JetLag Jane

Ukraine

The Cats of Odessa

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this. Terry Pratchett Cats are worshipped, or at least revered, in the beautiful Black Sea city of Odessa in Ukraine. Cats really are the embodiment of class and cool- they are entirely self-obsessed, utterly aloof and invariably gorgeous. As we wandered through the cobblestone streets, market places and boulevards of Odessa, we came across a feline fiefdom which is fully endorsed, encouraged and indulged by Odessan  ...

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Australia

Walk The Line: A Wander on Angaston’s Railway Heritage Trail

A blue-sky day in Angaston, the crown of the Barossa Valley. The air is crisp and still; the cool of the morning has not yet been warmed by the spring sun. After two cups of tea and a cursory read of the weekend papers, I embark upon a little wander to stretch my weary body. With an elevation of 347m, Angaston is one of the highest points in the valley, yet the town is nestled in a sort of hollow, which made it one of the last places in Australia to be able to get good reception for digital  ...

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Taiwan

Cats, Cabbages and Chiang Kai-Shek: Reflections on a week in Taipei, Taiwan

My affection for Taiwan developed slowly- and sadly, retrospectively- from the week we spent there last spring. At the time, the city was a glitzy, modern, homogenous experience, and for the first few days we couldn’t find a place to sit down and have a beer after a day’s walking. By looking through our photo gallery and recalling the long, languid days of wandering the streets and the underground train tunnels and discovering artistic little communities tucked behind the grand, wide  ...

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Recipes

Vegetable Stock

COVID19 and some health problems have grounded me at home in the Barossa Valley of South Australia for the foreseeable future. There is more to Jetlagjane than the ability to write about far-flung and interesting places. I can also be a bit of a homebody. The Barossa is the natural habitat for foodie types and wine-lovers. There are plenty of blogs about the lovely food here, my favourite being Sophie Zakola’s blog. She is super fastidious and fancy and clever and inventive. I am just a  ...

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Ukraine

Abandoned Utopia: a visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine.

Why visit Chernobyl? I have a fascination for Soviet history and abandoned human environs- and luckily a Ukrainian friend who suggested his homeland would be a good place for a summer holiday- and he was right! I hadn’t watched the HBO series before visiting- I only knew about it from documentaries, books and sadly, an episode of Top Gear. I can guess what you may be thinking- isn’t it dangerous to visit a place that is radioactive? The standard line from tour operators is a day  ...

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Australia

Mallee Hen Nest: Sandalwood, South Australia

I have never seen a Mallee Hen in their natural habitat. Despite frequently visiting their nests (Which is more a dug out hole that looks like a mound) and living in the Mallee throughout my childhood, they successfully eluded me and my curious family and friends. The chattering and the vibrations from our excited approach toward their mound probably warned them: however they have pretty much developed quite a few survival techniques and characteristics- one of them being their plumage  ...

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Singapore

Singapore: a book lover’s guide

The last time I was in Singapore was just before the world was turned upside down by COVID19. It was the end of February, and the city was quieter than I had ever seen her. Chinatown was all but deserted, and the underground trains were still busy with many facemask wearers and social distancing was being tentatively and suspiciously observed at best. At that time it was still inconceivable that the world would change so much for us all, so I was still quite happy to wander the streets with  ...

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Bali, Postcards

A Wall of Greeting: Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Just behind the towering Bali Inna Beach Hotel on Sanur Beach- a bold new vision for tourism back in the mid-1960s and a sad anachronism now- is the rolling green of the golf course and the cranes and high fences of yet another development. Here along a service road toward the golf course I walked my friend’s dog, and saw this hand painted greeting card for the important ritual of Galungan, the Balinese holiday celebrating the victory of dharma- what should be done- over adharma- what  ...

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Indonesia

Labuan Bajo, Flores, Indonesia.

Get a taste of this spectacularly located, bustling fishing village on the western edge of Flores, overlooking the islands of Komodo National Park. Twenty-one years ago, a girlfriend and I spent a month island hopping easterly across Nusa Tenggara, taking the public ferries and rickety busses across the stunning landscapes of Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa. During those long, languid days, we practised our Indonesian with phrasebooks, played card games with fellow passengers and made some  ...

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Australia

Stone Walls: Keyneton/Sedan Road, South Australia

Living in the Barossa Valley, one of the routes to get over the ranges and onto the Murray River Flats is the Keyneton/Sedan Road. It is a slow, twisting sealed road with steep descents and the most spectacular view of the flats. It is one of my favourite Sunday drives too because I marvel at the pioneer built stone fences which line this road and are also still used on the properties to keep the sheep in. Before European settlement there was no need for fences- there was no need for land  ...

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