She greeted us with a traditional ‘namaste’ greeting. Palms pressed together, fingertips pointing heavenwards, hands just below her face. She bowed her head – “welcome”, she said and ushered us into our room – guest quarters at the front of the house. She busied herself, fetching water which was set on a small table in front of us. “You will take tea”? Chai cements all … Continue reading Portrait Of A Hindu Housewife.
Fabulous headgear of men in the Thar desert. Bulbous brilliantly coloured affairs. A rainbow, dotted, flecked ‘who’s who’ guide, to area of origin. A map of home, cloth of belonging. And beautiful to boot. Continue reading Men In Turbans.
Every October in the 8th month of Kartika, business and religion come together and the quiet town of Pushkar is transformed into the circus that is the Pushkar camel festival. Thousands of livestock owners stir in the Thar desert, pack family and belongings onto wooden carts, trailing camels, horses, and cows behind them, to trade on the Mela ground – a huge, dry, expanse of … Continue reading Pulsating Pushkar.
We noticed the barber shop, the size of a postage stamp, squeezed in between the internet cafe and our guesthouse. “Shave sir”, asked the barber appearing out of nowhere, nodding at Jim. “Can I have a haircut”, I asked hopefully. Normally the only customers in these shops are men. “Yes, yes, five minutes waiting”. All three chairs were occupied so I sat on a bench … Continue reading The 80 Cent Haircut.
Our very first trip, after becoming nomadic? We jumped in at the deep end – and in 2009 spent seven months in India. Delhi, with a population of 12.8 million, everyone of them, it seems, on the make, was down right hard work. Tenacious touts pretending to be our best friend, wanting to direct us to places where they would receive commission. Auto rickshaw drivers … Continue reading Delhi. Frantic, frustrating, frenetic.
The Harem. Ugly Beauty. We were standing at the heart of four hundred years of Ottoman intrigue. If I half closed my eyes I saw black eunuchs and concubines, diaphanous fabrics, ewers, jewels, court musicians and the sultan’s dwarves. When I opened them I saw selfie-clicking tourists and tunnels of thick polythene sheeting hiding no-go areas. Not so much the soothing sound of water fountains, … Continue reading Istanbul – Topkapi Palace.
I wrote this piece a few years ago, while we were trying to track the Mekong River from source to mouth (I love a trip with a theme!) and we were beguiled by The Bakery No. 88. It’s still there, and it’s the sort of place I’d travel to the ends of the earth to get to (which is a bit what Yunnan province in China felt … Continue reading Let Them Eat Cake!