The coffee seller of Tainan

I arrived in Tainan on a Wednesday. Dropped off by bus in the city centre, I meandered through exotic local streets on the way to my hotel, absorbing the hustle and bustle of this very Chinese city. Taiwan has its own unique culture…

Getting over “the shock”

Culture shock. If you’ve ever travelled, you’ve experienced it; if you’ve travelled as much as I have, you have experienced it in all the colours of the rainbow. I still clearly remember my first major dose of culture shock. Of course I’d travelled before; through my childhood and adolescence I spent plenty of holidays in…

The Russian Evolution

Among my many and varied talents (ahem) is the fact that I’m a linguist. And because I’ve used the words “talents” and “linguist” in the same sentence, which starts to sound a bit full of myself, and because I’m British and we don’t do that, what I mean is that I enjoy languages, I tend…

Men of the Forest: the primates of Borneo

Sabah, Borneo, 21 April 2016 I’m staring out the window of a 737 as we clear the coast of Borneo. Down below me is a sea of palm trees, one of the many palm oil plantations which have taken over the island in recent years, causing untold damage to the ecosystem. But from up here they…