Armenia

Armenia’s Velvet Revolution celebration and what to do when history happens around you.

Generally speaking historical moments are not something you can plan your schedule around. They are things that happen unexpectedly and end up being so important they change the face of history and thus get written down for future generations to learn about. In April Armenians successfully changed the political picture of their country by collectively taking to the streets protesting against the government in a movement that was so peaceful it has come to be known as the “Velvet Revolution”. Today, as I write this, Armenians are voting in an early parliamentary election because the acting Prime Minister is seeking a stronger mandate in order to continue with the reforms. Between today’s election and the velvet revolution in April they celebrated 100 days of freedom and I was there to witness it. 

Continue reading “Armenia’s Velvet Revolution celebration and what to do when history happens around you.”
China

Small town life in China Part 2: the kindness of strangers

Moving to a small town in China where I was the sole foreigner wasn’t all about being a celebrity , it was also about that incredibly alluring thing all travelers encounter on the road: the kindness of strangers. 

Continue reading “Small town life in China Part 2: the kindness of strangers”
Armenia

Street cobbler love

Once upon a time I was walking down the streets of Yerevan when my sandal broke. The sole had become partially unstuck – which made for some very awkward walking. But as I’m not Cinderella hence no magic spell  was about to turn me into a pumpkin when the clock struck midnight the whole idea of running barefoot back “home” didn’t really appeal to me.  Thus I shuffled along, slowly making my way back to the hostel where I had a pair of trainers waiting for me. 

A few minutes later one of my friends remembered he had seen a cobbler nearby the previous day so instead of heading to the hostel we went in search of the cobbler. His “nearby” and my nearby weren’t the same – particularly as walking with a falling-apart-sandal was proving more annoying by the minute. Then, there he was. I pointed at my shoe, he pointed towards his chair. I sat, took of my sandal and handed it to him. He examined it, carefully cleaned it, glued it back together and handed it back. I used the universal sign for “how much do I owe you?” He replied with a smile and a universal sign for “nothing, it was my pleasure”. 

P.S. With my shoe fixed, walking back to the hostel took less than 5 minutes. So yes, my friend had been right when he said nearby.

P.P.S. don’t know why I didn’t want to  take my shoes off though, I’ve walked barefoot in NYC so why not Yerevan?  

China

Small town life in China. Part 1: being a celebrity

My first year in china was spent living in a small town in the mountains in the south western tip of Shaanxi Province. When you live in a small Chinese town you get to experience China in a unique way and by small town I mean somewhere so small Chinese people from other areas had never heard of it. And more importantly so small I was the sole foreigner in the town.  Continue reading “Small town life in China. Part 1: being a celebrity”

Random Musings

A reading conspiracy

In my “who am I ” page I mention that I love reading yet I never mention books in my posts. The reason for this is because more often than not my reading is completely unrelated to my traveling. Nonetheless there have been times when I felt like an almighty power was conspiring to make me read books set in or related to the places I was visiting.

What do I mean? Well: Continue reading “A reading conspiracy”

Turkey

Why I spent 30 days CouchSurfing in Turkey.

It all started with Mustafa and Burç in Istanbul – two friends in their late 20’s early 30’s sharing an apartment who were our first hosts. They were our first peek into the spectacular world of turkish hospitality.  We spent an entire week with them and never felt we were overstaying our welcome, getting in the way of their lives, or pressured to do anything. 

Continue reading “Why I spent 30 days CouchSurfing in Turkey.”
Mozambique

Xefina, where nature and history play at magic realism

A few kilometers off the coast from Maputo lies Xefina, a tantalizing and enigmatic island best described as a combination of eerie and bizarre. Ruins of an old Portuguese jail and enormous batteries built by the Portuguese to defend Maputo Bay  during WW 1 and 2 engulf the Island with an air of history, tragedy, and death…  Continue reading “Xefina, where nature and history play at magic realism”