Mui Ne.

Mui Ne, Vietnam, New Year’s Day 2020. A strange place. At first I almost hated it. Palm trees yes, tropical paradise no. A 15 km strip of ‘resorts’ squeezed between a litter-lined beach and a busy main road, between discarded plastic and horn-tooting ‘open tour’ backpacker buses. Mui Ne is a curious mix of kite-surfers, Russian tourists, and traditional fishing villages. Our first meal was … Continue reading Mui Ne.

Food Stories 2: Eating With A Vietnamese Family.

Christmas Day, Saigon 2019. A motorbike would have been easier. But we’d not yet figured out how to grab a bike for the two of us, so we went by car. To a neighbourhood district north of the city centre. Streets like strips of ribbon, flexing and turning. Bikes beeping behind us. Those that could not wait, over-taking on the inside, as the driver tried … Continue reading Food Stories 2: Eating With A Vietnamese Family.

From Independence to Reunification – A Palace Full of History.

Saigon. December 2019 I didn’t know much about Vietnamese history. But I did know that the Reunification Palace is a bit of a must for history buffs. We’d walked past it a few times. A 1960’s ugly block of a building, which cast a sort of eerie shadow over the city, palm trees and manicured gardens notwithstanding. When we visited I had the approach and … Continue reading From Independence to Reunification – A Palace Full of History.

Food Stories 1. Street Food Saigon Style.

Saigon, Vietnam, December 2019 Helen arrived first. Hopping off her bike she pulled off a grey sweat top to reveal a silky shimmering deep-sea-blue ao dai. Then she leaned back against her bike and started texting. Lily arrived a few moments later. Same blue tunic. Same black ponytail swinging. Same smiles and laughter. ‘Did you ever go on a motorbike before?’, she asked. We’d already … Continue reading Food Stories 1. Street Food Saigon Style.

Touring India with Raj, in a white Ambassador car.

Despite it’s British origins (the design is based on the old Morris Oxford), the Ambassador is considered to be the definitive Indian car, the car of diplomats and tourists, and is called “The King of the Indian Roads”. In production since 1958, it’s graceful curves recall the elegance of bygone days. Roomy, comfortable, good suspension – essential for the potholed, almost crater-ridden Indian roads – … Continue reading Touring India with Raj, in a white Ambassador car.

Varanasi, Life on the Ghats.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 2010 Varanasi, the city of Shiva, is one of the holiest places in India. The Ganges, known to Hindus as the Great Mother, is regarded as a river of salvation and pilgrims come to do puja on her ghats (literally meaning respect, offering or prayers) and cleanse themselves of sin. Long before dawn, sounds herald the break of a new day. Temple … Continue reading Varanasi, Life on the Ghats.