Lunch with Mr Noon and his family
Of course the main reason to visit Siem Reap is to see the temples of Angkor. But it’s possible to get ‘templed out’ so it’s good that there are alternative activities and places to explore between temple visits.
Shanti Arts: inspired by world travel
As much as the sights we see, it is the people we meet who make travel so rewarding and so memorable. Whether close to home or on the other side of the world, an interesting encounter can really bring a place to life. A few years ago we had just such an encounter in Seaton Sluice, a coastal village north of Newcastle in north east England.
Saying prayers for Korean reunification
One person I did not expect to meet in North Korea was a monk. In this famously atheist country, where tourists are forbidden to disseminate religious texts and the prevailing religion might be said to be belief in the supremacy of the Dear Leaders and the Juche idea, true religious conviction is hard to find. And I am still unsure whether or not I found it here.
Lunch with a Bedouin family in Oman
Salma is an Omani Bedouin. She lives part of the time in a tent on the fringes of the vast Wahiba Sands; and part of the time in a modern house in the nearby town of Bidiyyah. She wore the traditional Bedouin face mask, designed to protect from sandstorms and the elements in general, as she and her daughter in law served our lunch of traditional bread, rice, dhal, chicken, fish and salad.
Gallery: a traditional Keralan Kathakali performance
In a simple room in old Fort Kochi, Kerala, a young man is gradually transforming himself. In one hand he holds a small mirror; in the other the fine brush with which he applies paint to his face. An audience of tourists watches agog, cameras flashing, phones held aloft.
Traditional textiles in San Antonio Palopo
There is something a little bit different about San Antonio Palopo, one of the smaller villages on Lake Atitlàn. Most of the villages in this part of Guatemala are Tz'utujil, where bright reds and embroidered flowers are the preferred shades for huipiles, the traditional embroidered blouses. But the people of this village are Cakchiquel Maya; and almost without exception every woman and girl wears the same lovely shades of blue in narrow vertical stripes.
A dhobi wallah in Fort Cochi, Kerala
At the Dhobi Khana in Fort Cochi, Kerala, nothing much has changed since the first Tamil dhobis were brought in by the Dutch Army 300 years ago to wash their uniforms. Today it is still operated by descendants of those original families, who live and work here as they have done for generations.
A Sunday evening by the Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh
On a Sunday evening the promenades along Phnom Penh’s two rivers, the Tonle Sap and the Mekong, are thronged with people. Families come out to enjoy the cooling air. Monks in traditional robes sit talking quietly in small groups. Boats ply the waters, ferrying their passengers to the opposite bank or on pleasure cruises.
Gallery: a visit to Takayama’s morning market
Takayama is a mountain town, and the river that runs through it, the Miyagawa, is a clear mountain one. Every morning on its banks stall-holders set out their wares at the town’s famous morning market, in a long-held tradition.
Spending time with the children of Chongjin
Visit most countries and you will be shown their grand monuments, historic sites, beautiful landscapes. Visit North Korea and you will see those sights too. But they are also keen that you meet some of their people and see how they live. Carefully selected people, that is. In the city of Chongjin, where major sights are relatively few, we had the chance to visit two very different schools.