Saturday, 22 April 2017

PUKON, CHILE - A Short Story

Continuing my theme of writing a story to go with photos from my recent South American trip. Here's the third one in the series. 



‘I’m fed up doing this, Maria. I don’t belong in this park selling these stupid things to the kids.’



‘Stop complaining, Diego, we’re making money.’
‘And the bird isn’t helping.’
‘What are you talking about? The parrot draws in the tourists.’
‘It’s always trying to bite us.’






‘Stop complaining, Diego,’ said Santiago. ‘Do you know how sore this harmonica makes my mouth after busking every day? And for what? Peanuts, that’s what.' 






Santiago wagged his finger at two other buskers who had just joined them in the park. 'Now take Alonso and Vicente. They’re the ones who make money busking along the roads where all the tourists sit outside to eat and drink.’
‘Not to mention the car drivers who pay them to get out of the way,’ said Diego with a laugh.



‘Oh, very funny! Do you have any idea how sore my legs get after dancing up and down the streets?’ said Alonso.
‘And do you have any idea how sore my back gets, carrying and banging that drum?’ said Vicente.




‘Stop complaining, the lot of you,’ said Maria. ‘Be happy that the tourists are here and you can make some money. That’s all that matters.’
 ‘No, Maria. We're earning a pittance. We need better ideas,’ said Diego. ‘So, ask yourself: why do the tourists come to Pukon?’
‘To see the volcano, of course.’



‘Nah,’ said Santiago. He played a little sea shanty on his harmonica. ‘They come for the lake.’
‘Exactly,’ said Diego. ‘We need to run boat tours on the lake.’



‘But the lake already has a big tourist boat,’ said Maria.
‘Yes, a stupid Duck Boat. I have a better idea: pirates!’
Maria rolled her eyes. ‘You’ve been watching that idiotic pirate movie again haven’t you?’
‘I’m going to use it as a theme for boat trips on the lake.’


‘But… the Duck Boat has already cornered the market.’
‘The Duck Boat is toast. I’m going to do up my uncle’s old boat and call it The Black Pearl.’ Diego turned to Santiago. ‘Are you in?’
For a reply Santiago played the opening bars from the movie.
Diego grinned. ‘Alonso? Vicente?’
Vicente joined in with Santiago on his drum and Alonso pretended to climb the rigging.
Maria shrugged. ‘Oh, why not? Let's do it,’ she said.
'Really?' said Diego. 
'Aye, aye, Captain,' she said, laughing.





Do let me know if you're enjoying this series of short stories and I'll see you again in a couple of weeks.







Saturday, 8 April 2017

GAUCHOS IN PATAGONIA - A Short Story



It was an annual event. A chance to do a little business.



A chance to meet old friends.


A chance for the local ranches to showcase the quality of their meat.
Who doesn't like a barbecue?
Matias and Pedro couldn't carve the meat fast enough for the hungry attendees.













Matias paused. It wasn't even midday and he was tired already.






















Pedro looked around, wandering when the rodeo was going to start.












He spotted his cousin strutting across the cordoned off arena. Did this mean they were preparing to begin?






Pedro grinned in relief. This is why he was here, never mind the family get togethers, it was the horsemanship he wanted to see.












































More gauchos were keeping their horses' fidgets under control by riding them around the arena.


















Would the rodeo ever begin?


















Pedro got word that they were waiting for the stand-by ambulance to arrive. Nothing was allowed to start until the ambulance was on-site. 
Pedro grimaced, 'it's quite something that Health & Safety has spread it's insidious net to the arse end of Patagonia,' he thought.



I hope you enjoyed the second story in my South America series and I look forward to reading your comments.



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

LIFE IN RIO DE JANEIRO - A short story

I've been mulling over how to document my recent trip to South America. Instead of simply posting a few photos with captions, I'm going to use the photos as prompts for stories. 



They weren't getting any younger. Their money had run out again so her husband was out touting for any work he could get. She took the opportunity to relax and have a leisurely strip wash.



When her husband had cobbled together a shower, she had tried to show her appreciation, but she knew the contraption wouldn’t last. Sure enough, within a few weeks it had broken beyond repair. She didn’t mind. A basin of water had always done the job.


In just one month Carnival would be upon them. She smiled to herself. So many ways to make a bit of money during Carnival, even if they were rarely legal. Why should she care? All those rich tourists would be ripe for the picking.




Talking of tourists, she could hear another bus load winding up the narrow favela street on their way to see Christ the Redeemer, the mighty statue which had stood sentinel over the city since the 1930’s.




The tourists wouldn't see much of him in the mist and rain today, but the weather never seemed to stop them. 






She wrapped a raggedy towel tightly across her breasts and looked out of her window. The bus inched past her building.

‘Go on,’ she thought. ‘Have a good gawp at us.’ She smiled to herself again. ‘What you don’t realise is that we’re gawping at you and your ridiculous, empty lives. Lives so empty you pay good money to visit a statue you can barely see in the rain and take a look along the way at how we slum dwellers live. Do you feel sorry for me?

Hah! Well, let me tell you something – my life is richer than yours will ever be.’









The tourists always gave her a good laugh.









Thanks for reading my blog. Your comments are always very welcome. See you in a week or two.















Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St Patrick's Day



Since the 17th Century the Irish have celebrated a religious feast day in commemoration of their patron saint on the 17th March every year. 

Parades are held in towns and cities all over Ireland and in many parts of the world.

I went to my local town's parade this afternoon which was well attended despite the rain.









Dancing to traditional music was fun to watch.













Live entertainment in the supermarket made a pleasant change.






Last year everyone enjoyed the parade in the sunshine.



















Do let me know if you've enjoyed this little snapshot of our special day in the Emerald Isle. 

Have a great weekend.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

A DIFFERENT VIEW - Mini-Series Part 4 - FRANCE

I love France. So many of its cities, towns and villages have maintained their historic cores and are wonderful to explore. Paris is one of my favourite cities and even if you've never visited, you are surely familiar with its most recognised monument.


The Eiffel Tower

I'm now going to take you on a little whirlwind tour around other parts of France for a different view.

Reims Cathedral



This country abounds with churches and cathedrals. 

The kings of France were crowned in Reims Cathedral.











Broglie

Lovely old buildings like this one can be found in many French villages.




Poppies are used to commemorate the lives lost in World War One because these flowers grew on the French battlefields after the war had ended.










Kite surfing on France's Atlantic coast is a popular pastime.










As is fishing...






France has a strong agricultural industry.















And how's this for a witty art installation?







Fields of sunflowers brighten the countryside.















Or perhaps a balloon ride would be the best way to see some of France from a different view?





Do let me know if you've enjoyed this post and I'll reply to all comments when I return from my travels later this month.



Saturday, 18 February 2017

A DIFFERENT VIEW - Mini-Series Part 3 - MALAYSIA

Malaysia is split between two land masses. West - or Peninsular - Malaysia is sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore. East Malaysia lies on the island of Borneo and shares that huge island with Indonesia and Brunei.

Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur on the peninsular, is regularly depicted by the iconic Petronas Towers. 



All very dramatic, but let's travel east across the peninsular for a different view.

















Now, let's cross the South China Sea to Borneo for another view - 
and I'm not referring to Malaysia's most famous ape, the orang-utan. You can see my orang-utan photos from last April's A-Z Challenge: O is for Orang-utan.


Away from the sophistication of Kuala Lumpur, and the jungles of Borneo where a few wild orang-utans still survive lies a world of tiny islands, with white beaches the texture of talcum powder, shimmering under a hot sun.











Kota Kinabalu


For me, the biggest attraction of East Malaysia's city of Kota Kinabalu was the wonderful, friendly locals.

I can almost taste those barbecued fish.








Kota Kinabalu



Before you ask, I have to confess I can't tell you what they were grinding. If anyone knows, do tell!















Please let me know if you've enjoyed this post. I'll reply to all comments when I return from my travels in March.




Saturday, 4 February 2017

A DIFFERENT VIEW - Mini-Series Part 2 - RAJASTHAN

Whether or not you have visited this fascinating sub-continent, India surely conjures many iconic images. 

Who hasn't seen photos of the Taj Mahal? I almost skipped a visit to Agra on the grounds that I didn't need to see a building I was already well acquainted with. Fortunately, I did go and for the first time in my life I was reduced to tears by a building. 

The moral of this story is: if you have an opportunity to visit a world renowned place, just do it!

Anyway, I digress...

I could show you photos of the Taj Mahal and a variety of other famous places and buildings in India, but, in the spirit of this mini-series, I'm going to show you a different view instead.


Sam sand dunes, Thar Desert


I prefer to capture people in my photos, if possible.


Pushkar






Failing that, I'll settle for animals.
















Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary



Or a gorgeous sunset.


















But people going about their daily lives are always a source of fascination for me.















Although sacred cows are ubiquitous in towns and cities and the locals barely notice them, it's a thrill for the visitor who bumps into one in a narrow street.


Jaisalmer


But people photos are my favourite and if I can only capture a silhouette, then so be it.


Thar Desert



Please leave a comment if you've enjoyed my snapshot of Rajasthan. 

I'll reply when I return from my travels in March.