Java Travels, December 2001

I worked as an English teacher in Jakarta for one year. The contracted holidays were quite reasonable: 3 weeks to take as a when, plus a week or so for Christmas, another week for Ramadan. The year I was there, I lucked out: Ramadan and Christmas coincided, and the two holidays were rolled into one super-long 3 week break.

I took the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of the island of Java, travelling overland (naturally), dropping in on such places as Bandung, Borobudur, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and hopping across to the island of Madura. Spending Christmas day alone on a beach at Ambunten, Madura, far from all the rampant commercialism of the festive season, was one of the highlights.

Delhi Deadlines by Sheldon Smith

A washed out journalist, posted to India to cover a bloody election campaign, uncovers truths about his son's life - and death - in the country, truths that test loyalties forged in the war zones of Bosnia and Rwanda. A fiercely evocative narrative of modern-day India, filled with the clamour and hot stinks of its capital, this is a novel of death woven through with life.

"The writing is very very good... the mysteriousness of Wyndham's death and the narrator's involvement will entice the reader to keep reading." - 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) Expert Reviewer


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