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Haastaway

For the moment, Sandi and I are running a friend’s splendid B&B at Okuru, near Haast in deep South Westland, New Zealand, a wonderful change of scenery and task at the same time. http://www.collyerhouse.co.nz/ This part of the world is all about the natural environment, containing as it does some of New Zealand’s most outstanding … Continue reading

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Monaco to Haast

From time to time there comes a point when I realise just how lucky I have been to do and see some wonderful things. One of those times has just arrived, and struck me on the road between Wanaka and Haast amidst the spectacular scenery of New Zealand’s southern lakes and mountain country. That road … Continue reading

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Words Flying High

One of the few advantages to contemporary long distance air travel is that you can catch up on reading. It helps pass the time during the inevitable delays, hanging about at departure gates and long hours actually aloft. I have been reminded of this during two recent international journeys. The first was to Kuala Lumpur … Continue reading

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Syria Agonistes

There was, from the outset, a predictability about how the Syrian crisis would come to this, a global strategist’s calculation versus the terrible suffering happening on the ground. At present there are over 1.8 million refugees from Syria registered with UNHCR, with another 186,000 awaiting registration. In total, then, approximately 2 million Syrians have left … Continue reading

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Where To From Here?

There was a surreal touch to watching Rupert on the same night as the results came through for Australia’s 2013 federal election.  http://www.mtc.com.au/plays-and-tickets/2013-mainstage/rupert/ .   On the one hand there was a frustration at not watching the minute by minute unfolding of events, but on the other a relief over the very same thing. That was … Continue reading

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Istanbul Wonders

Every once in a while the traveller reaches a city long thought about, then wonders why the visit was not made so much earlier. That captures the last week for Sandi and me spent in Istanbul, once Constantinople and headquarters for the long-dominant Ottoman Empire, later home to the Orient Express and intrigue on an … Continue reading

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New Roads: Crimefest Writers, and Camilleri’s Sicily

After three days of an excellent crime fiction convention, what’s the next move? Go to Sicily and the province of Ragusa to visit the setting for Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano novels and home to the TV series, of course. Um, how did this happen? After a lifetime of research and a string of non-fiction books, … Continue reading

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Back In New Zealand

Whatever the artistic merits of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and the more recent Hobbit (undoubted in the former and more questionably in the latter), what really wins in the films is the New Zealand landscape. So much so that much of the tourism to Aotearoa now is focused on visiting Jacksonland, complete with … Continue reading

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Sihanouk Boulevard

There were no elephants. In the past, a Cambodian royal family funeral would have featured them, perhaps even to the point of one carrying a royal casket. This time, King Father Norodom Sihanouk was carried in a jasmine covered massive gold casket, conveyed on a motorised and stylised mythical flying animal, flanked by officials and … Continue reading

Cricket and the Politics of Representation

In the current round of the never-ending grind that is now international cricket, there are strong reminders that the game, like sport generally, carries strong social and political symbolism with powerful meaning and resonance within the broader communities involved. Take the Australia-Sri Lanka series, for example, in which a rebuilding home side is inflicting heavy … Continue reading

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