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The sun sets on the RMS St Helena

It’s the end, as they say, of an era. Or at least it was meant to be. On Saturday last week, the RMS St Helena departed the South Atlantic island that gives it its name for what was supposed to

Two Book Reviews

The following book reviews were written for The Weekend Australian back in 2016. For whatever reason — probably the fact that I didn’t file them on time — they were never published. I’m putting them out there now for posterity’s sake. From the review

Postcard from nowhere

Every morning in Transnistria, the self-proclaimed Eastern European country that no other country recognises, there’s a run on the banks. You wouldn’t think there would be much demand for a currency like the Transnistrian ruble, which doesn’t have an ISO

Soaking wet at Songkran

Songkran is not the best time of year to be a correspondent in Pattaya. It’s not that the story you’re after – a hard-hitting piece on sex tourism, naturally – has gone anywhere. Given the Thai New Year tradition of

The only Australian in Bali

The fastest way to find a cockfight in Ubud is to find yourself a man with a cock. (The double entendre, as Clifford Geertz put it in his seminal piece on the Balinese cockfight, is entirely deliberate: “For it is

Keeping tourists safe in Vietnam: Calls for foreigners’ police force

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have again raised the prospect of establishing a tourism police force to make the burgeoning travel industry safer after a reported surge in street crimes. Just last week, one person was killed and at least

The train to Quảng Ngãi

It was in the canteen car of the late-night service that the Vietnam veteran finally told me his story. We’d been friends for months, regulars at a Louisiana-themed bar off Saigon’s Bùi Viện backpacker strip, but his time in-country was,

A ramble ’round Hội An

Named for Vietnam’s ubiquitous dish of water spinach and garlic, Morning Glory in Hội An’s ancient town regularly packs them in. One of local restaurateur Trinh Diem Vy’s four local eateries (Ms Vy, as she is known, also runs Melbourne’s