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Hollywood’s Latin American Fiesta

By on Feb 5, 2015 in Films | 3 comments

FLying Down to Rio (1933) and Down Argentine Way (1940) In the 1930s and 40s, the USA in general, and Hollywood in particular, went gaga for all things south of the border. In 1933, Roosevelt launched the ‘Good Neighbor’ policy, in which he sought to improve the image of the US among Latin American countries. Since it proved somewhat difficult to reassure Latin American governments of his non-interventionist direction, having suffered repeated, heavy-handed military interventions from the US in the past, Roosevelt’s Inter-American Office persuaded Hollywood’s major production companies to demonstrate this new-found love for everything Latin American through cinema. So, over the next decade or so, a flurry of films was produced, using the power of song, dance, and Betty Grable’s legs, to demonstrate friendship towards countries like Brazil and Argentina, and to show US audiences the...

An Education

By on May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Yesterday, I secured my first ‘proper’ job as a teacher. It’s been my dream since circa age 5, so I’m a little bit delighted. And having my future safe has allowed me to sit back and breathe a little today and to think about all the children I’ve already taught, all over the world and realised that they have taught me more than I could ever teach them. To my gorgeous Peruvian chiquitos, thank you for your glorious smiles, your ‘fan-mail’, your requests for my autograph. Thank you for your boundless enthusiasm, your spirit, your determination and eagerness to learn, despite the system. You came to school every single morning with laughter and energy, pulling your mini suitcases with pride and your chatter visible as cold puffs in the frozen morning air. You bigger ones raced up the stairs, swinging your cases up with the vigour of your youth,...

The Bright Lights of Buenos Aires

By on Mar 5, 2012 in Travel | 6 comments

To start our month of city & culture features, we’re heading first to the beguiling capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires… Buenos Aires. Just say it. Let the words roll over your tongue. Buenos Aires. It just sounds promising, doesn’t it? In my travels across South America, I had heard whispers of all kinds about Buenos Aires. Some people loved it, others hated it. Opinion after opinion was foisted on me, all the things I had to do when I got there, all the places I should avoid. It became a mythical place, somewhere I had no real idea about, but which was constantly spoken about. Nearly every traveller on the South America circuit has been to Buenos Aires, many have spent a few weeks or even months there, so every time I bumped into one of them, I heard about Buenos Aires.Finally, the day came when I boarded a plane from Lima and arrived, a few hours later, in the...

All Eyes On You

By on Feb 10, 2012 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

Throughout Februray, we will be talking about art, so your Friday Photo is on that theme. Buenos Aires is a city known for art – especially for the music and dancing of tango. But it is also home to a more subversive art form: graffiti, of a type closer to fine art than crude scrawls. It makes Buenos Aires an absolutely fascinating place to wander round. I hope you enjoy this psychedelic delight!

The Iguassu Falls: Up Close and Personal

By on Jan 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

By the time I got to Iguassu (or Iguazu, or Iguaçu, depending on which side of the border you are), I was tired. I remember phoning home – my regular ‘Hi Mum, I’m in a new country’ call – and for the first time, I felt a little homesick. I had been travelling for a long time and suddenly, I was jaded by it. But I had just crossed the Argentina-Brazil border, getting to grips with the tropical weather after the winter of Buenos Aires. And I was  about to visit the Iguassu Falls. It was a moment I’d been anticipating from the very start of my trip, so I hoped it would revitalise me. It was an unpromising start – the weather was dull and grey and the tour guide was an hour late, having been sent to the wrong hotel. I didn’t even want a tour guide. I had booked the trip before I’d left Britain, still naive and worried about going it...

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