The coolest guys at Pulau Jang school!
I almost feel guilty about sharing this. There is a part of Indonesia that is unspoilt, with beautiful beaches, patches of dense forest, skies in which you can see the stars and friendly local people with a relaxed attitude to the very few tourists that come here.
Would we want it to become the next Bali or Phuket? Despite my raving about it, I don’t think a blog post is likely to make that happen. Continue reading
Welcome aboard, madam.
Fairfax Media recently published my article on our fabulous trip on the train rated the world’s most luxurious. So now here on the blog is the full story on our envy-breeding adventure… Continue reading
Saltaire gets the colourful Hockney treatment.
Build a smart new museum and someone will complain that it lacks soul. Convert an old industrial site to a cultural facility and it immediately becomes a cool place.
Salt’s Mill was the thriving hub of Bradford’s booming textile industry in the 19th century. Now it’s an art centre, boasting the world’s largest permanent collection of work by Bradford-born and Yorkshire-resident David Hockney.
Thanks to what is turning out to be an inspired home exchange, Mevrouw T and I are spending the Easter break in Saltaire, West Yorkshire. Continue reading
Despite all the interesting learning experiences on offer at Telunas, the kids invariably have one highlight – jumping off the deck. It often makes the best shot too.
While the writers’ camp at Telunas Beach is supposed to be all about words, for me it’s about pictures too.
I’d bought a new camera lens and this was its first outing. It’s an ‘all-in-one’ Tamron 18-270mm, so naturally there are compromises of image quality at both ends of the range, though on the whole I found it did the job. The advantage of the big zoom is that I could get close to people without making them too aware they were in shot, thus getting a little more spontaneity.
And in Indonesia’s lovely Riau Islands, there is always something worth pointing the camera at. Continue reading
We don’t speak Bahasa, you don’t speak English, but we can all learn handgames.
Not many people visit Pulau Jaga, Indonesia. It isn’t easy to find. Google Maps doesn’t even name it. ‘Did you mean “Java, Indonesia”?’ says the Google search engine, trying as ever to be helpful.
No, I did mean Jaga, an island in the Riau Archipelago, two and a half hours by boat south of Singapore. Jaga is some 2.5km long and 500m across, home to perhaps 90 families, most of them supported by fishing. There are no hotels, no restaurants, no roads and no cars. There is a school, however, and we were invited to visit it. It was a privilege and a pleasure. Continue reading
At first I thought, ‘Damn! Look at that reflection.’ Then I reflected further…
It’s been a while since I entered the Weekly Photo Challenge, and this week’s topic ‘SELFIE’ wasn’t immediately appealing. I hadn’t heard the word until a few months ago. Then I decided perhaps I did have something to offer…
On our recent luxury train trip through India on the Maharajas Express we often found ourselves staring through the tinted glass as Real India, non-airconditioned India, slid past.
This shot, which had been consigned to the ‘reject file’ seemed to capture the spirit – fascination with what we were seeing, tinged with a little guilt that we were so insulated from it.
The writer was the guest of Railbookers. See www.railbookers.com.au
The Merricks-Red Hill trail. Nothing to write home about, fortunately.
Trust Confucius to put it in a nutshell: ‘Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.’
That’s all very well for him to say. Chinese labourers swarming round him, slaving themselves towards an early grave, while he sat under a shady tree thinking up a few quotes. I bet he had days he couldn’t even be bothered being pithy and original. And he fell back on the same old lazy start to every sentence: ‘Confucius say…’
By Mr Confucius’ reasoning, most of a writer’s life is a holiday, and so it must appear to those who do jobs that actually need to be done. In vain do I grumble to friends about producers breathing gently down my neck while deadlines loom (or ‘whoosh by’, to quote Douglas Adams). There’s little sympathy for a writer from people whose work actually matters.
But there’s a flip side to my relaxing chosen career; in recent years most of my holidays have been taken for purposes of writing about them, either for money or in a pathetic attempt to attract blog hits. In other words, they have been work. But not this time. Continue reading