There are things that you’re supposed to do in Cappadocia. Four wheel driving through the valleys, taking a tour of an underground city, and of course, the ubiquitous hot air balloon rides that set off in the first flush of dawn. Our well meaning Hotel manager Amir tried to encourage us to sign up to various tours every morning at breakfast. But what he didn’t realise that simply sitting there on the terrace eating breakfast and looking around was enough to fill me to the brim. We kept extending our stay because we were so enamoured with the place. Sometimes you travel to such a well documented location and feel completely underwhelmed and tourist trapped. And sometimes, like this time, you get under the skin of a place and feel like you are the first to discover it.
Here’s to a summer spent in New Zealand …
Car stereo doesn’t work. Used the Warehouse voucher that was a Christmas present to buy batteries for the boombox, a 3 disc 90’s compilation and sunscreen. Pull over to pose with exuberant hydrangea bushes, small towns are so delicious. Head to where the river mouth meets the ocean. Black sand strewn with driftwood. Quad bikes hoon. Fish and chips and coleslaw and an icy Asahi to share. A caramel coloured shetland pony nibbles on the parched grass by the skatepark. Sun setting on sea-side neighbourhoods. Drinking green tea in the tent. Bananas growing in the far-north, an experimental vineyard planted by an early settler. Barefoot boys run across bubbling puddles towards the Ngawha Springs. Silty, hot, black and sulphuric. Skin as soft as silk. Out of time New Year countdowns drifting across a wide undulating field. Heavy winds and car headlights. Catching a bouquet. Playing scrabble in a caravan late at night. Plunging into a freezing pool of myth and legend then climbing out into the pure hot sunshine. Burn-outs listening to TLC. Floating in the sun-warmed shallows at dusk holding a can of DB. Six voices singing/shouting Bohemian Rhapsody. Kicking triumphant arcs of sea-water. Continue reading
Fat droplets from a morning shower slid down the windows of the cable car as we rose steeply through a pine tree gully. Encased in cloud, we could only catch glimpses of our surroundings. Above the mist the sun was searingly bright, revealing a plateau of fresh green grass and limestone. Valleys of unmelted snow in the distance. I waved to a group of school children ready to board the cable car we had just come out of. As they descended I didn’t realise they would be the last people we would see until nightfall.
This is a snippet from my story Hotel Transylvania about hiking atop the Bucegi Mountains in Romania. Check out the whole story on The Adventure Handbook
At a certain time of day in the boisterous, overflowing centre of Istanbul – the after dinner before sunset golden time – the skinny, steep streets are packed with kids. Football, skipping ropes, bicycle races, blowing bubbles, intimate made up games. Dancing and running and leaping across the sun washed pavements. Giggling with best friends. Hamming it up for the camera. Burning scraps of newspaper, flames held aloft. Faces upturned towards the mothers in head scarves propped up on all the window sills. Pleading for a few lira to buy an ice-cream.
Most of my friends in London live in and around Hackney in the East and I fell in love with the vibrant multiculturalism, the council estates right next to cafes serving cold brew coffee. Beautiful parks filled with tiny portable bbqs, pubs serving antipodean craft beers with their mushy peas, and an astounding number of fried chicken shacks and delicious curry joints. For better or worse gentrification is seeping into this neighbourhood. But hopefully it’ll stop here. Liss is a costume and production designer for film and television in London, plus she is always creating wild outfits to wear at summer festivals across Europe, so her Hackney bedroom is overflowing with hats, wigs, scarves, sunglasses, fur, leather, paisley and sequins. While staying with her recently I coerced her into playing dress-ups with me on the streets of her neighbourhood. While she was initially hesitant, the shoot coincided with Lissy’s philosophy about clothing: Continue reading
Creamy greyblue skies. A diffusion filter caused by pollution. 24 million people cutting corners on mopeds, singing karaoke in parks, sauntering down tiny lanes and riding escalators to consumer heaven.
And everywhere, all the time, the habitual blaring of car, truck, bus and scooter horns. A perfect cacophony of confusion. Ancient meets futuristic.
My camera lens is met with lingering, unflappable gazes. I am the other. And then there was the old lady on the subway who smiled and said I looked very cool. And the University students who told us that in mandarin New Zealand, wonderfully, sounds like Sing Sea Land.
Driving further down that way than you have before, not knowing quite where you’re going, following directions from the locals, that’s how you find the sweet spots. And how one of the last swims of summer was in a deep rock pool, clear as glass, surrounded by beds of mossy seaweed and crumbling ochre cliffs.
Featuring the lovely Sian, who also snapped a couple of me. Shot on 35mm film in Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsular, Melbourne.
It was hot, and the stereo was broken so we sang acapella All Saints, on the day I drove two hungover friends out of Melbourne, way way out, to Cactus Country in Strathmerton.
Just 10 bucks got us entry into the spiky wonderland. The excitement at the seriously amazing amounts of different cactuses there were meant I got stabbed and scratched quite a few times before I came to respect just how sharp the thorny beauties are.
When we’d had enough of the dusty desert heat we drove to the Murray River and dipped ourselves into the cool milky waters. We’d driven so far we were swimming on the border of Victoria and New South Wales.