Category: Blogroll

April 24, 2016

Ayatollahs. Head scarves. Fanaticism. Nuclear bombs. Perhaps even revolution. These may be the first words that come to mind when you think of Iran. A country which is estranged from the West, which has seemed (at least until recent years) to rejoice in flouting the demands made by the UN and other international bodies, and which seems to revel in stoking its own concept of Islamic rapture: it is not that surprising that most people looked on in dismay when I told them that I would be going on vacation there with three friends. But if there is one revolution…

July 20, 2011

What will the next global battle be over? Received wisdom deems it will be a war between an ailing American and a rising China. Some point to a resurgent Russia instead, or those oil-rich nations with immense Sovereign Wealth Funds. Others, such as Tony Blair, expect strife to occur not over ideology, but over values, notably of the religious variety. Perhaps they are all wrong though. The next global battle may be peaceful. It is arguably already under way. With the globalisation of markets being the main paradigm through which countries plan their economic strategies, communication is pivotal. And what…

March 8, 2010

Hello all, For one last time, I would just like to thank you for all the support you gave me. I met my target by running the marathon in under four hours by finishing at 3:59:19. Considering that I am usually late for my appointments, it was nice to be on time for once. The beginning of the marathon was disconcerting. For starters, even before the race began, there appeared to be a devout group of people whom are best referred to as the Bin-Liner Brigade. Even if there was a possibility of rainfall (which fortunately did not materialise), I…

August 29, 2008

Travelling overland through China, one encounters an array of bathrooms. Do not envisage thrones replete with trinkets or sinks with saps, sanitizers and moisturisers. A sink is a luxury; soap, a myth reserved for Western movies. Yet, despite the disdain in having to clench your fists and discard your dignity, there is often no alternative. This is egregiously acute on long-distance bus journeys. The problem however is that hygiene abruptly becomes subordinated behind other concerns in such circumstances. Bulging bladders are placed on a pedestal of priority, yet, even such discomfort cannot conceal the horror – the sheer moral degradation…

August 2, 2008

Take me back to Thailand. At least there, the buses played Western movies, regardless of how crass (Terminator Three was particularly popular whilst I was there in 2005). In China, different rules apply. Maybe it is because tourism is catered towards a domestic market, or perhaps, that they believe their own movies are of a permissible standard. Indeed, the ones which I have been exposed to are professional productions, replete with suspenseful scores, climatic sequences and astute directing. The problem however is that the Chinese media always appears to be imbued with a strong sense of nationalistic self purpose. Most…

July 25, 2008

What the next hour, or two, shall entail is daunting. Negligence is not an excuse, but a fact. Every day, if only for a matter of seconds, I contemplated updating this blog. But as the content increased, so did my apathy, for fear of how long it would take to complete. So, without further ado, let’s begin. At some point, the pollution cleared, the smog disappeared (visibly that is, as, even during the Olympics, it will still linger in the air) and sun began to twinkle. That is irrelevant however. I must not digress; I must persist in writing only…

June 27, 2008

Innately, I have restrained myself from beginning this new travelling chapter with ‘So it Begins’. This is not beginning, but rather, continuing; whether from last summer or, indeed, my gap year, abandoning Manchester (again) feels more like a resumption of past endeavours than the generation of a new frontier. Thus, let me begin: And so it continues. [MEDIA=1]Click for audio enhancement. The film is rolling. And, like the third take of the same scene, little has changed. The night before I was due to depart, I had yet to pack. Why bother? I had only been home for two days…

September 19, 2007

Oh! The horror! Whilst in Hong Kong I was frequently given stern and foreboding warnings about the degeneration which is prevalent in China. Traffic is relentless and uncompromising I was told; in fact, if a car happened to clip your heel, it would proceed to turn around and run you over for killing somebody is certainly cheaper than and less tedious than paying insurance premiums. If you ask for chicken in your soup people quipped, they will give you dog instead, not out of spite but because dog meat is more feasible than a chicken’s tender loins. People are rude…

August 31, 2007

And now for something completely different. Following our departure from India, Jakey returned to Manchester whereas Pepe remained away from home in a far, distant land. Thus, we becomes me (hello!) and the blog continues from Hong Kong. My experience here has been wholly different to India. This is not solely because of its apparent disparity to India. Whilst yes, road traffic is somewhat civilised, neon lights glitter the streets and the food is sweet rather than spicy, my Hong Kong affair differs in the respect that I have spent the past three weeks working here as opposed to merely…

August 11, 2007

Take a deep breath. Slowly. In and out. In and out. What is it like? Refreshing? Hydrating? Relieving? As if life is flowing in and out of your lungs? Not for us. At least, not yet. By tomorrow India will be confined to our memories; part of a seamless web of distant eclectic moments, events and experiences that never quite appear real. Now however we are still in the country where pollution manifests itself into a corporeal substance of viscous, asphyxiating smoke and where vehicles garner their pride and prestige not through the size of their engines or the sleekness…