An Urumqi Fellow

An Urumqi Fellow

This Uyghur dancer was one of dozens who visit Urumqi’s central Renmin Park each afternoon for a great big melonga of lively traditional music and beautiful dancing. With a tone and rhythm closer to Istanbul than to Beijing, China’s far-western province of Xinjiang is a universe unto itself.

This was one of my favourite photos from the Eurasia trip – and is one of my leading contenders to work as a cover of the forthcoming BOOK! (now having cracked my halfway point of 25,000 words, I feel able to refer to the travelogue as an actual “book in progress,” and not simply a “pile of meaningless notes, noise and fury, signifying nothing… nothing gaddamnit!”)

To mark the rough halfway-point in this booky project, I’ll soon be launching the cover….. a good session on Photoshop is always a great (and semi-productive) distraction from text, text, text and more text.

Heavens Above

Heavens Above

The symmetries are dazzling inside The Registan, Samarkand. Look up, and you’re swept into a vortex of layered colour – it was a giddy experience (and that wasn’t just the stomach bug talking).

Uzbekistan was, on balance, about the most enigmatic experience of the whole journey. It inspired and frustrated in equal measure – never dull, it’s one the places I miss the most.

Quatrains for the Manchester Derby

This post comes like a bolt from the blue (or from the red, depending on your preference), having absolutely nothing to do travel, photography, Silk Roads or night trains. Just four little quatrains in honour (or in mocking) of tonight’s Manchester Derby. Kick those balls!

Ahem. Continue reading

Panda Party

A very happy Easter weekend to all – I thought I’d commemorate it with a little clip of these bad boys doing their bad boy thing, gorging on whatever they can grasp in their flat little paws. For reference, I was exactly the same way yesterday afternoon, but with Mini Eggs.

This was taken up in the Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre, home of red pandas as well as the illustrious Giant Pandas. Around 9:00 each morning, these adolescents are brought to a viewing platform and fed truckloads of bamboo, where they feast without shame before a handful of amazed visitors.  By 10:00, though, these guys are out for the count, lolling in a fibre-induced haze for the rest of the day.

I can’t tell if I think they’re pathetic or just merry little blobs of zen.