Tag Archives for children


Why Every Parent Who Dives Should Do a Rescue Course

Zac hanging off the descent line by his knees.

It’s easy to over-hype any form of diver training, particularly the ones that PADI provides – CMAS covers several of the skills PADI teaches in its Rescue Course during its Open Water (1*) course, and all of them during its Advanced Open Water (2*) course. Still, assuming that, like most of the world, you learned […]


Death Drop in the Blue Hole

The Blue

With hindsight, it was not the best idea to take my 12-year-old son into Dahab’s Blue Hole, a dive site which claims the lives of adults regularly – albeit usually adults diving way beyond recreational diving limits without the required equipment or skills. Yet, as The Whore, Zac and I set out with X on […]


Top 10 Things to Do in Beijing with Kids

Forbidden City Beijing

Headed to Beijing? The Chinese capital can be most excellent fun with kids at almost any time of year — though do avoid the main Chinese holidays. Herewith, ten of my favourite things to do in Beijing with kids. (And, no, the smog won’t kill them.) Skate on a Frozen Lake There’s nothing quite like […]


We Learn to Make Pasta in Bologna

Learning to Make Pasta

“My great-grandfather bought this farm just before the Second World War,” Federica explains. “He was an industrialist, importing vegetables from Egypt, and he could see that the family would need a place outside the city.” Her farm, Podere San Giuliano, is no longer a farm. It’s a restaurant and agriturismo, a hybrid farm and tourism […]


Best… Ger… EVER

Horses, mountains and fresh grass en route to the Darkhad Depression, Mongolia.

This is the view from the best ger ever, a herd of horses passing by, untrimmed manes trailing in the breeze. It is, in fact, the classic Mongolian ger. And this is the ger itself, complete with truck. Like most larger vehicles in rural Mongolia, it seems to be more for the chaps to tinker […]


Crossing the Pass — and Mongolian Horses

Zac plays in the snow in the pass from Khovsgol Nuur to the Darkhad Depression.

The mountains that divide Khovsgol Nuur from the Darkhad Depression aren’t terribly mountainous. They’re misty, sure, and a little forbidding, but rather rounded compared to the jagged and snowclad peaks that mark the Russian border to our north. But it’s a pleasant ride up to the pass, the wildflowers shading as we ascend from bright […]


A Swimming Date in China

Swimmer doing butterfly.

The lesser spotted tween, and its larger relative, the greater spotted teen, are elusive creatures in urban China. You might glimpse one between 6 and 7am, neat in their tracksuits on their way to school, then again between 5.30 and 7pm, returning to their homes. On Friday nights, you might catch one in a restaurant […]


We Find a Chinese School

Chinese school in Harbin -- kids shovelling snow.

A bit of English language Googling around bilingual schools in Harbin finds a site for teachers of English as a foreign language, and a job advertised at a bilingual school. I Google around the school’s name in English, plough through a lot of investment sites, and eventually dig up the Chinese language site for the […]


Ice Skating in Beijing

Ice Skating in Beijing-13

When it comes to ice skating, like everything else, the Chinese do it differently. Very differently. And ice skating in Beijing is really something else. Especially on Qianhai Lake. It’s not just the unavoidable presence of the PLA, whether riding ice dodgems, guarding ice bikes, administering the ice slide or guarding the ice skates. The […]


Everest Base Camp Trek – FAQ

Everest Base Camp trek - Nuptse and Everest, seen from Kala Patthar.

*This post was last updated in February 2015* How Much Does the Everest Base Camp Trek Cost? The Everest Base Camp trek can cost $400-$450 for shoestringers who walk in from Jiri, then straight in and straight out to Everest Base Camp, unguided, over 24 days or so when the weather is warm, or as […]