Michael Palin’s Brazil
I’m Brazilian and I must say I was very curious about this programme. It’s a good show, but full of clichés about Brazilians. It’s not the image the country’s authorities want to sell to attract tourists but, please, make a note of this: Brazilians work and a great percentage don’t like samba and/or carnival. And it is also a lie that “every Brazilian knows how to dance”. Brazil has a lot of problems, such as corruption in politics and violence, but it is not as if you couldn’t cross the street without being robbed. It is a rich country, but still needs to learn how to use this wealth. By the way, I’m from Rio de Janeiro and Cariocas [people born in Rio] go to the beach when we have time, but that’s not very often, because we work or study ... like everybody else. But enjoy the show.
Christmas markets in Germany
Oh, the nostalgia. When I lived in Germany I used to go to these markets regularly. The one in Nuremberg is by far the best. There was no better feeling than standing under a burner with a warm mug of glühwein and spekulatius biscuits, then a rostbratwurst. The Germans know how to do tradition.
Find a market where it is snowing, the atmosphere then is magical. Try some of the smaller, lesser known towns where you won’t see any tourists!
Christmas in Germany is about as much fun as a granny’s funeral. The food is awful and the denizens cheerless and dour until they get drunk. The music is perhaps the worst in the world. Suit yourselves, but I’d rather be in England.
48 Hours in Boston
You seem to have swallowed US propaganda about the “struggle for freedom from British colonial overlords” etc. While I do not excuse the deplorable behaviour of the George III’s government, the so-called “revolution” was a gigantic act of treachery involving a bloody six-year war against legitimate rulers; the 13 colonies were British and their people were British. Modern Britain constantly needs to be reminded of this.
Is Egypt’s Sinai peninsula safe?
Have no fear. I’ve been going regularly to Dahab for the past five years. It’s a fabulous place, amazingly friendly and (provided you aren’t staying at one of the super-posh hotels at Laguna), pretty cheap. If you hanker for home, there’s big-screen footie, cold (cheap) beers and expats aplenty at Churchill’s bar above the Red Sea Relax dive resort. You’re going to fall in love with the place.