Monthly Archives: July 2007

Minor Annoyance #278: Compact Disc Packaging

Why are CD’s packaged with both a sealed cellophane wrapper AND these incredibly annoying, hard-to-remove sticky labels?

Sticky label on a new CD (LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver

Surely the cellophane is sufficient to prevent (or show) tampering? Why do I also have to spend 10 minutes every time I buy a CD trying to remove all of the fragments of these infuriating stickers?

With this kind of disrespect for the consumer, it’s no wonder that file sharing networks are so popular.

(This particular CD — LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver — is actually very good, however).

More floods in Britain

Large swathes of England are underwater following more torrential rain, and hundreds of thousands of people are without power or drinking water. This image of a drowning warning sign in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, pulled from the Channel 4 News website, says it all:

For more pictures of the floods in Britain, check out these sites:

Panama Hat

I had to buy a hat in Colombia to keep the fierce midday sun off my head, and the first one I was offered (by one of the MANY pushy street vendors, for about $12) was this rather natty Panama hat — and since I’d changed planes in nearby Panama on the way to Colombia, it seemed both suitable and appropriate (apart from it making me look like the man from Del Monte in the 70’s TV commercials!).

This shot was taken from the roof terrace of the Monterrey Hotel, looking towards the Old Town.

Tony on the roof of the Monterrey Hotel in Cartagena, Colombia

SMS Spam

I just received my first ever piece of SMS spam:
/BAG /L.owest cost
m.3.d.s visit : (www

How annoyingly intrusive! How did they get hold of my mobile ‘phone number? I find this much more offensive than e-mail spam.

Back from Colombia

Well I made it back from Cartagena in Colombia without getting mugged, kidnapped or killed!

Actually this joke isn’t very fair to Cartagena, because the “Old City” tourist district is VERY safe indeed, with Policia Turistico on almost every street corner — they are going to considerable lengths to build up Cartagena’s reputation as a safe tourist destination, and the city deserves credit for doing an excellent job.

The rest of my stay was a lot of fun (as evidenced by the lack of blog posts); after the other members of Stuart’s party arrived, we chartered a speedboat to take us to Baru Island (a secluded Caribbean beach paradise), and took good advantage of Cartagena’s wide selection of restaurants, bars and clubs.

I can definitely recommend both Cartagena and the Monterrey Hotel for anyone looking to investigate Colombia’s potential as a tourist destination.

Day 2 in Cartagena

Today is my second full day in Cartagena, and I´m looking forward to the arrival of 3 more members of the Stuart Stag Party today — I´ve had fun wandering around and exploring the Old City, but it´s going to be good to have people to talk to other than the constant onslaught of hawkers, hustlers and beggars!

Cartagena, Colombia — first day

I´m in Cartagena, Colombia right now, for my old schoolfriend Stuart´s bachelor party this weekend — I arrived last night at about 10pm, after a long day of travelling that involved three separate flights.

My first observation was that it is hot and VERY humid here! My second observation is that there´s a lot of poverty, and consequently if you are obviously a tourist (which I am — obvious, that is), a lot of people attempt to sell you stuff that you neither want or need: jewellery, T-shirts, cigars, sunglasses, fake watches etc. etc.

I´m staying in the Monterrey Hotel, which so far seems quite agreeable; I have a nice, clean room with a big bed, A/C, a TV and minibar and a small balcony overlooking the courtyard. I´m sharing it with a small lizard, who makes quite an inoffensive roommate!

Anyway, I´m off in search of a fish supper!