Thanks for reading. This blog is an opportunity for me to capture some of the diversity of my writing interests. My muse tend to appear on my shoulder as I board an international flight although not all of my writing is inspired by travel and foreign places. These blogs have been the basis of a novel (Flowers of Baghdad) but there are a few other writing projects in progress besides. Please feel free to leave a comment. Or two.

Cu Chi

I have been asked about the reference to Cu Chi in the photo. Cu Chi (“coo chee”) is famous as the site for the tunnels built by the Vietnamese resistance, or Viet Cong, about 45 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Being this close to Saigon they were used to focus attacks into the…

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Off to School in Shamoo

Dear Readers at Shelford (and others of course), “Off to School in Shamoo”? Now that sounds like something out of Dr Seuss. In fact, something just as wonderful and weird as Dr Seuss. But not as wobbly and wavey. In fact, quite the opposite – something very real and concrete and solid in my experience…

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Love Lost in District 4

I walked out of the Ho Chi Minh CBD, such as it is and into District 4. I discovered later that locals recommended District 4 should not be on any walking tour for visitors, it being too dangerous and violent. Something of a slum, and I suspect that is the real reason why locals don’t…

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Mr Zhang

Just south of where the terracotta warriors stand in the ground at silent attention to, and in silent, stern protection of their onerous, mean spirited master (Emperor Qin was a $&^%# by all accounts) lives another man, also in the ground. Mr Zhang. Not so silent and still however. And of a much more gentle…

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Drugs on the Beaches

Sydney press of late has drawn our attention to the rising problem of drug use in our city (an example here), in particular calling attention to methamphetamines, or ice, which are becoming increasingly pervasive. Rightly so – the press attention that is. On the Northern Beaches of Sydney there is a volunteer based group which…

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Golgotha Revisited

The Easter story is an annual event that marks our secular calendar but which has little impact outside the Christian church. But even within that demographic there are plenty it does not touch. It is an historic event that remarkably stands out for the non Biblical record which captured the teachings, death and resurrection of…

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Elephant Woman (III)

Ho Chi Minh City Zoo (such as it is) Beware the Elephant Handlers. The two grandmother pseudo handlers that is, clucking and whistling from the crowd at the elephants. It is clear the elephants know this language for they amble over to the edge of the pit and extend their trunks towards them in swaying,…

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Yemen – Life in Perspective

In April 2005 I visited Yemen. It is an amazing place caught in a Soviet era time-warp from which it is slowly extracting itself. As with any place you visit, the impact most acutely felt is that made by other people, especially children. Two in particular really stand out. Here they are, the two girls…

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