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Melbourne or Sydney

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 19 Nov 2007 | Views [453] | Comments [1]

Melbourne or Sydney? It’s a tougher question than you might think and one I do not fail to ask everyone I meet. The variety of response is spectacular. To people’s loud and enthusiastic “Melbourne hands down” I get an equal “Sydney is so beautiful”. To ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


The Greeks in Australia

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 | Views [727]

I met my first Australian Greek in Darwin. Dimitris spoke perfect Greek with an Ozie accent and worked at a lovely caffe on Mitchell street. As soon as I walked in I got suspicious. I first saw loukoumades on a table next to the laptops a couple of business ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


From Alice Springs to Uluru

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 10 Nov 2007 | Views [1170]

I chose to fly the 1,500 km. or so that separate Darwin from Alice Springs. From 40 degrees the temperature inexplicably dropped to 17. Apparently this is an aberration for a place that is very nearly a dessert. It is surprising how civilised a town ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Java's volcanoes

INDONESIA | Sunday, 21 Oct 2007 | Views [574]

Indonesia is an overwhelming country. First there is the sheer size and diversity. It spans three time zones and gathers peoples of different languages, origins and religions. Then there is the nature. Dramatic, hostile yet fertile, in parts overpopulated ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Ramadan in Java

INDONESIA | Monday, 15 Oct 2007 | Views [1016]

In Jakarta now and what comes to mind more than anything is Tin-Tin. Tin-Tin and Jakarta are somehow intimately connected. I don’t even like Tin-Tin, come to think of it I don’t much like Jakarta either. What was the nickname again? The “Big Durian” to ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Turmoil or resurgence of hope?

MYANMAR | Wednesday, 26 Sep 2007 | Views [721]

We are caught up in history. Myanmar is experiencing its biggest mass protests in 20 years. Protests crying out for desperately needed reforms. Asking for compromise from a military regime that does not understand the meaning of the word. It’s funny being ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


gentle Hsipaw

MYANMAR | Sunday, 23 Sep 2007 | Views [802]

The gate is locked and there is not a sign of life in the overgrown, flower filled garden. We are in the Shan Palace in Hsipaw. I wanted to see it. There is a book, a real story written by the Austrian born last princess of Hsipaw. In it she speaks of ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Caught up n Burma

MYANMAR | Friday, 21 Sep 2007 | Views [635]

Up in the Shan hills and the country is in chaos. Monks have been striking for almost a week asking for reforms. Not that we would know, except that in the last couple of days it has been literally impossible to get an outside line for the phone and the ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


What I am learning about Burma

MYANMAR | Thursday, 20 Sep 2007 | Views [876]

Things you learn to do without in Burma 1. Electricity. Whether it is a 5 star hotel, a dingy little café or a store, electricity comes and goes at will. For indefinite amounts of time and business continues as usual with private generators or without.... Read more >

Tags: Culture


On Shan land

MYANMAR | Sunday, 16 Sep 2007 | Views [1540]

Kalaw is an old British hill station nestled in the bowl formed by green slopes. It’s got a sky blue and white mosque, a terracotta church, a field of white stupas and a golden Buddhist temple. The market is at the heart centre of the town and serves ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


A golden triangle – the lake, the mountain and a town

MYANMAR | Thursday, 13 Sep 2007 | Views [983]

We took the easy option and flew to Heho, the gateway to Inlay Lake. We still have not realised that the time here in Myanmar is half an hour backwards with respect to Thailand, so we turn up earlier to everything we plan. It will still take another day ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Journey into Burma

MYANMAR | Monday, 10 Sep 2007 | Views [810]

Yangon, Mandalay, the Ayeyarwady river, the Shan states, how much magic and dreaming is associated with those names. They conjure up exotic and mysterious images, strange and faraway lands at the crossroads of the gulf of Bengal, the start of the Himalayas, ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


A Thai prelude to Burma

THAILAND | Thursday, 6 Sep 2007 | Views [460]

Our first contact with Burma/Myanmar is the Embassy in Bangkok. Burma/Myanmar, how confusing are these places that have more than one name. In fact, it seems that even though Myanmar is the current preferred appellation of the ruling dictatorship, they ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


8.8 - One year to the Olympics countdown

CHINA | Thursday, 9 Aug 2007 | Views [416]

There was a bit of a buzz in the classroom on Wednesday. Everyone was talking about whether they would or would not go to Tian An Men square for the one year to the Olympics festival. Till then I had heard nothing about it. I had not even bothered to ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Factory 798

CHINA | Sunday, 29 Jul 2007 | Views [595] | Comments [2]

Factory 798 is a superb idea both mine for going there on Sunday and Beijing’s for having it. It’s a kind of artist’s ghetto in the North Eastern side of town. A creative community living in an old factory complex that has been remodelled to contain ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Kung Fu and Calligraphy

CHINA | Friday, 27 Jul 2007 | Views [588]

In a vain attempt to penetrate the products of this culture I have now applied my energies to two seemingly opposing endeavours. It fascinates me to see how similar they really are. The thing that drew me most to Kung Fu initially, other than the need ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Mandarin and the sedentary life

CHINA | Sunday, 22 Jul 2007 | Views [788] | Comments [1]

Having lived two years in this country and still only being able to speak to waitresses and taxi drivers should have given me a clue, still, I chose to pursue learning this infernal language. I am sure that somewhere, somehow I must be making some sort ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


A stroll at the Summer Palace and a rave at the Great Wall

CHINA | Sunday, 15 Jul 2007 | Views [527]

I love Beijing. I really really really do. I feel like I am being given a daily dose of oxygen and mojo. So much to do and so much to see in this city that is full of confidence without the arrogance, full of people without the noise and full of little ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


A student in Beijing

CHINA | Thursday, 12 Jul 2007 | Views [499]

I am a student again, with the student card to prove it. I can’t believe it! And I love it! I love it! I love it. I look at the young people around me and I am envious. Envious that they get to do it so much earlier than me. Imagine going somewhere as ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


Wrapping up Cambodia

CAMBODIA | Monday, 9 Jul 2007 | Views [593]

I feel I have been here a long time even if I haven’t. It’s the wealth and depth of the experience that makes it so. After Siem Reap and Angkor I took a boat to Battambag along what is supposed to be one of Cambodia’s most scenic routes. This time of ... Read more >

Tags: Culture


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