For anyone who hasn't PLEASE PLEASE GO TO SOUTH AMERICA. Patagonia in Argentina is the most beautiful place that I've ever been, and I like to pride myself on having seen quite a few countries. The countryside of Argentina has a traditional romance because of the gauchos (the Argentine equivalent of cowboys) that seem to be stuck in a time warp. Their traditional dress is a billowing shirt, colourful sash, baggy "gaucho trousers" and bright hats that look like oversized berets. I was lucky enough to be staying on a ranch called Ranquilco (though it came at a price) and so got to live amongst these fascinating people who do everything on horseback, shoot pumas and are capable of drinking bottles of whisky at a time.
Sipping "mate", the Argentine equivalent of coffee. Have scolding hot and with some sugar.
A ranch inspired photo shoot by Mario Testino.
But for those wanting creative inspiration Buenos Aires, Rio and Havana are the places to go.
On a graffitti tour or "street art" in Buenos Aires. It's rife and sure makes buildings look a hell of a lot more interesting than in London. Not that they need to, the city is full of derelict but picturesque old colonial buildings. I had many day dreams of one day owning one, and swanning around in a silk dressing gown with Mein Heir blaring off my balcony... I've probably seen Cabaret way too many times.
Though we only got to stay three days in Rio, it was enough for me to fall completely in love with it. Ipanema Beach was ideal for lying around watching the glamorous Brazilians strutting around in those bikinis that only they can pull off.
Above: The view of the Sugar Lump Mountain
Below: The View from the historic part St Theresa, accessible by an ancient tram, of a favela.
The Lapa steps in the bohemian area of Rio, this is the only place in Brazil where smoking weed is legal, on Friday nights from 8 until 12. Utterly bizarre.
Hemmingway got his inspiration sipping mojitos and daquiris in Havana. How could one not be inspired watching archaic and once grand 1950's American automobiles used by the Cubans in modern day as taxis. The fact that we were in a Communist country only sank in when my friend Issy and I were were on the rooftop of the Casa Particular that we were living in, and could see a huge fire burning all day and all night of a power plant. Issy joked that it looked like the eye of Mordor, it certainly gave the same omnious feeling.
Shocked as I was by the outdated law that Americans can't go to Cuba, I couldn't help but feel relieved. After the tourist trap that was Cancun, serious mistake in going there, it was nice to be in a place with so few tourists, even in the hotel area. I fear that if the current Communist system does eventually fall that Cuba will go back to the American whore den that it used to be, exploited for drugs and tourists by a cascading wave of Americans. Though even that may be preferable to the crumbling buildings and grim faces of the Cubans that comes from the hard toil that is socialism.