Jan 062016

Shortly before stumbling upon the store full of hammered metal lamps featured yesterday, I found this guy working on making drums… except on closer inspection I realised that the things he’s making have nothing to do with the drums behind him. I never managed to find what he was actually making. They’re like little tiny table legs. There was nothing of the sort in any shops nearby.


Jan 052016

Walking through the markets in Marrakech is a disorientating experience, but it’s an interesting place to get lost. I didn’t get many pictures while in there as there’s just so much stuff it’s difficult to get it all in. This shop selling hammered metal lamps inspired me though and I spent quite a while trying to find a decent angle.


Jan 042016

The Champa Hindu temples called My Son are a day trip from Hoi An. We went on an organised tour but wished we’d just rented a motorcycle and found our own way there.

There was one strange moment when we were close to the temples where they made us all get off the bus to follow it across what appeared to be a perfectly sturdy modern bridge. On the way out, they didn’t make us get off at all. It was odd.

It didn’t take me long to wander away from the tour group. Most of the site was damaged by American bombing in the Vietnam war. You could see the craters from bomb blasts all around. I was pretty happy when I found this guy still intact.

temple ruin at my son with gargoyle like sculpture in center of the picture


Jan 032016

The full moon festival at Hoi An is quite the experience. At first as I wandered through the throngs of people on previously tranquil streets, I wondered if it would have been best to avoid the festival all together. The lanterns on the river were nice and all but the influx of tourists, and vendors thrusting lit lamps in your face, was a bit overwhelming at first. The brightness of the lamps versus the darkness of the city was even pretty disorientating as my eyes struggled to adjust.

During the festival, all electric lights in the old town centre are turned off and the city is lit by nothing other than paper lamps. After the initial shock it didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. I even managed to find my travel buddy who I thought I’d lost to the darkness at one point.  Wandering through the town I discovered it was about a lot more than just seeing the town lit as if in olden times. There were traditional shows going on (including some strange singing I couldn’t quite get into) and people dressed in traditional clothes, that just seemed to be enjoying the night. Each street you turned down seemed to hold a new surprise. I especially enjoyed watching these old guys playing a game I’d never seen before.

A quick Wikipedia search has let me know that it’s a chess like game called Xiangqi. It includes a piece called a canon that has to jump pieces to take them, generals aren’t allowed to face each other, and areas of the board are denoted as the palace and the river, restricting the movement of some pieces and enhancing the movement of other. I think I may need to get a set and give this a try.


two older men in traditional dress playing xiagqi vietnamese board game at hoi an full moon festival vietnam


Nov 272015

So it turns out I have got a lot of photos I worked up but never uploaded! This one is of the interior of the Pisa Cathedral, which is right next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. When you see the Leaning Tower it’s hard not to wonder if it was really worth the trip into Pisa. I’ve been a couple of times and the area is always crawling with tourists. The interior of the Cathedral, which seems to draw less of a crowd, is an impressive surprise though.


Nov 262015

While in Brazil for the World Cup we took some time out for a side trip to Ouro Preto in Brazil. It’s an old gold mining town perched atop steep hills. There’s a church with an amazing gilded interior, but you couldn’t take pictures inside. The church in this picture isn’t that same church, but gives you a good idea of what the town looks like.




Nov 252015

This temple is located in the Forbidden Purple City in Hue, Vietnam. You weren’t supposed to take photos inside the buildings.  I bent the rules a bit by setting up my tripod just outside the door. I had a scary moment when, after deciding the doors needed to be symmetrical, I closed one slightly and felt like it was about to come off in my hand!

I keep thinking that I need to go back to Vietnam. I may need to make a return trip next year.



Nov 242015

I went on a really good food tour in Marrakech. We tried all sorts of food from lamb cooked underground for hours to amazing sardine-ball sandwiches. As a bonus we also stopped off at some interesting spots, including the village bakery, where people would bring food in to be baked in the oven to be picked up later in the day.

If you’re ever in Marrakech I would definitely recommend it! You can find their website here:


Our second stop was at an olive stand, we were allowed to just eat all the olives that we wanted off the stall. The seller seemed to have an endless supply of different types of olives.