Monthly Archives: September 2016

Fronting a fierce spectacle of body slamming

In a blur of red lamé, frilly petticoats and flying pigtails, La Gloria bounces off the ropes, lunges at the retreating back of her opponent and grips his neck with her thighs. He hits the canvas with a resounding thud, landing in an ungainly sprawl.

“Are you afraid?” she cries, as she rests her dainty foot on the back of his head, raising her arms triumphantly to an ecstatic audience.

I’d already watched an ageing but still muscular Mr Atlas, underpants over his tights, take on a fearsome-looking Crow. Then a handsome Aladdin floored The Devil, with help from the 75-year-old referee Ali Farak, as the crowd chucked half-chewed chicken bones and popcorn in their direction, accompanied by jeers and cries of ‘cheaters’.

Finally, over ear-splitting music, foot stamping and impatient whistles, the compère bellowed dramatically into the microphone, the curtains leading to the backstage parted and La Gloria sashayed towards the ring to the biggest cheer of the day.

“Let’s dance!” she shouted, putting her bowler hat, fringed shawl and dangly earrings to one side. Within seconds of the bell, La Gloria and La Muerte – or Death – were locked in a high-octane bout, filled with athletic somersaults, flying fists and hair pulling.

Inspired by the masked wrestlers of Mexico’s lucha libre and the WWF Superstars in the US, Bolivia’s highly stylised take on wrestling is a theatrical mix of acrobatics, cartoon violence and old fashioned battles between goodies and baddies. It’s one-of-a-kind twist? Many of the wrestlers are cholitas, or the country’s indigenous Aymara women.

Bowler hats and pigtails

Cholitas certainly stand out, with bowler hats balanced at an improbable angle, pigtails hanging down their backs and flouncypolleras – full, multi-layered skirts. While the term chola is considered derogatory, synonymous with the country’s lowest social class, the word cholita has begun to have a positive overtone and signifies a woman who’s tough, resourceful and independent.

Each wrestling cholita has her own story. Following her whole family – father, mother and five siblings – into the ring, the diminutive Maria del Carmen Averanga started fighting in 2002, and when she dons her mini pollera, she transforms into the deceptively sweet Cholita Marina, who can execute a mean half-nelson.

Best Jewel of the Mediterranean

The largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily boasts dramatic coastlines and rugged interiors that are soaked in dazzling sunshine most of the year.

Many visitors stick to Sicily’s seaside resorts, but there is so much more to the island than beaches. Hire a car and go speeding down winding country roads, pausing to drink in the heady vistas, such as olive-coloured fields dotted with groves of orange and lemon trees or solitary hamlets standing in the shadow of a mountain-strewn horizon. Make sure you don’t miss out on these sights and flavours, too.

In the Valley of Temples

Halfway down the southern coast is Agrigento and the Valley of Temples, one of the best-conserved sites of Ancient Greek architecture. Then there’s the brooding presence of Mount Etna, whose hulking craters are well worth trekking up to; local companies offer guided tours through the countryside and mountains.

Sicily’s natural wonders may be what attracts visitors, but the cities are worth spending time in too. The largest, Palermo, is chaotic and sprawling, but it’s also home to the island’s most beguiling Norman-Byzantine architecture. Expect ancient churches, crumbling but charming palaces and gorgeous time-worn piazzas. For a taste of the high life in this ancient city, visit Voyage Privé for excusive deals on four and five-star accommodation in Palermo.

A Sicilian experience

When it comes to the people, forget the movies and the myths – Sicilians are a warm and welcoming bunch. Their distinctive culture stems in part from a fascinating, near incomparable history. Early settlers were Greeks and Phoenicians, who were followed by the Romans, while the arrival of the Arabs in the 9th century left profound marks on the islanders. The remarkable Norman-Byzantine-Arab hybrid culture of the 11th and 12th centuries then followed.

Perhaps because of this complicated history, Sicily still stands out from the rest of Italy, and not just for the widely spoken Sicilian dialect. The people have a reputation for being passionate, direct and superstitious, though city folk are increasingly cosmopolitan. As in other matters, Sicilian cuisine is more potent than in the Italian mainland, with pasta sauces tending to come laced with seafood and chilli, and pastries that seem more Middle Eastern than European.

Two staples are arancini – risotto balls caked in breadcrumbs often filled with ragu, mozzarella and peas – and cannoli – a crispy tube stuffed with ricotta. Both are thought to have Arab origins. Other dishes include the Sicilian version of pizza, sfincione, which has a thick crust, and pasta con la sarde, spaghetti with sardines, pine kernels and white fennel. Try it at the homely Trattoria Ai Cascinari (Via D’Ossuna, 43/45) restaurant near the imposing Porta Nuova, the city gates built for Palermo in 1570.

Best View in Bridgend Country

Southeast France attracts many visitors looking for sun, palms, beaches and a little taste of happiness throughout the year, but this idyllic part of France also possesses many charming places and monuments, as well as stunning casinos.

For an unforgettable stay in the French Riviera, let us be your guide as we head from east to west to discover some of the area’s must-see cities.

We begin with the most famous destination of the area: Monaco. The world-renowned Principality of Monaco is the perfect mix of luxury, beauty and history. This microstate, run by the Grimaldi Royal Family, houses amazing places such as the Oceanographic Museum and the Harbour.

The Place du Casino square is the centre of the city and the best spot to admire the beauty and luxury of SBM properties like theMonte-Carlo Casino or the Café de Paris Casino. These prestigious venues attract wealthy clients all year round. If you are a fan of luxurious cars and limousines, be sure to visit.

Having dreamt about all this sumptuousness, it is time to head to our second lovely destination: Nice. The city possesses the famous Promenade des Anglais, a charming and flowered avenue along the Mediterranean Sea.

This avenue affords nice walks and the opportunity to discover beautiful architecture such as the Casino Barrière Rulh in the Le Méridien Hotel and the Partouche Casino in the Hyatt Regency Palais de la Méditérannée Hotel.

Don’t miss the old town, ideal for discovering the city’s traditions and its typical boutiques. A guide will teach you all of the secrets the city has to hide.

A few kilometres along the coast is our third destination: Cannes. The whole world knows Cannes for its festival and red carpet. Each year, the biggest stars come to celebrate and promote their latest movies.

The other must-see attraction of the city is the celebrated Croisette promenade. Arching along the sea, visitors can saunter beneath the sun whilst savouring a tasty ice cream.

On the Croisette, you will find some prestigious hotels such as the Carlton or the JW Marriot, which features the Barrière Casino Les Princes. It’s worth noting that the Barrière Casino Le Croisette is also located along the prestigious avenue.

To finish our tour we want to share a new website with you: Casinos Avenue which features a “casino near me” button that helps you locate the nearest casinos during your trip!