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High times in Tajikistan

Once a crossroads on the Silk Route, Tajikistan these days sits uneasily astride Afghanistan, China, and some other tricky neighbours. That doesn’t mean its people don’t know how to have a good time. “Vous parlez Français?” asked Abdurauf Razokov. Surprised, I mumbled a schoolboy “un peu” to the elegant, silver-haired archaeologist as he got into … Continue reading

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Ladakh’s turquoise jewels

Once the preserve of the military, the lakes of eastern Ladakh are places of hallucinatory beauty. Just don’t expect a good night’s sleep. We’ve all seen it. Whenever Time magazine or one of its competitors brings out a story on the region and includes a map, a legion of unfortunate peons somewhere in the bowels … Continue reading

Terra aqua

Central Australia’s Lake Eyre floods once every 20 years or so. You can view it from above or wallow in its salty shallows, but either way, it’s like nothing else on earth. At Marree, traces of the past converge like desert trails, faint but enduring. A 1950s-era locomotive rusts on its bogies, a shunting yard behind … Continue reading

A suitable sahib

Reviewed by Catherine Anderson The women who populate the richly redolent pages of Anne de Courcy’s The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj had, we are led to understand, one overpowering goal, and one alone: to hook, and marry, an eligible bachelor. This apparently was the aim of any self-respecting Victorian miss who, if still unmarried at 22, was considered … Continue reading