Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IKEA: Should I stay or should I go?

In a matter of a few weeks time I will be 'flying the coop' and moving out of home to live in Waterloo, but before the momentous occasion is upon us I realised I need a new bed quick fast.

Armed with my paper ruler and pencil, IKEA was the most obvious option. However faster then you can say "Swedish meatball" I was attempting "IKEA suicide".

Everything was so uninspiring. I went home irritated by my Sunday wasted (and once assembled, a crooked lamp to show for my efforts) until I stumbled across IKEA Hackers. The website is designed to share peoples customised furnishings of popular IKEA products referred to as 'hacks'. I'm already thinking the lamp may be salvaged thanks to the awesome gold leaf 'hack' posted this month.

With my hope semi-restored came the blog of the week which I know we have role played in some way/shape or form: "playing house" in IKEA. Photographer Christian Gideon wondered the same thing with two of his mates, mainly what it would be like to move into IKEA for the weekend. So they not only hacked, but moved in. Enjoy.

Faith restored in IKEA (only via this blog for the time being) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dad:the original hipster

So it's a cringe worthy blog but is one of the funniest digs at Gen Y I've seen to date.

Dad's are the Original Hipster want's to make your dad internet famous by harking back to his fashion sense, hippy "free love", or tube socks. What's worrying about this picture in more ways then one? well there are some relatable perspectives about our generation

 "So hipsters next time you’re pulling a neon colored, American Apparel, low cut douche neck shirt on, remember this…My dad wore deep-Vs before you did."


"Your dad had a beard before you did. It wasn't a trend or a fashion statement, it was pure function and unbridled masculinity. He could fall a tree without picking up an axe... so hipster, stop trying to grow your face in, you're never going to kill it like dad."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cuba Travels - Trinidad

Jose Martin #416-4
Fidel Claro y Santiago Escobar
Trinidad S.S. Cuba

After taking the 6 hour bus from Havana to Trinidad we arrived in a more chilled, sleepy town which was a much needed sea change from our two days in Havana.

Melagros, our host in the Casa Particulares we would stay for the next few nights welcomed us with open arms allowing us to eat, sleep and breathe in the experience of Cuban life.

Our perceptions of the sleepy town quickly dissipated as we realised our time in Trinidad coincided with an annual week of culture – where the main squares transformed into open-air theatres and lively performances.

However the open-air salsa dancing by the locals in the plazas was definitely the real cultural experience. The squares became jam packed around 3am with the moving gyrating bodies of the locals. Trying to keep up with their salsa was impossible for us mere mortals, but the experience was thrilling.

The next day we went with Javier – the son of the owner of the Casa Particulares for a 3 km trek to a waterfall called ‘Cascada Javira”. The freshwater waterfall was spectacular. Javier, being the native Latin daredevil coaxed all three of us into doing a 12-metre jump into the waterfall. Usually, I would be the first to step down, but the mix of the Latin spirit and sheer adrenalin allowed me to jump into the waterfall without any fear or regret. A completely gratifying experience.

On our return to Mexico from Cuba a very funny thing happened. The sight of lights, Burger King, pharmacies and commercialism made us feel totally overwhelmed. Cuba had let an impressionable impact on how we viewed the world that American tourists and the trimmings of our supposed “progressive” lifestyle felt contrived and excessive. Cuba had left us questioning our own comforts and what we were accustomed to.

On our last day in Cuba, our goodbyes to both Milagros and Javier were heart felt goodbyes to a family we had become a part of. But the beauty of the Spanish language makes it possible to transcend the reality of parting in its phrase used to communicate goodbye;

“Hasta luego” meaning ‘until we meet again ‘

This phrase completely sums up my connection with Cuba leaving the impression that your return to the country is one of many.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cuba Travels - Havana

Calle San Lazaro, #1018, Entre Espada y Hospital, Centro Habana

From the get go, I knew we weren't in Kansas anymore when we arrived in Havana. A city of intrigue, grit and very colourful characters. 

A rough, vibrant city like Havana is something you have to swallow in one gulp and the ability to have no access to the outside world makes it very obvious that you have entered a form of twilight zone. 

The first night was filled with restless sleep, first from Olga - the owner of the Casa Particulares I was staying at  - who had an assortment of Cuckoo clocks chiming every hour, alongside waking to the chaotic horns and breaks in the traffic and a man throwing up in the alley beside my bedroom window. 

Havana is a rude awakening in every which sense of the word. 

The second day was more inviting in Havana. More accustomed to the town we decided to do a guided tour of the city. We learned of the various invasions from the Spanish, English and American, the perspective of its modern history of revolution and learnt of the cities idiosyncrasies - its love of baseball against the backdrop of revolution and 900 terrorist attacks in its socialist history. 

I learnt so much about the Cuban people that day. My preconceptions of a gritty, dirty and rough city replaced with a more empathetic understanding of its people and their tough exterior. I very much felt like an outsider and their were no reservations made as we walked the streets and were stared at time after time by the locals.

However looking back, how do I come to understand a country that could never have freedom or the choice to leave? 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Down the laneway

It’s 2011 and my confidence is restored in the festival scene in Sydney with the St Jerome’s Laneway festival.

I'm hesitant to publically blog about it given this little jewel of a Sydney Festival seems to be getting bigger and better (I want a ticket next year!). The likes of Jenny and Johnny jammed with some country-tinged rock, Beach House with their teen dreamed tracks and if that wasn't enough Two Door Cinema Club and the Foals to end the day event.

What really through me about this festival is the laid back and totally chilled nature of the event. There are very few festivals to date like it. Markets selling everything from Rose coloured sunglasses to books on "the art of petty theft". Rice paper rolls from Miss Chu's in Darlinghurst and fake tattoos and fairy floss.

The venue is perfect for the occasion. A former psychiatric hospital turned art school screams “indie-rock” louder then the shreiks of Ariel Pink. Complete with demonic clock tower, chimneystack and sandstone Victorian buildings - simply fitting for the gathering.

What totally blew my geek fuze was the iPhone app designed for the event. With the full event line-up, maps and ability to build your custom schedule. Take that crummy paper schedule we've gone digital on your sorry ass!

I have a new found respect for the festival. Thanks laneway for restoring the faith.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 and "Bambina"

It's a new year and I couldn't be more excited.
I realise old blog I have dearly neglected you for quite some time now, but I have news.

After months of searching, waiting and anticipating its arrival is here.

My Fiat 500.

Throughout all my travels across the world this little car has followed me from South America, to Europe and then back to Sydney again. Finally I have a little "bambina" to call my own.

I know this year will be one of promise, friendship, family and of course love. Things are always promising at the start of year and I hope to continue that mindset well into 2011.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

South American Lover

My Macchiato and wooden spoon at Sonida

I am hesitant to actually blog about this café simply because I may be jealous of the fact that my most treasured coffee has been tried in my rival city, yes, that’s right. Melbourne.
Sonida, tucked away on Gertrude street, close to the city side of Brunswick street, Fitzroy was a surprise find.

A Che "Guevara” look-a-like serves us with a smile and produces a menu of Arepa’s (a typical corn based bread typical of northern South American Cuisine) and Empanadas.

I try the “Ropa Vieja” ($11.50) described on the menu as a secret Cuban recipe of “old clothes” beef. I’m Intrigued yet not quite sure whether to take this as spanglish. It makes sense when my plate with a stringy beef, covered in chili sauce, avocado and tomato arrives.

My mate tries the vegetarian option of “Arepa Frijoles con Feta” ($11.50) a Black Bean and Feta Arepa, which looks as appetising as my choice.

All the ingredients and produce are organic and the décor tells a colourful story. Would definitely head back here if it weren’t in my rival city. How shall we part fellow South American lover?