18 years working as journalist and editor for the main Guatemalan newspapers and several local magazines. My fields: art, culture and history.

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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Some Irish brush strokes in LA

Pack your luggage, you’ll travel to covering the launch of a non-stop flight to Los Angeles”, my editor told me some weeks ago.

I was one of two journalists invited by Volaris (a Central American low-cost company) to joined to a group of travel agents. We spent 4 days knowing some of the main amenities in LA.

We had a very tight schedule visiting a dozen of places in just few days but I found time to detour my way to my favourite urban spots: pubs. I do it for anthropological reasons. On my field work I found some Irish brush strokes.

1.      I arrived on 17th March, yes, St. Paddy’s Day. That explains why I still saw green decoration in many bars.  I even found green beers in a bar of West Hollywood, 2x1 in happy hour.

2.      Pints. Just in one bar, located in Farmers Market, I drank from a large glass (500ml), in the rest of places they gave me a regular size glass. I tasted at least 7 different stouts, a couple of them were crafted.

3.      Guinness. I enjoyed again a pint of black stuff. The last time I got one from a keg was in Dublin, five months ago.

4.      Mulligans is an irish pub inside Universal Studios. Almost real. A show of trad dance and music would be perfect to make more real their atmosphere. Yes, they had Guinness !!, but don’t make me talk about the small plastic glass they gave me. In a different place, in West Hollywood, when I ordered a pint, the glass was so short that I thought maybe the bar tender heard “baby Guinness” instead of “pint of Guinness”.

5.      Yes lads, it’s true. Americans think is St. Patty’s Day. (I didn’t see any hamburger around). Look, lovely clover 🍀. 

6.      On Farmers Market I also found a car decorated with shamro... CLOVERS and leprechaun hats.

7.      Irish roots. I met three guys with Irish ancestors. One of their grandparents left Ireland 3 or 4 generations ago.

8.      Aer Lingus. On the queue checking in for my return ticket, guess what? Aer Lingus desk was next to Volaris. I was so tempted to buy a ticket in the next flight available.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Short story

The foreigner never knew he was a dancer, ‘till HD show him how to dance… and his soul was healed.
*On this day, two years ago, they met at 9:30pm.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

It's getting worse. A post without pictures.

I was reading today an online article about an available €250 shared bed in Dublin 1. Yes, a shared bed!! in a two rooms house, that’s means two different strangers in each bed (couples were not accepted). I know it’s not easy to find a decent place in town but you must be really desperate to accept a half bed

I know, a low budget or be a part time employee make the difference and push you to take the risk accepting inhuman conditions. But, why nobody from the government sees this a problem that is getting worse every time? Rental ads like this is not an isolated case. It’s time for new rules in Dublin’s rental proprieties market. 

On October, the Irish Independent published that “a building located in the heart of Dublin's Temple Bar is being rented to up to 45 people”, each one paying €200 per month, all using just three bathrooms and sleeping 10 or 12 persons in a same room.  Reading every time more news about this scenario in media just shows one of the unpleasant faces of Dublin. Want to know the other one related with this rental crisis: homelessness and homeless rough sleepers. 

*Sorry, I won't upload  images this time. 

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Having an orgasm  

All pics taken by Braliem Jousc
I really admire all the art scene that happens yearly in Ireland. My first contact was in Dublin with the Culture Night. Rightly named, in one night it’s possible to attend different events across the island, when several arts organisations open their doors with hundreds of free events, tours, talks and performances.

Then, in Galway, I found a very active live music agenda in pubs and many local festivals. Some months later I saw the same activity in more cities and towns.

As a journalist specialised in art and culture I was having an orgasm discovering all these activities and reading all about them. I even created a new list in my twitter account to follow museums, art galleries, venues, festivals, pubs, some local bands, art centres, dance companies, theatres, writers, photographers, newspapers, art magazines, journalists, and art organisations. Two years ago, this list began with 10 or 12 profiles, today has more than 500.

One of the most active entities on twitter is the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI). When I visited it for the first time they were working on their new wings. The gallery reopened on June of 2017 and one month later, on my second travel, I finally stepped on the refurbished Dargan and Milltown halls.  More than 650 works of art are displayed in both sections. When I left my actual job I’m sure I’ll get more time to socialise the Irish art and cultural activity from my Twitter and this blog.

The NGI is a historical place in Dublin and one of the most visited buildings in town, it was established in 1854 and visitors can see over 16,300 works of art. The NGI has a café and a shop. Need more reasons to visit it? Read this, it's free, as the admission.

The National Gallery of Ireland is near to others interesting spots, like the National Library of Ireland, the Trinity College with its famous Book of Kells and the archaeological branch of the National Museum of Ireland.  Now, with the new Luas line crossing the town is possible to get in few minutes the Collins Barracks, where are now the Decorative Arts andHistory divisions of the National Museum of Ireland.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Line

There’s in Galway a pedestrian walkway known as The Line, that goes from the Renmore Barracks to the Eireann Bus Station. You can get the Eyre Square in 15 or 20 minutes using this pathway that follows the railway route. 

In several points of the way are smashed beer cans and garbage. The Line it’s a lonely shortway and many people told me it was dangerous specially by night. I remember some stories about raped and murdered women there. Others, related with knife attacks and robbery cases. Despite everything I took the risk and I used many times. 

The first time I found an old lady with groceries riding her bicycle and several school students walking to their homes. Where’s the danger? I asked to myself. Then, I understood the safe time ends after the sunset. I was lucky, never happened something or a thief assaulted me.


Probably I became later in one pedestrian that others avoided because I walked tipsy The Line going to home after been drinking in town. I remember some epic stormy nights completely wet walking fast trying not slipping. Also making a round trips with D, my flatmate; by the way, from him I learnt predrinking at home. And I even keep in my mind the night I went out with M, my landlord; he used to hide his umbrella between the bushes.

A relative quite walkway by day or a reckless night way, in both cases The Line is part of my unforgettable days living in Galway. My picture app reminded me that I took today, two years ago, the pics I posted in this entry.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Your friend is high

I still have a lot of pending stories to tell from my first travel to Ireland and now I’m writing about my second time visiting the island, two months ago. When I won’t write anymore in journalism, I’m sure I’ll get all the time to shout out all the words I wanna scream.

I arrived a night of August. It was Sunday, I remember very well. After checking in I left the hotel to see some friends, HD between them. We went to some place of the regular night scene in town, but after 2am HD showed me the Dublin’s underground move.

Don’t ask me where we were, maybe it was a house close to the Ambassador Theatre. Once inside there was a spot for drinks and a room where a DJ was playing hypnotizing sounds. 

After a “couple of pints and ciders” (Orchard Thieves, not Blummer’s) I was, MAYBE, maybe tipsy, the perfect mood to dance, especially when my mind matched the night to the after parties by the early mornings at my remembered and beloved Antigua Guatemala.

Almost electronic music in the atmosphere, the pleasure of been in Dublin again, having fun with HD and knowing new people was an ecstasy for me. I was happy, dancing with my shadow in front of the wall, in the same way I did it in the last years of the 1990s decade.

-I think your Guatemalan friend is high. Look at him, said some to HD. And when he turned his sight, saw me in the middle of a tribal dance, in front of a wall, dancing with my shadow. The scene probably was weird to the crowd but all the friends who shared with me all my crazy years in Antigua Guatemala know very well that’s my normal state.

When we left the place, there was an intense light up the sky, maybe something called sun. That was my welcoming sesh night to Dublin, after a 22 hours flight across the pond. Yep peeps, two sleepless nights, just the prelude of the rest of the week.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Last bus to home

 *Picture taken from Google Maps

It was February and I just moved on from a building close to Fatima Luas station in D8, to a house near to Belton Park in D9. A long distance I know, but I love walking, and that was my main routine some minutes before the sunset: take a long walk to town, almost every evening.

I’ll left for another post my adventure taking the bus to that house, when the girls that later became my flatmates had their interviewing night.

Today I’ll remember the time when pints, some coins and a bus driver marked the early end of a fun night.

I was ready to go home. It was the first night in my new flat and my mental map still needed more time to understand I wasn’t so far as I was thinking. But that night I decided take a bus to come back home, once in the bus stop, I read the timetable and there was one to Donnycarney at 11pm and according to my clock I still had 33 minutes for a last pint.
I didn’t drank one, were two. But I was on time at the bus station, in front of the Central Bank of Ireland. I arrived almost at the same time. A lady got off and I immediately get in after her and deposited the coins for the ride.

The driver, a man in his 50s maybe, was a bit astonished.

-I don’t know how to say this, but this is my last stop, he said.

-What! That’s mean I could had have another pint instead of paying you?

He just laughed and said: You´re right, all I can do for you now is take you in front of the Custom House.

And that was the way how this tipsy guy bought the next day a Leap card, just in case, because one of the golden rules that I learned in Ireland is: coins are for pints. Eventually my mental map sent me the right sign to walk back safely to home by foot.