History of surfing

If you have ever wondered what sets waves in motion, here is the answer: random violence of varying intensity. Everything from earthquakes to ship wakes spawns waves. Still, the standard spark is the wind. As the wind wafts over the sea, friction makes its surface ripple or rear up depending on how much oomph the wind has. Simple.

How surfing came to be is more complicated. You wonder whose bright idea it was to ride a plank on moving towers of water – a zany activity when you think about it. Read more at the Adrenalist..




Five Asian castles

If someone says the magic word ‘castle’, what image springs to mind? Perhaps you think of the mystery-soaked monuments that cast their long shadows across medieval Europe. Or perhaps you think of the English king Arthur and the court of Camelot.

But Europe holds no monopoly on castles. Asia hosts scores. Here are five of Asia’s most striking and strange castles, which transcend bricks-and-mortar, and border on marvellous. Their haunting, massive presence evokes the sound of drums and thunder. Read more at Agoda..




Inside China’s pyramids

Yes, China has pyramids. Read more at Agoda

Shattered smiles: the Thai kingdom called happiness

Discover the ruined Thai kingdom anchored in happiness called Sukhothai.

NICKNAMED the Land of Smiles, Thailand grew from a kingdom called Sukhothai, which means Dawn of Happiness. Today, the kingdom consists of a sleepy town called New Sukhothai and some sprawling ruins.

Unlike other history-soaked haunts, Sukhothai has a light touch, a rosy glow and some magic reflected by the exquisitely carved Buddha smiles on the faces of statues gracing its ruins. Read more at the Malaysia Star…


Adopt a garuda

Once, the temple housed a treasure-trove of gold, silver, gems, pearls and a cow with gilded horns. Built in the 12th century for King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan in Angkor, northwestern Cambodia, could also accommodate 100,000 people and over 400 gods.

Each god received an allotment of food, clothing, perfume, even mosquito nets. Read more at the Malaysia Star…


Aussie convict hotspots

Australia’s glitzy Pacific paradise image belies its low-rent past. Amid the Australia Day sizzling of fireworks and barbies remember that the nation began as a dumping ground for British eurotrash.

The shipped-in bogans — various thugs, thieves and scumbags — convicted of everything from stealing snuff to murder, were forced into labour. They slaved away in the heat until their sentences — typically seven years each — ended, or they dropped in the dust.

Either way, they left some solid, imposing traces destined to win recognition. On 31 July 2010, 11 convict landmarks were added to the World Heritage List. Read more at ninemsn…


Riding with the hearse men – Canberra

David Wilson glimpses the ghostly side of Canberra.

With impeccably neat, concentric streets and an aura of calm, Canberra seems like a byword for boredom. But the city is as murky and mysterious as the depths of Lake Burley Griffin at its heart. Read more at Sydney Morning Herald…

November 13, 2008