Hanging with hyenas in Harar

Harar is considered by Ethiopian Muslims to be the fourth holiest city in the world (after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem), and the old city has 88 mosques within its walls (a mere few square kilometres).   Apparently, there are almost as many bars as mosques in the old city, and one of the busiest chat […]

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Facing old demons in Tigray

The Tigray was one of my favourite regions in Ethiopia.   Rock hewn monasteries perched on top of steep mountains, to be closer to god and protect from invaders.  I was looking forward to revisiting the lovely monastery of Maryam Korkor and also managing to visit Abune Yemata – I didn’t make it last time,

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Hallas, Alhamdulillah, 197/197

So, I can’t quite believe I have finished, and have visited 197/197 countries (193 UN members, 2 UN observers, and two countries who I think should be UN members – Taiwan and Kosovo).   Earlier this week, I had a fascinating 24 hours in Riyadh on a work trip visiting my colleagues in Saudi stores,

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Loving Libya

Planning a business trip Getting into Libya isn’t easy, the government stopped issuing tourist visas many years ago, so the only way in is on official business. If you know who to ask, you can sort yourselves out an official business invitation, and if you pay an extra fee or two (what might be referred

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Admiring Asuncion

There were a mere 12 people on the Amazsonas flight from Santa Cruz to Asuncion (the capital of Paraguay if you haven’t heard of it).   While Paraguay is technically a more touristed country than Bolivia, most of these ‘tourists’ are Brazilian day trippers visiting Iguazu Falls which is at the intersection of the borders of

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