I could be described as a flaneur
- Dictionary definition: "an intellectual and physical wanderer, observer of life".
I travel extensively in Asia, the Middle East and East Africa.
My tales, stories and rants here are part fact/part fiction but, I hope, always stimulating and sometimes irritating. PLEASE don't take them too seriously - they are meant to inform but also to amuse and to get under your skin. I hope there's a bit of an "edge" in what I write sometimes.
For those that take themselves over-seriously: it's a BLOG! Not "the Truth"... just my weird personal take on what I see. Lighten up!
The blog reports my adventures, opinions, hotel and airline reviews and anything else that comes to mind from the strange places I go to. Posts cover my adventures since January 2010 in Yemen, USA, Georgia, Thailand, Dubai, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tanzania and Kenya. In 2011 I was in the UK, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, South Sudan, Vietnam and Iraq. In 2012 I was in Afghanistan (again), Spain, UAE, Somalia, Ethiopia, Singapore and Yemen. 2013 looks like being another AFG and East Africa time, but one never knows.
Contact me directly by email on: email@example.com
I do NOT have a page on Facebook for reasons explained in a post on December 26th 2011
Be a FOLLOWER on Twitter @Quartermaine.... irritated comments from the GOM (Grumpy Old Man) - think of me as a travel equivalent to Jeremy Clarkson.
Do please join me, Geoff Q-B, strolling around in Quartermaine's World!
DISCLAIMER: I report my impressions and opinions as honestly as I can based on what I see. There is no intention to offend or defame or damage the reputation of any individual on this web site, though my hotel/restaurant and airline reviews are not going to pull their punches. However these are just my personal opinions for what they may be worth. Do try to read them as such and with a sense of humour.
Since it bothers some people so much, a comment on "racism": I've worked for 30+ years all over the world. With folk of all ethnicities. My partner is Asian. Being critical of what some folk do is NOT being racist. It's expressing my reaction to specific circumstances and individual people. I suggest those that dislike any criticism or get offended by my occasional non-PC rants simply don't read what I have to say. But it ain't racism!!!!!
COMMENT POLICY: If you disagree with what I have to say, by all means reply either as a comment or direct and privately by message or email and I will return the respect by doing what I can to remove the offence. ALL ignorant, off-the-point, egregious and otherwise insulting comments WILL BE PUBLISHED with the MAXIMUM of effort to draw attention to the writer, but only if they have their author's real name and (if available) email address. It's just nuts to me when people reveal their wild inadequacies by using the "f" word or laying out incoherent blabber, they deserve all the publicity they can have.
AFFILIATIONS: I work as a professional consultant for a variety of clients in both the public and private sectors. This blog is NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY OF THEM. It's my PERSONAL reflections on the events I experience as a travel around. If the name of an agency or company is (unusually) mentioned it is purely for context - or where I review an airline, service provider, restaurant or hotel. My own employer is not responsible for any of the opinions I evince.
LEGAL or PHYSICAL RETRIBUTION: If you wish to sue, don't bother, I have no money and no fixed abode. If you wish to beat me up, ponder the idea that I'm 6 foot 4 inches, 260 pounds and a trained soldier and martial artist. I'd be happy to meet anyone in a gym anywhere:) LoL
January 11th 2013
Happy New Year!!!! I have been absent, stealthing around in Somaliland and other such places.... more of that in future posts. But first, and since I get most comments and hits from Filipinos:)) I recently undertook a major research project on investment in South-east Asia. Now I know this is not strictly travel, but I thought all the clowns that think I am racially or otherwise biased against the Philippines might like to read this from my report: "The recent outbreak of peace in Mindanao in the Philippines probably offers the most exciting opportunity because if there is an almost perfect agronomic environment it is in e.g., Agusan, Bukidnon or Cotabato. We place Mindanao at the highest point in our ranking because its location and agronomic conditions are almost ideal for future development” Yes, dears, Mindanao ... read more
June 21st 2012
This is the final post in a short series of posts coming from a trip I made in February 2012. I was only in Spain a week but I had such a great time that I wanted to share a lot of details and photos. I don't know Spain well... many years ago I worked in Santander and visited Santiago de Compostella on the pilgrim route, but Barcelona has been on my list for a while; this was my first visit, and I will definitely go again. What a brilliant city! Although it was February the weather was generally fine, cold, some sun the occasional drizzle, but good walking weather and I strolled around the city doing my usual thing of getting lost and seeing what happened. This is something not so easy to do in ... read more
June 21st 2012
Ah Antoni Gaudi ! Love him or hate him. I love him. But I'm no architectural critic so forget the learned (and probably pretentious) discourse, you can look all that up. My visit to Barcelona in February 2012 was a chance to indulge myself. Seeing Gaudi's work has long been on my list of things to do before I kick the bucket. Of course my first stop was the Sagrada Familia (see my post), a hugely moving spiritual experience (even for a non-religious person like myself). Parc Guell give you another side of Gaudi, his incredibly playful side. This time I took the superb metro underground rail transit system and then walked up the very steep hill to the park. It was raining and I h... read more
June 20th 2012
Work took me to the seaside town and tourist resort of Alicante. Yes indeed, sometime my work (in agriculture) has advantages, this time talking to folk about saffron. Spain is not only the home of delicious paella, but the place where traditionally the key spice ingredient was grown. That industry has now declined (90% comes from Iran but that's another story) however the trading houses remain located in Alicante and the nearby town of Novelda about 15 km inland. So off I went from Barcelona (I could equally have flow to Valencia or Madrid but the Sagrada Familia was on my "bucket list" so I took that option). I travelled by the express train from Sants Station in Barca; a truly excellent experience, about 190 Euros return First Class in complete comfort, on time and just ... read more
June 19th 2012
I'm not a religious man in any sense of the structured organisation of spiritual beliefs; I was brought up Christian/Anglican and looked seriously at Buddhism (which I sbscribe to as a philosophy of life) and (here's where I offend a huge number of folk - true to form!) I've seen Islam first hand in Pakistan and Afghanistan, not to mention the Mid-East, even northern Nigeria - enough said. I've read the oldest religious texts in the world, the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita - absolutely remarkable. Even Chinese Taoism has its place and my partner regularly pays her respects to the Goddess of Mercy Kuan Yin. Pretty ecletic I suppose in our family, and all leading to the entirely un-original insight that all these are human reflections of being and spirituality. Perspectives on some central truth. ... read more
January 22nd 2012
My friend and colleague Robert Lindley is in Juba , South Sudan tackling the fisheries industry. Here are his musings on surviving and getting about in a town that is booming and said to be the fastest growing in Africa. My take is that Bob demonstrates the sterling English qualities and values that won us an Empire (which included Sudan, by the way); great to see that spirit still exists. Surviving Juba Robert H. Lindley in Juba, South Sudan After peace (apparently) broke out and South Sudan achieved its independence last year there has been a huge influx of rich and poor returnees from the South Sudan diaspora, and the creation of a vast aid industry with almost every NGO, UN Agency and country aid body represented. This expansion has led to an accommodation crisis at ... read more
January 19th 2012
Afghanistan gets the highest number of hits on this blog (5,616 to be precise). By far (Note 1). People still read my posts from 2010 - and for understandable reasons, their sons and daughters are serving their country, so it is claimed, in the name of democracy and freedom. "Operation Enduring Freedom" - remember that? "As of December 29, 2011, there have been 2,765 coalition deaths in Afghanistan as part of ongoing coalition operations". I copied that from Wikipedia... bear with me this point is relevant. I'm back here in Herat working on the saffron industry for the US Government; saffron (perhaps) substitutes for poppy (opium) so this is part of the on-going effort to reduce drugs - and so preserve the American Way of .... Freedom an... read more
January 3rd 2012
Continuing the sports in Asia theme, and in a seasonal mood too (OK a bit late for Christmas, but we’re still in a holiday mood!) My very good friend Eddie Vernon just achieved a career best in a Christmas cycle race in Lam Narai in Thailand. He came 2nd out of the riders in the 50-54 age-group, narrowly missing first place at the finish line. What makes this a great achievement is that Eddie has just recovered from a severely fractured leg which occurred during a training ride iin Laos. This part of the world is probably not the friendliest environment to road race a bicycle. It can be fiendishly hot and humid - but then again we don't have the freezing cold damp weather that cyclists in north America and Europe have to suffer. Eddie ... read more
December 26th 2011
Note from the "Writer In Chief": Q's World has run a Facebook page as an adjunct to this blog. We've always had some concerns about F'Book (which I renamed "Farcebook") related to privacy but these were brought home earlier in the year (September-October) when I wrote about Manila. The response from Filipinos was overwhelming (80,000+ hits and over 1,000 comments) and unfortunately included some seriously abusive - indeed libellous - comments placed on FB. I complained - no support at all, barely a reply - which basically said "F..B off!" Whatever.... I'm PATIENT Grumpy Old Man, so we persevere. Now I read that FB intend to let users designate actual photos of individuals as emoticons. Check out this link: TechCrunch I'm APPALLED! The dangers of stereotyping individuals as sy... read more
December 4th 2011
The Arnold Sports Festival will be held in Singapore in 2013! Check it out! I was a VIP guest of the Singapore Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (SFBF) yesterday. This is a new Federation that was formed just last year to bring Singapore back into the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB) - which is the highest level of competitive bodybuilding in the world, representing 182 national organizations. Most famously it awards the Mr. Olympia title to the world's best professional bodybuilder, a title won by Arnold Shwarzenegger seven times; Arnold also started the Arnold Sports Festival which after 23 years in Ohio went on the road to Madrid th... read more