Category Archives: Central Asia

Nobody speak. A Xinjiang journal.

Why coming here? I loathe the term dark tourism. Yet why am I here? I’m not an activist, a journalist, somebody with a higher sense of purpose. My only answer is because it’s there. Because I want to see it with my own eyes. … Continue reading

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From dusk till dawn. Life in the Pamirs.

In my teens and early twenties this place would’ve been hell. Life in a tiny village where farm animals outnumber men by a wide margin. Where the main past-time is to sit down and watch the clouds move around Pyk … Continue reading

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A Huck Finn state of mind.

What does it feel like to be floating on the mighty Mississippi with no worries but where to moor for the night? How does it feel to be absolutely unconstrained by timescales, worries or need-to? In a nutshell, what does it … Continue reading

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Mountains, alleys and oppression. A taste of what’s to come.

It’s been my hardest trip. It’s the one I’ve been the sickest, the loneliest, the most confused and bewildered. But it’s also been a source of endless grins, of unexpected solutions to sudden problems, of sweeping views and of deep, … Continue reading

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Uzbek football, Korean streets and the Games. A 2018 wrap-up.

The last trip of the year ended today. I crossed the crucial threshold somewhere between the Brazilian rainforest and the Atlantic, blissfully unaware of it as I slept in my airplane seat wrapped in one of those duvets that are … Continue reading

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There and away – Driving through the ‘Stans.

As I sat scribbling this post on my notepad, on the plane back home, it occurred to me that the past two car journeys had been the first ones, in Central Asia, where we hadn’t been serenaded non-stop by some … Continue reading

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The devil’s horsemen.

For the Parthians shot as they fled, being, indeed, more adept at this than anyone except the Scythians, and it is certainly a very clever manoeuvre – to fight and to look after one’s own safety at the same time.   … Continue reading

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Genghis’ Camp.

This didn’t feel like Central Asia. The road was smooth, the ride quiet, the old Mercedes van that did the honours as our marshrutka, or collective taxi, wasn’t packed to the gunwales. Our driver, a faded Denver Broncos hat planted on … Continue reading

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Throwing wolves by the lake shore.

Generalisations are often prone to error and misrepresentation, but – sometimes – they do hit the mark. I, for instance, always attached an aura of upper class, or in other words a certain whiff of snobbery, with all activities performed … Continue reading

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Be Right Back.

I’ve been in a place where Hungarians dress up like they used to do a millenium ago, speed to a full gallop and then throw arrows into a padded target, whilst Kyrgyz flags flutter in the wind, yurts are everywhere … Continue reading

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