This is the beautiful island of Sifnos. I can see now what inspired Lord Byron to write the poem, “The Isles of Greece”. Here is the first stanza:
THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece
Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
Where grew the arts of war and peace,
Where Delos rose, and Phoebus sprung!
Eternal summer gilds them yet,
But all, except their sun, is set.
Ladakh’s scenery is one of the most breathtaking in the world. When you get out of the capital city of Leh (dusty, dirty and polluted), you find endless vistas like this one pictured below and ancient monasteries perched perilously on mountaintops.
Tulips in Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny
My book, The Secret of Angat, is available now in the Amazon Kindle Store. Here’s a synopsis:
March 1945. The Japanese Imperial Army is retreating from Manila to the northern provinces of the Philippines. Lieutenant Takeji Nakamura and the men of the 15th Engineer Regiment have been ordered to repair a bridge at Angat, a remote village surrounded by dense jungle, to hasten the withdrawal of the Japanese forces. If Lieutenant Nakamura and his men don’t complete the bridge on time, thousands of Japanese Imperial Army troops will be captured by the American forces advancing from the south. At first, Angat seems like any other village in the Philippines. Nakamura, an engineer by training, scoffs at rumors spread by neighboring townspeople about Angat. But shortly after they arrive, strange things happen. Nakamura begins to wonder whether the stories about Angat are true. Why has the village been isolated deliberately? Why are Angat’s inhabitants feared by the communities around it? What terrible secret is Angat hiding? As they race to finish the bridge, Nakamura must deal with his men’s increasingly fragile mental state and the sinister forces that threaten their survival.
Written in a style described as Joseph Conrad meets M.R. James, The Secret of Angat takes you to a world where nothing is quite what it seems to be and hidden forces control the destiny of men.
The Secret of Angat is the first of a trilogy of supernatural tales, set in the Philippines.
Buy The Secret of Angat now from the Kindle Store.
In case you missed them, here are the latest posts on Mapplr and Shopplr.
(1) A long essay on why Uber and sharing services like it are popular and why democratic societies need them. I’ve included my experiences with Uber and taxis in Manila, Bangkok, Malta, Rome, Paris, London, Singapore, Kyoto, Tokyo, Melbourne.
(2) Updated review on The Nadler Soho, my favorite hotel in London.
(3) Reviews of two new hotels in Tel Aviv: The Market House Hotel, a chic boutique hotel in Jaffa, close to the flea market (Tel Aviv); The Norman, a luxury hotel in the center of Tel Aviv.
(4) Review of Casa Leto, a boutique hotel in St. Petersburg. I stayed there and I recommend it.
(5) Review of Son Brull, which I consider to be the BEST hotel in Mallorca.