Tag Archives: Travel

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

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

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

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Confessions of a graphomaniac.

Doctor, dear doctor, help me for I’m a graphomaniac. Yes doctor, I love paper. I adore the smell of the thing, the muffled noise of a pencil running on a smooth sheet. In a nutshell, doctor, I love writing. I … Continue reading

Posted in Odd ones out, Random memories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Elegy for gentrification. Yes, you read it right.

There are a few words as laden with meanings, almost entirely of negative connotation, as gentrification. Say it and your mind will conjure images of invading toffs, an irresistible volkswanderung of genteel professionals with no fear but for white carbs, descending … Continue reading

Posted in Europe, UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Remembrance for scatterbrains.

Landing takes place at night. We descend into the warm Mediterranean air, those of us sat on the left-hand side being treated to a royal view of the entire city of Beirut lying, invitingly, beneath us. Here is Ras Beirut, … Continue reading

Posted in Lebanon, Middle East | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

The land beneath the mountains.

That’s the name of my region. The land at the feet of the mountains. Click on the photo to open the panorama In my region, topography is binary. Clear cut. It’s either flat, or mountainous. No middle ground, no rolling … Continue reading

Posted in Italy, Piemonte | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A cosy red dot away from it all.

You feel it’s a different place from the very moment the jetway disgorges you into the main concourse at Changi Airport. It’s a quick walk on the world’s plushiest, softest carpet to immigration, past ornate flowerbeds erupting with tropical plants, … Continue reading

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

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Weren’t all they supposed to be madmen?

Lunatics. Zealots. Religious fanatics. These were a few of the attributes that friends and acquaintances slapped on the people of Iran whenever the topic came up. Unrequested opinions were offered, together with garbled memories of articles penned down by the … Continue reading

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