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Showing posts from November, 2004

And on this pedestal these words remained:

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Hampi, Karnataka Hampi, despite its unprepossessing name, is like another world. Its old name - "Kishkinda", a city out of legend from the Ramayana - would be more appropriate. The landscape here is unearthly, dominated by vast jumbled ridges of colossal boulders, balancing and leaning on one another in seemingly unnatural ways, somehow looking crystalline and water-warped at the same time. Roads and villages are built in the shadow of these boulders, like handfuls of fifty-foot-high pebbles dropped by the gods, and it's hard to shake the notion that this place was meant for creatures of far greater scale than us. (It reminds me a lot of Matopos in Zimbabwe, for those of you who have been there, though leafier and a little less stark.) And then there are the ruins. The bones of the once-mighty Vijayanagar kingdom are visible all around the fields and valleys here, and doubtless hidden beneath as well. Hampi itself is built around an ancient temple to Vishnu domina

Goa with the floa

Palolem, Goa Here it's all about the beach. The single most perfect beach I have ever seen, two headlands anchoring a pale wide mile-long sunset-facing crescent. The thick fringe of coconut palms behind the beach shelters dozens of lodges and cafes-bars-restos, and the road behind them is full of shops and travel agents and Internet cafes, but it doesn't feel oppressively built up; the locals have kept a close eye on development here, and there are no two-story buildings or hotel complexes, and most people stay in simple thatched bamboo-stilt huts, rustic but civilized with fans, mosquito nets, electricity, and reliable if communal running water. The beach is big enough to swallow us all up and still leave plenty of space for solitude, if that's your thing. Or activity. There's a lot of activity. Swimmers and traipsters and sunbathers, of course, and mostly-placid dogs and cows wandering by, and Frisbee, soccer, volleyball, and cricket. That last is played almost exc

Dubai Mumbai Konkan Railwai

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Arumbol, Goa Ah, the time dilation of travel. It's hard to believe I left Paris only six days ago. Feels more like a month. Being on the road actively extends your life, I swear, at least in terms of perceived time, and that's probably what it's all about, innit? Well, "extends" only if not "shortens". Today I hired a motorbike and bombed down Goa's coastal road for an hour, incidentally violating every motorcycle-safety law known to man other than "no headstands while in motion": no helmet! no protective clothing! first time on a motorbike in 18 months! unreliable Indian bike with unfamiliar gearing system! narrow Third World rutted pitted roads, occupied by pedestrians, oxen, dogs, autorickshaws, oversize pickups, and worst of all, other backpackers doing the same damn thing! Gorgeous, way-fun ride though. (Dear Mom, if you ever read this; uh, just kidding, in fact I've never been on a motorcycle in my life, okay? Great. Thanks.

Too much is not enough

I arrived on the heels of a seven-year storm. Desert country, my ass , I muttered to myself as I sloshed through the inch-deep water flooding Dubai International's arrivals and baggage halls. The water had shorted out the baggage conveyor systems, leaving my planemates temporarily stuck; I, who travel with carry-on only, left them behind and hopped a cab, trying and failing to squelch a sense of soaring moral superiority. The rains had shut down all but one of the highway's outgoing lanes. Two BMWs and one Mercedes were trapped in a gigantic puddle that had swallowed the other two. I found a decent cheap hotel and crashed. Yesterday I explored Dubai, which is an interesting place and worthy of its own, more analytical post, which shall hopefully come in time. But today I want to tell you about today, which was one of my rare splashout travel days, in part because I'm flying out of here tomorrow and didn't have time to wander 'round on the cheap, in part because...w
I am delighted to report a slew of good news: my next book has a final title, BLOOD PRICE; the same name on both sides of the Atlantic, this time. The UK hardcover is scheduled for July 2005, paperback in March 2006. US and Canadian release dates have not yet been set, but probably summer 2005 as well. even better, Hodder & Stoughton have signed me to write two more thrillers over the next two years. Hodders has purchased the rights to publish these books in the Commonwealth excluding Canada; movement towards Canadian and American deals has begun. as a result, I'm off to India to research book 3, which is very, very tentatively titled BLACK BLOC.