More translations

Graham Stone kindly informs me that in Papua New Guinea pidgin, ‘My hov­er­craft is full of eels’ becomes the epic:

Balus em i no goupim bilong me em i pul­lup long lik­lik pela snek bilong solwarra

(Literally: My aero­plane (balus)  that can’t fly (no go up) is ful­lup of little salt­water snakes.)

Aeroplane main­ten­ance is quite a mouth­ful too. Propellor becomes ‘tingt­ing bilong balus em i go raun­raun’. If dam­aged, this becomes ‘tingt­ing bilong balus em i go raun­raun em i bug­gerup tru’.

All of which is just and excuse to say that we will be adding more to the blog soon, hav­ing just about recovered from the jour­ney home. And the pho­tos will be up on Flickr very soon, with a link pos­ted here of course.

Sound clips

  • Paris Gare du Nord: flip flap­flap­flap of the train indic­ator board — a “lost sound” accord­ing to the BBC sound archive.
  • “Passaporte! Passaporte!” at 2:30am on the Bulgarian border.
  • Cicadas every­where we went in Greece.
  • Through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary: the bell clang of the wheel tap­pers’ ham­mers going down the train.


The camp­site is big and com­mer­cial, tents packed close together. There’s a swim­ming pool — the kids would spend the whole time there if we didn’t drag them out to the beach! It’s much too hot to sleep in the tent, so Callum and I sleep on the beach under a tam­ar­isk tree, blas­ted by sand blown by the meltemi (the hot sea­sonal wind). Continue read­ing

A sacrificial option?

When I first talked to our friend Rachael about our jour­ney a few months ago, she described it as a “sac­ri­fi­cial” action. Rather an inter­est­ing choice of words, I thought. “Sacrifice” these days tends to have unfor­tu­nate con­nota­tions of osten­ta­tious self-deprivation, or empty ritual. Continue read­ing