Travel

Here be Dragons. The Terrible Lizards of Komodo. by Alex Metcalfe

"Here be Dragons."

A Komodo dragon basks in the sun whilst tasting the air outside the camp kitchens on the island of Rinca, Indonesia. It must be dinner time soon?

The Indonesian tourist board in Labuan Bajo insist that the dragons are not fed, but the half dozen I counted lazily lounging around the camp suggested otherwise.

Rinca & Komodo National Park, Indonesia. 2015

The Ghosts of Kelimutu by Alex Metcalfe

Do you believe in ghost stories?

On the Indonesian island of Flores sit the tri coloured lakes of Kelimutu. These volcanic lakes change their colours as easily as a chameleon changes his skin.

Local people believe that spirits come here to die. The ‘Mae’ leave their village after death and remain in Kelimutu forever.

Before entering one of the lakes, the spirits must first meet and pass ‘Konde Ratu’, the guardian of the Perekonde gates; young people’s souls go to the warmth of Tiwu Ko'o Fai Nuwa Muri (the turquoise lake), old spirits to the cold of Tiwu Ata Bupu (the brown lake) and the black lake, Tiwu Ata Polo, were for the wicked kind.” 

The colours of the lake change as a result of chemical reactions from minerals contained in the lake triggered by volcano gas activity.

What explanation do you prefer?

Kelimutu, Flores. Indonesia 2015.

The Call of the Desert by Alex Metcalfe

I heard howling in the desert one night, just one voice, metres from where I slept. It came softy at first, a whimper rising to a moan. A howl that pricked the hairs on my neck and made my heart jump. There was sadness and loss in that midnight song.

The morning revealed this old girl, warming herself in the early morning sun. Just looking for a spot of company.

The Devils Marbles, Northern Territory. Australia 2015.

The Nuclear Issue by Alex Metcalfe

There are a lot of arguments for nuclear disarmament. The loudest I heard was stood among the elderly Japanese of the Hiroshima Peace Park, as they spoke of the sudden flash and the day the world truly changed. 

I reflected this upon a sobering sunset at the Itsukushima Shrine. 

Miyajima Island, Japan. February 2012.

The Times They Are a Changing. In Venice Anyway... by Alex Metcalfe

Bob Dylan wrote: "the times they are a changing." No where could this be more apparent than Venice, whose streets resound to the tramp of over 20 million pairs of tourist feet a year.

I saw an old Venetian man surveying the crowds of a busy public square during the scrum of lunch hour. What do you think his expression says?

Venice, Italy 2016.