Rough Day At The Office

Rough Day At The Office
Sailing upwind in 22knots at the Louis Vuitton Trophy, Nice, France

Friday, December 17, 2010

Coffee and a Bit of Shopping

Recently while in Dubai for the Louis Vuitton Trophy on the lay day mid regatta a few of the photographers got together and caught a taxi to one of the oldest markets in Dubai Creek Markets to take a look and maybe buy a few things for friends and family. It can be very easy to miss or drive right past, but it is set on the side of a river that seems to be the hub of local water taxis and merchants selling their wares of silks and linens.
It is the norm to haggle with the store owner over price and how many items you are after, but I am not sure this merchant knew what he was in for when we invaded his shop in force and have him join in with our comedy routine. he was a very friendly guy and knew from the minute we walked in their he was going to make a good sale (possibly the best all week) By the time we had left and done our group portrait it was laughs all around with our newly purchased local head attire and time to explore the river on a local Dow.
The day of my birthday we were lucky to have one of the local reporters Sandra offer to take us all to the Camel Races on the outskirts of Dubai. It did mean that we were all up very early before sunrise to meet with all the vehicles and now a large group to see this pronominal site.
If you ever make it to Dubai it is a must see event because it is not just about watching camels race around a 4 km track in dust and sand, it is about the people that are their and what each one of them does.
None of us knew we were going to participate in the races around the track in a 4x4 wing mirrors millimeters apart and hanging out the sunroof to shoot the camels, the owners and the fans keeping up with the pack as it roars around the track in one big sand storm.
The overwhelming friendliness of everyone out there was just amazing, from the camera operators who televise the race, to the coffee stewards offering hot coffee in gold urns and beautiful china cups.
Dubai was not what i thought it would be and if you are there anytime soon make sure you take the time get out of the city with your friends. It is well worth it.
Cheers Dubai

Monday, September 20, 2010

Art, Culture and Food

I recently went up to Barcelona for four days on the train from Alicante.
Went up with family to have a look around and try out some restaurants and tapas establishments.
We scored an apartment right on the Passeig de Gracia and could walk to so many cool sites and amazing places to eat. It is a major thoroughfare in Barcelona that is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and some of Gaudí's architectural masterpieces.
I have always thought taking roof top bus trips a little cheesy and a very touristy thing to do, but we bit the bullet and jumped on one to see the sights of Barcelona and as it turned out on a fine blue day one of best and quickest ways to see the city. The great thing about these is that you can get on and off as often as you like all over the city and if you like something and want to spend more time there, you can.
Every day was a new adventure to try out a restaurant or little cafe. Whether it be a wine bar to just stop in and taste, to a Michelin star establishment.
If you are passing through Europe any time soon and can spare a few days, I highly recommend a trip to this wonderful city to suck in the Art, Culture and Food it has to offer.

Monday, June 28, 2010


While the World Cup is going on right now in South Africa and tourists are pouring in to places like Capetown to watch the matches and spend their tourist dollars, spare a thought for the majority of citizens that live there not ten minutes drive from the city centre in the Townships. Townships were created as living areas for non-whites under the old political system of Apartheid.
Most of Cape Town's townships are concentrated in the area known as the Cape Flats which lie to the East of Table Mountain.
When I was there in 2008 for the Volvo Ocean Race I spent a couple of days out there with the kids and taking them pens and cardboard so they could write on for school. These families I met were so warm and welcomed me and always seemed to have a smile on their face despite what very little they had. I shared a great moment about international rugby with a man that I was introduced in his late seventies that had lived through the horrific apartheid and showed me his identity book that he had to have on him at all times other wise he received a terrible beating.

More than half of Cape Town's population lives in the townships! It's not all palm trees and five star hotels. Township life offers an insight into South African history like no other experience.

In my eyes the beauty of Cape Town extends past Table Mountain and the wealthy suburbs, and into the townships themselves.
If you are visiting Capetown make a very small effort and gets some pens and cardboard and make the trip out of town and meet some beautiful people.