USA

Benvenido a Miami

 

Will Smith’s party tune, Welcome to Miami, became my personal anthem for our big American road trip.

I sang it silently in my head in the queue for the aeroplane, hummed it as we picked up the Mustang and sang out very loud as we drove along en a 2000 mile route towards Miami.  Will told us to: ‘Party in the city where the heat is on. All night on the beach ‘till the break of dawn’. And we took his advice!

Florida road trip of a lifetime

 

Mustang Jo now baby

We’d been talking sometime about a road-trip across the States. The usual had come up: the north to south California coast road; east to west coast; and the infamous Route 66. Too predictable, too far, too obvious. If we were going to go to the States, we wanted to just make our own journey. And I wanted some nature, the great outdoors. Plus some of that musical Hispanic culture of Cuban dissidents and Latino immigrants. My partner requested roller coasters, shower facilities and the occasional cold beer.

N’awlins – that’s New Orleans to you and me

 

Apparently I am a disgrace, terribly unpatriotic and should be drowned in the Mississippi….. for leaving my country on the day of the biggest and most important wedding in history. A debatbale point of view but one which many Americans were quick to share with me because, on 29 April 2011, I was in New Orleans for a wedding much closer to my heart; that of my friend Erin (we met on the terrace of a bed bug-ridden filthy hole-of-a-hotel in Taipei and consoled ourselves, for having trusted Lonely Planet’s recommendation, by drinking enough tall boys until we didn’t mind that you had to put your hand right inside the grimy cistern in order to flush the toilet). And I think Rosy’s Jazz Hall is a much better location for a wedding than Westminster Abbey anyway.

80:80 World Refugee Day 20 June 2011

 

Deadly Discrimination – not just a case of sexist tea-making policies 

Did you know: 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children fleeing violence, persecution, starvation, slavery and sexual exploitation. What’s more, the poorest nations are hosting 80% of the world’s forcibly displaced population, while richer countries close their borders. So, on World Refugee Day 2011 I thought it apt to resurrect an article I wrote back in 2003, regarding the plight of women around the world (the tea-making refers to my own battle at the time, where the female teachers in the Japanese staff rooms were always expected to jump up and make tea).

Double Standards of a Superpower – China Vs the US

 

Double Standards of a Superpower (April 2003) 

China’s president Hu Jintao was on a four-day tour of America last week, which was hailed as the most important state visit from China in over 30 years. The Obama adminsitration planned to use this time to heal the rift which has developed between the two world powers, along side raising concerns about nuclear energy and currency protection and broaching the terrible human rights record of the Chinese government, highlighted by the protests outside the White House by supporters of the persecuted Falun Gong and a ‘Free Tibet’ for example.

A pub crawl across America: tips on the new best places to drink in the States

 

Beer trails from coats to coast: the beer connoisseur’s guide to America’s frothy new landscape – by Karen Nagy  endlessvacation.com/Destinations/Beer-Trails-From-Coast-To-Coast.aspx