The Mud of Rotorua

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

I stood in the midst of a barren lunar landscape. The whole earth seemed to be bubbling and steaming. Pools of bubbling mud were all around, and sulphurous fumes filled the air. Many of the rocks were stained yellow.

At dawn I'd watched as the boat navigated New Zealand's Bay of Plenty. Yesterday had passed circling Mount White, watching the volcano's steam and smoke rise into the air. Now the boat had docked at Mount Maunganui, home to perhaps the best beach in NZ. From my deck I could see the trails winding up The Mount as the little calls often call it. I like the Maori, Macao, which translates as ‘caught by the dawn’. Unlike Mount White, this volcano is extinct, and several historical pa sites (or villages) have been built here.

Rotorua is an active volcanic area. In the town itself, geysers and steam erupt in back yards; houses occasionally disappear. At first the stench of sulphur tainted everything, but soon I barely noticed it. The pools are of …

Wet Season in Hoi An

Yesterday it was sunny, ridiculously hot and humid. It took but a few minutes for sweat to cover me as we walked through the streets of HoiAn.

Clouds had been gathering all day, and during the night the rain began to fall. Heavily. With the rain came the wind. I woke to find a patch of lawn in front of our villa covered with coconuts and rocks. At times the spray from the ocean splashed onto our doors.

And this is just the start of the rainy season in Vietnam!

The Spaceship Outside MyWindow

A perfect view just on sunrise. Aliens, a spaceship, the futuristic world of the Jetson's?

A night spent in Singapore , and a quick stopover en route to Hoi An. Staying at the airport hotel I had this amazing view from my widow. Outside, the world was hot and sweltering, and tropical storm on the way. Inside, I was cocooned from the world. The hotel is designed with calming lights and a peaceful atmosphere for weary travelers; a twilight zone of perpetual travelers. I could have been anywhere.

Hence, the view onto the airport tower. Perfect.

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Vintage Drawing of a Dragon of Halong Bay, Vietnam
by EnsoCreations

Venice, Gondolas and Me

Although I have never been in one, I've always had a soft spot for gondolas. There's something incredibly romantic watching them bob up and down as they make their way along the Grand Canal, or hearing the water of Venice lap against them as they are tied up for the night.

The Rains of Laos

Anyone who has been to the tropics during the rainy season knows the feeling. The tension grows – and grows – until the sky can bear no more. The heavens open, and in a flash the rain falls from the sky.

This is not the gentle rain of a summer afternoon. It i s a tropical downpour, and as the first drops smash to the ground people squeal with delight and run for cover. In a matter of minutes the streets are deserted, and before long the street gutters are gurgling with water.

I had arrived in Luang Prabang, Laos, only a an hour or so earlier. The sky stretched deep and blue above me, and the heat and humidity were so high the sky was sweating. Somewhere between the airport and my hotel white clouds started foaming over the horizon.

Six Reasons To Visit Kyoto - A Photo Essay

I found this pair fishing by a canal in Kyoto. The Philosopher's Walk is a beautiful walk lined with cherry blossoms in the Higashiyama district. It begins at the Silver Pavilion and follows a walk taken most days by one of Japan's most famous philosophers, Nishida Kitaro - and also teddy bears.

10 Photos to Convince You to Visit Paris in Summer