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Broadly Eking

Broadly Eking

There’s a scene in Austin Powers where the psychedelic spy attempts a quick getaway in a steamroller. “I’m gonna floor it!” He shouts, before setting off at about 5mph, trundling inexorably towards an unfortunate guard trying to block his path. I’m suppressing a smile at the memory of that scene..
A Ryokan On Rails

A Ryokan On Rails

Kuniko is nervous. It’s not her smile that betrays her, nor her steady English, but her hand, which trembles as she pours me a coffee in the newly-constructed Kinsei Lounge at Hakata Station. I don’t think I’m responsible for her nervousness and after a year or so of training, you..
Reel Rivals

Reel Rivals

Si Si is unwell, but I’ve got little sympathy for her. We’re on board the Catch 22, bouncing across an unusually tumultuous Gulf of Mexico, south of the Florida Keys, and somehow she fell asleep. As I watch her head loll around, I know she’s made a amateurish mistake. I..
The Height of Luxury

The Height of Luxury

Purpose-built resort – is there another phrase in travel that so efficiently lowers expectations? Hasty construction, soulless architecture, forgettable food… when I hear “purpose-built resort” I think of the colour beige and down-trodden labourers and a million balconies offering the same views, hanging out the front of the same bland,..
Around The World in 80 Minutes

Around The World in 80 Minutes

An Irishman, a Mexican and a Chinaman get on a train. They’re joined by a bickering French couple; a black man with a shock of snow-white hair; a handful of very Caucasian ravers en route to a daytime party; a woman – I’d guess Somali – in a long, flowing..
Harvesting Perfection

Harvesting Perfection

A few years ago, before its streets were awash with violent anti-government protests and doctors and journalists were being jailed, I went to Bahrain to learn about their pearl trade. For a long time, pearl diving had been the tiny island-nation’s main industry. When the season was in full flow,..
The Wall

The Wall

I grew up north of the Wall, where we speak with broad accents and it’s often cold. To the south it’s warmer, drier and people tend to speak clearer. So in the Game of Thrones world, that would make me a wildling and York would approximate to Winterfell. King’s Landing,..
The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

I am sitting in a restaurant, in coastal resort of El Gouna, Egypt, watching a flock of huge tropical birds hovering over the Red Sea. Most of them have enormous, multi-coloured wings that droop only slightly at the tips, harnessing as much of the wind as possible. Their flight paths..
A Boneyard Romance

A Boneyard Romance

First of all I should say we married for love, and only after three years of being engaged. But in the end we wanted to marry in a hurry and I was already visiting Nevada anyway so Katy, my fiancée, decided to fly out to Las Vegas, the world capital of..
The Lost City

The Lost City

History seems only to commemorate those who achieve the greatest triumphs, or commit the most heinous deeds. Falling between the gaps – or accidentally straddling them – brings few rewards. Take the nameless souls who discovered Colombia’s Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) in 1973: these men spent weeks in the jungle,..