Cloudy Memories

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They say we dream every night. Most mornings though, as we wake, our dreams are quickly cast aside as we re-enter the real world. To save our sanity, our brains quickly discard what couldn’t, shouldn’t – and indeed didn’t happen during the night. Sometimes though, you wake from a deep sleep and for a few fleeting moments you are simultaneously in the dream and awake. […]

Old Continents and New Neighbourhoods

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The years seem to have flown by. I first touched down in Tokyo a little over a decade ago. Back then, having spent relatively little time in the Far-East, everything seemed new and delightfully foreign. I was wowed by the towering heights, bright lights and narrow alleys of Shinjuku and nishi-Shinjuku. But on returning to Tokyo this week – my third trip to the city […]

A Return to Winging It

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It’s late. And you’re lost. You’ve been driving for the best part of 10 hours. So you’re quite tired. It’s dark but you think you might recognise this part of the motorway from about 20 minutes ago. You scrunch up the map and throw it onto the back seat. You need a hotel. And a shower. Your standards are now pretty low. Freed from the […]

Huang Shan and the Big Yellow Taxi

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During my last few trips to Shanghai, something strange always starts happening around day three. I start to crave greenery. By day four or five, I’m starting to feel rather uncomfortable. When I’m whisking my way back to the airport – gazing out from the elevated highway or from the maglev on the urban sprawl – I realise what I’ve been missing. Nature. Sure there […]

Culture Wars

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Every sport has its own set of rules and traditions. Some are formally written down. Others simply passed on as a sort of etiquette, refined over the years. Take Golf for example. We’ll leave aside that it’s technically a game and not a sport. Much like tiddlywinks. Though clearly less physically demanding. Golfers, seemingly without fail, wear those ugly Argyle patterned jumpers. To the best […]

Hotel Tyrol

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Save for a few miles on the shores of the Baltic, the Germanophone world is sadly lacking much in the way of coastline.  What they lack in beaches, both Germany and Austria more than make up for with a thriving network of big resort hotels nestled in the mountains. Hotel culture in France has been largely ruined by the rise of now ubiquitous Accor Hotels. Ibis, Mercure, Novotel […]

Tumbleweed Towns

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The horror film 28 Days Later depicts a (fictional) post apocalyptic UK in which our protagonists struggle for survival following the release of a deadly virus and the collapse of society.  When the protagonists reach London they find a ghost city – the empty streets around well-known landmarks looking eerie without people. The scenes were laboriously filmed early on Sunday mornings during the long days of […]

The Do Over

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By their nature all sports are physical. Few sports though are quite so physical as the Ironman. Sustaining the body’s power output over a 3.8km swim, 180km bike race and 42.2km marathon is nothing if not brutally physical. But the Ironman is also a sport that, if not exactly cerebral, is at least equally mentally demanding. The decisions you make before the race play a […]