Christianity in the Pre-Islamic UAE

Collapsed and hidden under layers of soft creamy sand, the remains of a Nestorian church, monastery, and various courtyard houses patiently lay hidden for centuries on the eastern shore of Sir Bani Yas island, 170 km west of… Continue reading

Places to Stay: Lamu House Hotel – Lamu Island, Kenya

Name:  Lamu House Hotel Location:  Lamu Town, Lamu Island, KENYA Description:  The hotel is an excellent example of Swahili architecture. It consists of two traditional houses that were restored and adapted to house… Continue reading

Donkeys and Dhows

The muezzin’s voice, amplified through a sound system, jolts me from a restless sleep. Soon other muezzin joins in. Every voice is amplified to the point where it sounds distorted, angry, irritated. There is no trace… Continue reading

An Evening Under The Stars

Red carpets are rolled out to form narrow pathways that lead to rows and rows of padded chairs facing an enormous purpose-built stage. A cup of coffee warms my hands, while my winter boots warm… Continue reading

A Tinge Of Green

The night air is laced with an uncomfortable chill. Gone are the daylight hours of suffocating heat. The longed for growing season has finally arrived. In my postage stamp size garden clusters of… Continue reading

Sabkha Flats

The coastal landscape that stretches south of Abu Dhabi city along the coast is bleak and desolate. Sabkha flats, or salt plains, extend like ghostly fingers towards the Arabian Gulf. The water that seeps through the… Continue reading

Deserted Ruins

The GPS is oblivious to the inadequacies of our rental car and the rugged terrain. It insists that I turn left and go straight up the steep hill that rises 800 feet above the Yavu plain. There is no… Continue reading

Patara

Patara. A city that witnessed piracy and looting. Had been referred to as ‘the metropolis of the Lycian Nation’. Was the judicial seat of the Roman Governor. Fell under the rule of Antiochos III of Syria for… Continue reading

Stalking Santa Claus

Strips of cardboard boxes form narrow bridges across the street where pools of liquid tar are held captive by the hollows and depressions in the road surface. Tiny reservoirs of black rain that smell of over-ripe fruit. Its… Continue reading

Kaya For Short

In the distance I can hear the hooting of an owl, as the last of the daylight slowly fades away. The scattering of stars become brighter and more plentiful. A tiara of precious stones adorning… Continue reading

Noticing the Unusual

Chuck Jones advices us to “eschew the ordinary, disdain the commonplace. If you have a single-minded need for something, let it be the unusual, the esoteric, the bizarre, the unexpected“. These words can… Continue reading

A Closer Look

All there is to thinking is seeing something noticeable, which makes you see something you weren’t noticing, which makes you see something that isn’t even visible. – Leo Strauss – The same can… Continue reading

Gates

“A gentle word opens an iron gate.” – Bulgarian Proverb – Words can fill a reader with magic and wonder. They can conjure up landscapes, visions, and characters that are vivid and tangible. Stories… Continue reading

The People of Bhaktapur

Life in Bhaktapur, Nepal flows at a slower pace, despite the honking impatience of motorised vehicles that intrude upon it with an intolerance that seems out of place in a city where people always have time for social… Continue reading

The Children of Angkor

During my visit to Cambodia earlier this year, I was affected by the many children begging, selling tacky souvenirs or just playing around the temples in Siem Reap. As a way of coming to… Continue reading

Bhaktapur: City of Devotees

Just after 4.30 am, when the night sky turns to charcoal, life gradually starts to spill out onto the streets of Bhaktapur, Nepal’s best preserved Medieval town. A man shuffles past my open… Continue reading

Celebrating Love in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a place where facts, legends, and myths are swirled together to create the history of an interesting people, who themselves, look like their facial features have been delicately chiselled by the hands of a master sculptor. Their… Continue reading

The Best Part Of A Summer’s Day

The bright, silvery moon has, over the last couple of mornings, slowly been erased from the sky. In its place, only a persistent sliver remains. I step out of the cool interior of our… Continue reading

Wadi Sur

Wadi Sur, the largest man-made feature known in Ras-al-Khaimah, starts at the foot of the hill on which Sheba’s Palace was built, and runs for 7 kilometres in a straight line to Ras-al-Khaimah’s creek. It… Continue reading

Ras-al-Khaimah’s Old Houses

Ras-al-Khaimah, in the not too distant past, had the largest expanse of date palm gardens in the UAE. Even though most of these gardens contained a house, not many have survived. These houses were either… Continue reading