Tag Archives: Asia

Choking in China

Choking in China

They say you can see the Great Wall of China from space, but that is not true. You can, however, see something else the Chinese have made: the pollution that hangs over their mega-cities – Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, etc – appears as grey smudges on the green and blue marble of..
Pure ‘Shaws

Pure ‘Shaws

Aravind Bremanandam was under a Lada, sheltering from a sandstorm, when he had an idea. Stuck in the Sahara during the Budapest to Bamako Rally he decided that such misery, or adventure, might transplant well to his native India. “People want stupid?” he said to himself. “I’ll show them stupid…”..
Made in China

Made in China

“We are outlaws now.” These are words that precisely no-one wants to hear, not in China, not with its hard labour sentences and fondness for the death penalty. Of all the Asian nations not to be an outlaw in, China is just about top of my list. Yet, according to..
Training Days

Training Days

I have always loved Indian-English and the way it clings to formality, dredging up archaic verbs and half-forgotten idioms. Indians don’t argue, they quarrel; they don’t think someone is nuts, but that they ‘have bats in their belfry’. It is a dialect that bathes in hyperbole, whether that’s a best..
Totally Autumn

Totally Autumn

As it has grown apart from ye olde English, the American version of the language has lost much. Surely one of its most tragic casualties is that gentle waltz of a word, autumnal. Autumn, autumnal, autumnally… they are, to me, some of our most elegant words, evoking a far deeper..
The Boat to Mandalay

The Boat to Mandalay

Rudyard Kipling’s road to Mandalay, the mighty route memorialised in poem and song, that ancient byway conjuring images of Empire and the Orient, is not, in fact, a road. Instead it is a river, the humongous Irrawaddy (or Ayeyarwady) which leads from Himalayan glaciers, deep in the heart of northern..
Surviving the Rickshaw Challenge

Surviving the Rickshaw Challenge

The BMW that picks me up from Mumbai Airport to take me to the JW Marriott is an absurdly, unnecessarily luxurious machine. Little bottles of water gently perspire in its perfect air-conditioning; it has televisions in the backs of the seats, and a power-assisted boot, negating the need for manual..
The Air Down There

The Air Down There

Granddad was a deep-sea diver – that’s the first thing I knew about him. Come to think of it, that’s one of the first things I knew about anything. That, and being in the water. I don’t remember the trauma of swimming for the first time because I’ve been doing..
A Big Bang Theory

A Big Bang Theory

Staying at the Oberoi Grand Hotel then walking out onto the streets of Kolkata is like witnessing the creation of the universe. You are inside and there is silence, a void. Then you walk out, just a few strides, and there is everything, all at once. A mammalian flight reaction..
Japan

Japan

Images gathered during six trips to Japan, most notably for the Travel Volunteer Project.