We run a world class finance centre in this tiny little island and yet the vast majority of our 45 square miles remains largely rural. We still jealously guard our coastline, countryside and (albeit small) totally wild areas and even in our town you won’t find big highrise buildings. As our population burgeons, calls are occasionally made to allow the development of tall skyscrapers along the lines of Hong Kong in order to accommodate people and new commerce, and yet we staunchly resist. It would ruin the atmosphere of what remains of the unique mix of French / English provincial town.
I live way out in the sticks. Curiously enough a lot of locals never visit this forgotten part of the island. That’s OK. It makes it nice and quiet! As a result much of my time is spent in the peaceful countryside, surrounded only by other little houses, at sufficient distance that we don’t feel the need to get in each other’s business, but also to be there when needed – just as it should be in life.
When I go away on holiday I find that the locations I prefer are similar to home … only very much bigger. I love peace, quiet and open spaces and if my eye can wander to a land horizon that is far, far away then I’m a happy girl because of course, land horizons that are far, far away are not something I see on a day to day basis. Occasionally however I love a shot of city life. Two or three days will do me. I love the buzz, the feeling of being in the centre of the action and the romantic (hippie!) in me loves the concept of millions of people living mostly peacefully together, co-operating to keep everything running smoothly along. Most of all though, I love the ‘terrain’ because it’s so alien to anything I see on a day to day basis - buildings, both tall and short, crammed together shoulder to shoulder, especially when they’re seen at night with lights twinkling.
My wanderings recently included a short spell in Miami. It’s a city that I both love and find totally daunting. As a fair skinned, freckled brunette/redhead I struggle even in the Winter humidity of the city, and the traffic? Totally terrifying. Perhaps it’s all those hot-blooded, hot-tempered Latinos but like driving in southern Europe you take your life in your hands when venturing out on the roads. Mi amore is no stranger to this type of traffic but even he likened it to being like a fighter pilot and needing, ideally, 360 degree vision. (We were, incidentally, nearly ‘toast’ on more than one occasion).
All of that overheating, frizz-ball hair and terror is however counterbalanced by the vibrancy of the city, its mix of cultures and, for me, the sheer variety of exciting new architecture. Architecture here, pretty much by necessity, has to fit in with what’s next door. In Miami, if you want a building that appears to slant to the left, one that reflects it’s neighbours in thousands of panes of glass so that it almost disappears, or one that apparently has had a slab cut out of the front of it as if by some giant cake slicer, well…why not?! My daughter joked on this trip that I should just leave my camera on ‘sports setting’ as we go around because of the number of shots that I find to take. Quite simply, I find exciting new angles to capture around every corner – I’m like a kid in a sweet shop.
Does it sound crazy when I tell you that a city vista of well-designed, well-maintained architecture either twinkling with lights at night or glowing in the sunshine sometimes makes me choke up? It’s that feeling of: Human beings did this. When we work together well we’re an awe inspiring and spectacular lot aren’t we?
With that positive thought in mind, I thought it appropriate, as one year turns to another, to post a photo I took of the Miami skyline a couple of weeks ago. It was taken from Brickell Key in the early morning and I had just that emotion as I saw the buildings reflected in the water of Biscayne Bay and the sunshine gleaming in the glass of the structures opposite me. Look what great things we can do if we can only overcome all our differences and work together.
Happy New Year to all my bloggy friends here. I really, really hope that 2010 will be very kind to us all. x
For those of you wanting to see a bigger version of this, you can visit my Flickr photostream (click on the above image) and then click on the ‘All sizes’ button that appears above the photo (at least I hope that works)!
See you in the new year peeps. :)