Monthly Archives: March 2007

HOW WE LOOK FROM A DISTANCE – or “At What Price Bananas?”

Morag on the move…..“Sitting on a bus in Costa Rica staring out the window while eating the most delicious banana I have ever eaten (which for someone who grew up in Jamaica that is really saying a lot). I have given up trying to remember my access code to get into my blog and have decided to just take in what I am seeing and reporting upon my return……”

Every now and then my work presents me with something different/interesting to do and this time it was a trip to ‘points warm/hot’ delivering talks on a British cruise ship. Chance to lay prone in the heat and share thoughts with Middle England, sounded like a brilliant idea. And it was, except for the time I stuck the battery pack for my microphone in the back of my undergarments then somehow managed to saunter across the stage with the back of my dress tucked up in my….well at least I now know that I was wrong all along and yes it IS possible for me to be embarrassed.………….

What did I learn in my travels?

That Acapulco has not fared well in the past 20 years and now resembles a place in need of a Super Casino to smarten itself up a bit (yes I am being sarcastic – more on that later).That sometimes the fact they won’t let you off the ship in Nicaragua really is due to non-existent windy conditions. But it’s also possible that it is somehow connected to the camouflage boats and the men with the rifles sailing around the ship (by the way am I the only person who thinks a camouflage boat should have fish and seaweed painted on the outside…). I found that Panama City does not look like Havana but more like modern Shanghai with a skyline that makes Miami look like Scarborough (before the Super Casino…isn’t that where it is going to be now?). I learned that going through the Panama Canal is very interesting if you’re………..well not me. Though it was possibly interesting to the lockkeeper waving wildly through my balcony doors while I read VS Naipaul in my nightie (how was I to know they would be that close?) Costa Rica – heavenly with an incredible ecological gameplan for which they are now receiving world recognition. Aruba – stylish Dutch villas and sand like talcum powder. Grenada – lovely people, women who dress with great modesty and everyone looks like they go to church regularly. Trinidad – like Manchester, full of spirit and a bright outlook. Construction everywhere, oil money abounds and the most getup-and-go I’ve ever seen on a Caribbean island.

DOLLARS and SENSE

* In 1928 Richard Halliburton paid 36 cents to swim through the Panama Canal.
* The ship I sailed on paid $203,623 (don’t blame the Yanks it was the Panamanians who decided to turn the canal into a money-spinner).

* It takes 9 months for a bunch of bananas to develop and bananas that aren’t beautiful get made into babyfood because we won’t buy them for ourselves if they’re not pretty, but we’ll feed them to our children….
* Workers at the Del Monte plant make 50cents an hour and process about 4 thousand bananas in that hour.
* At M&S today I paid $1.25 for 5 bananas………..do the maths on the profit

I don’t want you to think I abandoned all political interests when I was away. Every afternoon there would be a newsletter outside my cabin with the dubious title of ‘Back In Blighty’……..well not really but similar. It is when you look at your world from the outside looking in that it can really strike you just how awful, tawdry and just wrong so much of it is.

SOME OF THE EVENTS I WAS GLAD TO HAVE MISSED

Super Casinos Debate – for anyone who thinks this infiltration of our country’s psyche by Tessa’s Terrible Tentacles is ‘not really such a bad idea what with the lottery and bingo and all’ I can put you in touch with two dear friends of mine in America who have taken to locking their 13 year old’s computer in a cupboard with a padlock and chain in order to help with his internet gambling addiction. Yes I know – but somehow they do it these kids. Like the wonderful Sayeeda Warsi (possibly our 2nd female PM??) said last night: ‘If 80% of us did crack then would the government advocate opening crack houses?’

Gordon Brown’s Budget – still trying to sift through the bumph but so far it looks like more of his nonsense. Mentioned him casually in a few of my speeches (funny how I can drag Gordon Brown into anything if I really want to) – and I was pleased to see that middle-England seems to dislike/disapprove of him even more than I do.

The Farmer’s Daughter – lawsuit involving a daughter telling a court that her father used to check his wife’s underpants for signs of infidelity. While he in turn told them that she (the daughter) had ‘intimate knowledge’ (my terms not his – he went for the vernacular), of possibly more people than was appropriate in someone who wasn’t a professional. All over some land. At what price dignity?

Ulrika’s Sex-Addiction – do we believe? Or more importantly do we give a monkey’s? Why do we care about all this celebrity-tat? It has GOT to stop. Being away from it for a few weeks made me realise (again) just how detrimental this obsession is to our society…not the sex but the celebrity.

Last but possibly most important – the Hostages in Iran. I need to back-read the info on this situation but I would say that it is nice for us to shout ‘they should have done something!!!’ – but what exactly does one suggest? But of much more interest to me is what is Iran playing at? I have a theory that this is all internal. They’ve been watching the Americans long enough to know that when you want to push an unpalatable policy and your country won’t agree you can help your cause along by creating an incident that shows why you need to do whatever it is you wanted to do in the first place. So my vote is that maybe this incident is all about the Powers That Be in Iran deciding that showing the populace how ‘disrespected by the world at large we are’ will get them to agree that nuclear toys might be a good idea after all.

What did I learn?
There’s too much money in this world – or it is in too few hands.
That some of the people with the least amount of money have the most amount of peace of mind. So if that’s true then what is it that we really should be chasing in our lives……..and for my thoughts on such matters keep your eye on this space……………..

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