movie Review: Laberinto del Fauno

Very interested in watching a movie that combines the era of the Franco regime in Spain and fantasy, I went to watch Laberinto del Fauno - written and directed by famous Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

It was horrible!

2 hours of watching the Franco hijos de puta (as they say) torturing their opposition left me sick to the stomach, not allowing me to appreciate the innocent and intriguing fantasies the little girl indulges in, perhaps demonstrating her way of dealing with the trauma - the whole point of the film!

Blood, bullets, torture, knives, torture, guns, blood, wounds, blood. That's all I can remember of the movie. What a shame, because the fantasy built characters had great amounts of imagination and signifance that my brain just wouldn't comprehend because of the goriness of the scenes before and after. They ended up to serve as comic relief more than anything else.

If you can't stand blood and torture scenes, do not go watch this movie. If you do, don't buy popcorn.

Terrible Cycle. Absolutely Pathetic.

Most weekends - Thursday-Saturday, I am out dancing 12-6am. So come Sunday and at 4am I am wide awake. Till about 3 weeks ago, this wasn't a problem, as I had school 9am - so would HAVE to get up, and would catch up with a power nap in the afternoon - Monday would be the only bad day, Tuesday back to normal.

But the fuck up now is that I have class at 3pm and it is impossible to get out of bed before noon, especially now that it's chilly. Now it's almost 3am here and I haven't yawned yet. Tomorrow I will wake up around noon (even though my alarm is set for 9am, as always), get dressed, fix lunch, go to school - back at 8pm. Whole day gone. It's terrible! I wish I could say 'but I'm burning the midnight oil', but other than endlessly reading online and watching absolutely pathetic yet addictive Big Brother (Gran Hermano) debates, I've been good for nothing.

Another thing that has been bothering me, is that since I land up reading for hours online - my book-reading has gone for a toss. Reading online is great, but you land up reading such a plethora of random stuff - articles, blogs, poems, rants - you don't read anything concrete; although you have been reading for 3 hours, you don't feel like you have read anything substantial. I started 4 books when I got to Spain: a Noam Chomsky, a Bill Bryson, a Jorge Bucay (which I will finish tomorrow, even if I have to be up all night), and this other really stupid Spanish book on cowboys. I haven't finished any. Terrible. I also started this journalsim course from LSJ (thinking oh I'll have loads of time in Spain)- did 6 assignments in the first month, then the Spanish-English contrast wasn't working, and haven't read assignment 7 yet. Absolutely terrible.

Time to fix things, beginning with my sleeping/not sleeping schedule.I have told my flat mate to pour water on my head before he goes to work if I'm not up by then. I hope I don't punch him.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Marc Anthony Concert - Benidorm

Ofcourse I had to go for this concert. I must admit he was much better than I expected.

We arrived in Benidorm (the city known to have the highest skyscraper in Europe, which we didn't see) around 6:30pm for a 10:30pm concert, and there was already a 2-mile line around the football stadium. After geeing and gawing about the number of people here and giving saludos to half of Valencia present, we entered the stadium around 8pm.

A bit buggered that we had to wait another 2-and-a-half hours before the concert started, I should have guessed that Spaniards are pretty good entertainers (a.k.a time wasters :). MA music played for a bit which got the crowds into the mood, and was followed by a Flamenco show. Then we were entertained by spectators of other MA concerts around the world flashing boobs-and-bums when the cameras had caught them. Hilarious. When the cameras caught us in Benidorm, they didn't stay focused long as the best we could give them was some boys unzipping their flys. Tutut. Oh well.

Then all of a sudden, lights went off and MA appeared magically (like they all do). Looked at the crowd who was screaming, and then said...'WOW'(!?). Then immediatley starting singing 'Valio la Pena' followed by others - names of which I shamefully don't remember.

One thing though, after consequtively listening to 4-5 songs of MA, they all start sounding the same! I think the crowd felt it too because this was when they all started shouting out for J.Lo.

Yes she was there. She strutted on stage while the men had orgasms, (in a dress not doing justice to her sexiest-ass-in-the-world), gave her husband a long kiss, queen-kissed the crowd and strutted off.

Another thing that was interesting to see was that twice during the concert, MA stopped, looked at everyone (whilst pin drop silence because no-one was sure what was going to happen), closed his eyes, got onto his knees, and kissed the floor! WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? I thought we only did that in India...! Anyway.

What makes or breaks a concert is the ambience, and the atmosphere here was really rocking. Also for me, watching a concert in Spanish with Spanish people had it's own charm. As we left, everyone-about 25,000 people- were dancing on their way out, all ready to hit the dance floor. Very cool.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My last month in Valencia

Wow. I cannot believe I have been here for 5 months already, I feel I arrived yesterday. It's so scary how time flies; there never seems to be enough time! I think 6 months is just enough time to blend into a new country. It's just about enough time to begin picking up the language somewhat decently, get to know locals, and begin living like a local. And now, thanks to my Indian passport, I have to leave. Just when I have my feet stuck into something. SUCKS.
My heart is already in my throat.

After many nights of tossing and turning with thoughts about what next, I woke up yesterday knowing: I don't want to leave Spain.

All my other million ideas of - working in Bollywood, auditioning for MTV, dancing in a professional salsa group that tours the world, getting my PR job back in Dubai, living in Bangalore, being a spiritual guide (don't ask me about this one), learning Arabic, being a tour-guide in Darwin, volunteering in Brasil, teaching English in Mexico, living in New York etc etc, have all taken a back step for the moment. Oh yes, I still plan to touch every idea before crossing it off the list, but for the moment I know I want to come back to Spain, learn the language kick-ass, write and try to get published, and teach English to keep some income rolling in. It's nice to know what you want.

Yes random, yes unstable. Yes this list of things makes me a strange, unrealistic and perhaps a fickle minded person - but hey, that's me and these are things I'd like to do, I don't care if it pokes anyone elses bum. Fortunatley, I can afford to have all these random dreams, some of which may just come true. It's a directionless direction. Hmm. Now how many of you have that!?

A house on the beach, a car, marriage, children, steady income - I just don't see on my cards at the moment. My grandmum almost had a heart attack when I told her that marriage isn't in fashion anymore :)

There is so much out there to find, to do, and the more you look, the more you find and the more you want to find. It's very easy to live a conventional life, it's what is drilled into us from when we are young, especially in India. There is nothing wrong with a conventional life. Infact it's the safer option. But nowhere close to being as fun and fulfilling as doing something a bit unconventional. I'm too young to be working in a job that ,yes, pays but for all the wrong reasons. I have done that for 4 years, worked my ass off, earned some money but now have no plans of getting back into the business world. Even if I may one day need to live on a shoe-string.

The last 5 months have probably been the most nourishing because for the first time I took 6 months off and did exactly what I wanted to. Why should things be different now?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ignorance on the dance floor

Most of us begin salsa dancing because we enjoy dancing in general and like latin music. We prefer getting down and dirty on the dance floor than getting drunk, drugged and dizzy in a nightclub. We don't always want to go out to have deep and meaningful chats, especially after a long day at work. We rather dance our hearts out, have a drink and come back home, without the need and pressure to be 'verbally social'.

All this is quite contrary to the nature of salsa dancing. It is such a super ice-breaker. When someone asks to you dance, within less than a minute of knowing him, you land up spending the next 5 minutes or so locked in his arms, your body an inch away from his. Before you ask, there is an unsaid code between dancers. If you are a dancer, unless you are a snobbish, good for nothing asshole, you dance with everyone who asks you to, especially the first time anyway. (Things may not be so straightforward the next time around).

Apart from the above reasons, I started dancing because I needed a stress buster and I love going out and dancing. Had/have no particular interest in making close buddies on the dance floor, or talking about love and life as a means to get to know someone better. I go to dance. We are in the same place because we share the hobby. Punto. IF we talk, and IF we become friends, it would be unforced and yes, a bonus. But otherwise, I am happy just dancing. There is nothing more annoying than you dancing bachata with someone unfamiliar and they decide they want to get to know everything about you in those 5 minutes, after all - his mouth is millimetres away from your ear. It is such a turn off. Talk to me post dance mate.

Anyway...coming to my point. It is amazing to realise how many people you have not spoken to, or don't know their name when you have been physically closer to them than perhaps any of your non-dancing friends, and you see them alot more than your non-dancing friends. I remember a time when I had grown very fond of someone on the dance floor. We shared some great dances and yes had the odd conversations; and for about a year - I didn't know his name, where he was from, what he did, nothing. But everytime I saw him, I would be happier to see him than to see say a colleague from work. It didn't matter what I knew or didn't know about him. How can that be?

I think it's the no-obligations virus. I don't have to talk to him, but I can if I want to. Nothing will change the way we dance together, or whatever the hell we have together. Such relationship's are so unique.

Same thing in Spain. Yesterday, after 5 months of dancing atleast twice a night, 3 nights a row with idea what his name is.....he realised I don't speak Spanish too well, and that I'm not Spanish.

What lands up happening when you dance as much as a lunatic like me, is that you land up having a large number of acquaintances who are super dancers and you know them just enough to be comfortable and feel part of things. Life problems, work problems, relationship issues, need to compromise, partner problems, bombs in Iraq, floods in India, hunger in Ethiopia, everything is forgotten for those few hours out dancing. Such bliss! Isn't that the true essence of having fun? Do we really need close friends to go out and have a great time? Well, dancers don't anyway. You may say that we are escapists and that it's a bit pathetic; that we are loners afraid of admitting it. But it's quite the contrary. Not sure what I'd do if I didn't dance.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The latest from Dubai

Dubai, yet again never fails to surprise. Check out it's latest concept in offshore luxury living!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Falling apart?

I was told that my last month in Spain would be the most important in terms of grasp of language. Everything will fall in place, you will be comfortable with the language, verb conjugation may not be perfect, but will not be a pain in the ass either.

I have entered this last month and my Spanish seems to be going nowhere but downhill. I am speaking worse than I was a month ago. I am saying 'no te entiendo' (I don't understand you) and am actually meaning it when I say it! Word's aren't flowing anymore. They used to flow. Flow wrong, but atleast flow. Now...NOT HAPPENING! My 150 odd hours of Spanish lessons so far are taking their toll; maybe I have too much information in my head that has chosen not to digest quite yet.

Perhaps I am just more aware of what I'm speaking now. Aware of how wrong I used to speak, so rather not speak, or think long before I do. Before, it didn't matter -(ignorance is bliss!), perhaps because I didn't realise what and how wrong I was speaking. Now it does. Well, I guess that's progress.

Onion flavoured ice-cream

There is a little heladeria close to home where today I tasted onion flavoured ice-cream. Yuck.
Yes it's salty. Yes you can eat it in a cone or in a cup. Yuck.

It tasted like onion paste with ice, more like an onion sorbet. Yuck. What were they thinking when they made that? They also have flavours like: salmon, potato, gazpacho, spinach, and garlic.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Spanish nick-names

I was always under the impression that a nick-name is a short form for a name. Eg. Robert = Bob, Frederic = Fred, Philip = Phil, Matthew = Mat.

But in Spain they are on bit of a different wavelength:

Enrique = Quique (ok, not bad)
Francisco = Paco (huh?)
Jose = Pepe (??)
Maria Carmen = Mamen
Rosario = Chari (HUH?)
Ignacio = Nacho
Joaquin = Ximo

And how did the whole of Spain or Hispanic world decide to come to a unanimous decision? I'm sure there are plenty more, how do you remember them when they are so non-corresponding? And why bother naming someone Jose, if you are going to call him Pepe? What about poor Pepe? Are all Pepe's Jose's?

Yes, I have had a long day. Guess some things are better left as they are.

Actually, when you think about it Indian's are no better. Almost all of us have a nick name with no logic and no uniformity, totally random.

For eg.
A Sneha could be: Pinky, Micky, Minni, Choti or Rani
A Nilesh could be: Nilu, Bittu, Shanu, Monu, Titu or Lovely.

No , I don't have one. Thank goodness.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Spam Blog?!

This is why I haven't been able to blog lately. How on earth did my blog get tabbed as a Spam Blog? They said if I didn't reply, within 20 days they would delete my blog.

What if I was on holiday, and didn't see the message for a few weeks? all the writing I have done on this over the past year would have been erased. What a mierda system! Do you guys have back-up blogs? or somewhere where you can store your writing? (don't say Word 2000)

Well, they did fix it in 2 days, so I guess I shouldn't be ranting. Did shock me though.


Dear Blogger user,

This is a message from the Blogger Team. In order to maintain a free, high quality service, we use an automated classifier to identify spam blogs.

This system has detected that your blog has characteristics that resemble spam. Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerly apologize for this erroneous result.You won't be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and verify that it is not a spam blog. To request a review, please fill out the form found.

We'll take a look at your blog and unlock it in less than one business day. Please note, if we don't hear from you, we will remove your blog within 20 days. If the blog at does not belong to you, then no action is necessary on your part. Any other blogs you may have will not be affected.By using automated classification systems we've been able to dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to users like you instead of spammers. Thanks for your understanding.


The Blogger Team

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

For a change...!

Two things I am known to do badly (my family can narrate 1001 stories): picking food from a menu at a restuarant:- I always go for something I haven't tried before, and 99.5% of the time, I pick the worst thing on the menu. But hey, you gotta be adventurous right! Besides, I'm the one eating it so what pokes everyone else's bum, who knows.

And the second thing is picking movies to watch. See, I don't care if it's been heard of, or not; if it has won 8 Oscars or not, if it has famous cast or not. If it sounds interesting, I will rent it. And again 95% ...ok...98% of the time I am wrong - the movie sucks and people watching with me want to smother me with a sofa cushion.

BUT, today I rented a movie, and it was pretty damn good! Well I enjoyed it anyway. Went to see if they had Volver, but they didn't - and in fear of getting another depressing movie, I stayed away from other Al Modovar's and picked one called 'Habana Blues'.

Set in Havana, revolving around a group of young (guapo!) Cubano musicians who are trying to make it big and escape from the island, the movie didn't specially tell a new story, but told it originally.

Very real, with a touch of drama to save it from being a documentary; music to bring to life the essence of Cuba, and stunning shots in Havana city made the movie enjoyable.

Having been to Cuba, was very nostalgic watching it (minus the guapo men, who we didn't seem to find during our 4 weeks there!). In short, it was just the sort of movie I was in the mood for, made me smile and I am downloading the soundtrack as I write.

BUT, I must point out: I found it harder to understand the Cuban accent when they speak Spanish! They eat words, always speak in 3rd person singular, and do not pronounce 's'. There are 2 Spaniards in the movie, who I was so glad to be able to understand! I had the perception that Latin American Spanish would but much simpler to comprehend, but I think it totally depends on the Spanish you have been accustomed to, obviously I guess.

All in all, dare I say, I felt better watching this more than all the other 3 I saw over the weekend put together.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Movie weekend

To welcome the winter with open arms, my body decided not to resist a cold - for that is what winter brings. Blankets are out and so are trousers and cardigans - and this weekend so were my panadols and vitamins. However, a cold is a great excuse to stay in, cuddle up (to your dog, if that's all you have) get some hot Cola Cao going and watch movies. I had become a member of trendy Version Original down the street some 4 months ago, and still had 9 of 10 rentals on my card (can you believe it?). Anyway - so I landed up watching 3 good but very depressing movies:

Barrio: Es un cuenta de thres chicos que viven en un bajo barrio de un ciudad. La pelicula revolve alredador de amistad de ellos, sus problemos en casa con sus padres, hermanos, trabajo y vida en general, y acaba en un tragedy. Es triste pero recomendo este peli.

Hable Con Ella: Si! mi primera pelicula de Al Modovar. No sabia que muchos de sus peliculas son triste! Este pelicula es sobre dos hombres que tienen novia's en coma. Como ellos las cuidan, y desarollo de sus amistad. Pero, este pelicula tiene un ángulo muy chocante y poco enfermo - que despues siente muy mal. Emocional y casi real, este pelicula es muy bien, recomendo tambien.

Whoa. My first attempt blogging en español - y me cuesta mucho! Por favor, si hay alguien español leyendo mi blog, cuanto lo siento! Un dia escribiré sin error!

Water: Now films like this make me proud of Indian cinema. Beautifully shot, this film revolves around the life of a child widow in a home for widows, during the time when most widows were considered useless and a burden. In these houses they need to beg for a living and sometimes sell themselves. Written and directed by Deepa Mehta (known for picking controversial topics) it was made only after a political battle with Indian parties. The movie is not a sob story - but an intense, powerful, and sad peek into the reality of over 34 million widows in India.

Great weekend, but I'm a bit low on my 'happy level' after watching 3 serious and sad films consecutively. Am off to watch some Aida before bed.
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