Tag Archives: clearly been here long enough to form an opinion

San Diego: the definitive review (7/10)

The final stop on my tour of the Americas (North. And not really a tour, more just a few stops) took me to San Diego. Let’s hand over to Ron Burgundy: “Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means a whale’s vagina.And it’s hard not see that influence wherever you go – even the shape of the roads makes reference to this fact, so it’s certainly an interesting city to take a look-o-tour of.

Driving through the city and its outskirts made me realise that there are some rather ridiculous houses in this part of the US, and that every single one of them is stupid, flat and boxy. And around half of them are shiny. Oh, and there was a massive church on the way to our destination that was utterly, utterly ridiculous in its size and displayed an abhorrent flaunting of wealth on the part of the god botherers in charge of it. So you lose points there, DEE AH GO.

Picking up most (read: all) of your experience of a city through the windows of a car and the sanctity of a hotel balcony/poolside may form a rather skewed opinion of the place, mind you. Full disclosure: most (read: all) of my experience of San Diego was through the windows of a car and the sanctity of a hotel balcony/poolside. Read (most: all) into that what you will.

In summation: San Diego is a city entirely comprised of roads, swimming pools and tanning tourists. There is table service by over-eager waiters in approximately 50 per cent of the places you go and the others will simply provide a buffet (with pulled pork mini-burgers, natch). It also has an airport.

You stay classy, San Diego.

7/10

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San Francisco: the definitive review (7/10)

This was meant to go up yesterday? Today? I don’t know when. Yesterday, I think. But it seems the glare of the sun around poolside in San Diego meant I missed clicking the ‘publish’ button. There will be another entry, for today, shortly.

The second destination on my whistle-stop rock lord megatour of North America led our party to San Francisco. Or, as the locals call it: “El Hillo Liberalo”. But what did I think of the place I have cunningly entitled “The City I Can’t Come Up With A Stupid Nickname For, Apart From The One I Just Used Before”? Read on, oh readist.

I am from a small town in the north of England. It is surrounded by fields, woodlands and other such countryish stuff. It is small, and most people know the business of each other. Where I live now isn’t much better, to be honest. San Francisco is one of those American places that has really big buildings and stuff*, so it was a little bit overwhelming for my tiny mind. Still, with the help of those more experienced in its ways I managed to go on one of the trams without falling off and/or dying. I did get told off by the driver though.

San Francisco is hilly. These hills were actually invented by Mormon invaders in the 1880s, after they were insulted by the original inhabitants of the city: people called Francisco McSansan. These hills were put there solely to annoy people, but over the last three years have taken on a whole new identity with both locals and visitors to the large town, turning into more of a character-building element and something people call “an interesting thing about the city”.

Anyway, I was impressed with what San Francisco had to offer. It was suitably American, pleasant, had good food (especially pizza) and some of the most creative tramps I’ve ever seen. While it was disappointing to find the seals had buggered off somewhere else, those remaining were comical enough to raise a smile. Also (we didn’t go there, but still) Alcatraz is terrifying.

7/10

*Full disclosure: I’d never been to the US before this trip.

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Vancouver: the definitive review (7/10)

I was recently invited along on another trip to foreign lands, thus helping me flesh out another entry to my definitive review series. This time it was the ‘Jewel of Canadialand’, as I heard absolutely no locals calling it: Vancouver.

The city – quite possibly made from pure, distilled joy and topped off with sexy, yet homely, gold-laced platinum, was originally built by settlers from the metropolitan borough of Bury in 1997. After a rocky start, the settlers soon started putting on daft accents and the nation of Canada was created in 1999. Just in time for the millennium.

Anyway, enough history. I was delighted to spend a little over 24 hours in the city. While I didn’t see a great deal of it – except for through the window of a taxi/hotel room/office, I can safely say it’s a lot prettier than it looks from a distance. The locals are extremely friendly, it actually smells clean and they fed me the pulled pork thing I mentioned the other day. All in all it’s one of the nicest places I’ve ever been to, as well as being incredibly quiet for a big city. So yes – well done Canada. Though you don’t seem to know what a pint is, and my remarks to a barmaid that it was 568ml were met with a blank stare of confusion as she weighed up the enormity/enormousness of what I had just told her. Obviously.

There were negative points bar the fact that I didn’t get to stay very long at all. For one, the shower was only Very Good, and not – as in Sweden – Really Bloody Marvelous. Also, it is still full of Canadians. They’re a questionable race. I HAVE MY REASONS.

All in all though, from my admittedly brief foray into the city I think it’s safe to say Vancouver is absolutely fantastic. I’m a newly-converted massive fan of the place and cannot wait to see what they do with the sequel.

7/10

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Sweden: the definitive review (7/10)

So having been here for less than 24 hours (in fact, at the time of writing this thrilling introduction it’s actually 6.43am GMT (7.43am SHT (StockHolmTime)) and I’ve been here a matter of hours. Thanks to the miracle of technology, though, this will be on your internets going straight into your brain IN THE FUTURE) I think it’s safe to review this so-called ‘Slice of Scandinavian Heaven’. Nobody I know has ever called it that except for me just then, but so long as someone has used that name it’s fine to say “so-called”, in my book.

Ignoring the Let the Right One In-style ugly tower blocks on the way in to the city, this is one lovely looking place. Or so I’ve been told. I’ve seen most of it flying past the window in cars and planes, and frankly that’s no way to take it all in. We did wander to a local corner shop though and I paid 40SEK for a hot dog and a brownie. I think that’s about £4,000 Human Money. Still, they’ve certainly got buildings around here, and it’s well quiet.

And the people? Bloody lovely. Well, again, from what I can tell. Having dealt mostly with PRs (who aren’t Swedish) and hotel staff (who are paid to be nice to you) I’d say this was possibly a skewed representation of the populace as a whole, but then I do have a hangover and I don’t want to write off an entire nation solely based on the fact that I haven’t met them all. Well done Sweden, you’re doing well so far!

As for the climate; well, it’s good to go to a country for once that promises snow and dutifully delivers. Yes, Switzerland, you other alleged neutral, I’m looking at you. Hang on – quick Wiki check – yes, they were just as “neutral” as the Swiss in dubya dubya two. Anna, sort it out. Where was I? Ah, weather. It’s well snowy, la, and it’s hilarious how easily these vikings take it in their stride. In fact, our taxi driver yesterday was telling me how she hates any other weather. Imagine that: a world where society itself doesn’t immediately crumble at the merest hint of anything more than a light breeze. A man can dream… a man can dream.

As for the hookers – delicious! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAohhh I have a headache.

Anyway, in summation: Sweden is one for fans only/redefines the genre/is the best country ever made/avoid like the plague/average. 7/10.

POSTSCRIPT: If all Swedish showers are like this one, I suggest you move to Sweden. It’s like your own little slice of heaven. If heaven involves water cascading onto your face at an alarming rate while you cleanse yourself.

POST-POSTSCRIPT: The selection of eggs these people have is marvellous. Simply astonishing. Fried, scrambled, poached – even boiled! What a crazy place this land of the Volvo is.

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