Madu Ganga: Following the Cinnamon Scent

Chapter 4, Part 11 Last year, James and I explored six countries in Southeast and South Asia for six months to retrace parts of the spice route which had connected nations across both… Continue reading

The Faces of Banda

Chapter 4, Part 10 Blessed with fertile soils and pristine waters, which at one point in history turned out to be a curse, the Banda Islands today is a place where avid divers… Continue reading

The Banda Islands: Land and Sea

Chapter 4, Part 9 We were in the middle of the Banda Sea, the deepest body of water in Indonesia with some parts going as deep as 7,000 m. The violent waves reared up… Continue reading

Run for Manhattan

Chapter 4, Part 8 Among the remote islands the Bandas, Run (Rhun) is situated at the westernmost corner of the chain, some two-hour away by a small boat from Banda Neira – the… Continue reading

Islands that Changed the World: the Bandas

Chapter 4, Part 7 In the 16th century, upon the discovery of direct sea routes from Europe to the Spice Islands, Portugal and Spain asserted their dominance in the world’s spice trade which… Continue reading

Ambon: Colonialism, Peace and Music

Chapter 4, Part 6 In 1512 the Portuguese successfully reached the fabled Spice Islands after decades of sea explorations and conquests in the Indian Ocean. Ambon (Amboina), Ternate, as well as the Banda… Continue reading

Ternate: Science and Superstition

Chapter 4, Part 5 The turboprop plane which brought us from the city of Manado in North Sulawesi almost an hour earlier started its descent. Strings of verdant small islands now appeared larger… Continue reading

Islands that Changed the World: Ternate & Tidore

Chapter 4, Part 4 As the Age of Discovery began in the 15th century, Portugal and Castille (Spain) sent a large number of maritime missions to seek direct sea route from Europe to… Continue reading

Impressions of Japan

Dreams do come true. It is something that we are constantly reminded about upon seeing other people’s dreams fulfilled as well as ours. However as we grow older sometimes we forget about the… Continue reading

Macau: the World’s Last Portuguese Colony

Chapter 4, Part 3 Two years after the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511, Jorge Álvares sailed to the Far East and became the first Portuguese to ever set foot in China –… Continue reading

Malacca: The Gateway to East Asia

Chapter 4, Part 2 At the turn of the 16th century, the Portuguese significantly increased their presence around the Indian Ocean by conquering strategic ports in the region. It was Afonso de Albuquerque,… Continue reading

Goa and Catholicism in India

Chapter 4, Part 1 For more than a millennium the area known today as Goa had been ruled by different clans, dynasties, kingdoms and sultanates before Vijayanagara took control of it in the… Continue reading

Perceiving Kerala

Chapter 3, Part 3 “If you go to India you have to visit Kerala!” “Why?” “Because it’s God’s Own Country.” Back in 2011 a business consultant from Kochi who worked in Jakarta said… Continue reading

Kochi: From Spices to Kathakali

Chapter 3, Part 2 On the Malabar Coast in the southwestern corner of the Indian subcontinent lie old trading ports which served as the main gateways for ancient traders and explorers, from China… Continue reading

The Fall of Constantinople

Chapter 3, Part 1 Istanbul, 1453. Around two thousand years earlier Buddhism began to spread across the Indian subcontinent, and for more than one millennium Buddhist kingdoms and empires rose and fell, from… Continue reading