Christmas Carol From A Kingston ‘Long-Drop’

Beyond the Jamaica cruise stops of Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, there is an island world of richest stories, stories of suffering and dark struggle but told with lyric heart.  Who hasn’t danced to the reggae music of Bob Marley and the Wailers or been schooled by their torchy ballads of yearning for freedom … More Christmas Carol From A Kingston ‘Long-Drop’

Pitseng: Jetlag in a Kalahari Hamlet

Consider the French word, dépaysé.  It aptly describes travelers who after long east-west travels clamber off holiday jets in the likes of Hawaii, the Costa del Sol, Capetown or Baku.  The French term means literally ‘un-countried’. Otherwise, in English, it can mean ‘dazed’ or ‘bewildered’. For moderns accustomed to the reach of transcontinental jets, it … More Pitseng: Jetlag in a Kalahari Hamlet

Side Street in Phnom Penh (II): Of Nightmares and ‘Speakeasy’

Faithful rule-of-thumb in travels: the richest stories lie in the side streets, the smoky recesses of courtyards and tea stalls.  My Sunday meander down an alley in Phnom Penh ran true to form. Having heard the account of a young Khmer musician’s love of a grandfather (see previous post), I waited in a church anteroom … More Side Street in Phnom Penh (II): Of Nightmares and ‘Speakeasy’

Side Street in Phnom Penh: Music From a Grandfather’s War Wounds

On a side street in downtown Phnom Penh, Cambodia, you’ll find a homely little Anglican church.  If you saunter by of a Sunday, as I did not long ago, you might notice that several people linger on the premises after morning services.  It was enough, at my visit, to draw me in, on the chance … More Side Street in Phnom Penh: Music From a Grandfather’s War Wounds

What Terror From the Deep Can Leave Behind (II) Night Bus to Mandalay – and to a Tsunami Story

There is hardly any place name, with the possible exception of ‘Shangri-La’, that is quite so evocative as ‘Mandalay’. Nearly all of its associations for the West are Kipling-esque ‘images of oriental kingdoms and tropical splendor’*. Dozens of book titles, songs and hotel names have ridden the crest of those images to fame and riches. … More What Terror From the Deep Can Leave Behind (II) Night Bus to Mandalay – and to a Tsunami Story

Tsunami: What Terror From the Deep Can Leave Behind. (I)

In these last hours, video has captured a tsunami rolling ashore in the town of Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Ten-foot waves can be seen in the background sweeping structures, palm trees and debris before them. The death toll, sure to rise, stands at 830. The images recalled what the world observed in horror on December 26, … More Tsunami: What Terror From the Deep Can Leave Behind. (I)