My Photographs: Top 5 Alameda Botanic Gardens, Gibraltar.

Leave a comment

Alameda Botanic Gardens, March 2017. There’s so much natural beauty in and around the town of Gibraltar! I was sifting through my photos on the way back to Malaga when I realised I’d need to write multiple Top 5 posts to do the place any kind of justice. Obviously The Rock is the major highlight, but I was also blown away by the incredible fifteen-acre Botanic Gardens. Commissioned in 1816 by Gibraltar’s then British Governor George Don, the original park served as a recreational area for the town’s resident soldiers. A huge redevelopment program in 1991 resurrected the gardens after it had fallen into disrepair. Continue Reading »

My Photographs: Top 5 The Alhambra – Granada, Spain.

Leave a comment

 

View From The Muslim Quarter, March 2017. I’ve lost count of the number of palaces, castles, forts and royal residences seen during my travels. The Taj Mahal was pretty special, Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque not too shabby. The ghostly ruin of Slovakia’s Spissky Hrad was an underrated delight and Bangkok’s Grand Palace a monstrous love-hate experience like no other. In Spain of course it’s all about The Alhambra, a fourteenth century palace-fortress watching over the Andalusian city of Granada. A unique blend of Christian and Moorish architecture, with UNESCO World Heritage kudos to boot, today the Alhambra is Spain’s most visited monument. This shot was taken from Paseo de los Tristes in the city’s Muslim Quarter.

Continue Reading »

Noodles & Rice – a short story from China.

2 Comments

After a happy, prolonged period of stabilization and life-altering romance, I finally bid farewell to Belgium in the summer of 2009. Uninspired by life in gray, uneventful Brussels, my girl and I headed off to China for an unforgettable year of teaching and travelling

I was right on the verge of blissful slumber when the red dot flickered across my face, settling right in the middle of my forehead, jarring me from my restful state. What the ****? Straining to focus through my drowsiness, I could make out some manner of form standing to my side, a futuristic gun gripped in a small, pale hand. Aimed right at me, there was a lone beep followed by an equally unsettling metallic click. And then, much to my relief, it was withdrawn. “Thirty six degrees” purred the air stewardess with a robotic smile. And then she was gone with a swish of her red and yellow tie scarf, a faint trail of perfume hanging in the air. “No Swine flu for you then” chuckled S, rubbing my arm. And then she was asleep again, such was her ability.

Continue Reading »

Theater 4 – a short story from Qatar.

8 Comments

In the summer of 2001 I boarded a near-empty Qatar Airways flight to Doha. Reuniting with my family who’d recently moved there for my father’s new job, it was my first time living abroad.

——————

Back in the early noughties Qatar wasn’t the most exciting place in the world for a single guy. There were virtually no pubs or nightclubs to speak of, a non-existent dating scene and as far as live music went things were drier than the city’s surrounding deserts. (I’m going to pretend UB40’s depressing stop in Doha never happened).

The Sheraton Hotel – Doha.

For those literally unable to survive a few days without a drink, (all my fellow English teachers) there were just two options. A) Get an expensive license that allowed you to drink alcohol strictly in the comfort of your own home. Or B) Drag yourself over to one of the city’s soulless hotel bars (usually The Marriot or The Sheraton).

Continue Reading »

The Little Pronghorn – a short story from Qatar.

5 Comments

In the summer of 2001 I boarded a near-empty Qatar Airways flight to Doha. Reuniting with my family who’d recently moved there for my father’s new job, it was my first time living abroad.

——————

It was the winter of 2001 and I’d just finished an uneventful evening’s classes at The Language Institute. Gathering up my books and more than ready to head home, I hadn’t noticed Mona shuffling over.

‘‘Mr Lie-ton… my husband would like to speak to you’’. 

‘‘Oh?’’ I replied, the last of my students trooping off towards a squadron of waiting jeeps. Surely I hadn’t said anything even vaguely flirty? Been culturally insensitive? Or perhaps I was in for a weekly lecture on the benefits of converting to Islam?

‘‘He is here. Will speak to you now’’.

Continue Reading »