tip off

January, 2012

Welcome to Albania, where ice on the road gets the bus driver dancing

At a certain point I asked someone when the bus to Theth would arrive, at which he laughed heartily, said “minute!” and shrugged. So the two of us have just stood here, watching local life cartwheel by, until, just as we’ve given up hope, everyone around us starts shouting “Theth!” and pointing to an ancient yellow minibus that has magically appeared across the road.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Tếtness

For a foreigner, Tết is a stressful time, and not just because of the traffic and the short supply of individually-wrapped snacks. It’s also a cultural minefield.


The City of Mink: walking through Milan

“What is the fatal charm of Italy?  What do we find there that can be found nowhere else?  I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” — Erica Jong Binoy Kampmark writes: The city of mink, lying on ladies who seem to have stepped out of […]


Room for one more: how to ride a tricycle

Read the other parts of this series on public transport in Manila: part one — Room for one more: how to ride a jeepney  part two — Room for one more: riding the buses of Manila Henry Bateman writes: There is a truism, which I can vouch for from direct observation, that tricycle drivers know the longest way […]


Experiencing Vietnam, old school style

So you’ve just launched into a travel story. An amazing tale of bravery, derring-do and batik shopping in the face of extreme food poisoning. And you’re just about to reach the climax when someone pipes up: ‘Oh, Baluchistan. I was there before it was trendy.’ Yes, it’s infuriating. No, I can’t help myself. Because (with […]


A visit to the world’s biggest fetish market

Visiting West Africa’s largest fetish market turns out to be a powerful and pungent experience not for the faint-hearted.


The year in review from Hanoi

With the new year just past, I find myself reflecting on 2011. It was a year in which Hanoi taught me many lessons, for which I’m truly grateful. I present for you some highlights of What I Learned In 2011: 1. Your eyeballs can sweat A year in Hanoi can be divided into three parts: […]