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art and travel journal from a round-the-world art adventure

Roosevelt Island

USA | Saturday, 31 Dec 2011 | Views [497]

Roosevelt Island only gained its current name in 1973. Before that this sometime prison, infectious disease hospital and lunatic asylum was known as Blackwell's, then Welfare Island. A shunned place, in other words. It made sense. The island is a narrow ... Read more >


USA | Saturday, 24 Dec 2011 | Views [423]

The New Jersey Turnpike is twelve lanes wide and runs 200km north south between Fort Lee and Carneys Point. While not the busiest highway in the USA it is still heavy with traffic. Cars and buses, vans and trucks hug its gently engineered curves and lanes ... Read more >

Air and Space

USA | Saturday, 17 Dec 2011 | Views [480]

Much has been said of the United State's militarism. Robert Fisk writes of the necessity of any empire – be it Roman or British – to exert power abroad. For domestic political consumption as much as to provide access to raw materials and resources. The ... Read more >


USA | Saturday, 10 Dec 2011 | Views [509]

In the opening passage of Rudyard Kipling's Kim the Lahore Museum is described as "the old Ajaib-Gher - the Wonder House". Which is true, as this museum contains many a forgotten treasure. Dusty, yes. Neglected, somewhat. But that is easily ... Read more >


JAPAN | Saturday, 24 Sep 2011 | Views [531]

To say that Kyoto and Osaka are not much like says not much at all. Kyoto is a neat and compact city no more than a few hours walk in any direction and bordered on the north by rolling hills. Osaka sprawls. It is a port city, and the port itself is ... Read more >


AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 17 Sep 2011 | Views [499]

Kyoto, that 'glorious city of temples and palaces', is in the rain. This is welcome relief. For the last two weeks Tokyo has sweated under a blanket of heat, humidity, and still air. Instead today locals extend umbrellas when crossing the street and ... Read more >


JAPAN | Saturday, 10 Sep 2011 | Views [474]

Tokyo felt hardly strange. This makes no sense. The population of the city alone exceeds that of Australia. It is crowded, densely packed, perpetually on the go. Shop signs and hoardings are written in mix of three impenetrable alphabets. This, after ... Read more >


AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 9 Jun 2011 | Views [560]

Like so many Dutch cities Leiden is built around the series of canals that link the river with the farming, mercantile and manufacturing interests of the town. Everywhere you walk there are low bridges, clear waterways, and flat bottomed boats moored ... Read more >


AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 31 May 2011 | Views [975]

Unlike Cairo and Damascus, which were built on plains and count their lives in millennia, Amman wraps around a series of valleys and hills. It is also only a handful of decades old. Consequently Amman is utterly different from the other two cities. In ... Read more >


AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 18 May 2011 | Views [552]

The Kadem Train Museum opened in 2008 to house the rolling stock of the old Hejaz Railway. A narrow gauge line – the tracks are only a metre wide - it once snaked its way from Damascus to Medina, carrying pilgrims from across the Ottoman ... Read more >

Mathaf al Zar'i al A'lamy

EGYPT | Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010 | Views [797]

The Egyptian Museum of Agriculture* - Mathaf al Za'ri al Masri – was built in 1934 and has ever descended thereafter into a twilight gloom of dust and neglect. These days it is a museum piece in itself. Display cases emptied by the slow actions of ... Read more >


EGYPT | Wednesday, 8 Dec 2010 | Views [579]

Although he does not live there M______ stays with his friend A____ in Tibah, 15 km east of Luxor. A____ studies at the nearby Faculty of Art. His paintings are easily the best thing in the college, though staff and students alike disparage ... Read more >


EGYPT | Wednesday, 1 Dec 2010 | Views [583]

The tourist trade describes three paths through the commercial and social landscape of Luxor. The first, the ruins of the Middle Kingdom capital of Thebes, are what brought European travellers here in the 18th and 19th centuries, and made the fortunes ... Read more >


EGYPT | Wednesday, 24 Nov 2010 | Views [758] | Comments [1]

Cairo was closed last week for the Eid Holiday. Eid al-Adha, or as it is known in Pakistan, Bakra Eid. Bakra. The goat. For the holiday celebrates the intended sacrifice, at God's behest, of Abraham's son Isaac. A sacrifice averted by the substitution, ... Read more >

United Republic

EGYPT | Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | Views [478]

Although the United Arab Republic – Nasser's vision of a pan Arab state - is long since dead, having only briefly bound Egypt and Syria in uneasy union, an echo remains of that ill starred dream. It is found, in all places, in an annex to the Cairo ... Read more >


UZBEKISTAN | Sunday, 25 Apr 2010 | Views [760]

There are two kinds of train in Uzbekistan – the old, slow Russian, and the newer Chinese. The network is extensive, a product both of Soviet planning and Uzbekistan's status as one of the very few doubly landlocked countries on earth. While ... Read more >

Savitsky Musuem

UZBEKISTAN | Sunday, 18 Apr 2010 | Views [611]

In Soviet times Nukus was a closed city. Home to a chemical weapons lab and the capital of the semi-autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan it is 20 hours from Tashkent by train and 200 km south of the Aral Sea. Surrounded by desert and scrub it is the ... Read more >


TURKMENISTAN | Sunday, 11 Apr 2010 | Views [612]

Without doubt Turkmenistan is an orderly place. In Ashgabat police and security staff outnumber citizens, and certainly tourists, of whom we saw none during our five day stay. Everything is clean. The grass around the monuments is even and very green, ... Read more >


IRAN | Sunday, 4 Apr 2010 | Views [664]

Mashhad, like Karbala and Najaf in Iraq, is one of the holy cities of Shi'a Islam. As the resting place of the eighth Imam, Reza, its golden domed shrine and adjacent courtyards spread over several city blocks. There is underground parking, a museum, ... Read more >


IRAN | Monday, 29 Mar 2010 | Views [660]

Tehran is a sprawling, muscular city of concrete and wide boulevards, manicured parks, palaces, mosques, ruined cinemas and expressway flyovers. It is home to 15 million people, and rising. Apartment buildings stretch ... Read more >

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