Playing with Fire

Vanuatu Fire Show

I saw an incredible fire show while on holiday in Vanuatu last week. This group of young people mesmerised us all with their dexterity and bravado. They performed just a few feet from the restaurant tables at my resort (Eratap Beach Resort). Here’s an interesting story about how the group was set up.

“Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele was the music for one of the pieces in the show (the photo above where the woman is twirling an umbrella of fire).

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Travel Album: Brisbane Breakaway

I went up to Brisbane last Friday for a work event, and stayed on for the weekend. That’s not a lot of time to see a city, but I had an enjoyable break nonetheless. Seems like a good candidate for Travel Photo Mondays.

(click any photo in the gallery to expand to full size; hover your mouse over an image to see the caption)

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Travel Album: South Padre Island (Texas)

Gone fishin’

On one of the few sunny days during my Christmas visit to south Texas, we went to South Padre Island to fish. People tend to imagine Texas as all cattle and oil wells, not thinking of that long coastline that curves along the Gulf of Mexico. For Travel Photo Mondays (sorry, I’m a couple of days late), here, perhaps, is a new slant on Texas.

I am not a morning person: the only time I tend to see a sunrise is when I'm on the 4am-8am watch while sailing. But even I could appreciate the beauty of the sun emerging from a low bank of clouds and illuminating the still waters of the bay.

I am not a morning person; the only time I tend to see a sunrise is when I’m on the 4am-8am watch while sailing. But even I could appreciate the beauty of the sun emerging from a low bank of clouds and illuminating the still waters of the bay.

To most people, South Padre Island means condos, beaches and Spring Break mayhem. Seen from the causeway, the high rise hotels stand sentinel in the early morning light.

To most people, South Padre Island means condos, beaches and Spring Break mayhem. Seen from the causeway, the high rise hotels stand like sentinels in the early morning light.

Even the dogs had fun!

Even the dogs had fun!

Portuguese Man of War jellyfish. I was stung by one of these in Durban, and took my revenge on the entire species by propping this one up in the sun to photograph it.

Portuguese Man of War jellyfish. I was stung by one of these in Durban, and took my revenge on the entire species by propping this one up in the sun to photograph it.

Another Portuguese Man of War, looking rather pretty and oh-so innocent.

Another Portuguese Man of War, looking rather pretty and oh-so innocent.

Heading into the surf to do battle with the waves.

Heading into the surf to do battle with the waves.

Focus on fishing (well, the rod and reel, anyway).

Focus on fishing (well, the rod and reel, anyway).

They also serve who only stand and wait.

They also serve who only stand and wait.

Got one! Alas, it was only a huge wodge of seaweed.

Got one! Alas, it was only a huge wodge of seaweed.

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Travel Album: New Zealand

Bay of Islands

I recently spent eight days sailing along the north-east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Some images from the stunning Bay of Islands area seem a fitting contribution to Travel Photos Monday.

This formation is known as "the hole in the rock". No kidding.

This formation is known as “the hole in the rock”. No kidding.

Early morning, Opua.

Early morning, Opua.

The Pohutukawa is also known as the Christmas Bush because it flowers in December.

The Pohutukawa is also known as the Christmas Bush because it flowers in December.

The path from Opua to Paihia passes pebble beaches, mangroves and tree ferns.

The path from Opua to Paihia passes pebble beaches, mangroves and tree ferns.

The public toilets in Paihia have three of these perched along the roof.

The public toilets in Paihia have three of these perched along the roof.

On Motuarohia (Roberton) Island, a 450-metre (490-yard) climb is rewarded with sweeping views.

On Motuarohia (Roberton) Island, a 450-metre climb is rewarded with sweeping views.

A photomerged panaroma from the viewpoint on Motuarohia (Roberton) Island.

A photomerged panaroma from the viewpoint on Motuarohia (Roberton) Island.

Grasses growing along the shoreline.

Grasses growing along the shoreline.

A pod of dolphins came to visit! That's my ship, Lord Nelson, in the background.

A pod of dolphins came to visit! That’s my ship, Lord Nelson, in the background.

Dinner on Lord Nelson after a long day spent lazing on the beach.

Dinner on Lord Nelson after a long day spent lazing on the beach.

Even paradise looks a bit dismal in the rain.

Even paradise looks a bit dismal in the rain.

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You can’t get there from here

This post is my first entry in Cee’s Which Way Challenge — and, sneakily, it’s also my second entry in Travel Photos Monday. Two challenges for the price of one! All the photos are of signposts I came across while ‘rambling’ — a delightful English word for putting on walking boots and getting close to nature.

The Cotswold Way: quintessential English countryside.

The Cotswold Way: quintessential English countryside.

Coming down from Beachy Head, on the way back to Eastbourne in the distance.

Coming down from Beachy Head, on the way back to Eastbourne in the distance.

The 'Lost' Gardens of Heligan: not so lost any more!

The ‘Lost’ Gardens of Heligan: not so lost any more!

A lock near Stratford-upon-Avon. I was living in London at the time, and the train took a lot less than the 85 hours this sign says it would take by canal boat!

A lock near Stratford-upon-Avon. I was living in London at the time, and the train took a lot less than the 85 hours this sign says it would take by canal boat!

 

Travel Album: Kerala (India)

A few days in Kerala

Thanks again to Noel for inviting me to participate in Travel Photo Mondays. My photo blog has been up for only a few weeks, so I have no travel-related posts yet – but I certainly have no shortage of travel-related photos, and I’m always glad to share them! (Just ask my long-suffering family and friends.) Here are some images from a trip to Kochi (Cochin) and Kerala, India, in April this year.

Woman washing clothes in a stream, Kerala backwaters

Woman washing clothes in a stream,
Kerala backwaters

Man fishing from the bank, Kerala backwaters

Man fishing from the bank, Kerala backwaters

Inside a factory where they turn clam shells into powered lime (by hand), Kerala backwaters

Inside a factory where they turn clam shells into powered lime (by hand), Kerala backwaters

The window of a spice shop, Kochi

The window of a spice shop, Kochi

Men hauling in nets on a fishing vessel, Kochi

Men hauling in nets on a fishing vessel, Kochi

Goddess and oil lamps, Ginger House, Kochi

Goddess and oil lamps, Ginger House, Kochi

This poem is an installation left from the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, on a former warehouse in Kochi

This poem is an installation left from the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, on a former warehouse in Kochi

I arrived in Kochi by sea, on a tall ship called Lord Nelson. We had sailed from Durban in South Africa,
a voyage of seven weeks through both storm and calm. As we passed this building,
I was moved by the sentiments of journey, loss and separation expressed in these few words.
Chinese fishing nets, Kochi

Chinese fishing nets, Kochi

The waterway from the Laccadive Sea into Vembanad Lake,
around which Kochi clusters, is lined with these Chinese fishing nets, simple yet ingenious.
A net is lowered into the water and lifted again by a series of weights and levers.
Chinese fishing nets, Kochi

Chinese fishing nets, Kochi

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