Snow Monkeys – and absent friends (Yudanaka, Japan)

May 14, 2015

The Tokyo bar is a circle, Teppanyaki hotel chefs in tall hats and shirtsleeves in the centre; their shiny cleavers deftly dealing with slabs of beef, cabbage, prawns and abalone.The air smells of garlic and warm vegetable oil. I sip a Sapporo, the man across the way more intent on his mobile; beside him a […]

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 […]

Topknots and Talking Stones – the sinking of Easter Island (Chile)

April 14, 2013

I’m met at the airstrip by Toi my guide, with a vice-like handshake and welcoming lei of yellow bougainvillea draped around my neck. Two skinny girls in grass skirts and goosebumps serenade to the strains of a ukulele played by a man in a knitted jacket over an Hawaiian shirt. It’s winter on Easter Island. […]

Red Desert Dreaming – modern times, ancient magic (The Kimberley, Western Australia)

March 19, 2013

Strange figures are painted in broad strokes of red ochre – Wandjina spirit-men – eerie round faces with big pools for eyes. I stand next to Maurice, “a Worara blackfella” and a driver at local mines. I ask him why they have no mouths. His voice is hushed, as he points at the staring spaceman […]

Home Sweet Home – not the Nullarbor (Nuytsland, Western Australia)

January 27, 2013

Arriving yesterday, we’ve turned off the Eyre Highway towards the Great Australian Bight – careering down a steep escarpment across dunes and a rocky 4WD track – to 50km southeast of Cocklebiddy; the old Eyre telegraph station. In the morning we meet Shirley while sitting on the veranda drinking coffee. Shirley has a weathered face […]