Sunday, 6 July 2014

Nepal: chariot of the monsoon god

In 2014, I revisited the old Durbar Squares of Kathmandu and Patan, both former royal capitals of Nepal. We arrived in Patan during the chariot festival of monsoon god Red Machhindrana, a ritual that has been performed every year since 1673. We were staying just off Patan square so on the last day I got up at 5:30am and wandered round for a couple of hours before breakfast.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

West of Eden: the unspoilt wilderness of Papua

A construction worker looks out to sea from Jayapura
© Andy Brown/Papua, Indonesia/2014
Along with Mongolia, Papua is one of the most remote places I’ve been with UNICEF. It’s a wild land of impenetrable jungles with deep valleys and high mountains disappearing into a perpetual ceiling of mist and cloud. Outside the towns, people still live a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle that has remained unchanged for centuries.

I’d previously been to Papua New Guinea, on the east side of the island, but didn’t have much chance to explore. This was mainly because violent is so rampant that you cannot safely walk the streets of Port Moresby, let alone wander off into the hills. I spent most of my time in a fortified office or hotel, or traveling between the two in a sturdy van with ‘UN’ painted on its roof in large blue letters so that it could be easily spotted from the air.