Monday, September 26, 2005


Tynsky cathedral at night
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
Sometimes I feel slightly guilty only staying a weekend in a city I've never visited, in a country I've never visited. The backpacker in me wanted a good couple of weeks to follow the roads less travelled in this country I know nothing about, speaking a language I don't understand. That said, I have a pretty good talent for figuring out key foreign words pretty quickly. In this instance, though, I think it was limited to beer, wine, exit and thank you.
More than anything, this trip was an opportunity to catch up with an Australian friend for her birthday. We're old housemates from Darwin, and shared a really amazing 18months living together in a beautiful tropical house (back in 2002-2004), and drinking lots of red wine, griping about boys, having crazy theme parties, the usual stuff.
So, only having Saturday and Sunday to play, my impressions of Prague are quite brief, wooden toys, amazing art, marionnettes, spires galore, cold! I had a great time on a limited budget, even managed to splash out on a few small paintings.
In non-travel related news, things aren't going so brilliantly. Certain plans are unravelling at the seams, and I can't seem to figure out where the loose thread came from. Sorry, that's all a bit vague and metaphorical, but in other words, I don't really want to discuss it at the moment. Mostly work related, before anyone starts thinking up wild scenarios. There's some things I need to sort out before I can go back to enjoying the leisurely pasttime of blogging, however.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Powder Tower

Prague, Czech Republic

Tynsky Cathedral at night

Prague, Czech Republic

Good luck

John of Nepomuk being thrown into the river for refusing to divulge the secrets of the confessional. He was since made a martyr and if you rub this plaque on Charles bridge it is supposed to bring you luck. Prague, Czech Republic

Ginger and Fred

The Dancing Building. Designed by Gehry, Prague - Czech Republic

Prague horses

Carriages leave regularly from in front of the Tynsky cathedral to take tourists on tours through the city. The exposure in this shot is all out, but I like it anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2005


The real kind, not the spooky 4th dimension stuff. September looks like it's going to be a social month for me - for a change. A welcome change. I certainly need to do something to get my social life reactivated. Just getting used to not seeing people isn't a really workable solution. So, last week an old friend from New Zealand, now living in London, passed through. Haven't seen him since I was slumming it in London at his place a year ago. Technically my official London residence remains his lovely house near South Kensington. Spent a lovely evening having dinner, talking about new things and old things, and enjoying a grand view towards the Notre Dame on a warm night. Then he gave me his flu, so most of the last week I have been cooped up in the apartment with a head full of pseudoephidrine. This week a friend from Australia (my Adelaide years) will be stopping over in Paris for a couple of days, so I can play tour guide again. Maybe this time I'll put on a better show of pretending to know where I'm going. Then finally, it's a birthday catchup weekend with my old housemate (also now living in London) - though this catchup will be in Prague. A city I've never visited and heard only good things about. So I'm trying to get an online airline ticket definitely purchased before Friday - my first try didn't work for unexplained reasons (unexplained reasons make me nervous when my bankcard is the subject).
Not the best month for purchasing airline tickets - financially. This month is tax month, and the Monsieur has had a whole months salary eaten up by the tax machine (and car repairs, and rent, and night class enrolment). He's even asking to borrow money from me, which is always a bad sign, seeing as I'm generally a half-step away from broke at the best of times. I haven't quite grasped the tax system in this country yet. As far as I can tell you have to pay twice - once out of your periodic salary, and once at the end of the financial year. Tax reimbursement for low income earners does not exist as a concept here either (as it does in Australia). Still, if all goes to plan this year, I too will have a nice big tax debt this time next year (the woman from the English teaching school did get in touch with me in the end, looks like I'll be starting work in October).

Monday, September 05, 2005

Being mean

so many sharks
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
Metro entrances in Paris have a double barrier entrance. First you pass your ticket through the reader the go through a turnstyle, then you push open a metal door behind it to continue on through. It's a pretty common habit - especially among younger guys - to follow people through and get a free entrance by jumping over the turnstyle behind someone and holding open the metal door before it shuts behind the person who's just passed through it. The turnstyles are pretty easy to jump - if you're not eighty, but once the metal doors are closed, they lock in place.
There's something about being followed through a turnstyle that really gets on my nerves. I hate that someone has used my ticket as a get in free pass. I do let people in who ask to pass through with me, that's not a problem. It's just when you see them sneaking up behind you out of the corner of your eye...argh! it drives me mad, maybe it's a personal space thing, or it's just the arrogance of someone using you to exploit the system, dunno. Anyway, yesterday I'd had it - one guy was mid-leap behind me, I turned around as I passed through the door, raised an eyebrow, said 'you think so?' and slammed the metal door shut. He was stuck. He was pissed. I was amused. I guess being mean can be fun sometimes ;)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Picasso Museum

Museums in France are free on the first Sunday of every month. Contrary to the UK where they're free all the time...
Paris, France (3e arrondissment)

Friday, September 02, 2005


I think about 80% of the population were able to get out of New Orleans before the hurricane struck. Most of the people that stayed behind probably didn't do so out of choice. People without a car, people too old or infirm to move, people who had no money to pay for a way out. And they expect these same people, who have probably been at the receiving end of lifes' big crappy boot often enough, to play nicely in the aftermath. To encourage them to play nicely, some 'freshly returned from Iraq' soldiers have been ordered up to kill some of their own countries citizens.
Help is on the way? insists The President. Help in the form of US troops with M16s? Where was the help BEFORE the hurricane? They didn't expect the levees to breach? Oh,'s an extract from a risk evaluation document dated from 3 years ago;

* Most of the city is below sea level and has an at-risk population of roughly one million people.

* It experiences land subsidence at a rate of 5 mm per year.

* The global sea-level rise is currently 2 mm per year, but is expected to accelerate two- to four-fold in response to global warming.

* There is limited evacuation potential in the area.

* The area is protected by deteriorating coastal defenses that are presently only effective against category 3 hurricanes.

* The city is located in a coastal area that is frequently subjected to large hurricane storm surges. One example is Hurricane Camille in 1969, which made landfall in nearby Mississippi with a 22.4-foot storm tide.

* The area frequently experiences locally heavy rainfall (especially during hurricane landfall) that contributes to flooding.

But I'm really glad the oil is safe though. I was certainly worried about the oil.

"President Bush said he expected Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Washington in the Middle East, to do "everything it can" to provide the US with more oil." (BBC)

Because the increasing hurricane frequency since 1995 certainly couldn't have anything to do with increasing and persistent fossil fuel consumption...