Forget shuttle buses and trains, why not walk to (or from) the airport instead? That is the preferred method of novelist Will Self, who even went as far to include one such stroll – from Los Angeles airport to Hollywood – in his surreal novel-cum-walkalogue Walking to Hollywood.
It is something I’ve experimented with myself here in Trujillo. Well, sort of. In my case, the airport was actually more an obstacle than the final destination itself.
Some weeks ago, you see, I decided that if I was going to have to spend my birthday alone this year – what with my wife being on the other side of the continent in Brazil – I’d do so by going on a long walk to the beach in Huanchaco, a small coastal town nine miles (15km) upcoast from Trujillo. The local airport – an entirely forgettable place if it were not for the charm of its arrivals lounge doubling as a car park – would merely serve as a milepost that, whilst requiring circumnavigation, would at least reassure me that the birthday beer I envisaged having on the beach was almost within reach. Continue Reading
In the months prior to leaving Brazil I’d written about walking and psychogeography as means of finding new ways to see, explore and understand the complexities and unseen beauty of São Paulo. It was fitting then, that during those final few months I became increasingly aware of a stencilled call to arms which seemed to echo my own advocacy for urban exploration:
‘See the city’
In the context of an iconic SP location like Parque Ibirapuera – where I took the photograph above – ‘ver a cidade’ (see the city) seems to convey a fairly straightforward observation: look how beautiful our city is. Continue Reading
Below is an English translation of my article for the Brasil Post (Huffington Post). Enjoy.
“Não existe amor em SP” (Love doesn’t exist in SP), sings Criolo in that beautiful song of his. I must admit, I was inclined to agree with him when my Paulistano wife and I first moved to São Paulo from London just over two years ago.
During my first few months here the city felt like an impenetrable and ugly concrete jungle whose dense canopy consisted solely of bland high-rises. And, of course, there was the bumper-to-bumper traffic, smelly rivers and turnstiles on buses, which even now still baffle me.
Much of this I recorded on my blog, the book is on the table, which I started after my wife and sister-in-law thought my stereotypically grumpy British observations provided an amusing outsider’s perspective on life in São Paulo. Continue Reading
“Não existe amor em SP”, canta Criolo nessa linda canção. Devo admitir que estava inclinado a concordar com ele quando me mudei de Londres para São Paulo com a minha esposa há pouco mais de dois anos.
Nos primeiros meses na cidade me senti como se estivesse vivendo em uma selva de pedra impenetrável e feia; densa e recheada de arranha-céus sem graça. Além disso, havia o trânsito, os rios fedorentos e as catracas dos ônibus, que me intrigam até hoje.
Grande parte das minhas experiências está no meu blog, o the book is on the table, que comecei a escrever depois que a minha esposa e a minha cunhada disseram que minhas observações meio rabugentas e tipicamente britânicas apresentavam uma perspectiva divertida da vida de um estrangeiro em São Paulo.
Este é meu primeiro blog para o Brasil Post (Huffington Post) em português. Para continuar lendo, por favor clique neste link e vá para o site do Brasil Post.
This is an excerpt from my first post for the Brasil Post (Huffington post). To continue reading follow this link.
It was during my walk along the Minhocão – São Paulo’s grotesquely endearing monument to the car – that I first spotted it: an islet of tiled perfection in a city full of fractured and forgotten pavements.
An isle of tiled perfection (otherwise known as a ‘curb extension’). Note, the Minhocão in the background.
Unlike the pragmatically Ilha Grande (big island) and Ilhabela (beautiful island) which sit along the coast between Rio and São Paulo, mine is no island of exotica but instead one of Ballardian concrete.
Why, though, my fascination with a slab of paving in an unremarkable neighbourhood like Santa Cecília? Aren’t those ‘real’ islands on the Atlantic coast infinitely more interesting? Perhaps, but thousands of words have already been written in their honour; they’ve been Trip Advised to death.
What interests me are the ignored curiosities on our streets, and taking the time to stop, notice and appreciate them. As psychogeographer and novelist Iain Sincliar observes: ‘Walking is the best way to explore and exploit the city…allowing the fiction of an underlying pattern to reveal itself’. Continue Reading