About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

25 January 2006

South African football Passion

South African football fans have a lot of passion. That has never been in doubt. But whether the players on the field have passion for what they are doing is a different matter all together. I watched most of the match Bafana Bafana - Guniea match in my hotel room (Eurosport has great coverage of the African Nations Cup) and the performance was demoralising. Most of the players just didn't seem interested - esp the big name players like McCarthy and Vilakazi. And to top it off, they played really bad football, constantly loosing possession and having very few shots on goal (I don't think a single shot actually came close to going in).

At this rate - it will be an embarrassment in 2010. What SA needs is not more big name players - but players who want to be on the field - players who are disciplined to devote time to their performance - like Zim, who even against all the odds against Senegal (albeit helped by some poor finishing from the Senagalese) kept the scoreline at 0-0 for over60 minutes and even though they lost, I think they had more chances of scoring in one half than SA did in the entire match!

22 January 2006

Budapest Phlog (part 1?)

The first picture of Budapest is a bit misleading - Budapest is really a very beautiful city, a very cultural city - and the title of "Pearl of the Danube" is very apt. It is especially beautiful at night and I am somewhat disappointed that the cold nights have somewhat curtailed my night time explorations. The cold has also meant that taking photos at night is almost impossible as playing around with the camera settings while wearing gloves is difficult at best. So with apologies to Ilan (who has probably trademarked "phlog" by now) I present you my phlog of Budapest - with some commentary after most pictures.

Friday morning, I found out that one of the workshop attendees, Martin Springer was planning on visiting a few sites around Budapest before flying back. So I decided to join him - and it turned out quite interesting towards the end.

We started off at the "Millennium Palace of Arts" - a large complex of theatres, opera halls and the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art. In most cases, modern art does not really do anything for me as I find most of it a load of pretentious bullshit - but there are some pieces that does make one think - like the stuffed pig watching a TV show featuring the butchering of a pig, or the anti apartheid piece featuring the Durban July. There were a few Picassos (didn't think they were great) and a few Warhols (found them better than the Picassos but still nothing great) but my favorite was the work titled "Play it by Trust".

We then went to visit the Hungarian parliament - one of the most impressive buildings in Budapest (via a few detours). The interior is amazing featuring gold plated artwork and one of the oldest surviving crown jewels.

We had a light lunch at the the central market - one of the old style markets - and then while walking back to the hotel, we came across the district headquarters of the socialist party - the remnants of the communist party that once ruled Hungary. We were invited inside by the office manager (who happened to be outside) and we found a few old men playing cards ... a far cry from the old days I think. After Martin left for the airport - I decided to try out one of the many thermal baths in Budapest (and a 70 degree sauna). While it was an interesting experience, I can't really say it was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced.

Budapest at night - Parliament on the left.

Woke up to snow on Saturday morning - ironically the warmest day so far at 6 degrees during the day! Went on a city tour courtesy of the workshop organisers in the morning.

Heroes square - celebrating 1000 years of the Hungarian nation.

The largest open air ice rink in Europe - after my experience in NY, didn't even consider trying out again.

Anonymous - yes that's his name

St. Peters Basilica - the most beautiful church I have visited - even if you consider the Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur

View from the Fisherman's Bastion - one of the towers of the old Buda walls.

A mythical bird that guided the Hungarian tribes from the Ural mountains

Sculpture fountain at the Buda castle

Philosopher's Garden featuring 8 philosophers including Jesus, Budha, Mahatma Gandhi amongst others

Buda (left) and Pest (right) from the Philosopher's Garden

The statue park - one of the most interesting concepts in Budapest - a good collection of Soviet era statues including Lenin, Stalin and Marx.

Freedom Statue towers over Buda from the Citadel - an old fortress.

Statue of St. Gellert faces the Elizabeth bridge - one of the most impressive bridges over the Danube. Features a natural waterfall below the statue.

Hibernating bat in a cave. The bat is about 6 cm in length.

The only known occurrence of green stalactite

Snowing outside the cave