Dhows are traditional Qatari fishing boats that were originally used by merchants. Today these modest wooden sailing vessels have been transformed into comfortable boats equipped with most amenities and are used to take passengers on luxury cruises. more ...
As Umtata disappeared behind us in the early morning mist I breathed a sigh of relief at escaping the rawness of this part of Africa. It was, indeed, a short and unique experience and a vastly different environment from the Durban I had left a week ago. At the time I wondered if this was just a taste of what was to come and how I would receive and deal with the many facets of life in South Africa if I stayed for long. In the ensuing years I was to experience the vastness and diversity of this great multi-tribal and multi-cultural land.
I suspect South Africa is the only country in the world with eleven official languages – Afrikaans, English plus nine African tribal languages. more ...
For four years of my working life I lived in Wimbledon, and these days, despite visiting various friends each year, I can barely navigate my way around. The train station had no shops, and the dreaded one-way system didn’t exist; the only thing that looks remotely familiar is the village High Street. more ...
It was a combination of family concerns and a job opportunity that brought us back.
Settling in, though, has been much harder than we expected. Harder even than getting established in Panama when we first moved there.
You see, we’re not back in our old stomping grounds in Orlando, where we lived for 25 years. Instead, we’re in South Carolina. more ...
Every passing year is marked by the village fiesta in October and the weather has always been kind to us. This year, however, as fireworks exploded in the sky at midday to herald the start of the fiesta, we looked up to see ominous grey clouds gathering above the mountain tops. more ...
I was surprised and a little more than hurt to hear these words from a South African I’ve gotten to know. But I tried to imagine my life from her perspective: she sees me several times a week at a local coffee shop, where I read, write, use my laptop or chat with local workers. I could see she thought my time in her country was one long tea party.
I considered asking her to actually read what I write, to see that the books, chats, observations and photography influence my work and I hope that I, in turn, influence my readers to see South Africa differently. more ...
Benvenuti to all my Loyal and New Followers
Big fat juicy grapes, noisy tractors and trailers thundering past the villa, the air full of the smell of grapes being crushed and the smoke of bonfires burning the debris. That just about sums up September in our little bit of the Chianti hills. Hang on a minute, I jest, there is actually a lot more to tell you! It was the very last week in September when I finally got a photo of a trailer full of grapes. I could hear the tractors coming towards the villa, but never quite got myself hung out the window in time with my camera ready. more ...
It's my second expat posting, so while I'm not a newbie to "expat life", having bandied about the term 'culture shock' on this column many times, I've got to say, in all honesty I had rather naively forgotten how confronting moving to a new country could be.
Arriving in Xi'an, North West China last month, I knew no one - not a single soul, bar my husband and 3 year old daughter. We arrived at the Westin Hotel - our new home, in the middle of a grey, wet night. more ...
Let’s start with a stat. Two thirds of Europeans say house prices are too expensive. That’s according to a survey of over 12,000 European consumers by ING Bank.
It’s very possible that you’re reading this in the UK, and wondering whether that 66% have ever taken a look a property prices in the UK, and if they know how lucky they are! more ...
Robin Pascoe, the Expat Expert
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