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Just like a Celebrity

Posted on July 16th, 2018

Another crowd in Babusar The crowd gathers in Babusar, Himalayas, Pakistan

…in India

“Hey man, I’ve been following you for the past three blocks” said the young biker on his aging Honda as he pulled up next to me in the dark.
I was trying to find my way around the outskirts of Amritsar (India), just across the border from Pakistan, it was getting late and I felt a little startled.
“Really?!” I replied feeling the sting of apprehension.
“Yeah, I recognise you. I know who you are” the boy insisted .
“Oh yeah?” I replied as I stiffened, trying to anticipate what might be coming next.
“Come on man, I’m your fan! I saw you on the Discovery Channel…. mind if  I take a selfie?”

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The Fairy Tail Homes of Sumatra

Posted on July 9th, 2018


Beautiful Minang House, on the road to Solok, Sumatra. Beautiful Minang House, on the road to Solok, Sumatra

I doubt anyone could travel through Sumatra and not be totally taken at the beauty of  the spired roof houses (the “Rumah Bagonjong”) typical of  Minangkabau culture. These iconic Minang long house dwellings have become a well known symbol of Indonesian heritage to the point that their features are often mimicked in the architecture of Indonesian consulate and embassy buildings around the globe.

Minang home decor is really like no other. These constructions ooze tradition and craftsmanship. Forged by the capable hands of local carpenters, many of these essentially wooden homes are painstakingly decorated with brightly painted floral carvings and looked after obsessively by their proud owners (women of the household most of all). Prominent upswept gables are easily the most eye catching feature of these structures that make the buildings appear as if stretched into the air by some kind of invisible threads. The onlooker is easily held in an admiring gaze, transfixed in awe as if in trance, completely captured by the simple beauty of the designs (I certainly was anyway).

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Guide to military check points.

Posted on July 2nd, 2018

Stolling Soldier-1 A knowing look from a check point soldier

An unfamiliar motorbike with a foreign number plate always will always raise interest and concern from the locals of countries excluded from mainstream tourism routes. Often it’s the youth that are the sharpest spotters of non native motorcycles and riders from far away and  the attention that comes from being recognised as an alien can prove to be colsest thing an overlander will ever feel to being a celebrity.  The attention is surprisingly overwhelming and friendly. Usually there are offers of hospitality and conversation though the questions asked tend to be repeated endlesly time and time again: “Where are you from?  How old are you? Are you married?” are amongsd the favourites. 

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