It was just after sunrise, and for a few seconds the sun came out and blanketed the area with golden light. At this moment, three cheetahs, keen to avoid crocodiles during a river crossing, made a dash across the river. Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. Photo taken in May 2017.
This young girl became curious and came over to us strangers at a site being prepared for the Karen New Year festivities in a rural village. The celebrations continued long into the night. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.
The Yangon Circular Railway in Myanmar provides a wonderful opportunity to see people travelling across the city. Whilst standing on the platform at a train station, I noticed this young boy looking out from the train that had just pulled in.
A rice field several miles from Hpa An, Myanmar. We had already journeyed through a cave in this karst-rich landscape when we came across this field. It was great to be out in the open again!
It was April 2011, just after dusk, and we made our way to a restaurant in central Baghdad along Abu Nawas Street by the River Tigris. This area is well known for serving Iraq’s favourite fish dish; the “mazgouf”.
The restaurant, although having a roof, is open to the elements and was filled with many customers; obviously a popular place.
Having selected our live carp (allegedly from the adjacent Tigris but more probably from a fish farm), the cook removed the fish from the tank and then stunned them with a stick, gutted them by cutting along the back, applied some seasoning, and then impaled them to be slow-grilled next to an open fire of burning fruit tree branches such as from lemon trees and orange trees. What we didn’t realise was that it takes about an hour or so to cook the fish, so we had a lot of time to chat!
Carp are bottom feeders and if they were from the Tigris around Baghdad then I’m not sure that I’d have too many fish dinners; there’s just been too much dumped in the river. Once I’d got past wondering where the fish came from, I did enjoy the meal.
But the mazgouf is an important dish to the Iraqis and the Iraqi diaspora, and it helps to unite them through social gatherings and reinforce their identity and uniqueness; something that’s very much needed in these trying times.