Category Archives: Asia

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 3).

I’d expected the whistling undertaker from For a Fistful of Dollars to be appearing at every corner I turned. I was to experience this feeling again, in Central Asia, but Aralsk looked – even smelt, if that was ever possible – … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 2).

I’d seen Serik a long time before we met in the parking lot outside the Altair hotel; in fact, I first read about him on Al Jazeera. Dubbed “Aralsk’s only tour guide”, he’d accepted to be my guide for the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 1).

The aurora was a promise of yet another scorcher of a day, as it’d been yesterday and tomorrow was bound to be, but right now it was fresh and cool as I sat on my pack on the first of … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“I’ve once been to Kyzyl-Orda, but never to New York”.

I recently attended a training course which, as corporate events normally do, started with an ice-breaker. Every attendee had to stand up, one by one, and declare to the roomful of colleagues something quirky, or unusual, about himself. When it … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Out of the steppe.

There are trips we’ve wanted to do for a lifetime, which work their way up to the top of your bucket list. Well, I’ve just crossed one from mine and if I had to distil it in four pictures whilst … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A strange capital for a strange country. Dušanbe.

With hindsight, it was surprising that we had no plans for Dušanbe; it was meant to be the last leg of our journey, a simple stop-gap, an interlude between the last leg of the Highway and the flight home. In … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The “Frontier School of Character”: Travels along the Pamir Highway Part V.

To Dušanbe. “In my opinion, eight officers out of ten are corrupted in Dušanbe” Tajik police officer, interviewed by I. Khamonov, 2005 My memories of Khorog are fleeting, for such was the nature of my permanence there. We took possession … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The “Frontier School of Character”: Travels along the Pamir Highway Part IV.

To Khorog. “Recent years have struck a final crippling blow to the roadlessness of Kirgiziia […]. Instead of isolated districts there is now one connected and unified economic whole.” M.M. Slavinskii, 1935 A minute man waited for us in the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The “Frontier School of Character”: Travels along the Pamir Highway Part III

Murghab. “’Tis said to be the highest place in the world” Marco Polo Looking back, the handful of hours we spent on the road between Karakul and the Tajik town of Murghab were my favourite of the entire journey. It … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The “Frontier School of Character”: Travels along the Pamir Highway Part II

To Karakul.  “I shall wander the wilds of Central Asia possessed of an insane desire to try the effects of cold steel across my throat” George Hayward 1839 – 1870 After two weeks of relentless sunshine, departure day opened with … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments