Happy New Year Frank – a friend indeed (New York, USA)

January 2, 2013

A guy has fallen on hard times, huddled under gentrified tenement stairs; on one side his clapped-out shopping trolley bound by trash bins and black cast iron pickets. The stairs span from streetside pavement up to an ornate doorway, moulded guardian face glowering overhead. He seems in his 60s, but his real years are anyone’s […]

Looking for a life – the fruits of our labour (Lagos, Nigeria)

December 6, 2016

Mosque minarets pierce soggy Lagos skies and I ask my driver to stop, the road potholed with waterlogged lakes and lined both sides with traders’ stalls. Just here are piles of tomatoes on tottering stacks of pavers. Ribs sizzle next door, sweet basil wafting from the meaty pile frying over open flames. Rasheed’s seat is […]

The good, the bad, and Barcelona – Gaudi on Sunday (Catalonia, Spain)

June 15, 2015

In the crowded hotel lobby, my daypack zipper sounds conspicuously loud. I poke a hand inside: a woollen vest, an apple and a light rain jacket – nothing more. I rummage about. Still nothing. Everyone looks when I tip the contents out. A euro coin rolls across the tiled floor, hits the dark timber architrave […]

Touching the Sky – Spanish castle magic (Granada)

May 1, 2013

I meet Candelaria at a café on the slopes of the Albaicin – the old Moorish quarter – and sip peppermint tea from petite porcelain cups. She orders almond cookies and apologises for her Spanish. The courtyard is open, with large paved flagstones, the tables squarish, small and scattered. Surrounding high walls on three sides […]

The Lion King – wandering ways (Skeleton Coast, Namibia)

March 23, 2014

There’s another white dual cab propped on the wrong side of the road. I wind down the passenger’s window to ask if all’s OK. A khaki-clad man pauses, narrow-eyed and hesitant way out here, water bottle pulled from an open, dust-laden tailgate. We’re in Namibia – previously German South-West Africa – the Namib Desert straddling […]

All at Sea – where there be dragons (Kadavu, Fiji)

December 14, 2012

A courageous rooster crows in the sleepy Fijian village below. I clamber up concrete stairs by the dining room, along a spur straddling huts of palm frond thatch and sheets of rusted iron. Monster mango trees throw a shroud of welcome shade – cool and dark – over ragamuffin fence posts and loose strands of random wire. Motley […]

Just a Matter of Time – a glimpse of old Cochin (Kochi, India)

March 1, 2013

I’m in Melbourne, startled as the nurse draws the curtain behind me, the click of the rings on the rail loud in the quiet of the ward; the sweet smack of cough mixture wafts through the room. I turn away from Sally, my long-time neighbour having a tough time but recovering well. First it was […]

Bells and Whistles – mothers and fathers (Tuscany, Italy)

September 25, 2013

Dragano is an editor initially from up north. He’s tall and rakish, the wisp of a moustache and sleek brown hair; has the habit of whistling unexpectedly, as he ponders the ways of an unjust world while stroking a precocious black cat. His villa is classic Tuscan, the bricks and terra cotta gables more orange […]