One dull week in February when everything in Britain was coated in drizzle, my partner and I ran away to Andalucia and, under a crisp blue sky, we drove far up into the mountains north of Seville, through a small town of narrow streets and white houses called Cazalla, out into the hills again, up through the poplar trees, where we rounded a bend and suddenly discovered an absurdity.
Stories categorized “Travel”:
Sometime long after midnight – after the food had run out, but while the wine and the rum were still bubbling over the bar, probably around the time that the salsa band finally took off into orbit and the whole room went with it in one collective dance of perspiration – just around then, I fell in love.
The lost American nods into his beer and says that the Greeks are different. He should know. He came here, he’s not sure, maybe 20 years ago – he just dropped out and never came back – and he’s been here ever since, mostly writing poetry, and for all that time he’s been illegal, no kind of papers at all, and the fact is that it’s never caused him a moment’s hassle.
There is only one thing you really need to know about the Hague – one simple fact, one accident of history, one utterly damning weakness. The terrible truth is that the Hague is not Amsterdam.
Once, the world was full of mysteries, some of them frightening, some of them wonderful, some of them merely fascinating, but now, it can be a banal and predictable place, the tracks of daily life so well-beaten and defined, our culture awash with the imbecile obvious, our existence suffocating in safety. But mysteries remain.
There are not a lot of rebels in America. Most Americans don’t seem to realise this – they still think they’re living in the home of the free – but the truth is that the decisions of their daily life have become so commercialised, their self-image so puffed up with patriotism, their politics so encased in self-righteousness that this society, which is so keen to boast about its devotion to the individual, has become a cathedral to conformity. Nevertheless, a few survive.
Houston is a metaphor for all this. At first sight, it is the whole American nightmare embodied in concrete – 50 miles wide, littered with ghettos, ravaged by freeways, awash with drugs and crime and corruption – and yet, down on the ground, in the shadow of the arrogant skyscrapers with their hostile reflecting walls, there is yet life, creative, rebellious, human life. Which is where the Art Cars come in.
Travel: Cents and sensibility: Cuba : The last enclave of revolutionary socialism is struggling to survive, held together by optimism and a genius for improvisation. Nick Davies , with 18 months of a Cuban salary in his pocket, wonders if tourist gold is a cure or a fatal illness
The American actor Robin Williams once denounced cricket as “baseball on valium”, a game of tedium and cucumber sandwiches. Robin Williams knows nothing.
It is early morning on the Murray river up on the northern border of the state of Victoria. Every so often, a gang of bright white cockatoos comes crashing out of the tree tops, screaming abuse at each other on their way across the water, but otherwise the river and the forest are deeply silent as Bill Vickers pushes his boat upstream.
It was not until the notorious Night of Bliss and Organic Excitement was about to run its controversial course that the real truth finally dawned.