Monthly Archives: March 2011


Is this the Ultimate Touron?

Does this ATM speak English

So I am sitting in the pizzeria which is my regular local base for “work”. Or, more accurately, that mixture of social media, gibbering quietly at the parlous wifi and jabbing at the Google Analytics reload button* like a starving lab rat that mysteriously displaces my actual work for, y’know, clients, while I await my […]


Travel Photo: Bamboo Umbrella Frames


Handcarved from bamboo, umbrella frames create an abstract pattern of light and shade in Bo Sang, near Chiang Mai, Thailand.


The Sunday Six: Gambling Cities


1: Las Vegas Founded by gangsters in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas is one of the more surreal fun emporiums on this earth – with travelators running through the vast casinos and over the streets for everyone too lazy to walk. Though the whales will play high stakes blackjack games, for most Vegas […]


In Which I Lose A Child and Gain a Motorcycle

mosquito net

If there is one thing more disconcerting than being woken up while sleeping al fresco under a mosquito net by a chap who wants to exchange motorbikes, it’s being woken up while sleeping al fresco under said mosquito net to find a child in your care has gone AWOL. “Excuse me, Theodora, it is me, […]


Homework, AKA Shouty Time


“Do you have homework tonight?” “Yes. It’s quite hard.” “Oh.” We are in our local pizzeria, for a change. The homework thing, after a year of unschooling, comes as a bit of a shock to both of us. “What’s the problem?” “It’s multiplying decimals.” “Oh,” I say. “I thought you could do that.” He taught […]


9 Blindingly Obvious Ways To Stay Healthy Travelling the Tropics

squat toilet

1: Eat fruit and vegetables to keep your vitamins up. 2: Get enough sleep. Late-night drinking and early morning buses are a toxic combination. 3: Get the right jabs and keep them up to date. Your chances of contracting (eg) typhoid are, admittedly, pretty low in many places. But many insurance providers won’t pay for […]


The Sunday Six: Amazing Asian Fruits

Water apples amid leaves.

1: Water Apple Probably the single prettiest fruit in Asia, these scarlet beauties have a mild, dilute taste and scent that’s like a combination of rose and, well, apple. Great to decorate a fruit salad. And almost as engaging as lotus seeds. 2: Mangosteen Known as “the queen of fruits”, the mangosteen’s flavour is so […]


Back to School!

Class lesson on snakes: children handling a reticulated python.

Can You Take a Child out of School for a Year? I recently came across a parents group arguing against longterm family travel on the grounds that “many children will never catch up after a year out of school…” This seemed a bit bizarre to me. Firstly because the context was Emma Thompson’s plans to […]


In Conversation


Her voice catches me first. It’s actressy, well-honed, modulated, and, my lord, it carries. It’s like Princess Diana in her “three people in this marriage” era, only the accent’s East Coast American. Phrases drift across. “Intense spirituality… a passion for life…” I sneak a glance. There’s only one man there with her. Balding, stocky, T-shirt […]


The Sound of Silence

nyepi day melasti ogoh ogoh

On Saturday, town was so quiet you could literally hear the silence. Not the usual raucous night-time non-quiet, the squawking yabber of geckos, the surprising baritone of tiny frogs. But that daytime silence you get in the deep countryside, where you can hear the breeze in the leaves and the rice shoots. It’s the year […]