Zen and the art of bartering

14 Mar

Two small porcelain trays have caught my eye. Their rectangular bases and shallow curving sides are painted delicately; Cham patterns in muted greys. Now the fun begins. “How much?” The girl smiles. “Sixty thousand dong each.” I look thoughtful. “Forty … Read More »

Motorbiking

13 Mar

Absolutely the way to go here: typically 125cc, and that’s enough. Two things are needed. One, you must know how to control the bike. (If unsure, find a way of practicing at home first.) Two, forget all you know about … Read More »

Danang

11 Mar

With a few exceptions I try to avoid writing on my travels of things you can find out your­self in books or online. For instance the walls of Hue’s Forbidden City are ‘crumbling’ due to ferocious US mortar fire in … Read More »

Common People

9 Mar

‘Everybody hates a tourist’, sang Jarvis Cocker, the one phoney note in the most inspired song ever to emerge from my home town. It isn’t true. Tourists who engage – and part with much needed dollars – are liked and … Read More »

Saigon

8 Mar

The officials at Guangzhou (‘Gwongchow’, Canton in old money) International can smile but it doesn’t happen often. That’s not due to some People’s Republic edict; still less surly disposit­ion. The first time I was there they pulled all the stops … Read More »

Freak tide in Hornsea

2 Jun

Workers of the world: they always did know how to enjoy themselves given half a chance. Here a Bank Holiday Monday, spring tide, bracing wind and gorgeous sunshine all came together on the Yorkshire coast at Hornsea – and the … Read More »