Living the High Life

The Highline was formerly an elevated railway through west Manhattan. Built in 1934, it operated until 1980. It’s hard to understand why elevated railways existed, because they’re extremely ugly and noisy infrastructure, but I guess they were cheaper than underground railways. Here’s what the Highline looked like soon after it opened: After the line closed,…

So long, Frank Lloyd Wright

A slight detour on our return journey from Niagara Falls took us to the nearby city of Buffalo. The once great and prosperous city on Lake Ontario probably deserves more time, but we were on a tight schedule, and there was only one place I allowed myself – the Martin Prairie House, designed by Frank…

Niagara Falls in Winter

The Niagara Falls area is a huge tourist attraction for Americans and Canadians and, as I discovered, people from all over the world. But that is in summertime. In winter it is freezing cold and much of the tourist hordes stay away. For good reason, we discovered – when we arrived there after a strenuous…

“Sad!”

​I am above the clouds, Houston to New York. It is two days after Donald Trump’s inauguration. It is unlikely that I will ever visit Houston again. To quote the Great Man’s favourite word: “Sad!”.  Houston indeed struck me as a sad place. A city of millions, it was virtually deserted. On the downtown streets,…

The Customs Guy

​I was kind of curious what might occur entering the US with an Iranian visa in my passport. Well, I wasn’t taken to the little room, but it didn’t escape without comment either.  The customs guy had a voice like Droopy Dog. “Are you travelling alone, or with family?”, he asked. “With family”, I replied….

Farewell, Iran!

The formal tour over,  Danielle, Chrisna and I decide to pay a visit to Tehran’s Tabiat – or “nature” – Bridge. It’s a pedestrian bridge that spans high above freeways to connect two parks. Its renown is boosted by the fact that it was designed by a young woman architect and so serves to muddy…

Completing the circuit: Back to Tehran

Our planned early departure is delayed by a hotel that doesn’t start breakfast until 8.00. We head north towards Tehran, making a brief visit to Kashan, a well-off city about 250 kilometres south of Tehran – a place that has heaps of history and is a centre of the rug industry.

Esfahan. Or is it Isfahan?

Whatever. I’ll use Esfahan. This city is a delight. It’s cosmopolitan, clean and the people are friendly. The focal point, at least for the tourist, is Imam Square, the second biggest square in the world after Tienanmen. The square is reached through a lush green park, where people enjoy a cool respite from the punishing heat and…

Another detour: What is Shia Islam?

Before we progress deeper along the Iranian tourist trail, it’s is a good time to clarify the dominant (95%) Muslim sect in Iran, Shi’ism. To the outsider, the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam appear slight, even trivial. Both apply the confessional foundation of Islam, the shahada, and the five pillars of Islam. Both hold the Qu’ran…