Why I defend the people I despise the most…

I like colours. Different colours. Black, red, green, blue, purple, the list is long but in general I’m not confined to just certain colours. I like variety in my life and there’s many things that I prefer seeing in different colours (cars, food, houses, clothes, art, music, movies etc). Bright colours especially, are cool.
There is however an area in my life where only two colours are allowed and those are black and white. That area is Morality. When it comes to morality there is no room for other colours, no room for mixing them up or anything like that. If you fall into that trap then unfortunately you will find yourself in trouble on many occasions and there is a very good chance you will confuse yourself in the process. Allow me to explain this and more specifically the title I gave to this post.

One of the things that I find myself often talking about is the issue of Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Speech is a subject that pops up very often, in the news, the media and in everyday conversation. It’s a basic and important human right which unfortunately is being violated in many countries and cultures. Men and Women of different religions, different political backgrounds, different sexual preferences are being suppressed in many places around the world and this basic human right they have is being denied to them. We often refer to the people who suppress this right as Dictators running a regime of dictatorship.

Personally I am all for Freedom of Speech. I love honesty and honesty can only be expressed through Freedom of Speech. You can truly and honestly express yourself only when you are free to do so, not when you have the threat of jail, torture, penalties and in some cases even execution, looming around you, confining you and your thoughts in your mind. Words, not actions, words are penalised and this is my problem. If you seek to punish someone with some kind of action or law for just saying something then effectively you are a dictator. That is the action of a dictatorship.

To relate a bit more to the title above I will give you an example. Racism is an issue that has been going on for centuries and it will keep going on, possibly always. You will always get people who will be stupid enough to judge someone based simply on their colour skin, religion or any other factor apart from their actions. Lack of education and other factors are to blame. In many western countries different measures are being put into place to fight racism. In most of these countries one would say the systems there are more democratic and open than other places where the opposite is happening. Some of these measures however are the type of measures a dictatorship would use and instead of solving the problem, only end up doing it worst. In the UK for example you can end up in prison just by saying something on twitter like this guy. Another example is this woman. Both of them have one thing in common. They are both disgusting and have no place in the world we live in. Like I mentioned earlier in the post, people who judge a person based purely on their colour and anything else apart from their actions, then they definitely lack intelligence to put it mildly. I purely despise racist people. However if I was to applaud or ask for their punishment just like many people did, then I would be no different from a dictator.

Punishing people for their words only, is an act of dictatorship, as simple as that. I hate racists but even them, unfortunately, have the right to freedom of speech. As long as they keep it within their speech then they have the right to say what they want. If that woman on the train suddenly took out a white mask and a baseball bat and made a move towards those people then by no means not only jail her, you have the right to crush her if that will protect your life. Your life though is not threatened by words. Saying and doing are two very, very, very different things. If we are going to put people in prison for saying things then half the population, if not more, would be in prison, depending who’s in charge of the government and what their preferences are. I’m fine with rules, If you want to have rules like that, but you must apply it to the letter with NO exceptions and that would mean putting half of the rappers in prison for using the ”N” word. If you don’t follow the rule then you will only create more racism. If someone hates me I would rather know about it straight away than get knifed behind my back from the person that was pretending to be my friend. This is the type of people, that laws like this create. People that wear masks and go under the radar and then attack you when you least expect it and when no one is watching.  Either way I will still be against that or any rule that limits freedom of speech. Racism is just one part of it though and there’s many areas in life where freedom of speech is violated.

We are living in a world where suddenly words are the enemies and words are misused constantly. We have learned to hear the word extremist and immediately assume that a person described as an extremist, is a bad person. As if extremism as a word is bad. What if that person is an extremist philanthropist?? Either way, words are words, actions are actions. You cannot claim you want or you fight for freedom of speech yet take it away from someone else. When you take someone’s else right then immediately you give up yours as well. You either on one side or the other. This is a black and white zone in morality, there’s no grey. Please fight and keep it that way for the sake of us all.

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Forget Paris…

Paris. The city of love and lights. The city where love is in the air. Every now and then I will meet somebody or read something that has to do with Paris and the connection it has to love and romance. The architecture of the city, the scenery, the food, the history of the place and of course the language which apparently is the most romantic in the world, make Paris truly an ideal set up for a quick romantic getaway. Having visited the place myself I must say these statements definitely hold truth and Paris is definitely a place lovers must visit. It’s not the Shangri-La of romance though.

Paris is great and it’s definitely a place that will offer that type of excitement however at the same time Paris is quite a modern place. That’s not a bad thing at all it’s just that as time in Paris moves fast, like most modern cities in the world, its constantly changing as the days go by and days in Paris go fast. Equally there, romance goes fast and that’s the problem. Everything is fast-paced including the one thing that should move slowly. There is a place however where the speed of time is not an issue at all and where romance is around the corner anywhere you walk. Cuba, and more specifically Habana.

Since I was a young kid I always wanted to visit Cuba. The history, the revolution, Che, the friction with the US, the music, all these things gave Cuba this mysterious identity that sparked my imagination as to what that place could look like. Above all there was, in my head, this sense of a romance that was unique to Cuba since time there apparently was “frozen”. Funny enough the US had a part to play for me going there this time around since my original trip was for the US to visit some family there but because I was denied visa for some silly reason really, I grasped the opportunity and switched my ticket to Cuba. I told myself this is another childhood dream that will get ticked off the list and so I went for it.

Upon arriving in Cuba my initial thought was correct. Time had stopped in Cuba, about 50-60 years ago. Everywhere I looked on the way from the airport to the city, it was obvious that everything moved slower. Old, vintage buildings, some of which dated a few centuries back, were making most of the houses there. Similar story with the cars, most of them from decades ago and a lot of them classy looking from the 50’s. Buses, trains, taxis all followed the same path (the downside of this is that you get massive clouds of fumes as a result of the old engines, so be prepared).  Even the natural scenery in Cuba seemed to be untouched by the merciless hand of time. Habana seemed like a place that was captured in a snow-globe at a specific time and remained the same. Of course one thing that wasn’t missing from this snow-globe was music.

As I took to the streets the next day, exploring and looking for survival ”hotspots” (food places, currency exchange places  etc) there was one thing that was constant through all the streets I walked by. Music. Music to Cubans is like beer to germans, or gravy to british. Maybe even more actually. It’s an ESSENTIAL part of their daily life and along with dancing, are the two things that provide enjoyment more than anything else. Anywhere you walk there you will find one house that plays loud cuban music and as the sun goes down, more houses join the party. Habanera, Salsa and Rumba are dominating the dance floor, the rhythm is flowing and you must have some kind of rhythm otherwise you won’t survive the night. Apart from the fact that these types of dances are erotic and sensual, there’s another element that adds to the whole mix. The language. Sure, “je t’aime mon amour” sounds nice but allow me to say it’s nowhere near as good as “te quiero mi amor”. Spanish as a language has this sensuality about it that makes it go beyond the barriers of your ears and touch you deep inside. That happens frequently when you hear the songs that are played in the streets, the bars, everywhere. At least that’s what happens with me. It’s the language of romance and love. Here’s a small taste of what I described above…

Another side of the romance of Cuba, is the people. Take this man in the picture below for example.  He was part of the band that was performing at this restaurant I stopped for a drink. Most of them looked fairly young compared to him and from what I heard he was in his 70’s or so. They were playing from morning till late lunch non-stop. When they eventually paused for a while and had a mini-break every member of the group went somewhere. Some went to get food, others to have a drink and chat with some of the customers. Everyone apart from this man. I looked at him and couldn’t help but grab my phone and take a picture. Can you tell what he’s doing?

He’s writing/composing music. Perfection and dedication at its finest. So strong is the flame of creativity and the love for music in this old man, that the thought of food comes second. I kept observing him and he was lost in the moment. He would write then erase, then write again as if it was the first time he was doing it. This is another example of how I see and define romance and passion. I saw people older than this man dancing in the street like 18year olds at the hint of music. For them music, dance, romance, love is everything and you can’t help but get lost in it as well. It feels like an adventure in a far away land in search of a treasure, laughter and romance. Something like Romancing the stone, minus the shootings and crooks.

Habana has everything and more that a true romanticist could want. Nights are endless, beautiful sunsets, very long walks along the Malecon where the waves smash against the rocks and get you wet in the street (see below), flowing rhythm and rum and above all Amor.

I will wrap this up now as I have written more than a thousand words and if you are still here reading this well..thank you for reading so far. Sure Paris is great but you can find other places similar to it, especially within Europe. Habana however stands on its own. If you have ever wanted to experience something unique and romance at its finest then I suggest you look at tickets for Cuba. It’s a unique place and experience and one that I will definitely have again.

Click here for more pictures from my journey there.

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The Greatest Fear…

This is a topic that relates to few of my other posts such as Love vs Lust, Happiness=Beauty? and Unconditional Love… . In those posts I described how difficult a journey towards finding perfection can be. Journeys like that have many obstacles as well as different types of fear. There is however one fear that is constantly present throughout the journey and makes it harder as it goes on. It’s the fear that most of the time makes us quit and settle for less. The greatest fear of all, the fear of loneliness.

I’m writing this after a few discussions I had with couple of my friends regarding personal relationships and how hard it is to find the right person. I argued that one must first recognise the things that make him happy and the values he seeks in a person and that, combined with looks, can result in the perfect match. Yes the perfect match does exist but here’s the catch…It’s very hard to find. My friends agreed with my thesis and then asked me: “But what if you don’t find that person? Aren’t you afraid of being alone?”. The short answer is no, I’m not and I will explain why.

Life is to be enjoyed and it becomes even nicer when you have someone who you love and loves you back equally. Someone to share experiences and memories. I personally loved every moment in my life where I was with someone sharing different moments. It’s a very nice feeling and it enhances life. At the same time though I really disliked every bad moment I had with those persons and while they weren’t many, it was good enough for me to realise a few things. Bad moments can be anything from an argument, to fighting, to not caring anymore about that person as much as you used to and all sorts of things. Like I said I haven’t had many of these situations myself but I have seen what it does to other people and how it destroys relationships and separates people. There’s one thing though that I believe is equally bad, if not worse, and that is knowing that you are not committed 100% to yourself but also to the other person. You know that you like her/him but you can never love them. You are filled with the kisses, the hugs but in your mind there’s a sense of emptiness. You walk together holding hands then you see another person walking by that catches your eye and suddenly your mind is filled with questions of what if. What if I find that perfect match? Don’t I deserve it? What do I say to the person I’m holding right now? Why am I doing this to her/him? Doesn’t she/he deserves better than what I offer to them? Why am I lying to both of us?

I asked myself these questions many times even before getting with someone and having the answers to these questions prevented me from starting something on most occasions.  This is the way I see it and I apply it to my life. Loneliness can be either a friend or a foe. I see it as a friend and a gatekeeper. Loneliness is bad and feels awful yes, but being in a relationship with someone just because you don’t want to be alone is twice as bad and twice as awful. It will damage and strain you much more than loneliness ever will. Loneliness is the gatekeeper that’s made from all your true desires and things you love and allows only the finest and bravest through. Ideally there should be only one person that makes it past the gatekeeper, that’s the whole point of finding ”The One”.

Yes, fights, arguments and all that are really bad things for a relationship but all of them are results of simply settling for less out of fear of being alone. Fear of waiting to find that one person that ticks all the boxes. Remember though happiness and success goes to those who are willing to take a risk and shoot for the stars. Every big decision in life comes with a big risk and this one is probably one of the biggest decisions that you can make as it will determine to a big degree the level of happiness you will experience in life. Make sure you stay strong and do the right thing, after all your happiness or misery is in your hands.

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Cuba in pictures…

After a VERY long time away from this blog, I’m finally making my comeback. I’ll be honest.. The reason why I was away from this blog for so long it’s pretty stupid. I was writing down a post one night which was coming out pretty nicely and accidentally I closed the browser without saving it and that, for some reason, disrupted my train of thought for a while. Laziness then kicked in too and you get the picture…

Though I came pretty close to write on few occasions, it wasn’t until my latest trip in Cuba that I found my inspiration once again. There’s many things there that a person can draw inspiration from, good and bad but most importantly there’s this romance in the air everywhere and romance always inspires me. I could write a long post about my trip but they say one picture is equal to a thousand words so for this post I will let the pictures do the talking and I will expand on them on another post. Each of these pictures tells a story and please don’t be too harsh, I took them using my iPhone and I’m no professional by any means. I hope you enjoy!

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My backyard…

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The Hidden Treasure…

I’ve always liked movies with pirates or anything that had to do with adventure, mystery and above all a secret quest. That quest was, most of the time, a hidden treasure. A treasure that was so elusive that just the thought of finding it, was enough to justify the journey that was filled with dangers and unknown obstacles. It was a thought that captivated the imagination and led the mind to places of unthinkable joy and happiness. I could associate myself to the characters of those movies/stories because I too was and still am, on a similar quest of my own, looking for a hidden treasure. 

 A treasure can be anything. A chest full of gold, an old relic, ancient books or scrolls, even something as simple as a washed out starfish on the beach. Different people look for different things. The one I was looking for and the one many people are in search of as well, was of a different kind. It was like the starfish, you could find it anywhere but to find the perfect one was and still is, as hard as finding that old relic. It’s the treasure that lies within each person and to discover it, most of time the journey will be long and tricky and only the brave can make it through. A person’s inner qualities and character is the treasure I am referring to. Why a treasure? Well because it has similar characteristics to the movies and stories I mentioned above.

Firstly it’s unique. During our lifetime our character is shaped from different experiences, experiences that add value to the “chest” we keep within us. As individuals we are all different and at the same time we have different experiences. Thus we all have a unique ”chest” that appeals to at least one person out there or a ”pirate” if you like.

Secondly it’s well protected. Traditionally in all movies you will see the treasure being protected by various things. A lost and forgotten tribe, ancient ruins filled with traps, dangerous surroundings that make it hard to reach etc. In our case though there’s only one thing that stands between the treasure and us. That’s the person that carries it within them. Us. Opening up completely to someone and revealing the true nature of our self or the “chest”, is something that most of us don’t do very often or that easily and it’s understandable. Like a treasure, our “chest”, which is filled with the things we love the most, is not for the eyes of everyone. Like I said above it’s for the brave, the brave enough to go through the journey to know us and discover piece by piece what lies within that “chest”. During this process we will come across people who will not appreciate the “chest” we carry and will try to manipulate us. This is why our defence consciously or unconsciously rises and makes it harder for others in future attempts.

The next similarity is the fact that we all seek it. All of us are in a quest of finding someone. Someone that we can love, appreciate and spend a big part of our life with. When we look for that person, we are looking for a treasure, a unique “chest” that appeals to us. Each person has a unique taste and is looking for a unique combination of things on a person. Not all of us are looking for the same treasure but all of us are looking for a treasure.

The fourth characteristic is the duration of the journey needed. It’s not a journey that will start and end in a day or a week or a month. It will vary but most likely it will last long and it will require us to be patient and persevere to it. Like I mentioned, most people will have their defences up because of past experiences and that will make the journey longer.  It is natural for people to be closed in themselves and not give out much, if they have been hurt before or simply if they think that the person that approached their “island” is not worthy of it’s treasure. Try and put yourself in their situation when in doubt.

Finally the last characteristic is the one that I like the most and the feeling I always get from a movie like that. It’s worth it. There’s simply no greater feeling than when you finally achieve a goal, when you finish a long journey, when you complete a mission. When you have a clear specified target in your mind of what you want and set out for it usually it wont be easy getting it. It never is and it’s not supposed to be. The greatest things in life are at the same time the hardest ones to get. They’re kept for the brave. People that are willing, despite all the obstacles and dangers, to push through and reach for perfection. A treasure is considered a treasure because it’s unique, perfect and hard to find.

Are you brave enough?

Identify the treasure or the “chest” you are looking for and go for it. Remember, in the end it’s always worth it.

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“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”

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Unconditional Love…

This is one of those topics that I was bound to write a post about at some point but thanks to conversations I had with couple of my friends the time for it has come. It’s a very popular term and people enjoy using it as well as following it or applying it in their lives. 

Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of one’s actions or beliefs. In other words, a person can do all sorts of  things to another person and in the name of this unconditional love, the other person should not only bear it without reacting but also try to understand it. According to this we should forgive people who hurt us, people who are constantly damaging us or have damaged us in the past, people who have no interest whatsoever in making us happy and are just there to fill their time. We should because, well.. that’s what unconditional love is all about. Now why would anyone want such a thing? Why would you want to love something or someone that’s actually harming you? Why would you spend your time with someone who makes your life miserable on a daily basis and cover it with the cloth of unconditional love?

Well the root of this whole thing is quite deep. It was mostly popularised through philosophy which was and still is filled with self-sacrifice principles and giving love without expecting anything in return, then hollywood started making all these movies that pointed to the existence and importance of unconditional love. I was no exception and like most people fell for it and when I was fairly young I used to really enjoy watching and listening to all those movies and stories that did just that. Glorified unconditional love. I actually remember a specific movie which was and still is fairly popular and the reason I remember this movie is because I watched it recently again and my feelings towards it were completely opposite to the ones I had the first time I watched it.

The movie is called Serendipity. It’s about a guy and a girl who bump into each other by luck, discover there’s chemistry between them and well.. decide to leave it to luck to determine whether it was ”meant” to be or not. At the end luck/destiny/positive thinking or whatever you want to call it, ”rewards” them and they live happily ever after. It’s worth mentioning that both had partners that spent years with them and those partners were the victims of this ”lady luck”. Watching it as a young boy I loved this story and thought it was so cool that two people can be brought together in such a way and all that. Now I absolutely hate it. I love romance and love is one of the most beautiful things you can have in your life but it’s not what they portray in that movie and that’s why I wholeheartedly despise it. Some of you might think that I’ve been hurt in the past or heartbroken and this is the anger talking now (I got that ”diagnosis” from people before). Let me assure you I’m perfectly fine, very positive and still pure romantic deep inside.

The reason I hate this is pretty simple. It encourages people to risk losing out on something great and also forgive something very stupid. Love is about taking action when is needed because when you do find something great, something that has potentials, you don’t ignore it and leave it to luck. You take care of it and watch it grow. Just like a beautiful tree, love starts out as small seed that’s planted and with good care grows into something beautiful. You don’t plant a seed and say ”I’ll leave it there for few months and see what happens”. It will simply die and that’s what would have happened in that movie too but its Hollywood and there’s always a happy ending.

If someone favours or values other things higher than what you can offer to them, then you won’t be growing any trees that’s for sure and they’re not worth your time. Sacrificing yourself for another person will not bring you happiness and most certainly will not bring you love. Love is beautiful because it has conditions and the most important condition is your happiness as an individual. If you’re not happy then you can’t make someone else happy. Likewise choosing to sacrifice things that you love for someone that’s not interested in making you happy can only bring problems and not happiness. I could keep writing and talking about this but I said I was going to keep this short so for now I will finish with this.

Set the conditions for your own happiness first and you will find love with no restrictions or sacrifices needed.

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Happiness = Beauty?

This is a quest I have been on for a while in my life and I decided to share a bit of my ”findings” here and perhaps assist some of you that are on this same quest.

I mentioned before in one of my posts that true beauty lies within. Now many people say this but unfortunately a relatively small percentage sticks by it and there is a reason to it. To discover and reach such beauty, a long journey is required, a journey that starts firstly from within ourselves. It is long and can be quite exhaustive and I think that’s why many people tend to give up or even worse never start one. However if happiness is the ultimate goal in life, especially happiness with another person, then this is a journey that one must take in order to achieve it.

There’s many beautiful things in life but not everything appeals to us necessarily. Just like in food, music, art etc we have a specific taste, a similar screening process is applied when searching for beauty. When it comes to the outside it can be a quite wide field because you can find plenty of things or combination of things that can satisfy your wants. What do I mean by that? Well as most of you will have noticed, I’m a big fan of chocolate and I really enjoy browsing through all kinds of chocolates when I go to shops, checking out the different shapes, different colours and different textures. I do have a thing though for truffles. I love them because they all look different and they all hide different tastes on the inside. They require you to try and discover the different flavours that lie within and find the ones that appeals to you the most. In my case I prefer the fruity ones or the ones that have a coffee based filling because they relate and appeal to other things I like in general. They push buttons that generate more strong feelings than other chocolates do.

Similarly finding true beauty, the one that lies within a person, requires a similar process to the one above. You must try different things with other people in order to discover what lies beneath the beautiful outside. You will find many people that will please your senses on the outside. Like I said before beautiful people are out there in abundance and they come in all shapes, colours etc. However not all of them will appeal to your inside world. Not all of them will drive you to want to know more about them. Firstly though you need to define that world or those things that make you happy and by doing so you will be able to identify them in other people. Now I’m not saying you should go out there and get with as many people as possible in order to discover what you like. You can be with one person only for a long time and still learn many things, as long as you are honest with yourself of course and you are able to identify what you like and what you don’t like. Discovering those things will be crucial as it will make your journey easier or harder depending how well you define them.

Personally I didn’t know much about what I wanted from a partner until I got with a specific lady that helped me define those things.  I mention this because I’m pretty sure that most of us at some point in our lives, we meet this one person that ends up changing us and the way we see certain things. Just like the truffles example above, there were, and still are certain things that I like on a partner. Being open about things and directly expressing her emotions to me was something I really appreciated and its something I consider as a must in a potential partner from now and on. I like brave women who regardless of their looks, have no hesitation in expressing their feelings with a direct approach. Similarly women that play games in order to extract a certain reaction from me, don’t appeal to me as much. I will expand on this specific trait on a different post though.

For some this journey will be long, for others it will be short. It all depends on how fast you recognise and identify the buttons that trigger your happiness on the inside and also what pushes them. My journey still goes on but its not a hard journey anymore as I am aware of those buttons. Knowing them allows me to keep moving forward without worrying too much if I will find someone or not. Why? Because to me its a matter of when not if. I know there will be somebody out there that will know how to push those buttons, I already met one person that did it once and I’m confident theres more out there.

Find yourself and you will find happiness.

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Beef, Chilli, Chocolate?


Chilli Con Carne with Chocolate.

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