8 January 2015

Hot Stormy Day at St Kilda Beach

It was hot yesterday in Melbourne – the temperature rose to 36 degrees – so I went to St Kilda beach in the afternoon. But, as is typical of Melbourne, the weather turned cloudy and rainy. There were big storms in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

29 October 2014

The most beautiful bookshop in the world

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is regarded as one of the world's most beautiful bookshops. The building first opened as a theatre, Teatro Gran Splendid, in 1919 with a seating capacity of 1,050. It was converted to a cinema in 1929, and then into a book (and music) store in 2000.

30 July 2014

No money? No asylum

Somalians displaced by drought queue for refugee registration, in the heat of the sun.
Somalis displaced by drought queue for refugee registration. [DFID/Flickr]

My ancestors were refugees from the Armenian Genocide. Chart is the Armenian word for massacre; it’s also one of the first words Armenian kids learn today. When I was five, my father explained, "In 1915 the Ottomans killed 1.5 million Armenians." He spoke of death marches across the Syrian Desert and systematic killings of women and children—a great

25 September 2013

Basket cases are prohibited

Guatemalan woman with a large tub balanced on her head, while she reads a menu.

People have been carrying heavy loads on their heads since ancient times. It's very common in developing countries when there is no car nor mule to assist with the shopping. Simply roll-up a towel, shape it into a circle and place it on your head. You're then ready to carry up to fifty-times your own body weight. Or am I thinking of ants?

19 August 2013

Health & safety: Don't attack the Citadel of Aleppo

The Citadel of Aleppo is a medieval, fortified palace in the centre of the old city of Aleppo, in northern Syria. It's one of the oldest and largest castles in the world and sits 50 metres high on a partly man-made mound. In the past, the entire mound was covered with large blocks of gleaming limestone, some of which still remain today.

25 July 2013

Admire nature while you suffer

The Kokoda Track Memorial Walk is a walking trail in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. It lies in the Ferntree Gully forest, about 45 minutes east of Melbourne (Victoria). The trail penetrates through a beautiful forest of tree ferns and manna gums, and the sound of

6 July 2013

What does the Dalai Lama think about?

[Below] His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Today is his 78th birthday.

Shake hands with the Dalai Lama... DONE! I went to see the Dalai Lama’s public talk in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago. It was the third time I’ve heard him speak and as always I found it difficult to stay awake. It’s not that his message of kindness and compassion is

14 June 2013

Smuggling horses through customs

In South America, long-distance buses often stop to pick up food vendors and salesmen. They get on board, offering their food or merchandise to passengers as the bus continues on its journey. And after they finish their sales, the bus stops to let them out. I always

28 May 2013

How to sleep in airports

In 2006, I had an early morning  flight from London Luton Airport to Croatia. Luton is actually located an hour out of London, and trains reaching the airport commenced their daily service at around 6am; thus, I had to spend a night in the airport in order to check-in on time.

10 May 2013

The kinky toys of Chinatown

These photos resulted from a walk along Little Bourke Street, one gloomy Melbourne evening, last winter. Melbourne's Chinatown extends along Little Bourke Street, between Swanston and Spring Streets. It's know for its wonderful Asian restaurants, offering cuisine from all over the Asian continent. But it seems something else has infiltrated