Travelogue

Oops! Customs and cultural awareness

Diff'rent folks, diff'rent customs

The world is a very diverse place, with many different customs. That is slowly changing with globalization, but we are a long way from everywhere being like everywhere else. It will probably happen one day, but long after we are gone. The image of the boorish tourist taking no notice of his surroundings has become…

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Japan – land of the rising tourist

Mount Fuji

Three times in the last two weeks I have had friends ask me for tips on visiting Japan. I’ve been going there for 30 years, for business and pleasure, and I love the place. But now I’m worried too many people are going there, and it will be spoilt. The numbers are astonishing. I looked…

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Walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Have you ever walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.? I did it today. It took me less than an hour and I got better views of the famous Opera House and Sydney’s sparkling harbor than from anywhere else. Bridges are there to be crossed.  And it’s enormous fun to walk them – you see your surroundings…

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Paris by arrondissement

Paris is the most wonderful city on earth. It is the most visited, and probably the most famous. I love Paris. I’ve been there more than a dozen times. I hope I will be there many times more. But my enjoyment of the city has improved markedly since I started to think of it as…

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Vietnam for the Third Age Traveller

I have just spent two weeks in Vietnam, backpacking alone, traversing the thousand mile length of the country by train and bus. It has been lots of fun. I leave tomorrow. I have met many, many Third Age Travelers – some, like me, doing it totally independently, some on package tours. Many have combined the two.…

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A Friar walks into a bar …

It was April 2016. We were in Ireland to witness the centenary of the 1916 Easter Uprising. After three fabulous days in Dublin we drove to Killarney in County Kerry, after stopping overnight at the sad used-to-be seaport of Cobh. Cobh (pronounced ‘Cove’ and called Queenstown when the English ruled Ireland) was the Titanic’s last…

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Looking for Geoffrey – An Outback adventure

I always think that when you travel it’s good to have a quest or a goal to shape your adventures. It could be finding the Seinfeld diner in New York, following in the footsteps of John Lennon in Liverpool, or having a glass of wine in every café in Paris frequented by Oscar Wilde. You…

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Confessions of a Buenos Aires tour guide

This is a true story. It is the tale of how I came to be a tour guide one of the world’s most wonderful cities. A few years ago I was taken down to South America by IBM to speak at a series of computer conferences. Our first stop was Buenos Aires, the wonderful capital…

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A visit to Bob Dylan’s hometown

I was in Minneapolis on business, visiting the University of Minnesota. About three and a half hours north by car is the small city of Hibbing, home town of Bob Dylan. I was so close. I felt I just had to go there. For many people of my generation Dylan was quite simply the greatest…

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Bangkok to Penang by Train

Many years ago I resolved to one day make the thousand kilometre journey from Bangkok down to Penang in Malaysia by train. Now I have done it. Train 35, the grandly named International Express, leaves Bangkok’s cavernous Hua Lamphong station every day at 2:45pm. It arrives at Penang’s Butterworth station at lunchtime the next day.…

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