Urban heat

Jun. 24th, 2014 07:36 pm
armyofsnails: (Default)

I'm having a sunny ale in the shadow of Brooklyn Bridge, with Manhattan skyline stretching as far as my eye can see. Life is wonderful right now.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

armyofsnails: (Default)
London -> Herefordshire -> London -> Calais -> Rouen -> Le Mans -> Angoulême -> Clermont-Ferrand -> Dijon -> Ronchamp -> CERN -> Geneva -> London

English cider country and its wonderful artisan cider farms, followed by mouthwatering French and Swiss wines and many types of cheese fondue.

Got caught in two insane lightning storms whilst on the road - like something out of a movie, with one lightning bolt per second across the flat countryside of south-western France. Drove though a solid wall of water. Slept in the back of a van in all sorts of locations from a village cemetery to a vet's back yard. Van coffee from a tiny portable kettle was one of the best parts of waking up.

Shovelled calcium stones in a village barn-cum-chateau in progress for the Cyberdog designer Dominic Elvin.

Saw many ancient, giant cathedrals and basilicas and one *little* church from the modern times, by a certain French chap, in a convent in a tiny village only architects have heard about. We broke the convent's rules and sat on the grass outside Ronchamp's Notre Dame du Haut drinking perry we had brought all the way from Herefordshire, then peered into the nuns' quarters controversially designed by Renzo Piano.

In the true spirit of Italo Calvino, we passed through a city of black lava stone, a city of mustard and chocolate, a village of spectacles, a skiing village, a town of nuclear physicists, a city of banks. We drove atop of Mount Jura in milky fog, with glimpses of mountain villages hundreds of metres below, then over the giant circle of the Large Hydron Collider into CERN.

Now home in London N8 eating hiyayakko tofu, a dish impossible to find in the land of meat, cheese and snails. I left the two boys driving through the Alps into the sunset of distant Germany. Wish I had more holiday time left so I could stay with them, but the hamster wheel of London-work-life wants me back.

As usual, bits and pieces and photos are on Twitter, I've been posting these throughout the trip.

A couple of my drawings of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp behind cut. )

New York

May. 17th, 2012 09:54 pm
armyofsnails: (snail boob)
Back from New York last Sunday; there for a week with the loyal musketeers [livejournal.com profile] 3_nic and [livejournal.com profile] captain_g.

Best followed on Twitter. Lots of open WIFI everywhere, so kept tweeting from the strangest of places, including the top of Chrysler Buidling which isn't normally accessible to the public, but we got in courtesy of CG's local connections. Followed by cocktails on the 14th floor of Library Hotel with the said connections. 

I think I've managed to develop a mad crush on New York within the space of a week. But unlike most holiday romances this one might just last - already plotting when I may be back. This is rare for me; usually I'm a one night stand kind of girl when it comes to foreign holidays - too many places, too little time...

Breathtaking skyline, weird juxtapositions (hipsters playing Imogen Heap and selling craft mayonnaise; a limo parked outside a McDonald's and a bar called "Hot Bird" which does not mean "hot lady" apparently), hearty food, cocktails consisting of 99% alcohol, cool bars, including a secret bar hidden behind a phone booth, amazing art, stylish Coney Island ale, 34 types of local oyster, and seemingly genuinely friendly people. Some weird personal coincidences - though I'm getting used to them these days. Some fantastic architecture and some crap architecture, too. Did you know that the third and the fourth tallest buildings in New York had been built in the 1930s? I've seen the tallest one in construction, too, and to be honest from outside it's much of a muchness, but the disappearing inverse mountains of water in place of the WTC towers were impressive. Went to Long Island for a day to eat oysters and look at boats, appreciating as we did from the comfort of the departure display board the strangeness of suburban places such as "Locust Manor", "Mastic-Shirley" and "Flushing Main" (seeming to us alternately like an apocalyptic townscape or a severe plumbing problem). They say New York is a bit like London on speed and they are right. It's faster, taller, crazier, more concentrated, more restless. London is and will always be the love of my life but it may have a competitor now.

I keep promising that photos will be posted and never get around to it. I might do this time... 
armyofsnails: (snail boob)
I was planning to do an update on the Eden Project trip, but instead I'm going to write about hedgehog penises.

The tiny Cornish village we stayed in consisted of approximately five residents, six B&Bs and seven diving equipment shops. On, and one pub. And rain. Lots and lots of rain.

So, whilst we were escaping the weather in the B&B room with a murky view of the sea, [livejournal.com profile] romanthefirst, [livejournal.com profile] kostriko and I entertained ourselves with wine, Youtube and discussions about the size of hedgehog penises )
armyofsnails: (food snail)
The intestines wrapped in gut string are called kokoretsi, a traditional Easter food. They took two hours of preparation and five further hours of spit roasting. Entrails from three lambs were used, the rest went into a soup called magiritsa which we had after the midnight service.

Read more... )
armyofsnails: (food snail)
Preparation for the Easter feast in Greece.

Caution: not safe for militant vegetarians... )


Mar. 4th, 2011 02:47 pm
armyofsnails: (food snail)
York was luurvely. Despite all the screaming half term kiddos with painted faces (Viking festival was on that weekend). [livejournal.com profile] captain_g and I were the youngest guests at the York Hilton. The clientele consisted almost entirely of middle aged couples or families with multiple children.

Best hidden treasure was a little caf off a bridge overhanging the river Ouze, we sat there for a few hours getting caffeinated and looking at the beautiful reflections from the water. And obviously a visit was paid to Betty's Tearooms, too. Love that crooked doorway, it makes the building look like it's about to collapse like a deck of cards!

On Saturday morning That Freak made me do strength circuits in the hotel room. We ended up doing chin-ups on the wardrobe (which was bolted to the wall, presumably for that reason!!), had to remove all the coat hangers first so they didn't get in the way. I entertained the idea of leaving them lying around and puzzling the hotel staff... I've worked as a hotel maid a long time ago and I remember just how DULL that job is - anything out of the ordinary can make your day. Although nothing would beat the state we left the hotel room at Inya Lake in Yangon click here for fluffy bunnies. )
armyofsnails: (PVC)
Have been putting off my travel update due to chronic zeitnot... I think I'll do it in short bits until I run out of steam, probably in a couple of months' time. [livejournal.com profile] captain_g also has a bunch of photos, and we agreed we would split the task, but he is even busier than I am so if it happens before the year is over we're in good shape.

So without further ado... I met the New Year in Yangon, Myanmar (known to the British as Burma), with my sizzling hot boy, [livejournal.com profile] thesnackofslags and her fiance S. An odd, fun holiday featuring drunk Burmese ladyboys, a German anthropologist called Dr Axel, Aung San Suu Kyi's first boyfriend, skinny dipping, bottled scorpions and stray chickens.

New Year's Eve at Inya Lake )
armyofsnails: (fear me)
I've passed my Part 3 course yesterday.

Just need to apply to ARB through the office and I'll get my ARCHITECT title.

Only took 12 years of my life to get there. I'm called a snail for a reason.

In other news, one of my past projects (the business park) won an international award today.

And I just bought expensive tickets to a pretty unusual foreign destination.
armyofsnails: (Default)
Woke up every morning to a beautiful boy in my bed and a breakfast of freshly picked figs and coffee, served on a terrace full of flowers.

It was PERFECT. )
armyofsnails: (Default)
Brussels was fabulous.

I lost the lead to my camera so can't upload any photos (and don't have time to do it anyway...).

[livejournal.com profile] monkage and his lady's airsoft stag/hen do was fantastic too.
Going to the wedding this coming weekend in Bedford.
armyofsnails: (Default)
Am writing my Brussels itinerary with the help of Google. [profile] captain_g and I are going there in mid March for a long weekend. I am travelling for free courtesy of my favourite train company, Eurostar.

Looking forward to seeing Victor Horta's museum amongst other things... My Cambridge studio tutor (now at Leicester, as it turns out) wrote a book about him, and in my formative architectural years I remember him foaming with semi-orgasmic saliva while showing us his own axonometric drawings of Horta's house.

And, of course, the gorgeousness that is Belgian beer... Can't wait.

As for the more immediate plans, tomorrow I'm going to be in the land of West London drinking champagne and eating oysters courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] kostriko and [livejournal.com profile] romanthefirst.
armyofsnails: (time snail)
This carnivorous man, a.k.a. [livejournal.com profile] sea_kaban, is the one who tied me up with sailing rope on a boat in the Canary Islands a year ago. Today he has cooked a whole goose in our honour. Hot goose fat is dripping off fingers; beer is drunk; rats (released from the cage behind him) crawl all over everyone. Read more... )


Feb. 19th, 2010 11:34 pm
armyofsnails: (mosshood)
So apparently I'm starting evening lapdancing classes in a couple of months' time. Don't ask (until, if and when that actually happens...)

And I've spent a night in Birmingham in a four-star hotel facing one of Brum's cathedrals - St Chad's (whoa, there was an actual saint actually called Chad?? And he's from Birmingham?? Hmmm, he's not too big on miracles though: "Chad accepted Theodore’s charges of impropriety with such humility and grace that Theodore regularized his consecration and ap­pointed him the bishop of Mercia"... Eh? What, no internal organs devoured by lions, no limbs growing back after being chopped off by a herd of Brummie infidels?? Why is it that even the saints in England have to be polite and stiff-upper-lip?).

Couldn't get the TV in my room to switch on (yes, I'm that much of a retard, is that news?) and asked the receptionist for help. In the lift she asked me, "You must be here for business meetings, then?" Duh. The TV fault was attributed to a hidden switch button and flat batteries. No complimentary porn channels were provided, so I hit the town instead. Went for a walk around the gigantic traffic junctions (to give the idea of their size, to cross one of them I had to walk through an entire shopping mall) and the canals. The latter were very pleasant actually. Paved walkways, soft street lighting, little pedestrian bridges, bars and cafes - mostly chains though. I crossed three funny looking bridges to get to a pub by a canal where I sipped my wine in almost complete solitude while reading Richard Dawkins.
armyofsnails: (man replacer)
Jerusalem Old City is full of tiny shops belonging to the four quarters (Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Armenian) and has arguably the highest concentration of hapless tourists per square metre in the entirety of Eurasia. That's not to say I'm any different. Except that unlike most tourists I don't have a map, naively relying on my two companions who are ex-Israelites to show me the way. And of course we get lost.

We go down yet another labyrinthine alleyway peppered with emaciated cats and loud salesmen looming in doorways. One of the latter is eyeing up my lady companion as we are walking by. He has a greasy hairdo and an impressive pot belly for someone of his build. Without further ado the salesman makes his move, "Hello beautiful. Do you need husband? I have very nice cock."

My second companion - the actual husband - responds, "Thanks for the offer but but she already has one." We turn into yet another tiny passage leading from nowhere to nowhere. After a quarter of an hour of strange meanderings we somehow find ourselves back in the same alley with the same salesman shaking his formidable stomach at the passers by.

The salesman recognises us, looks confused for a moment but quickly recovers. He folds his hands into fists and turns towards my friend, jumping up and down like a cartoon boxer, "Do you want to fight with me? Duel, yes? Fight, yes?"

"Go fuck yourself," my friend suggests laconically. He drags his lady and me away as I attempt to take a picture of the scene (and fail). The shouts, "You think you strong man! You think you strong! I defeat you! Fight, yes! Fight with me! Duel, yes! I have very nice cock!" etc. are heard in the distance for quite some time.

and not just that... )
armyofsnails: (PVC)
Greetings from Tel Aviv!! Am in [livejournal.com profile] muzk's flat drinking coffee. The weather is marvelous. Hoping for an expedition to the beach later on.


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