Around the world in eighty days - how to quench your thirst for travel ...
Can’t wait to go travelling again but for now …
I put my keys in the door (key ring Zanzibar 2008) and open it. I'll never forget the lively vibe and history in Stone Town and those amazing carved doors. I hang my keys on an Africa-shaped wall hanger (gift from South African daughter-in-law 2014).
As I put my bag on the table I glance up at the serene, smiling sun on the wall and the fan made of peacock feathers beside it (Boudhanath, Nepal 2010).
They aren’t my only mementos from Nepal, one of the most memorable countries ever I’ve visited and the Tibetan enclave, Boudhanath, in particular. The singing bowl on my bedside table takes me back to circumnavigating the stupendous stupa, always anti-clockwise, with both Tibetans and tourists, and spinning the prayer wheels along the way.
I straighten the traditional Sumatran hand-carved lute hanging beside the bookcase (Danau Toba 2011). It’s an elegant two-stringed instrument known as a hasapi, a tribal instrument used for intimate, indoor meetings.
Beside my smiling sun hangs a bearded Burmese string puppet bought in Nyuang Shwe market. (Myanmar 2006) Burmese puppet shows (yokthe pwe) probably date back to the 11th century. Made of light wood, the puppets reached their peak of popularity in the 17th century and it’s still possible to see a show today.
Time for a coffee. Not everything’s bad. I’ve always loved painted glass. I reach up into the cupboard for my favourite - a delicately painted mini-glass, covered in dots and swirls, perfect for an espresso. I bought a set of them on my last trip to Tunisia (2019) but I’ve seen them in Morocco too.
Stay positive. It’s the only way. Hence the diary I’ve started and a daily entry of three things I’m grateful for. Learn to appreciate the little things in life. Need a pen. It’s a silly place to keep them I know. My beautiful hand-made beaded pouch deserves to be used for something much more important. After all it was made by a Boti tribesman high in the mountains of West Timor. It probably wasn’t the the work king of this intriguing tiny kingdom, whose families have been voluntarily self-isolating for centuries, more likely one of the Boti women. They grow cotton, spin it, colour it with natural dyes and weave it into the brightest ikat in the whole of Indonesia. Little did I know when I was there in 2017, and yes, I did meet the king, that three years later I’d be self isolating myself. Oh well, at least I’ve been there and done that, even if I didn’t get the t-shirt.