Seven days
Mar25

Seven days

We have walked seven days without a break. Bland vistas, long straight paths, ditches carved out with mathematical precision surrounding exactly squared fields. Rectangular plots planted with poplars. The only deviancies are the quiet villages. Interspersing the sound of our plodding feet are the squeaks of lapwings, egret and heron screeches plus long discussions about whatever we've been reading. The constant walking has a...

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Sore feet
Mar19

Sore feet

Paul has been asking me how many sore bits I have, I can't think why he wants to know- it's not as if I would ever go on about ailments. But I am aching and swelling in about five regions including of course, feet. Giant blisters have erupted and we have walked for only two days. Meanwhile Paul is gliding on his amazing new footwear like Jesus on water, and he doesn't have a single sore bit! This region around Milan is...

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Buddhist chanting in a German stupa
Mar14

Buddhist chanting in a German stupa

Lumbini, birthplace of the Buddha. But I'll leave the most of that place to Paul to describe, apart from the German built stupa- a temple if you like, that we wandered into as part of our cycle trip around what I can only describe as a spiritual Disneyland. We heard what I thought was a tape being played but as we stepped into the stupa seated on the floors were several hundred maroon clad monks. Sounds of drums, clashing symbols,...

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Agra, Shit and the Mahal
Mar09

Agra, Shit and the Mahal

  I'm in awe of the people of Agra. This ancient city is famous for the Mughal palace of Fatehphur Sikri , theTaj Mahal , chemical factories, heavy pollution and is also dripping in raw sewage sandwiched in layers of plastic. The taxi nosed down the road in the business quarter of Agra dodging black pools of liquid, refuse, street shacks , all the usual , then glittering in the weak light and heat steps out a vision in pale...

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Tea at the Imperial Hotel Delhi
Mar03

Tea at the Imperial Hotel Delhi

Monday 3 o'clock in the afternoon in central Delhi, 9:30 AM Monday morning back home. We are perched in the tea room of one of the smartest hotels in Delhi. A tiny bit of equilibrium is just nudging me around the edges. Out there on the dusty, car beeping six lane road, ( lanes are inappropriate, it's just the wacky races), seven-year-olds are selling balloons and roses, beggars hold up their hands on the car windows and whole...

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Convents & Communions
Oct14

Convents & Communions

The lamp in between our narrow white beds is handmade. The base is made of three little statues melded together, but it’s the shade that I can’t stop looking at. It looks like someone, a nun probably, used a bit of altar cloth, a metre of dusty ancient gold braiding and some other material ; a semi opaque parchment like stuff with Latin drawn on it. Wasn’t there an unwholesome trend in the past to use human skin in...

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