More than just kebabs and vodka. A guide to the cuisine of Turkmenistan


Enough for two rugby teams. The Plov man at work
Well, of course, you can survive quite happily on a diet of kebabs (also known as shashlik) and vodka (also known as a spirit that can burn the back of your throat off) while travelling around the country, as these are ubiquitous, and rather tasty, but there is a lot more for the adventurous traveller to eat and taste in this Central Asian country.

A Kamikaze attack on Colombo


The 1970's was a pivitol point for terrorism. The IRA came up with idea of turning a car into a lethal weapon of destruction by loading it with explosives and then detonating it across Northern Ireland and the UK. The car bomb soon became one of the standard tools of terrorist groups. At the same time, half way around the world, in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers were quietly developing the use of suicide bombings to such an extent that their methods, and successes, were studied and copied by terrorists around the world, particularly in the Middle East, Barely a day goes by now without hearing of a suicide bombing in the news.

Brewing up in Beijing


It had to be a mirage. A large frosted glass full of beer with a frothy head standing ten metres high in the Gobi desert, as the sands beneath were being blown into small drifts by the strong winds.

A ticket on a rocket. Dhaka.


You don't need to wait for Virgin Galactic to get their act together. You can buy tickets for a rocket today, down at the port of Sadarghat in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Of course this will not take you into space but down along the rivers of Bangladesh, and for a bargain price too.

Treks and Drugs and Chapati Rolls. Passu.


This is the Passu Cathedral. The magnificent snow covered mountain spires that reach over 6,100 metres (21,000 feet) surrounding the small Hunza Valley village of Passu in north east Pakistan. My plan was to find a good spot for a photo, probably just off to the side of the Karakorum Highway on which I was travelling, and then head to the border town of Sost for an early bus the next morning into China. Yet, exactly as Rabbie Burns had predicted in his poem about the dangers of making detailed plans over two hundred years previously, things went awry.

How to lose something larger than the Empire State Building. Shipton's Arch


It is easy to lose things. I have lost count of the number of decent pairs of sunglasses I have lost in my travels around the world. Yet to lose an arch, and not just any arch, but the largest arch in the world, which could easily fit the Empire State Building in New York into it with room to spare, well that seems to be a whole new level of carelessness.

Kashgar. The last stop on the Karakoram Highway

The Stone Fort at Tashgurkan
I felt like I was in Tajikistan not China. The clothes, the food, the way people dressed, all were just so Tajik. Yet I was in Tashgurkan, the first Chinese town on the Karakoram Highway which I had been travelling on since Islamabad.