Travel Writing Competition 2011 Entries Page3

4 Films and a Funeral

I whipped off my top, stripped to the essentials and slipped on the most remarkable footwear. Nobody gave me a second glance.

More Details

A Cup of Perspective

It was mid-afternoon on a windy, white-washed day when we first saw the sign. The four of us had been walking non-stop since breakfast, heavy packs on our backs and waterproofs at the ready.

More Details

A nightly guardian

A true and close encounter with nature makes an impact for life. Many years ago I worked as a volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. One night one of the volunteers and I was lucky enough to be allowed to...

More Details

A Piano

Piano. In Italian the word has several meanings. The first of which, floor, begins a journey which leads to another two.

More Details

A Rhino Encounter

“Black rhinos are very aggressive, very territorial”, our guide told us, pointing to tracks on the ground. “This is the print of a black rhino. Look, come closer, you can see from the dung. It is fresh.”

More Details

A Travel Encounter Leads to an Act of Kindness

When given the opportunity, I will usually choose the road less traveled. This was the case when I had the chance to travel to Bogota, Colombia.

More Details

A Window to Africas Soul

Tomorrow I leave for my trip to Tanzania. I made sure I got my yellow fever injection and took my malaria tablets ( I declined the other injections which completely scarred me. What on earth is Meningococcal Disease??)

More Details

A Wreath of Humanity

It was a trip to Mumbai; the financial capital of India. The year was 2008 and Mumbai had just been struck by terrorists who had ripped out the heart and soul of the city.

More Details

Aftermath

The photograph of Jamil’s nephew was taken not long before he was murdered. It occupies a prominent position in this airy apartment in east Beirut.

More Details

Alonissos

Did I really want to spend 2.5 hours on a bus traversing the coastline of Greece, then another 5 hours on a ferry, just to reach the reputed beautiful island of Alonissos in the Northern Sporades?

More Details

An Elephant Encounter

The winter sun rose steadily over the savannah landscape of the Selati Game Reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

More Details

An encounter with a not-so-friendly Orang Utan

When people asked about travel encounter usually one will opt to tell the wonderful time they had and the interesting thing they saw however I couldn't say the same thing about my own encounter.

More Details

Bangladeshi Baby

I remember arriving into the capital city, Dhaka, for the first time and would return there many times over the next two years, having taken a job as a flight attendant for a Middle Eastern airline.

More Details

Bule Bule

“Bule, bule” I hear as I nervously approach the run-down shack of a clinic engulfed in a labyrinth of corrugated iron dwellings.

More Details

Bus 502

We were warned. Rumors along the backpacker trail foretold of a long, often intolerable bus ride between Hanoi and Vientiane.

More Details

Buzkashi by the Oxus

It took 10 days to reach Lake Zorkul. Our small group had experienced and endured day-long drives in over-full, increasingly decrepid four-wheel-drive vehicles on decreasingly bearable roads.

More Details

By Royal Appointment

Lady Jezeema sets down a tray of cardamom tea with curd and treacle and settles herself into her chair in the back room of her house that serves as her Batik art shop, just off the main road in Matara, Sri Lanka.

More Details

Caroline

I thought I had chosen Caroline. But looking back, I realise - Caroline had chosen me.

More Details

Chasing the Italian Police on Bicycles

The officers were putting their foot down; we were sprinting as fast as one can with 15 kilos of pannier bags stuffed with the essentials for life, but we could not catch the police car.

More Details

Chernobyl - Sharing a Tragedy

The three of us were about to enter the highly restricted exclusion zone around Chernobyl's reactor. Myself, a friend, and our guide - Yuri, in his noisy Lada. After a two hour drive from Kiev, we were at the first check-point.

More Details

Coffee with the Queen of Sheba

‘Sit there’, he commanded, pointing his rifle towards the sand- filled sacks pushed against the walls of the main room. The tiny three- roomed stone bungalow was damp and freezing, yet despite this...

More Details

Conversing with Dracula

In Western Europe, travelling in winter means Christmas markets and the thrill of classical architecture under a dusting of snow; in Transylvania, I found, it meant an opportunity to see sides of Romania hidden in peek tourist season.

More Details

Dawn Awakenings

“You must see the ruins of Olympos at dawn; it is better then. Everything is under mist and there are no people there. Very atmospheric.”

More Details

Dinkenesh in the Sky with Diamonds

“And how long have you lived in Ethiopia?’ the woman asked me as I stood nervously outside the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.

More Details

Dont Call me Junior

When visiting the archaeological wonder of Petra, right in the heart of Jordan, it is impossible to not feel a bit like Indiana Jones.

More Details

Economy Train Experience

In Indonesia going by train in economy class can be annoying and interesting as well. The ticket is quite cheap only 4000 rupiah (Rp.4000) to get this old fashion train with reclining seat.

More Details

First trip abroad with our daughter..Thailand

The most memorable trip abroad was our trip to Thailand with our 2 year old daughter. This was the first time our baby was traveling with us so packing started much in advance.

More Details

Fishing in Paradise

I was stranded in a boat in the middle of Pulau Perhentian's harbour, surrounded by perfectly still turquoise water.

More Details

Flying with Bruce

Skyhawk II, a four seater plane, was waiting for us in the town of 1770/Agnes Water in East Coast Australia. Bruce, the pilot, asked us to draw straws to choose who was going to get the front seat.

More Details

Friendly Photographs

The youngest of the two sisters approaches, her playful nature shining through a timid smile. Loose strands of her jet black hair hang from a messy ponytail. I grin her way and wave hola.

More Details

Gili Meno The Blissful Hideway

It started a week a go, before 8th of October 2011. A friend of mine, Ache offered me to spend weekend at her home in Gili Meno.

More Details

Glitter, Magic, and a Troop of Wild Chimpanzees

At half past seven in the morning, with the Congo to my left and Burundi and Rwanda facing me, I sat with a small group of travelers as our boat surged northward on Lake Tanganyika.

More Details

Harajuku

Never was a single street so contrived to entice. The pavement of Takeshita Street in Harajuku was lined with flashing gadgetry and colourful signs; every shop along the road sparkled invitingly with lace and neon and floral attire.

More Details

Harmonica Beggar

Have you ever begged in a developing country? I have.

More Details

Highway 14 Revisited

The weather can descend fast in Wyoming, especially as it did on that day near the Big Horns, past Shell Canyon along Highway 14, a stretch mostly populated by soulful, lonely ponies and otherwise empty fields.

More Details

I met a man who lives only today

I met a man who lives only today. Like a butterfly. He never lives tomorrow and never looks back onto yesterday.

More Details

I Spy in Wyoming

Wyoming is wildly, unaccountably vast. Its relentless desert landscape, home to just half a million people, goes on for miles. Birds flap, hopelessly, in the blue void of the sky.

More Details

Inca Jungle Trail

GratefulIy, I was just dropping off to sleep when there was a strange noise directly above my bed. The day before, I'd cycled from a chilly 4316m above sea level down a winding mountain road through waterfalls...

More Details

Jokhang Temple

The Jokhang temple is the holiest temple in Lhasa, the ancient capital of Tibet. The first time I entered the temple I could feel the energy of its sacred history. Rows and rows of candles were casting shadows on the dark walls.

More Details

Lost In Peru

Conversation stops midstream. I’m the only fair-haired Gringo on the bus. “Buenos dias”

More Details

Lucky

I’m so LUCKY to have a memorable trip in China - I wish I could have said the same for our driver then.

More Details

Magic Man

We had been in Indian several weeks before our first attempted to watch the infamous Bollywood film. The theater experience, like everything else in India, was hectic and confusing.

More Details

Mind the Gutter

So I fell into a gutter in India.

More Details

Mrs Joan

“Don’t bother, I’ll do it!” an elderly lady said when I wanted to pick up a magazine that fell next to her.

More Details

Napier

I was standing beside the highway about 5 miles outside of Napier, New Zealand. I was headed north towards Rotorua and eventually Auckland and on the power of my thumb I’d made it out to the highway proper.

More Details

Natures Standing Ovation

I marvel at the ability of the dog skipping ahead in front of me as I lean forward into my stride, lungs burning. She sends another scattering of dust into the air behind her as she scampers up the sun-scorched path ahead...

More Details

One Night in Iraq

I held on to Roj’s pistol belt as he pulled me through the darkness towards a tree under whose boscage we could safely smoke without being seen by the drones.

More Details

Operation Cow Release

The cattle holding area reeked of fear. Lying or standing in their own excrement, the fly infested, bony creatures were fastened to dilapidated wooden fence posts by dirty ropes tied around their necks.

More Details

Penanjakan Bromo: A Kingdom Upon The Sky

Can you imagine how the sensational feeling would be, if you could see sunrise from 2770 m height above sea level?

More Details

Plate sized spider

The six legs of the plate sized spider begin easing its blue body across the wall towards the lavatory footrest. My son has already discreetly removed one scorpion from the soap rack.

More Details

Quo Vadis, Rome

The monochrome palette of Roman rowhouses cuts across the winding Tiber River like a batch of swords ferociously tossed into the midst of the battle. This is not Tuscany.

More Details

Rainforest Spirit

He slipped, bare-footed, in to our camp one night, bringing nothing but a machete hung on a belt of rattan at his waist, and the tattered shirt and trousers he was wearing.

More Details

Resignation Jakarta

My new boss Gary kicks his feet onto the dash board, wrestles a cigarette from the pack with his teeth and lights up. Late night inner city Jakarta and life festers like an open wound as we make our way through Indonesia’s crumbling urban decay.

More Details

Shih Dong Traditional Chinese Market

The plan was to stop by for a mere five minutes, but even before I step under the bright lights beyond the inner doors, it starts. Like the layers of an onion, what was first one big buzz begins to peel away and disentangle in pieces.

More Details

Silent Journey In Jeju Island

When stepping inside the building, I admired one spot with what we called it as a stationary object. That resembled a made-by-human massive stone. And that also a kind of part history which built in several...

More Details

Take a Walk with the Hawks

Five o’clock, we’re told, outside the courtyard. Looking up, I expected to see them soaring above our heads, instead a neo-gothic manor house dominated the horizon. Red Ivy crawled up the grey stone like...

More Details

Tales from Tennessee

I offered to let a girl call Jesse stay with me for three months, she emailed from New York State, except when she arrived ‘she’ was a he, Jesse; a man’s name in America.

More Details

Tea time in Mongolia

‘Pssssth… psssth… splat’ went the intestine sausage as our Mongolian nomad host jabbed the sizzling entrail with a fork, sending boiling hot yellow yak pus flying across the ger.

More Details

Teatime treats Singapore-style

If you harbour fond memories of afternoon tea in the UK circa 1950, surrounded by elderly aunties smelling faintly of Yardley’s lavender soap, with dainty sandwiches followed by fondant fancies and Victoria sponge...

More Details

The Bard in Kongowe

Sitting in a spacious, with and blue brick room, I gazed around me at a full (for once) class and found myself wondering what I could do to make them fall in love with the English language.

More Details

The Best Bus Conductor In Cambodia

When traveling alone in a foreign land, especially when you’re a woman, you must always be careful. Never give your passport or money to a total stranger and expect it all back. But, that’s what I did exactly.

More Details

The Case of The Missing Flip Flop

Don Quixote had his horse, Che Guevara had his motorcycle, Batman had the Batmobile and I've got Black Betty, a beautifully shiny black scooter.

More Details

The Destruction of a Species

One of the main reasons I chose to visit East Africa was the possibility of seeing endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. What I thought would be a highlight of the trip turned out to be one of the best days of my life.

More Details

The Hidden History of Batu Cermin

The beast scuttles across the roof of the cave with unearthly, silent speed. Like a minion of Hades, it darts and lurches, doing whatever it can to evade the splash of my flashlight as I try to trace its progress above my head.

More Details

The little girl with the mountainous spirit

The new day was slowly waking up to a gorgeous misty morning, in the mountain town of Yelagiri. The monsoon dew hung festively amidst the July sunshine, stirring a perfect weather, to trek up...

More Details

The Many Faces of Hanoi

One of the great things about travelling is that you get to meet a lot of new people in a very short space of time. Remembering exactly who they all are and what they all look like, however, is not always easy.

More Details

The Serrated Mountains of Catalonia

My bedside clock rang and with the sheer coincidence of the sirens from a passing-by ambulance, I startled and stared out of my little quaint hostel window.

More Details

The Treasures Of Kenya

The white sandy beach, lined with lush palm trees, is in the distance. The Kenyan sun is beating down on your skin. The wind is blowing through your hair. The spray of the water is cooling your face.

More Details

Tigers, Teacups and Terror

You’d expect to find wild animals in a zoo rather than an amusement park, however, Dreamworld on the Gold Coast is full of interesting contrasts.

More Details

Uncomposted Tickets

"I'm afraid you now owe a fine of €10," the benevolent French ticket controller stated matter-of-factly. "What? For not stamping our stupid train tickets? We didn't even know we had to!" retorted the Barbie-like girl seated in front of me.

More Details

Unknown

“There is a light on the Afghan side.” I put my plastic bowl of mashed potato down and stared hard through the evening gloom to the opposite bank of the river. To where we thought there had been no-one.

More Details

Viva Las Vegas

‘Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire,’ is how Elvis Presley epitomised the spirit of Sin City and as we stood in the apparently never ending queue at passport control, we felt a tingle of excitement at the prospect of our short stay in Las Vegas.

More Details

Where Eagles Dare

I could say that the thunderous “whoosh” of a large golden eagle’s wings as it took off from just next to me was one of the most astonishing things I had ever heard or seen.

More Details

White Magic

It had rained all through the night and though the dawn opened somewhat dull and damp, it didn’t look as if it would rain right now.

More Details

Wow

“WOW!” Her record stuck on the word for the next few minutes. She turned to me earnestly. “I rike brood”. “Brood” was spilling down the cobbles where stray hounds fought to lap it up.

More Details