Friday, August 8, 2008

San Francisco

Here is the blog I should have written weeks ago. But some where in my journeys I misplaced my transfer cable to my camera so I can not add any pictures. Hopefully words will be enough.

San Francisco was amazing I was shocked at how good it was. On several occasions people have said it was great but now I have witnessed it with my own eyes. 

I stayed at the Clift Hotel it is a 4 star hotel in Union Square. THe interiors were designed by Philip Stark. So you can imagine there were tons of large chairs and oversized stuff everywhere. He is so Alice in Wonderland on Acid.  The hotel had the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I had the best sleeps.

Research directed me away from the tourist filled streets of Union Square to the very bohemian streets of the mission district. Wow. This area is super cool. I took the BART to Mission where I met some young people (20 somethings) they invited me to accompany them on there journey. I did of course. 

We ended up  at this super cool bar frequented by bike riders. The bar was rough, the clientele was rough, and the vibe was super cool. This venue ( i can not remember the name) is known for it's Bloody Mary's, so I had one. It was ok but I was not in a Bloody Mary mood so I think I didn't appreciate it as I should have. The  bar had a strict no photos policy????? I was told this is because everyone was smoking pot and they didn't want to be photographed.  The bar had many personalities but none more interesting than the Tamale Lady.  There were about 10 people in line to secure a Tamale. So I waited. Let me bring the image to your minds eye.

Tamale lady about 50 or 55. Grey dreads heavy set with an old esky that when she opened it up it had two black plastic bags inside, one for vego and the other for meat lover's.  I paid $ 4 bucks and got a vego one. They were good.

I then went to an art exhibit. The artist takes an image digitally alters it and has that image painted  by  Chinese artist in Beijing. Yes, the exhibit was as naft as it sounds. The digital work was ok but the paintings varied based on the artist painting them.  I just find this kind of work gimmicky. 

Since I have spent so much money shopping I swore I would not shop in San Francisco. Before I go any further let me tell you how futile this is  I was in Union Square the shopping hub of San Fran but as luck would have it I ended up sleeping til very late in the afternoon and that left me with only a small amount of time to head to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to check out the Frida Kahlo exhibit. I was not disappointed it was a very comprehensive exhibit. All the works I have read about were there. The exhibit was very popular and the sessions were timed.

While there I learned that San Francisco has 3 murals painted by Diego Rivera.  This was very exciting news. 

On my way to grab a bite. I happened into Barney's. So of course I went in. Oh I remember I was looking for Wolford tights. Once inside I discovered there were no Wolford tights but there was a beautiful pair of Prada Shoes for $900. I tried them they were beautiful but high. So I decided to ring a friend for some strength. Unfortunately I rang Rachel who of course concilled me to buy them and added make sure they were in her size. Somewhere I found the strength and fled. I resumed my search for Wolford tights were I found my fourth pair of Gold shoes (on sale), a gold hand bag (on sale) and a yellow dress, a t-shirt and a pair of Diane von Furstenberg  shorts (on sale of course). But alas no Wolford tights, I did  discover that a shop existed and headed over. It was closed. 

So I went to Borders where I met a very strange man and we went to Papa Toby Revolution Cafe for a bite to eat.   The kitchen was closed but the vibe was wicked. Very bohemian and they had a mini orchestra playing. The conversation was great. The bar had a very interesting policy of asking the patrons to busk there own tables. I was starving so me and the strange man headed down the road to a Spanish Restaurant. After this I told my new friend/ that I wanted to be alone and I headed to a cute little bar and had a few drinks and a chat with a very interesting Philippino and white man about everything bi-racial and female sexuality. He was gay. He left and a very annoying Mexican man tried to pick me up. So I left and headed back to my hotel.

Monday I found my tights and tracked down 2 of the 3 Diego Rivera Murals. They were amazing of course I loved them. I love his work. San Francisco Art Institute has a great campus. WOW. If I went there I think I would be super creative.

It is worth mentioning that the whole city is filled with homeless. I was taken aback by the sheer number. You have to really desensitize yourself to it, does that make you a bad person?

The whole city also smells like pot. Not just normal pot but hard core skunk. Not in back alleys but outside Macy's, outside the Gap, everywhere. Cool, eh.

Tuesday morning I got up at 345am  to make my 6am flight to Gunnison, Colorado. Fuck it was hard. But that is another blog.... 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

La Cevicheria Cartagena

Cartagena is filled with cobble stone streets,  peddlers and horse drawn carriages. There are any number of places to pop down for a bite to eat but I really liked La Cevicheria. La Cevicheria is a seafood  restaurant located on calle Stuart 7 -14 (Calle is Spanish for street.) in the old city. The food is a mix of all things Caribbean. The atmosphere is electric and very fun. The restaurant is run by by Jorge he is quite a character. He makes everyone feel very welcomed with his funny wit and Caribbean charm. He  speaks English and a bit of French. The clientele at La Cevicheria is a mix of the local people in the know and tourist who want something a bit more interesting.  If you find your way down to La Cevicheria please do not forget to order a Mojito. They are a bit of a local legend in Cartagena and really fantastic. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


The Drive from Medellin to Cartagena is a long and beautiful one. To get out of Medellin you have travel through a mountain range on a 2 lane highway. It is slightly scary because the route is packed with large trucks, motorcycles and overtaking cars. There are also the obstacles to avoid, these include; farmers walking milk to the market, land slides, trees in the road and oh did I mention the overtaking cars. We stopped for some food once we safely negotiated the tourist unfriendly zone. The food was delicious, beans and rice. Laura had an Arepa con queso.

Laura was a champion and drove the whole way on 4 hours sleep. She didn't trust my 20 years of first world driving experience. I reckon I would have been fine as I have driven on the wrong side and in Italy. We left Medellin at 5:30am and arrive around 7.Cartagena is an interesting part of Colombia a mix of African, Colombian, Spanish and Paez People. The city has 2.5 million people. On our arrival I was confronted with the hecticness of the 3rd world. Load noises, sirens, people, trash and traffic. Being a passenger for three weeks I think I have worked out the major differences. Driving can be done 1 or 2 ways, offensively or defensively. The first world has all fallen victim to the  delusion that  regulates our  road systems. While the 3rd world applying a offensive strategy makes no attempts at regulation the only rule is that you try not to kill any thing. Now Colombia (sorry about previous misspellings)  is  not the wild west like Asia this system seems to work here  and I have only seen 2 accident. Arriving to the old city is quite a journey. In the distance I noticed the beautiful  beginnings or the old city. Cartagena de Indias BEAUTIFUL. We stayed at Casa de la Mantllai on calle del la Mantilla. It was purchased by Laura's grandfather during the Escobar years. Now it is run as a lovely guest house with 2 small pools and a rooftoop sundecks. 

When we arrived we went past this place to see if the owner was there. Laura bought Anthony Boudain here for his Colombian show and he is suppose to have the best Mojitos.  Unfortunately he wasn't here. So we went and had dinner somewhere else. No Pictures sorry.Later in the evening we met up with Jorge (the owner of La Cevicheria) and went dancing.

 The next day I attempted to flex a bit of independence and attempted to cash travelers checks for myself. Unfortunately this was not to be I got lost and the banks close at 11.30am. For a Spanish style siesta until 2. This was quite unfortunate as  I had no dinero. ( spanish for cash) So I made my way to La Cevicheria, calle Stuart 7-14 for a meal.  Jorge was there and  he made me a mojito and a Suprema de Supremas ¨the best of the best¨. It was a type of seafood soup served with clams shrimp and calamari. It was good except the calamari were a tad over done. The atmosphere of La Cevicheria is really great beautiful music, good food and a very friendly staff. I highly recommend you pop in and tell Jorge hello.   After lunch Jorge invited me to his  beach shack. We picked up a bottle of Run and headed to the sea. Jorge and I discovered that we have very similar taste in Music and we spent the day drinking, dancing and laughing. Meeting Jorge was fantastic he was very funny, found me very sexy and very sexy him self. He had a cute restaurant and cute beach shack. The weather was hot the ocean was the Caribbean . All in All the experience was perfect.
Laura and Kimmies join us. We spent all day Friday hanging out, drinking, swimming and some other stuff.  
The Sunset was perfect. 
Jorge has a women who helps him look after is house her name is Rosita. 
 This is Bob Marley. 
The view of Cartagena from the 8th floor.

Laura and Kimmie

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Barrio La Milagrosa

 These photos were taken in La Milagrosa. This is considered one of the best slums. I found this area to be just another neighborhood. I am not sure if 1st world sensibilities should factor into the third world visits. Having said that I think the US, (think Katrina and some parts of Los Angeles) is on the brink of a 3rd world collapse.  This is a video store. When we arrived it was unmanned. The shelves were stocked with dvd's there was also a computer on the desk. ummmm. I would never do that in Northcote.
This is a cemetery there are currently remolding it.
Check this out, not a tag in sight.

Day 1 - Columbia Parque del Poblado

Parque de Poblado is a little square in Medellin that Ms Mora has been coming to since she was 14. On this day a group of her friends were filming a music video in the park for a band called, KY 4. I believe it is a reference to the bill before the US senate for free trade with Colombia. 

I ordered Rum it was 1600 pesos .80 Aussie cents I also had  some yummy street food from the bar on the left. The bar on the right was blaring salsa music. I met an old drunk writer who told me I was black because god kissed me.. Sweet. During the shoot the park was filled with up to 30 people drinking cervezas and smoking. 
I guess the most interesting thing was that everyone picked up after themselves. No beer bottles thrown at buses or in the street. Actually they all went in the bin or back to bar.. Very civilized. 

Day 1 - Columbia Last meal of the day

My last meal on Day one was at a little cafe called Le Bon. It is in an area in Medellin called, 
 Parque Lleras. It is where the fashionable and foriegn come for a meal. This cafe is one of the smallest on the street. The street is lined with mega bars decorated over the top. It seems that everyone opts for larger rather than smaller.   It has a little park across the street. 7 or so years ago a FARC rebel put a bomb on the corner in the photographer killing many people. 
The restaurant owners refused to take this act lying down and resumed business almost immediately.  As you can see not a lot going on.  Medellin as a city is pretty clean. This area is a suburb and is not in the city centre or downtown. It would be the Fitzroy/ Prahran. On the weekends I am told it gets very crowded. But on Monday night it was very quite and beautiful. I have not felt threatened or uncomfortable once.
I ordered a crepe with mushrooms, creme, potatoes and crispy bacon. It was pretty good.
After I had this coffee which is called an Opera. So nice it is like a coffee milk shake.

Lunch Day 1 - The best meal yet

This is part of an old bus.
Laura and I went to pick up her friend who is a DP from Spain. We went to this fantastic little restaurant close to a high school, it was called Cazuelitas.  

I ordered Ajiaco.  This is the best dish I have had on my trip. It is so yummy and simple.
Shredded chicken and 3 kinds of  potatoes in a chicken stock. It is served with a piece of corn as a garnish. On the side it comes with heavy creme, avocado and capers. All of this is combined  to make a very tasty treat. I have found a recipe . I would modify it in the following ways; ditch the peas and try to find a herb called, Guasca. 

This was desert it is called, Torta de Zanahonia or carrot cake. This was not my favorite. I think they use some kind of juice in the mix.