About Touring Cruising Gastronomy Cities Expeditions Sojourns Miscellany

Outrunning ‘Sandy’

The flight from Barcelona to NYC was uneventful, as was clearing customs at JFK.  I checked into the NY Athletics Club – a marvellous ’20’s pile overlooking Central Park. Karen was still out shopping, so I proceeded to unpack and quickly realised I’d lied to the Border Protection heavies. I’d declared food (fruit jellies and […]

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Masai Mara – Entim Camp

Collectivism in Safari-land.   The flight out to the Masai Mara was pleasant, although the low cloud cover robbed us of the view flying over the Great Rift Valley. We were met by our drivers, Masai Mara natives suitably garbed in colourful swaddling cloth. Ours is Daniel – about 6’8 and skinny, but with the […]

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Iran – the “Hello” edition

Romance, jewellery, fashion, celebrity… The Iran Crown Jewels is the largest collection of its type in the world. It includes crowns, thrones, thirty tiaras, aigrettes, swords, shields, dining services and a jewel encrusted globe, assembled over 2,500 years. In Safavid times (1502-1736) the Shahs cruised around Europe, the Ottoman Empire and India looking for sparkles with which […]

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Persepolis Plus

The drive from Isfahan to Shiraz takes about six hours, across a mostly barren landscape, but it’s full of interest, nonetheless. There were flocks of multi-hued sheep and goats, along with their shepherds and the occasional border collie, fields of corn, craggy mountains and the odd military base sporting Mercedes-Benz army trucks. We stopped at […]

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To Isfahan

Fifty kilometres out of Hamadan is the Iron Age mound of Tepe hush-i-Jan. In the middle of a vast plain, it’s a stiff climb up to the settlement, which has been excavated to reveal a Medean fort (700 BC) with a superb fire temple and chambers constructed of mud brick. We’d hardly seen a car […]

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Hamadan (ancient Ecbatana)

It’s day four swathed in headscarf and shapeless garb and I’m over it already. But Iranian women have to live with these cleric-imposed hindrances for life. While the men swan around hatless and in short sleeves, women are trussed up in a lifetime of ugly, glamourless garb. Of course the mosques are segregated (men – […]

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Tehran

Despite all the warnings, our entry into Iran was quick, easy and welcoming. It’s a thirty minute drive into Tehran, the freeway passing a massive mosque cum mausoleum in honour that hideous tyrant, Ayotollah Khomeini, who returned from exile to seize power on the back of the ’78 revolution that was actually organised by ordinary […]

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Iran – the (oil) drum

When Vita Sackville-West visited Iran in 1926, her husband, Harold Nicolson, was working there in the diplomatic service. No doubt part of  his  job description in was to keep a glad eye on the progress and fortunes of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) in which, by the mid-twenties, Britain had a considerable interest. The history […]

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Churchill – Wild!

Boarding the plane for  Winnipeg, the forecast was for clear skies and freezing temperatures. They were right about the temperature: they lied about the sunshine. After checking into the Sheraton airport hotel, I took the bus into the city. Winnipeg is as flat as a shitcarter’s hat. It’s apparently city law for all girls to […]

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A Christmas Serendipity

Having departed Oman, we spent a couple of days delightfully at sea, and at leisure. Lazy breakfasts to start, a bit of sport baiting the birdman with feigned sightings of wildlife, thrashing all comers in the trivia quiz, Bloody Marys at the shooting of the midday gun, lunch on the mizzen deck, scrabble and chatter […]

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