Thursday, 29 January 2009

Paddy in NY

New York

.......continued from here

It feels good to be back in New York, the city I called home for ten years. The energy, the vibe, the fast pace. Buenos Aires was 35 Celsius (95F) and humid when I left but New York is 2C (35F) with snow on the ground so it's taking a bit of getting used to.

We had a fantastic time when we lived here. We lived in a tiny apartment on 78th Street and York Avenue the upper east side. There's plenty to explore in this huge country so I signed up for all the airline weekend specials emails and about every 3 weeks we'd be jetting off for a weekend break to different cities in the US for a fraction of the normal fare. We visited 46 of the 50 states and also spent time in the neighbours to the north and south, Canada and Mexico.

Q. So if it was so good then why leave?

There were a couple of factors involved but here's the main reason. New York has a large transient expat population. A lot of people come to advance their careers and then move on. It's a stepping stone to somewhere else. Neither of us thought NYC was a place we'd see ourselves settling down and growing old. Both of us had achieved a moderate degree of success so it was time to step off in another direction.

Q. Are you coming back to live in New York?

I'd certainly consider it especially given the current job market world wide, but not right now. I was in touch with some old work colleagues while I've been here and things are pretty bleak right now. To give you an extreme example, an old boss of mine who had a senior position (she was a Managing Director) but has been out of work for a while is now driving a yellow cab.

So my quest continues. I didn't have time to meet up with as many people as I would have liked but maybe next time. I'm heading to the airport tonight for the next leg of the adventure. Catch you on the flip side.

Tags: ..Paddy in New York..

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Monday, 26 January 2009

Where the HELL is Paddy?

Interview with Paddy in BA:

Q. So why did you pick Buenos Aires as a destination for some time out?

Well the wife is from here for one thing. Although to be honest the driving force for the new unemployed me was cost of living but since she has family here it was an easy idea to sell. Latinos are famous for being family centric and the regular 3 hour lunch with relatives is commonplace.

Years back we'd talked about how great it would be to do a few months backpacking so that dream became a reality (link). Quality of life here for an expat is higher than I've experienced anywhere else.

Q. Will you settle down and stay in BA?

I'd highly recommend it as a retirement option but unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to earn pounds, euros or dollars the local salaries are not that good and your A$peso doesn't go far when you leave Argentina. A ten day trip to Europe would cost several months salary.

Q. So what's the plan and what was the big 'change' you've been waffling on about in recent posts?

Well as the post title suggests I'm not in BA right now and I may not be back.

*Pauses for dramatic effect*

If I'm successful in my quest to find a job I'll be relocating and the missus will follow once I've paved the way so to speak.

Q. So where in the name of jaezuz are you going now?

Right now I'm actually in Houston, Texas waiting for a connecting flight. I'm going to be zipping around a bit for the next few weeks so you'll just have to revisit the blog to see where I am. I'll also be doing a bit of soul searching and reflection so it might even be interesting! ;-)

Q. Do you honestly expect us to keep coming back to read this drivel about your nomadic poncin' around the globe?

Well you've obviously got nothing better to do if you're reading this right now!

Q. Are you going to make a video of yerself doing a silly dance in famous places like yer man Matt Harding and post it on YouTube?

Nope - no silly dance - I have two left feet and about as much rhythm as a goldfish in a bowl of cornflakes.

Have to end the interview here as I have to board a plane (be bored on a plane!) - wish me luck and tune in real soon for next port o' call!

Tags: ..Where the hell is Paddy?, Irish Rover..

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Monday, 19 January 2009

Irish Rover - Part 8

....continued from Irish Rover Part 7 - Part of a series of posts recalling my wandering ways (finally bringing you to how I got ended up here in Buenos Aires.

New York was great but I still hadn't found what I was looking for. After a bit of pleading, heaving and pushing for a transfer, a potential work opportunity with the bank I worked for presented itself to move from New York back to London which would put us nearer to at least one family (mine).

After giving notice on our apartment lease, abandoning the wife's application for US residency, buying air tickets, paying for a moving company, the unthinkable happened. A management reshuffle at work meant the transfer was put on hold until further notice. The 'Man from Del Monte' who said yes no longer had the power to say yes and we were left up sh!t creek without a paddle. I was a tad fu(ked off with the corporate machine to say the least.

The exit wheels were already too far in motion so the missus had to head solo to the UK and hopefully I would follow shortly. The movers packed all our stuff and the missus boarded a plane and I ended up having to sleep on a sofa of a good friend waiting for the politics in work to settle down. Any illusions I had about 'the company has your best interests at heart' were dashed. I still feel bitter about the whole way it was handled. I gave the company 110% - they gave me the middle finger up the arse!

If it weren't for the consistent lobbying of my boss back then, I probably would never have made it, but she pushed and pushed until the powers that be finally relented (thank you 'R'). After four months haggling I finally moved back to London in April 2005.

London had changed a lot (for the better) since my time there in the 80's. Irish were no longer third class citizens. Quite the opposite - we were riding the high waves of the Celtic Tiger. We spent two fantastic years spending a lot of time with family and friends and exploring the near and far flung corners of Europe on the Ryanair cattle shuttles.

In June 2007 after much deliberation and consultation I decided to walk away from the company and 'secure' job I'd had for 13 years. No redundancy package - No golden parachute - just me heading off into the sunset for a wee bit of R & R, to be a bum and do this kind of stuff. I needed a break. I needed a sense of purpose.

Is life just about 9am-8pm Mon-Fri? Wait for a bonus that rarely meets expectations? Take conference calls at 10pm? Have that sinking feeling in your stomach on Sunday afternoon - "Oh fuck - work tomorrow!"

A lot of people (most of them have mortgages, kids and debts up to their eyeballs) did and still do think it was an irresponsible move on my behalf. The plan was for this exodus to be for one year sabbatical. So we packed our stuff once more and this time headed to Buenos Aires for some down time. The cost of living is cheap and the missus has family here.

After living the 'life of Reilly' for a year, a little phenomenon known as the global financial crisis has popped up it's ugly head and so my re-entry to the rat race has been somewhat delayed. Now I find myself trapped in a strange but fascinating land with little or no job prospects or earning potential.

Do I regret the choices I've made? - NOT ONE FUCKING BIT!
Do I need to find a job? - unfortunately yes - I didn't get paid the silly bonuses some of these Wall Street shafters pillaged for years - I live a frugal - thrifty lifestyle down here to make ends meet.

What will I do? Where will I go?

WATCH THIS SPACE! - Change be a coming in less than 5 days!

Tags: ..Irish in Buenos Aires, Irish expat in Argentina..

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Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Fantastic Journey - Katie Saylor

My mind works in mysterious ways as you already know if you've visited here before. A blast from the past flashed by me today. I remember it like it was only 30+ years ago. Way back then, a new TV show called 'The Fantastic Journey' with a hot babe with a mini skirt arrived on TV. The scenario: A family is on a boat and washes up on an island after a storm in the Bermuda Triangle.

They jump thru time portals to different parts of the island with new perils and adventures in each episode. The important bit was the hot babe 'Katie Saylor' (photos above) who wore a short mini skirt and had the 'bod' and face of a goddess. I was only ten years old and she was my first crush. I was completely infatuated, fascinated, captivated and besotted by this girl.

It's quite possible, I may have had intimate relations with my teddy bear who with my active imagination, I imagined to be Katie or was that just a dream? - I hereby claim the protection of the Fifth Amendment on that one - p.s just in case - sorry Teddy :-((

The BASTARDS in NBC cancelled the show after only 8 episodes and Katie didn't show up on the last two shows. I googled around today in an effort to find out whatever happened to Katie and it turns out she was ill during filming and passed away a few years later with the Big 'C'.

Life can be short and seem cruel and yet again I've been given a slap in the face to be grateful for the little things in life I take for granted.

R.I.P. Katie

Tags: .The Fantastic Journey - Katie Saylor.YouTube.

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Sunday, 11 January 2009

Carnival Gualeguaychu Argentina

Every Saturday for two months Gualeguaychu in the province of Entre Rios celebrates carnival ('carnaval' in Spanish). I tried to see this last year but it was rained out not once but twice :-(( but we went on Saturday and the weather was well behaved this time.

A three hour bus ride from Buenos Aires gets you to the small spread out town of Gualeguaychu (pronounced Wally-wy-chu). The Carnival takes place on Saturday night but there are plenty of riverside beaches with bars and cafes to head to during the day.

Well enough of the tourism pitch and now for some photos. I have a terrible habit of cutting people heads off in photos as you're about to see.

Tags: .Carnival Carnaval Gualeguaychu Argentina..

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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Procrastination is bad or is it?

Click image above to enlarge

If my life right now were to be flow charted it would look exactly like this. If you locked me in a padded cell with no lights (which is probably where I should be!) and told me to count to ten, I would probably get no further than # three before I found a distraction like the buzz of a mosquito or the smell of toe jam or a fart (not mine obviously) to send me off on a tangent. Hmmm.. I wonder if mosquitoes fart? - Ha! - See what I mean!

I tried meditating in the park today out of desperation to clear my head after reading this blog post by Fida. After 4 minutes of what I thought was progress, I realized I was covered in ants and jumped up quickly and did a little Adam anti-Ant dance much to the amusement of passers by. I think I'll try electroshock therapy later. Must go now and find a car battery and some jump leads. But how many volts/amps?

Tags: .Procrastination Flow Chart...

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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Broken Promises

My news in brief since I've been a tad busy!

My 15 seconds of fame is officially over, although I managed to recruit 500 people so far to
a Facebook page thru this blog post (see FB page here <--) Despite my New Years resolutions I went out for food last night and ate 'STEAK' yet again - damn fine it was too! AND - I haven't been walking for two days so the exercise regimen is slipping but I put together three self assemble IKEA style cabinets with nothing more than a Swiss army knife (they call me McGyver) except I have cuts and bruises everywhere :-(

Busy planning for 'The Series of Events' beginning Jan 24th - 'Change is a Coming!' - Watch this space!

I'm still trying to get used to the political nature of the social networking tool known as 'Twitter' - i.e. If you don't follow me - I'll unfollow you - so there! Sometimes I genuinely don't get around to looking at who's following me so today a big wig of Irish Telecom unfollowed me cos I hadn't followed him - oops! -

Are you on Twitter yet?

Tags: ..Broken Promises..

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Sunday, 4 January 2009

Fifteen Seconds of Fame

Click pic above to enlarge

I'm just a humble little known blogger but any blogger that tells you they don't care about stats (number of visitors) is full of it. We all like to keep tabs on how many are visiting our blog and from where. It's a way of knowing what works and what doesn't.

I did a blog post a few months ago about a new BBC TV game show called 'Total Wipeout' that was being filmed in Buenos Aires. The TV show I blogged about debuted in the UK on Saturday Jan 3rd at 6pm. I had all but forgotten about it and was out for my daily walk. I came home and checked my email and then checked my blog stats (click graphic above).

WTF! - I'm famous! Must go now as need to find an agent to negotiate the book deal and movie that must be just around the corner!
Click here to see the post.

Tags: .Fifteen Seconds of Fame, Total Wipeout..

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Friday, 2 January 2009

2009 Resolutions, Revolutions, Revulsions

I went on my daily walk in the park today to try and walk off some of the excess of the past week. How can one week have such a effect on the midriff? Unfortunately, if I was to really try and cancel out the damage of gluttony, it would have required a 7 day, 200Km fast hike up a steep hill, against a gale force wind, with a heavy backpack and no more FOOD!

It seemed as if there were a lot of people with the same idea as me. I normally see the same old healthy faces but today it was full of new people who look like they haven't walked more then a few blocks for quite some time. Many were struggling and grimacing as they tried to jog or walk fast. Sweat was dripping from every pore on their plump bodies. For once, I actually looked in good shape at least compared to these noobs of fitness.

It seems many of us start out the New Year with firm resolutions and the best of intentions. Unfortunately most of us fail miserable after only a short time but as the expression goes 'God loves a trier!'

Many of the blogs I've been visiting are a talking about cutting back on alcohol (mostly Irish blogs strangely enough!). I'm going to try something more achievable and have resolved to try the following:

  • Maintain my walking exercise regimen in 2009
  • Stop saying "Ah sure I suppose one more won't do any harm!"
  • Stop reading the menu and from cover to cover but always ordering steak
  • Stop checking my emails or blog comments or basically anything else before I have to do something constructive
OK - I really only committed to the first one!
Tell me now - What have/have not you resolved to do for the New Year?

Tags: .2009 Resolutions, Revolutions, Revulsions Buenos Aires, Argentina..

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