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.

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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Land of the Morning Calm

August 2002The rain falls softly in the Land of the Morning Calm. Or so it would seem from the hotel window. So much so that the initial impression is of lazy sleet of snow drifting to the ground. Even one of our local Korean colleagues thought the same. Never mind the fact that we know…

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My Chinese Train "Nazi"

Our lives are the sum of many parts, a significant number of which are other people. Some of those parts can be a bit rusty. Or completely non functional. Or may even be a spanner in the works altogether. In China I met one part that went out of its way to get in the…

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Alexander Duff

19 December 2005This morning I sat and ate bacon and scrambled eggs, with tomatoes, and a coffee to wash it down. And as I ate I thought “Here is something so simple and pleasureable that he will never know.” Such is the focus of ones thoughts. How mean and shabby are our daily worries and…

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Riyadh Foyer

The Saudi is a very nocturnal beast, sleeping late and only really getting going in the evening. Helped along by the restaurants being open until 11pm and the coffee shop even later the Saudi men, usually in the national dress, drift into the foyer, settle in to smokes and coffee and get down to business.…

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Cycle Culture ( II )

(Follows from “Heading for Ho Chi Minh City” ( I ) A tone which sets impressions straight away is the tide of motorcycles, although we would call them scooters and the branding type might insist on Vespa (though we saw Yamaha doing extremely well). We were sucked out of the airport at peak hour —…

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Ho Chi Minh City ( I )

October 2004 We bumped out of Singapore through muscled clouds that flashed and dropped rain on the Straits, finally clearing across their boiling tops into bright sunshine and a slight feeling of relief. As we bore north the hazy coastline of Malaysia kept us company on the left until geography and navigation separated us and…

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