Pork chao long and cheese French bread - Pham Chaolong, Puerto Princesa

The origins of chao long in Palawan

Clean, white tables contrast with the bright blue walls of Puerto Princesa’s Pham Chaolong, as we enter in search of lunch. Fans high up on the walls circulate the hot summer air, and condensation drips from the glass soft drink bottles long before they make it to the tables. A simple menu hangs from one … Read more

Manila slum on the banks of the Pasig River, Manila

What happened to Manila, Pearl of the Orient?

It’s late afternoon in Manila’s Plaza de Roma. The green lawns, protected from stray dogs and litter by multiple watchful caretakers, welcome visitors to the city. Wedding guests spill out of the imposing Manila Cathedral at the square’s south-eastern end. Hawkers offer mechanical plastic toys for sale – “I stayed up all night, making them … Read more

Canal next to the Amsterdam Red Light District

Prostitution and sweet Mary Jane

First off, if you’re looking for a sordid exposé of all the dodgy things we got up to in Amsterdam, you better keep looking, cos you won’t find it here. By the time we got to Amsterdam and tracked down our hotel it was 1:30am and we were all ready for some shut eye. Knowing … Read more

Ngati Ranana representative Ros at Hinemihi, Clandon Park

Slice of Heaven

Whilst reminiscing over old times (all of which were, of course, set in New Zealand), Sara mentioned that there is a Māori whare nui (meeting house) in England. In Clandon Park, to be exact. Looking it up online, we discovered that Ngāti Rānana, the London Māori Club, was scheduled to perform there that weekend. And … Read more

Wives' room, Volkonsky museum

Living in exile

Aside from its proximity to Lake Baikal, which draws the majority of its tourists, Irkutsk is a town of interest in its own right. Prior to the 1917 Revolution, in which the Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, came to power and established what would go on to become the Soviet Union, Russia was an … Read more

Wood cabin and horses, Khatgal, Mongolia

Channeling my inner herder

When the sun came up in Muren I was still sleeping, but I eventually woke up, checked out, and headed out to find a minibus the rest of the way to Khatgal. It turned out that finding the minivan wasn’t the problem so much as finding the other people who wanted to go out that … Read more

Swordfighter and Lady Hu - Huguang Guild Hall Peking Opera

Opera and acrobats

For someone who loves the theatre as much as I do, there has been a distinct lack of performances in my story to date. And when I arrived in Beijing, I was determined to change that. Being a huge city, I’m sure I could have found a Mandarin version of something like Les Miserables, a … Read more

Communist revolutionaries painting, National Museum of China

History in the making

I’ve already alluded to some pieces of China’s history, from the ancient architecture to the giant firewall that blocks sites like Facebook, but now really is an interesting time to visit the country. At my hostel in Beijing, I met two other travellers, Matt (from the US) and Sam (from Brazil). We got talking, and … Read more

Prayers to Confucius

生日快乐孔子

AKA Happy Birthday, Confucius! At least I hope Google Translate isn’t messing with me… Some time during my days of TV watching in Qingdao, I also managed to exert myself enough to flick through a Lonely Planet for Shandong province and discovered that Confucius’ birthday was coming up and would be celebrated in his home … Read more

Couple in front of a rainbow banner, checking photos

Bride of the Year

The morning after my walk in the rain, I got out of bed early, picked up my camera and finally set out to explore Qingdao. A German occupied city from 1898 to the outbreak of World War I when Japan took over the occupation, there is something familiar about the architecture in Qingdao. Just around … Read more