The Shrine That Floats Over the Sea

The floating torii of Itsukushima-jinja...

The floating torii of Itsukushima-jinja…

We continued our post-Hiroshima adventures down the coast about half an hour by train from the city, where we explored one of the official National Treasures of Japan.

Hiroshima, Mon Amour

Hiroshima Memorial Park...

Hiroshima Memorial Park…

Hiroshima was once a vibrant castle town. And the Sarugaku-cho neighbourhood was a lively place of noh actors, artisans, physicians and shops.

Until the day that everyone died.

At 8:15am on Monday August 6, 1945 an American B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay flew over and unleashed the greatest destructive force the world had ever known.

Taiwan Tea Plantation Exploration

I wouldn’t do that for all the tea in…. Taiwan?

That’s right. Taiwan grows some of the best teas in the world. Tea cultivation only really began there in the mid-19th century. But it spread like crazy, thanks to strong domestic demand.

Taiwanese teas are also greatly sought after by foreign tea connoisseurs.

Reflections in a Broken Mirror: Impressionist Sketches of Istanbul

Istanbul is a city of memory.

The past permeates every street, shop, iconic edifice and passing face. As I walked through its streets and explored its buildings, I began to detect the city’s dominant themes.

Bet You Didn’t Know THAT About Camels!

I’ve done a number of expeditions by camel — both dromedary and Bactrian. And I like to think I’m fairly well read in the lore of this noble beast.

Well, I learned a pile of new camel facts yesterday when I cracked open the cover of Camel by Robert Irwin.

My 10 Favourite Cities


I’ve got “top ten” lists on the brain these days…

I thought it’d be fun to dredge through the foggy corners of my memory, brush aside the cobwebs, and post a list of my top 10 favourite cities, taken from 25 years of travel.

Will North Korea Change?

Jeez, I disappear into the deserts of Namibia for a couple weeks and the news world turns over…

Happy Gnu Year 2011!

Happy Gnu Year!

It’s been several weeks since I’ve had a chance to write. I’ve been offline in the South Pacific, and now in northern Japan celebrating the New Year Japanese-style. It’s the big family holiday here (rather than Christmas), with lots of amazing food and far too much to drink.

Rangoon 2: Attacked in the Night

As I wrote in the prior blog, I still don’t know how I found the “guesthouse” where we spent that first night in Rangoon. At first it seemed like a great value. But in the end we got more than we bargained for…

Burmese Days



Of all the places I traveled in Southeast Asia, I liked Burma the best.

It was by far the most traditional country in the region. It was free of Thailand’s 7-11’s, paved roads and fast food. Free of Vietnam’s scams. And it lacked that uncomfortable undercurrent of violence and broken psyches that seemed to blight Cambodia.