Making a Bee-line to the Republic of Adygea, Russia

Honey, honey, honey – it seemed Adygea oozed the stuff. Everywhere we looked it seemed someone had set up a road-side stall and in total, were trying to sell more jars of golden honey than there were inhabitants of the Caucasian  republic. Honey is nice… Read more

Geologising in the Rainforests of Aceh, Indonesia

Our Indonesian guide, with a parang (machete) in hand, dropped vertically in front of me, just brushing my face, while out of my peripheral vision I saw someone cartwheeling down through the trees. Then, within about two seconds, six people had vanished. I was alone… Read more

Of Wolves, Ibex and Mongolian Petroglyphs

In all my outings in Mongolia, I never saw a wolf – I only heard them howling while camping out one night (you can read about that here). Wolves, so I was told, are not a danger to humans – mostly. They are smart enough… Read more

The Ghost in My Nanjing Apartment

Those who know me will know that I can recount more than my share of what are commonly known as ‘ghost experiences’. They happen after I’ve gone to bed, turned the lights off and am drifting off to sleep. Usually they are the momentary glimpse… Read more

How Much Carbon Dioxide was in the Atmosphere of New Zealand’s Jurassic Curio Bay Fossil Forest?

How do you figure out how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere millions of years ago? In the Jurassic, the fossil forest at Curio Bay in New Zealand was probably growing in higher latitudes than any forest in the Southern Hemisphere today. The reasons… Read more

Lurking in the Streets of Old Tartarstan in Kazan

I admit it, I was lurking in the back streets of ‘Old Tartarstan’, Kazan. Trouble is, I like old buildings, and particularly quirky old doors and gates. Short of bubble-wrapping them and shipping them back home to New Zealand, I have to make do with… Read more

Kazan – the Peacock Big Enough to be Seen from Space

In about 2014 some genius decided to plant a peacock in front of the Kazan Kremlin. Kazan is the currently the capital of Republic of Tatarstan, part of the Russian Federation. The city is relatively recent, but for over a thousand years there has been a… Read more

Wide southern section of Top of Nanjing City Wall

A Day Circumnavigating the Nanjing City Walls

In Nanjing I waited for the Goldilocks time, not too cold, not too hot – to walk the entire Nanjing City Walls. The winter had been miserable. Snow, ice, rain, puddles. With no heating in my office, I sat and shivered with my feet on a… Read more

Fifty, 500, or 5,000 years old? Ancient cultural landscape in the hills of Central Turkey

‘Fox-holes’ perhaps? Did snipers crouch in these to fire down on an enemy below? What were these little rings of rocks strategically placed high up along the edges of central Turkish gorges?  (see the featured image) How old are they? Fifty years? Five hundred? Five… Read more

In the Footsteps of Anthony Bourdain: Restaurant CoCoCo in St Petersburg, Russia

A meal in CoCoCo, a top St Petersburg restaurant? One featured in an episode of TV chef Anthony Bourdain? Would I be blowing a week’s travel budget, just to get a few outrageously little servings, then need to fill-up on pizza anyway? After a few… Read more

‘Woman with nails in both sides of skull’ – the Nanjing Massacre Memorial

Arguably, the most shocking part of Iris Chang’s book ‘The Rape Of Nanking’, comes in its Epilogue. During my 12 months living in Nanjing (sometimes written Nanking) , what struck me was a disturbing lack of even slightly old buildings. There are some old treasures… Read more

Were there dinosaurs in New Zealand’s Jurassic Fossil Forest at Curio Bay?

In the Jurassic you could have walked from what is now the fossil forest at Curio Bay in southernmost New Zealand (see featured image), to Australia, or Antarctica. Both continents were then part of Gondwana, and Curio Bay was somewhere near Gondwana’s coast. Did dinosaurs… Read more