Montgolfiere Weekly

An exploration of culture in its many forms


August 2016

San Francisco, 6 years later

By Kristen Hines

I visited San Francisco for the first time six years ago in July 2010.

I like to immerse myself in a new city the first time I visit. About two weeks — long enough to move through the five stages of grief for the reluctant traveller: bargaining (mostly at the airport), unfounded overconfidence in one’s navigational abilities, rage, eating and, finally, acceptance.

This initial immersion, while intense, makes subsequent trips much easier and more enjoyable. I learned a lot about San Francisco on that first visit and, when I returned for a long weekend this past June, I noticed how much had changed … and hadn’t. Here’s what I observed. Continue reading “San Francisco, 6 years later”

Dining with the Borgias, flip-flops as cultural icon and other matters Brazilian

by Patricia Lightfoot

As the Olympic Games begin, I am re-posting a small tribute to Rio de Janeiro, which is the most spectacular city I have ever visited. For the people of Rio and all who are competing, I hope that the Games go well.

There are mountains all around, ocean, beaches, lagoons and mysterious forests inhabited by parrots, toucans, monkeys, marmosets and myriad other fauna. There is a palette of dark greens with the contrasting colours of the flowers, as if the “Douanier” Rousseau had been commissioned to paint the backdrop for Rio de Janeiro. It looks as though the vegetation could swallow up the city if it felt like it. There are mansions, such as that at Parque Lage, now an art school, which is set against the rain forest and the Corcovado mountain, on which the art deco statue of Christ the Redeemer stands surveying the city. Continue reading “Dining with the Borgias, flip-flops as cultural icon and other matters Brazilian”

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