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The Submarine and the Crater – Discovering New Zealand’s Central Otago

  Driving through Central Otago is like strolling through one of the great art galleries of Paris. Confronted by extreme, intricate, subtle and magnificent beauty that shifts and changes with each step, you can you choose to feel either invigorated or exhausted. The cure for either of these conditions is Middlemarch. I refer not to […]

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Strangers on a Boat

It’s dark in Cairns and a Chinese couple is eating dinner on a small boat tethered to the harbor. They have just finished a plate of oysters, and the lady summons the owner over. “The we had before fish” she says, without preamble. The owner, a South African lady who runs the one-table joint with her husband, […]

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Among The Tuna Merchants: Pre-Dawn at the Osaka Fish Market

You’re in a cold warehouse about the size of your high school gymnasium. It’s still dark outside. Enormous tuna fish lie in rows in the middle. They are whole but are missing their heads. A small slice of flesh has been cut from the tail of each, and placed beside it. Signs in Japanese give the origin. […]

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“Master Worker, Take Me to the Pandas” – A Story of Chengdu

A Highway on the Outskirts of Chengdu, China. December 2016. The taxi driver attacked the road with staccato fury, charging forward into every gap, honking incessantly. This was pretty textbook ‘Chinese taxi driver’ behavior. What set this particular chauffeur apart was his alarming habit of closing his eyes and seeming to doze off whenever we […]

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Reflections on China from the Tokyo Tower

We hightailed it outta Tianjin through smog that caught in your throat, erased buildings barely 50 meters away, and tinged everything with a sickly orange-brown hue. Jaded from over a year in China, the thrill of the unknown, the different, which had attracted us to the country in the first place was replaced by weariness, […]

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Night Train to Mandalay

A night train from Yangon to Mandalay provides a snapshot into how it feels to travel in Burma / Myanmar in 2016 as the country prepares for a tourist boom. Interested but don’t feel like reading? I’ve recorded an audio version of this post for you to download or listen online. It’s identical to the text […]

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Notes From the Back Seat – in Taxis Across China

It’s almost impossible to remain dry in Hong Kong. You either get caught in a tropical monsoon, or the humidity makes you drench yourself with sweat. It helps if you catch a cab. The air conditioning keeps you in a cozy daze as you somehow dodge your way around trams, buses and tourists. But across […]

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Why I Don’t Drive in Shanghai

Stern, unsmiling, green vested traffic cops have appeared at intersections across the city, from the concrete apartment blocks and asphalt overpasses of Putuo to the leafy lanes of the former French Concession. Like most Asian cities, the streets of Shanghai are a mad free for all. Motorbikes whip by, lights out no matter the hour or […]

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Singapore – Another Kind of Asia

A four year old kid sits in the back of a taxi in Singapore. He is blonde, blue eyed, and it’s his first time in Asia. The streets are packed, crowded, alive. The flashing neon signs scream out strange symbols. Everything is different and exciting. 20 years later, I again find myself cruising through Singapore. It is […]

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Chaos and Quiet in Suzhou

  Boats lazily cruise up and down the canal which runs beside Suzhou’s famous Shan Tang street. White, low roofed houses line the banks, and orange lanterns hang suspended above the still water. The tranquility is in perfect contrast to the roaring carnage of the street itself. Like an ocean storm, it sweeps you up, […]

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