If you ever find yourself near a barbershop in Dar es Salaam late at night and you hear music, follow the sound. You won’t be disappointed.
Yesterdsay Ms Markontour and I caused a tail-back on the route down Mynydd Llangyndir, bringing our bikes to a halt in the middle of the road to stand awestruck as a majestic Red Kite circled directly overhead. It was a great display, but it turns out that the kite’s desire to check out all and any movement on the ground was almost its undoing. These massive birds, with their black and white wings and unmistakable orange/red breasts made themselves easy prey for farmers armed with guns, and there was only one breeding female left in Britain in my lifetime.
It feels slightly odd to be voluntarily spending a Saturday morning going to see the remnants of a 130 tonne, 250 metre long fatberg, but it is the Museum of London’s new star attraction and I fancied a bit of local tourism.
International readers of this blog may already be sneering at the concept of the ‘The Great British Seaside’, but as the Greenwich National Maritime Museum’s nostalgic exhibition shows, there’s plenty that’s wonderful and interesting about a British beach – it just rarely includes sunshine.
Bradford, a northern English boomtown in the industrial revolution, has suffered a two century accolade deficit. Very few outsiders have ever had anything good to say about the place and yet on a recent visit markontour discovered fascinating history, great bars, a unique peace museum, thriving community radio and, above all, huge energy and optimism. Thus follows a very partial markontour guide to Bradford.
Austin lives up to its own billing as the live music capital of the world. Admittedly, markontour was visiting during the legendary South By South West (SXSW) tech/film/music festival, but you can only make judgements based on available data. On this basis Sixth Street is a gig-goers dream, where every bar and almost every restaurant has constant live bands from 4pm until past the midnight hour. If the evidence that I am alive wasn’t so overwhelming, a few nights in Austin might have convinced me that I had died and gone to heaven (putting to one side the anthropocene nightmare that is urban American traffic).
I have to be honest, I had low expectations of Edmonton, a sprawling, million-plus city in oil-rich Alberta, Canada. But a week there was full of surprises, from great record shops, a fantastic gallery, incisive improv-comedy, tasty vegetarian restaurants, an introduction to ice-hockey, and guitar rental, all the way through to ultra-friendly people. I almost don’t mind not seeing the promised Northern Lights. Here follows the markontour guide to Edmonton.