London: Having Fun in Covent Garden

This is always a good idea. But now there is something new.

(It is) the work of 30-year-old artist Alex Chinneck, master of architectural illusion, who has previously turned buildings upside down, pulled off their facades, and let them slither down in a heap on the pavement. A Uri Geller of bricks and mortar, this is one of his most ambitious works yet, fabricating an imaginary eastern entrance to the market hall that he’s then torn in half and jacked aloft, its Portland stone columns and granite walls left brutally severed.

This is something I would like to see first hand! You get the idea from this image

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London: Bookshop Connoisseurs Unite!

My friend from Ghent likes to haunt antique bookshops. He is overjoyed when he sees an obscure edition of an even more obscure German philosopher who uses Hegel in every sentence. I also am a bit obsessed by bookshops. Which is why I never really liked the Amazon style. Amazon is more about doing the transaction to get the damned thing in your living room. I go into a bookshop to fall in love with a sentence, then leave it for another and yet another still. And I have had more fun in London bookshops than any other.

So where to go? VisitLondon.com offers the main suspects.  But there are many, many others. Enjoy!

New York: I came for the Octopus!

This may sound like a grumpy landlord enforcing a “no pets” regime. But in fact, it may be something tourists say about why they visit the Big Apple. At least this is what the folks at Eater think. They offer “an octupus lover’s guide to New York”. I never thought of myself as an octopus lover. But as I think about it …perhaps there is something in this after all.  What do you think?

Morocco: Fez is Next

Regular Buzz fans know that I am doing a bit of background work about Marrakech. In fact, I will be interviewing a young lady who just returned from Marrakech for some flamenco dancing. More on that later. But I find that things in Fez are moving along as well. Fez now has a luxury hotel.

Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, (Fex is) a reserved but fascinating town that has been ambivalent about courting tourism — and until recently, has never had an opulent luxury hotel akin to Marrakech’s famed La Mamounia.

No longer! The Hotel Sahrai is now open for business.

The visual richness of the Sahrai comes from the sumptuous quality of the raw materials used to build the hotel and a respect for the principles of classical Arabic domestic architecture, especially the zones of light and shadow created by atria and arcades.

Interesting. I like the byline on the hotel webiste “Where history meets luxury and lifestyle”.  This meeting looks like this

Moscow: What Me Worry?

I posted on yesterday that Russian firms may be getting squeezed in credit markets by sanctions. Nicht gut. If that were the only bad news, though, Mr. Putin might head back to the pool for a few more laps. But there are more worries. Oil prices are falling. Russia balances its budget on $100 a barrel, and prices are now in the 90’s. Why? OPEC members refuse to cut back and US supplies are up.

One former finance minister said cheaper oil could punch a $30 billion to $40 billion hole in Russian revenues. The Russian Central Bank, meanwhile, is scrambling to prepare for oil prices as low as $60 a barrel, Reuters reported. Russia’s current finance minister said Thursday that cheaper oil is a huge risk to its wobbly economy.

Well, that is a potential problem. Especially when you consider the extra expenses faced by the ongoing Ukrainian messtoid and integrating Crimea into the Russia. Errr … how are things going in Ukraine anyway? Sadly, it seems that things are not settling down as much as Mr. Putin might like. There is an ongoing fight over the Donetsk airport.  This is annoying Ms Merkel.

Mr. Putin, your  phone is ringing. Shall I tell them that you are on another call?

Hey! I Forgot I am in the City!

Actually, I am not really in a city. Tartu doesn’t really count (too small). But if I were in a big city, like London, I might want to forget that I was there. Or at least CNN thinks so.  So in London, I would head over to the Berkley and get buzzed sitting by their tiny pool. BTW, this only works if it is a sunny summery day.

In fact, the article makes quite a few suggestions for forgetting which city you are in.  I will concede that I would not mind forgetting that I was in Frankfurt. Ditto for Philly (though sadly that city is not on the list). But if you are in need in Philly, there is a nice outdoor pool a few blocks Rittenhouse Square on Lombard Street. BTW, Rittenhouse Square itself is charming too.