Friday, 25 September 2009


Sitting in the university cafeteria looking up at the white ceiling lights on a wet Thursday morning - picking at my toast on one of my rare early days i start to think, i've been 2 years already in this place... The same things, the comfortable routines and familiarity of the wooden picnic tables, cheap coffee and tea and favourite stalls. Its hard to believe. Time to move on? Almost.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


The setting sun over Wadi Musa, dipping into the Nabateaen's hidden valley capital of Petra. Jordan, June 2009.

Picture postcard - Al-Khazneh,
after emerging from the Siq

Breakfast at Petra.
Walking down from Wadi Musa and stopping at grocery shops along the way to buy bananas and freshly delivered bread (hobs) in the morning with a Frenchman and a Brazilian. Choosing our biscuits and comparing the prices of bottled water, buying 2 huge ones and having no place to put them - pockets? But smart enough to have more than enough for a full day out in the Petra heat and nice enough to share them later.

Strolling downhill into Petra, walking down the winding Siq and having a laugh about the Indiana Jones movie last night, and then stopping at the Treasury, al-Khazneh, and plot to uncover the holy Grail - guarded by 2 desert patrols sitting on the temple steps. Past sandy camels and plonking ourselves down on some tables right in front of the magnificent Treasury and peeling bananas and breaking bread, passing biscuits ("oh life is so difficult man...") and feeling the happiest ever - kings of the world - watching package tourists from the Movenpick fresh from buffet breakfast take photos and hurry on by in their safari jackets and sun hats... Amazing bananas - though expensive, swept off crumbs, draped on our keffiyehs, sharing a spare cap, and we're off to Petra! Today - conquering the Monastery - a steep climb from lower Petra in the valley into the hills above, a Sinai-esque task as we gleaned last night.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

the Istanbul Pudding shop

"Sometimes, dreams are as important as bread..."
- the Çolpan brothers, founders of the Lale pastry shop. Rory Maclean, Magic Bus

and i am transported back to Istanbul, to the Pudding shop, where 40 years ago paradise-bound hippies ordered sutlac, sticky sweet rice puddings, traded Nescafe and swopped travel tips on the bulletin board that more resembled a leafy tree, the first step on the long way east to nirvana - mythical Katmandu.

In its heyday, buses, trucks, hand sprayed Kombis parked outside at the Byzantine hippodrome, "the greatest procession of unroadworthy vehicles" and guitar strumming tie dyed freaks ever to make their way east overland to paradise.

images from

And today: