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Craig David

By on 16 June, 2016

craig_david

Almost as read (slightly mended) at Find the Right Words last night, 15 June 2016. Includes references to sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, fatphobia, racism, manipulation, and a bit of self-harm and suicidal idealisations; all in connection to horrible current events. Plus, a few swearsies in Spanish.

This week
has been like a rubbish
Craig David song.
Every side of my identity
has been attacked,
vivisected,
out loud
and in silence.

christina_grimmie

On Friday,
a young voice was cut dry
by an obsessive fan
who dragged her along to his grave;
the 100 virgins of Valhalla
concentrated in one small girl
with a roar of thunder inside.
The female Dimebag Darrell of pop,
the female Dimebag Darrell,
the female,
whose crime
was to become famous.
“If she sang just in the shower”,
the purists say,
“and not online,
she’d still be around”.
Singing,
quietly,
offline,
at home.

russian_hooligans

On Saturday,
the ultras from a wounded
mother land,
factories dismantled by capitalism,
the lover that split countries
and blocks apart,
aimed to flare us into disruption.
“May your divorce be as gruesome as ours”,
they charged into us, the horses.
“May your star fade away
in your constellation”.
In the eyes, the tear gas eyes, of the police,
when the victim fights back
against the bully,
the victim becomes the bully.
The hooligan,
as usual.
“If those drunk gits
stayed at home,
mouths shut,
jazz hands for every goal,
in England, in their own country,
this wouldn’t have happened.
Guess who’s not having a party.

orlando_pulse

On Sunday,
shots through the stomach,
nails on every limb:
Queer bar,
Latin night,
“callense el hocico, putos”,
was the shout,
but in English;
none of this “Allahu Akbar”
the same people who hate you,
hate me,
swear they heard all the way
to their Hamptons cottage.
Some of the dead
had previously died
when their parents said
“you’re dead to me”.
Wish granted, mami and papi,
now shove that lamp up your arse.
I may just be a greedy pig to you,
and maybe you read me as part of the norm,
but my head still hurts
from all the panic and crying.
Mis tios, tus tios,
all caps on newspaper message boards:
“si no anduvieran de jotitos
y se quedaran en casa,
calladitos,
casaditos y con hijos,
seguirian con nosotros
y no ardiendo en el infierno”.
(this is why I don’t talk to them)

jaime_bronco

Don’t get me started on Monday:
back in my other house,
our independent,
super punk,
vaporwave governor,
quoted as saying
“nobody likes fat girls”.
Set ablaze for bodyshaming,
he dug a deeper hole in the ground
and made his point clearer,
more hateful:
“I didn’t mean ‘the obese’,
I meant teenage girls who get pregnant:
nobody likes them,
baby daddies leave”.
I swear
to the Virgin of Guadalupe,
that if I were a teen mum,
after all this neverending rain of dung,
I would have hung myself
from a Job Centre sign.

murdoch_beleave

No time to put that rope away
back in that chest in the attic:
as, on Tuesday,
the only bloody foreigner who should get deported
(if he lived here in the first place),
obliged the masses to change their minds
and give away their rights,
your rights,
our rights,
because he’s a nobody in Belgium.
Because
he is
a nobody,
he wants us to feel
like nobodies.
And sometimes,
unfortunately,
it works.
It nearly worked for me
enough to take the knives out of the cupboard
but I didn’t want to
clean up the mess afterwards.
So instead, I took out my pen
and bled red ink all over the paper.
Please:
let’s go and party,
let’s stay and shout,
let’s stay together
and hope
for a better Wednesday.

castrolove

And then, of course, on Thursday (today) a Labour MP was a victim of a terrorist Britain First attack. I could expand this poem forever. Please, make it stop.

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El Gordito Goes to Vegas (FTRW Speed Poetry Challenge)

By on 28 April, 2016

It was a fun challenge to do my first stint at a Speed Poet at Find the Right Words. The instructions are easy: people shout topics at you, you go off to write a poem involving some/all of these topics, then you come back and read the results. Here is mine, on the junior doctors strike, Martin Castrogiovanni preferring to party in Las Vegas over playing against his former team, Victoria Wood and Prince leaving Earth, and the Hillsborough disaster verdict. How the feck did I manage how to connect these subjects? I have no idea.

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Transindia: A Documentary

By on 28 January, 2015

Transindia, by Meera Darji

Meera Darji wants to make a documentary about the hijras, the term used in South Asia for people who don’t consider themselves men nor women but contain features of both genders. Usually assigned male at birth, hijras have effeminate traits and present themselves in femme outfits. In Indian culture, they are/were seen as holy human representations of Ardhanari, the composite of Lord Siva and his partner Parvati. Blessed by Rama in the Ramayana, they to go to weddings, childbirth and celebrations to dance and bring fortune and fertility. They were featured in the Kama Sutra, although a vast percentage of them renounce to sexuality and channel their sexual energy into other sacred activities.

Along came the British Empire and its puritan notions of gender. The hijras were seen as “a breach of public decency” and were included on the Criminal Tribes Act along with thieves and murderers. They had to be registered, monitored and systematically disenfranchised by society. Not even the fight for independence and the formation of the Indian Republic destroyed the stigma. Police neglection and brutality against them has increased as part of the aftermath of the recriminalisation of homosexuality and bisexuality in December 2013; and although they were just considered a “third-sex” in April 2014 granted educational and professional rights, they are still considered a “backward” class in society and economy. Now they live in segregated communities, taking underpaid jobs to make ends meet.

Transindia-acceptance

We have information about them thanks to research, film and audio; but it’s not as inclusive as it should. Many documentaries are made from the point of view of an spectator, someone looking from afar and not entirely willing to comprehend what they witness. It’s appreciated that film makers are interested in the first place, but it’s also primordial to give space to people to speak for themselves. To learn about them while giving them a venue for self-expression. Not pestering them nor treating them with tweezers on a Petri dish, but fully immersing ourselves in the environment and letting it take control.

Meera Darji

To make this happen, Meera is flying to India in February for production. She wants to be part of events, attend blessings and social gatherings, interview hijras and their families. Not as a perpetual Jacques Cousteau voice-over, but as a mere vessel of communication. As a platform to expand their message.

Struggle With Life & Race Against Time

Meera has done short films about life in and out of India. In 2013, she directed Struggle With Life & Race Against Time, an emotive documentary in which her grandfather Surendrakumar Bhagat shared his lifestory and wisdom. He talked about how he went from being a typist and living in poverty, to becoming a bank manager and being able to visit his family abroad. The film was screened at film festivals in Leicester, Stockport and Peckham; nominated for the International Student Creative Award by We are One Japan; and was the Overall Winner at Brighton Youth Film Festival.

In the life of Manilal Kataria

Later, on a visit to Ahmedabad, she filmed In the life of Manilal Kataria, on a worker we could call a jack-of-all-trades: he cleans houses, washes cars, attends a small shop on various errands, and cleans cooking utensils on a shower floor. He believes in hard work and human labour; and while machines could accomplish most of his duties, he does everything with precision, dedication, and above all, soul. It was selected for Leicester’s Short Cinema Film Festival, London’s Thurrock International Short Film Festival, RATMA Film Festival, Croatia’s Tabor International Short Film Festival, and several events in the USA, taking home the Best Documentary award at Idaho’s BoVi Film Festival.

Transindia would be her first feature film. And yes, it’s her final project at Coventry University; just like her previous documentaries were also evaluated in an academic manner. Nevertheless, she makes these movies for more than an undergraduate degree or to merely thicken her portfolio: she makes these movies because they are stories that need to be told.

Transindia A Film by Meera Darji

It’s because of this that she’s looking for funding to make this happen. On Transindia‘s Indiegogo page, you can donate as little as £5 and still get mentioned in the credits. The more you give, the more perks you get — a digital copy of the film, a DVD copy of the film, postcards, posters, t-shirts, a personal video of the community, and the possibility of being included as an Associate Producer or Executive Producer. But the best reward will be the existence of the film itself. 2014 was a big year for the trans* community in Western civilisation, and Darji wants to do her part to make something like this happen to Indian society in 2015. To ignite the conversation and spread it across the community.

It would be amazing if you could help.

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Creative Coffee: World Domination Summit

By on 29 July, 2014

Chris Guillebeau: Young, Cute, Non-Conforming. Photo: Entrepreneur.com
Chris Guillebeau: Young, Cute, Non-Conforming. Photo: Entrepreneur.com

To be honest, I have a complicated relationship with Chris Guillebeau and his work. Just like with Seth Godin, Mark Boyle and other “disruptive” intellectuals, Guillebeau’s ideas sound too good to be true and too simple to be universal. His concept behind The Art of Non-Conformity is exhilarating. Not only did I download his Brief Guide to World Domination, but I printed it and included it in a very special folder I read for inspiration and empowerment, among The ‘Undeclared for Life’ Manifesto by Puttylike’s Emilie Wapnick and The (nearly) Ultimate Guide to Better Writing edited by Mary Jaksch from Write to Done. I wanted to believe that, like him, one could travel around the world on a budget using nothing but intelligence and thriftiness. That one could publish several books independently and attract the power of thousands under the wings of tenacity, integrity and tenacity again.

To the end of the world, and beyond! Picture: SimoneAnne for Death to Stock Photo
To the end of the world, and beyond! Picture: SimoneAnne for Death to Stock Photo.

But is the dream of infinite liberty, unexpected adventure and never-ending creativity plausible for everyone? Or do you have to be a white, fit male, already well-off and supported by the safety net of his parents, with university studies, native or bilingual proficiency of the English language and heaps of volunteering experience? Would you have to be someone who has reached both the deep end of the pool and the highest diving platform, if you know what I mean? Would it be possible to visit every corner on the planet when all my yearly savings go straight to crossing the ocean merely to touch base with my relatives and staying in control with immigration circumstances? I wonder if, between fund-raising for water and exploring Tuvalu, he has a chance to enjoy Sunday dinner with his parents.

Cynical, ja. But do you know who else was cynical about the whole thing? Jim Shields, from Twist & Shout. He initially booked his flight and tickets to Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit as a business opportunity. A scary business opportunity in dear Portlandia, Oregon.

Jim Shields from Twist & Shout at Creative Coffee, LCB Depot.
Jim Shields from Twist & Shout at Creative Coffee, LCB Depot.

World Domination Summit. The name would fit a slightly New Age-y “Axes of Evil” convention: a Power Point presentation on nuclear bombs at 11am, followed by a yoga taster at the Pol Pot Pavilion. Put a bird on it, and watch it blow.

Before you call NATO and flush your yerba mate stash down the toilet, let me tell you that this was not a hippie terrorist extravaganza. It was a congregation of creatives fueled by organic coffee, unconventional projects and all the best intentions. Over 2500 entrepreneurs of all genders, colours, origins and languages; laughing, learning and crying at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Yes, most of them were young, lean and intimidating to Jim (if he’s a Morlock amongst the Eloi, I must be an Orc amidst the Elves), but they didn’t let it get to their heads. On the contrary, they would smile at everybody, high fiving on the street whenever they saw anyone wearing their official backpack.

Do you want chia sprinkles on your organic Diet Coke? Photo: Dogancan Ozturan via Unsplash.
Do you want chia sprinkles on your organic Diet Coke? Photo: Dogancan Ozturan via Unsplash.

The Summit focused on three main topics: Community, Adventure and Action. Community was, according to Jim (Shields, not Belushi), the most powerful element. Centred on sharing and giving back to our environment as a way to turn it into a better place. Going not only to the main events, but to the fringe impromptu colloquiums organised by other attendants at cafeterias, parks and hotel lobbies. Jim’s own event attracted about 50 peers, and they had to move from the reception to the bar. There were also “academy” sessions where people shared their skills on blogging, productivity and any other useful (now or later) activity. Gratitude was in the air. Getting and giving happened at the same time, sliding across a Möbius strip of inspiration.

Adventure was what dragged Guillebeau into draining and nurturing his Frequent Flier cards. The lack of fear of failure. No ifs, no buts. Taking risks like there’s nothing left to lose, because most of the time, there isn’t. Of course, this doesn’t mean throwing yourself off the terrace wrapped on the Mexican flag as the path to flawless victory. On Scott Berkun’s notes, AJ Jacobs from The Year of Living Biblically explained that there were three rules he tried to abide (and which kind of guided him through following every rule on the Bible for a year because “YOLO” .- Matthew 38:47): be bold, be experimental and be strategic. Not bad. To get our Hegel freak on: achieving absolute freedom through rationality. If Plan A doesn’t work, there’s always Plan B.

The Power of All. Photo: HubSpot.
The Power of All. Photo: HubSpot.

However, Action seems to be the hardest word, and the reason why you and I are not going anywhere. Those goals aren’t going to achieve themselves. That plane seat is not going to sit on itself. Your hair won’t be automatically washed in your sleep. That vegan BBQ food truck grill isn’t going to experience spontaneous combustion any time soon. This blog post won’t be written automatically by monkeys (I swear, banana). Action is key, and members of the Summit pushed each other to the pedal. The Author Incubator gives writers all the help they can get as long as they finish what they started in 3-6 months. Wapnick herself made a bet that she would finish her first long book within a year or pay $1000 dollars to her friend. She lost, but since all she had left to do was some proofreading and finishing touches, her debt was pardoned. Maybe what we need to do, in order to put our thoughts into action, is think of them as if our lives (or at least our wallets) depended on them.

As I’ve said, Jim was a bit cynical about the Summit, but a few speeches made him break into tears. When something can overwhelm the non-believer, then it’s worth trying, isn’t it? I’ll try to see for myself and attend next year on the way to/from Mexico. Just started saving for it. That’s Action speaking.

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Education | Film | Literature | Novel | United States

Stephen King – Carrie

By on 19 May, 2014

Carrie-Cover

When I was in high school, I wanted to be like Carrie. I wanted to have strong, mental powers to defend myself from the bullies, the teachers, and sometimes from family itself. I wanted to have them on the palm of my hand, unable to escape after one joke too many. I’m pretty sure I’m not the one.

Surprisingly, more and more teens shared this disdain and desire. Not necessarily absolute misfits. A few Halloweens later, this beautiful Suicide Girl chick from university went dressed as Carrie to one of the most decadent parties I’ve ever been to. Mind you, the same party had a bloke dressed like a member of the Ingsoc Thought Police, and I think I saw many Alices in Wonderland, Alex DeLarge and even the Aztec god Tlaloc. Accidentally on purpose, it was a literary themed party. Nobody killed anyone, though. Some people shagged, some people threw up and some people threw up while shagging. Nothing like Brian de Palma’s apocalyptic film adaptation, nor like the straight-to-TV alternate fantasy featuring Angela Bettis, which, quite ironically, we were watching before going to the party.

Angela Bettis in Carrie

It seems embarrassing, but it wasn’t until very recently that I read the original novel by Stephen King. The first film gave me so much life, yet I didn’t know what was printed on paper.

To those unfamiliar with the story: it’s about a teenager who is hated at school and at home. Her classmates treat her like little more than a cockroach, while her fundamentalist fanatical mother tends to lock her in a closet for several hours whenever she commits acts of impurity – such as having her period. When she finds out she has telekinetic powers, her self-defence skills grow in monstrous proportions right on time for Prom Night, where she falls prey to the prank to kill all pranks and… well… let’s say pranks are not the only ones that get killed.

While the book is short and easy to drink in one day, King presents it gradually and slowly, bit by bit, unveiling the facts and rumours behind the second-largest tragedy in post-war America. We get to know the circumstances in which Carrie was conceived, born and raised – her birth story being re-imagined on the latest film adaptation, directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Chlöe Grace Moretz being more Hit Girl than Shit Girl. We read people’s research and speculations intercalated with the omniscient narrator’s telling of events, including every single thought that’s gone through Carrie’s head. We get to compare testimonials and interpretations with the “truth” as it happened. Supposing it did.

Carrie Prom

Can’t help but wonder if the Black Prom happened in real life, on the 27th of May of 1979, would still be remembered today. How would it stand compared to other school tragedies such as the ones in Columbine, Virginia Tech, Red Lake and Sandy Hook? Or, after learning out lesson with the Black Prom, and knowing that children indeed are our present and future, would these other massacres have happened at all? It was a work of fiction, but couldn’t we learn from it anyway and do our best to not give the perfect soil and nutrients to turn it into a reality?

The adaptations have forgotten several things from the book, unsurprisingly. None of them mention the Rain of Stones, perhaps a very large piece of the puzzle of Carrie White’s life. And the genetic background goes unmentioned in motion pictures. So, movie-watchers infer that Carrie’s powers just happened all of a sudden and weren’t around until her first menses.

Chloe's Carrie with piles of books

On the other hand, something I was missing that was not included on the book was some mention of the books Carrie read on telekinesis. On the films we see her diving into piles and piles of them, and I expected some “quotations” or “page selections” from these books in particular. Just like Yukio Mishima included an entire book-within-a-book on Runaway Horses, where lawyer Shigekuni Honda reads The League of the Divine Wind; and this reading, enthusiastically suggested by the young Isao Iinuma, explains the deadly consequences at the end of the story, the entire Sea of Fertility saga, and even Mishima’s own life.

However, contrary to the Japanese author’s example, Carrie was King’s opera prima and not his Swan Song. It was a lesson to learn, but not a testament. And he was not twisted enough (yet) to leave books within books within quotations within annotations like Mark Z. Danielewski in House of Leaves. I am unaware if he actually does it in later works of his extensive catalogue, but this is still a compelling effort for a first book – or for a book in general, full stop.

Stephen King 1970s

Many years after Carrie, Stephen King is still a very influential storyteller, and whether you’ve read him or not, you can relate to his stories in one way or another thanks to his innumerable adaptations for film and TV. Up next, I will be reading The Shining – which inspired my favourite Kubrick film – and Misery – to force myself to keep writing and stop Annie Wilkes from breaking my legs with a hammer.

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Literature | Novel | United States

Troy Blackford: First There Wasn’t, Then There Was

By on 24 March, 2014

For the first time in a very, very long while, I cried after finishing a book. I’ve never been a soppy person with books and films, even if I love them so much. But it just happened. I welled up.

And who did this? None other than Troy Blackford, a brave little writer from the Twin Cities, self-published most of his life, and using the power of social media to advertise his novels and short stories on paper and Kindle.

firsttherewasntthentherewas

His latest instalment is called First There Wasn’t, Then There Was, and I refuse to give you an in-depth analysis. Why? Because I want it to shock you senseless. I want you to dive into it, no spoilers in mind, and I want it to carry you away.

Four corporate pawns get together before work, at lunchtime and after work to have a smoke while leaning against a wall. These leaners occupy themselves on the lightest trivialities of life and entertainment, but lately they have been intrigued by an occasional wanderer. He comes and goes, hidden in a winter overcoat, talking to himself as he carries a bin bag on his shoulder. “What is he talking about?”, they wonder. So they borrow a dictaphone, sneak it into his pocket by lunchtime and then retrieve it by the end of the work shift. On the next day, they listen to it. And boy, does he talk.

All I will say is that there are passages that could be very triggering to those who one way or another have been involved in the War On Drugs – mostly as unlucky witnesses or victims who have no idea what is going on. You still won’t have an idea what is going on once you’ve gone past these hard bits, but it won’t feel like harsh reminders of a dark reality. It won’t feel like a reality at all.

And yet that finale feels like the realest punch in the stomach. The wildest call to action.

Yes, you can find the odd spelling and continuity mistake, and every memory is “the last thing I remember, then everything was a blur”, but what can you do when you’re a one-man band? Plus, what if the memories kept coming and going amidst the dirt, arriving unannounced and erasing all trace of themselves as they leave? What if everything else was, indeed, a blur?

Just like his début novella Strange Way Out could easily be adapted as an episode of Black Mirror, First There Wasn’t could be turned into a motion picture and directed by Zack Snyder, belonging to the same fairy tale action horror world of Sucker Punch. Without any dancing, of course.

But with lots of singing. Bird singing.

You can get First There Wasn’t, Then There Was through your usual online publication outlets. To find out more information about Troy Blackford, visit his website or chase him through social media. You never know what he’ll do next.

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Chicago | Culture | Drinks | Food | Houston | Leicester | London | Monterrey | Travel | United States

Un viaje impredecible de Londres a Monterrey

By on 6 February, 2014

¿Qué tal? Ahora escribo esto en el sillón del recibidor, con mi perra descansando a mi lado, desde la casa donde nací y crecí. Es oficial: ¡comienza Monterrey February!

MonterreyFebruary

Como cualquier otra aventura, no comenzó sin grandes tropiezos. La noche del 31 de enero estaba haciendo un bomberazo editando un perfil de LinkedIn cuando recibí un correo electrónico por parte de la aerolínea. El vuelo en el que supuestamente saldría de Londres rumbo a Houston TX había sido cancelado apenas 12 horas antes del despegue. Mi itinerario regularmente consiste en volar de Londres a Houston y de Houston a Monterrey. Trato de evitar hacer muchas escalas porque es un desbarajuste y siempre está el riesgo de que se retrase un vuelo y se pierda el otro. En este caso, todas las opciones que ofrecía la aerolínea involucraban tres paradas en lugar de dos, así que no pude escapar.

Everyone in Leicester, have fun at Dave for me!
Exposición en la explanada de la estación de trenes con fotografías de comediantes que han estado en el festival de comedia de Leicester.

La estación de trenes en Leicester estaba casi muerta, pero la cafetería estaba abierta y aproveché para cambiar mi tarjeta de cliente frecuente y conseguir un chocolate caliente enorme y gratis. Mi marido compró un montón de snacks y un rol de salchicha. La fila se hacía más y más grande detrás de nosotros, y me dio pena pedir que calentaran mi pain au chocolat como habían calentado el rol de salchicha. Mejor esperé a que se despejara un poco y no tuviera señores pijos refunfuñando a mis espaldas. Llegó el tren, y salimos a las 6:30 de la mañana rumbo a la estación de St Pancras.

pumpkin-coffee

Una vez en St Pancras. tomamos el metro subterráneo hasta el aeropuerto de Heathrow. Si va un grupo pequeño y no son horas pico, sale mejor ir en metro al aeropuerto que gastarse una fortuna en taxis. Después de registrarme y pasar la maleta en la Terminal 1, quisimos almorzar en Café Rouge.

caferouge-heathrowt1

El techo del restaurante es impresionante, pero no fue impresionante que sólo sirvieran desayuno y que fuera un intento frustrado de servir desayuno a la inglesa. Así que mejor fuimos al Wetherspoon de al lado por un buen y genuino desayuno a la inglesa.

englishbreakfast

Ya que me despedí de mi marido, pasé los chequeos de seguridad y fue momento de abordar. En años anteriores, los aviones transatlánticos de Continental Airlines eran enormes y contaban con sistemas de entretenimiento decente. Películas, series, radio, juegos en pantallas de buen tamaño que también podían mostrarte dónde iba tu vuelo. No sé si es porque se los comió United, o sí siempre ha sido así el vuelo de Londres a Chicago, pero la pantalla era muy pequeña y la oferta era pobrísima.

airplane-screen

Entonces, lo que hice en el vuelo fue dormir, despertar y leer la autobiografía de Morrissey.

Instalación en el aeropuerto de Chicago.
Instalación en el aeropuerto de Chicago.
Dinosaurio en el aeropuerto de Chicago.
Dinosaurio en el aeropuerto de Chicago.

Digamos lo que digamos de los gringos, no hay que negar que son agradecidos y cordiales – aunque a veces lo finjan. Te saludan, te dicen que tengas un buen día, y te agradecen por el simple hecho de haberlos elegido. Cuando estoy de cajera en la tienda de segunda mano en Inglaterra, le digo a los clientes que tengan un buen día y es como si les mentara la madre.

Hasta las bandejas te agradecen.
Hasta las bandejas te dan buenos deseos. Si tan sólo fueran lo suficientemente lindos para relajarse con las medidas de seguridad…
La nieve es bonita. La falta de eficacia de la gente y sus objetos no.
La nieve es bonita. La falta de eficacia de la gente y sus objetos no.

Desafortunadamente, no todos son tan buena onda como pretenden serlo. El vuelo de Chicago a Houston se demoró una hora en lo que conseguían el avión y lo preparaban para resistir a la nieve. Para cuando llegamos a Houston, mi vuelo a Monterrey ya se había ido. Poco más de un tercio de los pasajeros íbamos en tránsito y perdimos nuestra conexión. Dos empleadas en un escritorio de servicio a clientes de United atendieron de mala gana a cuatro o cinco pasajeros y nos dijeron que fuéramos hasta otro escritorio. Que ya estaba cerrado. En el segundo escritorio, la empleadas también estaban un humor nefasto y trabajaron con poquísimos clientes. Pudieron atenderme, pero a varios los andaban mandando hasta otra terminal. ¿Les habrán hecho lo mismo?

El próximo vuelo a Monterrey era a las 8:50 de la mañana del día siguiente. La aerolínea nos ofreció un cuarto de hotel a cada familia y dos cupones para comer de siete dólares cada uno. Jamás dijeron “perdón”. Ni “gracias”. El shuttle tardó media hora en llegar y llevarnos al hotel. Al menos el hotel era bonito, y el cuarto era gigante y acogedor. Y para mí solita.

Al menos el hotel era bonito. Hyatt North Houston.
Hyatt North Houston.

Ya descansada, tomé el shuttle de las seis de la mañana para volver al aeropuerto y, una vez más, pasar por los ridículos obstáculos de seguridad. Al menos no había tanta gente en la fila y tuve bastante tiempo para desayunar y merodear por las tiendas.

Encontré el labial perfecto en The Body Shop: 105, Coral Cutie.
Encontré el labial perfecto en The Body Shop: 105, Coral Cutie.

Llegamos a Monterrey a tiempo – sólo en este vuelo, más de doce horas después de mi itinerario original.

vivian-dog

Ya extrañaba a mis padres, a mi perra, a mi ciudad y a mi familia. Fue toda una epopeya, pero ahora estoy aquí.What’s up? Now I’m writing this on the couch in the lounge, with my dog sleeping on my side, from the house where I was born and bred. It’s official: Monterrey February is on!

MonterreyFebruary

Just like any other adventure, it didn’t start without grand stumbling. On the night of the 31st of January, I was doing an emergency job editing a LinkedIn profile when I got an email on behalf of the airline. The flight in which I would have supposedly departed from London to Houston TX was cancelled barely 12 hours before departure. My schedule regularly consists of flying from London to Houston and from Houston to Monterrey. I try to avoid taking many stops because it’s all a mess and there’s always the risk of one flight delaying thus another one being missed. In this case, every replacement option offered by the airline involved three stops instead of two, so I couldn’t escape.

Everyone in Leicester, have fun at Dave for me!
Exhibition at the railway station featuring pictures of comedians who have performed in Leicester’s Comedy Festival.

Leicester railway station was almost dead, but the cafe was open and I took the advantage of my frequent customer card and got a big hot chocolate for free. My husband bought a bunch of snacks and a sausage roll. The queue behind us was getting larger and larger, so I was too shy to ask them to heat up my pain au chocolat just like they did with the sausage roll. It was better to wait until the place got clear and there weren’t any posh gits grumbling down our necks. The train arrived, and we left at 6:30 in the morning towards St Pancras station.

pumpkin-coffee

Once in St Pancras. we took the underground to Heathrow airport. If a small group is going during off-peak time, I recommend you use the Tube to go to the airport instead of spending a fortune on cabs. After checking in at Terminal 1, we wanted to have a meal at Café Rouge.

caferouge-heathrowt1

The restaurant’s ceiling is impressive, but what was not impressive was that they only served breakfast and that it was a failed attempt to serve “English” breakfast. So we went to Wetherspoon’s next door for a good, genuine English breakfast.

englishbreakfast

After saying goodbye to my husband, I went through security checks and it was time to board. In previous years, transatlantic planes from Continental Airlines were huge and included decent entertainment systems. Movies, TV shows, radio, games on nicely-sized screens that could also show your live flight map. I don’t know if it’s because they were eaten by United, or if the flight from London to Chicago has always been like that, but the screens were too small and the entertainment offer was pauper.

airplane-screen

Then, all I did during the flight was sleeping, waking up and reading Morrissey’s autobiography.

Instalación en el aeropuerto de Chicago.
Instalation in Chicago airport.
Dinosaurio en el aeropuerto de Chicago.
Dinosaur at Chicago airport.

Regardless of what we say about the gringos, there’s no way we can deny they’re thankful and warm-hearted – even if they fake it sometimes. They greet you, they wish you a nice day, and they thank you simply for choosing them. When I’m attending the till at the charity shop in England, if I tell customers to “Have a Nice Day”, they act like I said “See You Next Tuesday”.

Hasta las bandejas te agradecen.
Even trays wish you well. If only they were nice enough to chill out with all these security measures…
La nieve es bonita. La falta de eficacia de la gente y sus objetos no.
Snow is pretty. The lack of effectiveness in people and their objects isn’t.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as nice as they pretend to be. The flight from Chicago to Houston got delayed one hour while they got the plane and prepared it to resist snow. By the time we got to Houston, my flight to Monterrey had already gone. A little bit more than a third of the passengers were in transit and missed our connection. Two attendants at a United service desk fretfully attended four or five passengers and told the rest of us to go to another desk. That theirs was closed now. At the second desk, attendants were in a terrible mood and helped very few customers too. They could attend me, but they sent several people all the way to another terminal. I wonder if the attendants at the other terminal did the same thing to them.

The next flight to Monterrey would be at 8:50 the next morning. The airline offered an hotel room to each family and two meal vouchers worth seven dollars each. They never said “sorry”. Nor “thank you”. The shuttle took half an hour to arrive and take us to the hotel. At least it was pretty, and the room was gigantic and comfy. And all for myself.

Al menos el hotel era bonito. Hyatt North Houston.
Hyatt North Houston.

Now well rested, I took the 6AM shuttle to go back to the airport and, once more, go through the ridiculous security obstacles. At least there weren’t many people in the queue and I had enough time to have breakfast and wander around the stores.

Encontré el labial perfecto en The Body Shop: 105, Coral Cutie.
Found the perfect lipstick at The Body Shop: 105, Coral Cutie.

We arrived in Monterrey on time – just on this flight, more than twelve hours after my original schedule.

vivian-dog

I really missed my parents, my dog, my city and my family. It was quite a saga, but I’m here now.

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