Tag Archives: Lonely Planet

Old Skool vs New Skool

In the office there are old skool workers and new skool workers. Those that have a methodical, often longer way of working at things with great attention to detail; and those that work creatively, quickly, but not perfectly.

And it got me thinking about other old skool versus new skool ways of doing things. And whose to say which way is best?

Take bus tickets for example. You used to be able to pay the driver with actual money to get on the bus. Then we moved to pre paid paper tickets and now we have automatic electronic plastic tickets. Easier and quicker, yes, but much less personal as you don’t even have to speak to the bus driver anymore.

That’s even if you are listening to the outside world, as you might have your earphones on listening to music on your phone that you are live streaming from the internet. No more records, CD’s, MP3 players or even iPods anymore. More portable, but less tangible. I secretly still love buying a CD and popping it on the shelf.

And what gives you that capability to do all that live music listening- your smart phone with internet of course. No more dial phone, home phone, car phones or even mobile phones anymore. I must admit that I love my smart phone and having everything available 24/7, but I also enjoy switching it off and leaving it at home when I go on holiday.

If you are driving and don’t know how to get where you are going, talking Google maps will get you there. No more asking directions, Gregory’s books, maps or even static maps on your smart phone anymore. But there was that time that Google maps sent me down a dead end street and I had to find my own way out in an area I was completely unfamiliar with proving that even technology isn’t perfect.

Socialising and Dating will also never be the same. Forget the old skool way of meeting through friends, at a party, on the street or even at a bar. Everything from a film buddy to a husband can be found online these days. Sure it’s great to know up front what people are looking for, but it also kinda takes the mystery/fun/spark out of it doesn’t it?

The world of traveling has also changed. It takes less time to get to places and if you are in a new skool place to you, chances are that it is old skool to someone else. No one uses guide books, they use ebooks. Blog advice has replaced the advice of locals. Sometimes I find myself writing about a hidden treasure and I almost don’t want people to go so that it remains old skool.

And I still love taking my real Lonely Planet guide book with me and asking a local for their opinion on what I have read. After all, we can’t get free live streaming internet on our smart phones with Google maps everywhere right? And that’s why I love to travel in the first place- to get off the grid, feel something and discover the new skool experience in the old skool.

Related posts: Real Friends vs Digital Friends, Traveller vs Tourist,  Reinvention, Universal vs Personal, What’s in a number?, By special request…

Buenos Aires, 2005

South America was high on my list of places I wanted to go, so when my friend Phil said he was headed on an extended journey in that area, I leapt at the chance to meet him in Buenos Aires.

By the time I arrived, Phil had already spent some time in Central America where he had met a local Buenos Aires girl who he had fallen for. This meant that I had a somewhat distracted travel partner, but also one with some insider knowledge.

My bags had been lost in Los Angeles airport somewhere on the way, so I was given $50 to buy essentials and we spent most of my first day searching for an underwear shop that sold something other than g-strings.

The trusty Lonely Planet stated that if you are vegetarian to not come to Buenos Aires and it was right. All you can get to eat in most restaurants was steak and potatoes. I was also introduced to the city’s very strong drinks on my first night- after only two drinks, Phil and his lady had to send me back to the hostel in a cab where I was told off for having the TV on too loud in the common room after hours.

The Obelisk on Avenida 9 Julio at Plaza de la Republica remains one of the most enduring images from my stay in Buenos Aires. We were staying a couple of blocks away from this- the widest street I had ever seen- and I passed it most days on my sight-seeing adventures.

As a dog lover, I also loved all the paseaperros or dog walkers that were everywhere in the city. I was constantly snapping pictures of them on street corners and in parks- some of them with more than 10 dogs at a time on the leash.

Buenos Aires is a city of plaza’s and fascinating buildings. In our local area were Plaza Lavelle, the Templo de la Congregacion Israelita, the Asociacion Cristiana Feminina de Buenos Aires and the huge orange Palacio de Aguas Corrientes. Nearby, the richer area could be found along Avenida Alvear to the Plaza Intendente.

Other notable squares were the huge Plaza de Mayo with the red Casa Rosada, the Palacio del Congreso where the Monumento a Los dos Congresos looked like a wedding cake with a green roof and the nearby Confiteria del Molino was easy to spot; and the Plaza Libertador General San Martin with the cute Petit Paris café and Huge Faculty of Law Building nearby.

We visted the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes to see my favorite Degas paintings and saw the bizarre Biblioteca Nacional on the way back. We went inside Museo Mitre- the house of past president Bartolomé Mitre- that had a pretty courtyard with his statue in it. I liked the lovely Palermo Park with its large lake, Rosedal and Planetario Galileo Galilei.

Related posts: New Zealand, 2004, Europe, 2003, Vietnam, 2003 

Top 5 Wildlife to Spot in California

December 2007

1. Joshua Tree National Park

We have been driving through the park for an hour- a detour on the way to Las Vegas. I am on a mission to find the Cholla Cactus Garden, after my fill of knarled Joshua trees. It’s getting towards sunset- we may be running out of petrol soon. As we round a corner I spot something moving. “It’s a coyote!” I say. “No it’s not,” says Steve. But it is.

 

2. San Simeon

On a foggy day, we are headed for Hearst Castle. Randolph Hearst was a great lover of animals, just like me, and he once had a zoo there. I look out the passenger window and can’t believe my eyes. How can that be? Am I in Africa? Those black and white stripes cannot be mistaken. “It’s a zebra!” I say. “No it’s not,” says Steve. “YES it is,” I say.

 

3. Big Sur

On our way up Big Sur, the weather is quite bad. Steve wants to stop for a driving break, so we pull off the road. I stay in the car. Five minutes later, there is a knock on the window. “You have to come and see this,” says Steve. Below are an entire family of Elephant Seals on the beach- fighting, playing and dragging themselves around the sand.

 

4. Monterey

We stopped in Monterey for the night at a hotel on the edge of town. The hotel proprietor is a lover of animals, like myself, and promises that a trip to the harbour is a must so we head out along the wharf. “There’s one there!” I say. “No it’s not,” says Steve “YES it is,” I say. Seeing otters in the wild was a high light of this road trip for me.

 

5. San Francisco

We arrive at our final destination on the road trip. My favourite Californian city- San Francisco. We enter Golden Gate Park and head through the park on another one of my missions. The Bison Paddock is water logged but they are all there at the feeding pen. Real American Bison. Not roaming the plains like they once did, but there all the same.

Related posts: I first started writing