Monthly archives of “January 2016

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Mongolia – Nights under the nine stars of the Pleiades

Erik von Daniken’s ‘Chariots of the Gods’ came to my town when I was a kid. Alexandra, New Zealand was perhaps a bit information-starved. There was one-channel TV, radio of course, and a couple of newspapers. And then there were the ‘Pictures’ (one a week movie screenings… Read more

Cedars of Lebanon
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Lebanon – Last Gasp of the Cedar Forests

Europe to Australasia is long-haul, and if you are not into heroics, it’s nice to break the journey somewhere. I wonder how many travellers consider Lebanon? The big draw-card for me were the famous ‘Cedars of Lebanon’.  This is a highly relictual patch of trees… Read more

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Cheap Eats Nanjing 12 – Sticky Rice Cake and other nibblies

I spotted this little take-away cake shop one evening after getting a cheese fix opposite. Pleasant woman in charge and bunch of nice looking things for sale. I settled on two muffins and a sort of cake. It was very dense, but I had no… Read more

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Estonia – the Swamp and the language tree

Estonia was my first-ever experience of driving, by myself, on the right hand side of the road. I tried to keep it simple. All I needed to do was pull-out  from the car hire place (small town, Viljandi linn), negotiate a round-about at the edge of town, then I… Read more

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Cheap Eats Nanjing 11 – Fried Dumplings

I’ve been making eyes at this place for ages – the dumplings get cooked in an guaranteed eye-catching arrangement on a hot plate on the street by the front door (see Featured image) and inside it’s usually chocka-block with customers.  Eventually I gave them a… Read more

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Mongolia – “Armour-piercing, mate”

“I’ll have to show these to my colleague”. The security guard at Brisbane’s International Airport took the two objects from my bum-bag and walked off. Oh shit… A few weeks before I had been travelling south through Mongolia’s  South Gobi region. It’s basically a gravelly,… Read more

Mausoleum of Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi, Turkistan, Kazakhstan
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Turkistan, Kazakhstan, not Tukmenistan

I’m not at all sure I remembered when all those ‘stans’ appeared on my radar. Did I know about them before the Soviet Union fell apart, or did they just appear in the news so gradually it seemed like they were always there? There’s Uzbekistan,… Read more

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Cheap Eats Nanjing 10 – Cat in the Kitchen

I thought I had this place sussed. Nice small spot, friendly staff, and a nice noodle dish that the staff kept pointing out to me on the menu before I could find it. And a cat called Wang-Cai. The name got some giggles when I… Read more

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Mongolia – The Ghost of Moron

It was on the flight back to UIaan Baatar that I remembered the ghost. My field partner, Nyambayar, and I had been working in an area near the Mongolian town of Moron (pronounced ‘muh-roon’). Moron lies in the far north of Mongolia and is the gateway to… Read more

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Cheap Eats Nanjing 9 – make your own soup

I was a bit dark on this place to start with – only because my favourite place suddenly closed just along the street, more or less as this place opened. I was suspicious…. But the owner is keen to attract clientele and I relented and… Read more