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Where Was it Made?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney of course) and The Age (Melbourne) in Australia had a story this past weekend (Saturday 9 December) about fake Aboriginal art. Well perhaps not fake, just not made in Australia. Buy a boomerang, a didgeridoo or some other Aboriginal artefact in Australia and it’s quite possibly made in Indonesia or China. Lonely Planet ran a story on this same trade earlier this year.

▲ I noted this in Indonesia a few years ago, walking along a street into Ubud – the highlands art capital of the island – I noted this local workshop turning out ‘authentic’ Australian Aboriginal boomerangs. As the story underlines there’s nothing illegal about selling Indonesian boomerangs in Australia, so long as you don’t claim they’re created by Aboriginal boomerang craftworkers.

▲ In fact what does come from where these days? Donald Trump, that well known US president, complains about all the German cars being sold in the USA when nobody elsewhere is buying good old American cars. But guess where those BMW X5 SUVs come from? They roll off BMW’s second biggest production line, at their Spartanburg plant at Greer in South Carolina, USA. Although if you opt for an armoured, high-security version that will be sent down to Mexico to be armour-plated at the BMW de México Toluca plant.

▲ If you want an all-American Chevrolet better head to Uzbekistan in Central Asia. As I noted when I drove through Central Asia earlier this year all the cars in Kyrgyzstan seemed to be ‘80s Audis, but in Uzbekistan they were all shiny new Chevies. Like this trio I spotted in Tashkent. Except perhaps they weren’t, they certainly rolled off the General Motors Uzbekistan plant in Asaka, in the extreme eastern corner of the country, but Uzbekistan Chevrolets are really Korean Daewoos with a Chevrolet badge slapped on the front.

▲ Or Boeing 787s, those all-American Dreamliners may roll off the Boeing assembly line at Everett in Washington, just north of Seattle. Although all the parts that go to make up a shiny new 787 are turned out all over the place, as this Boeing diagram explains. Including the wing ‘moveable trailing edges’ which are made in Melbourne, Australia, just a few km from where I am right now.

Silk Road by MGB – Days 94 to 102 – across Europe to the finish line

24 July 2017 | Places

The final stage of our Silk Road trip felt like it was going to be a race to the finish, we would exit Asia by crossing the Dardanelles from Asian Turkey to European Turkey, enter the European Union as we crossed from Turkey into Bulgaria, then make a quick sprint to ...

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Silk Road by MGB – Days 88 to 94 – Turkey into Europe

23 July 2017 | Places

▲ By Day 88 my Silk Road trip had less than two weeks to run, that morning we’d started in Cappadocia, stopped to visit the huge caravanserai in Sultanhani and paused for lunch in Konya. The Mevlâna Museum, dedicated to Celaleddin Rumi (Sufism, whirling dervishes) is ...

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Silk Road by MGB – Days 84 to 88 in Turkey

21 July 2017 | Places

My 103 day, Silk Road Odyssey from Bangkok to London in an old MGB is all over. ‘Burgundy,’ my 45-year-old car is safely in London and I’m looking for a new home for it, anyone want a well looked after English sports car? Comprehensively overhauled and then used for o...

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How to Land a Plane

20 July 2017 | Media

In Skyfaring - his 2015 best seller on the mystery and magic of flight - BA 747 pilot Mark Vanhoenacker told how he did it. Now in this 64-page addition to the Quercus series of ‘how to do it’ books he tells us how to do it ourselves. Land that is. Taking off is no...

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Silk Road by MGB – Days 76 to 84 in Iran

3 July 2017 | Places

We’re through to Day 92, our last day in Asia, tomorrow we cross the Dardanelles, from Asian to European Turkey and then on into Bulgaria. But more on Turkey shortly, meanwhile here’s a quick summary of Days 86 to 94 in Iran. Tashi was my co-driver on this stage an...

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Silk Road by MGB – Days 76 to 84 in Iran

27 June 2017 | Transport

I’m now in Turkey on Day 88 of my Silk Road with an old British sports car journey and I’ve just posted on how friendly the Iranians were on my trip across that intriguing country, with my daughter Tashi often at the wheel. ◄ And shopping for bread when we stopped ...

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Friendly Iran

26 June 2017 | Living

I’m in Turkey on Day 87 of my 102 day Silk Road drive in an old MGB from Bangkok to London (and on to Abingdon where MGBs were made, many years ago). From Day 76 to Day 84 we drove through Iran. Friendly Iran as almost any visitor to Iran will attest. ▲Tashi Wheele...

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Ashgabat in Turkmenistan – Absurdistan or Pyongyang II?

16 June 2017 | Places

We’re now in Mashhad in Iran on Day 76 of our 102 day Silk Road odyssey by MGB. Our last stop in the Central Asian ‘stans – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – was at Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. None of the ‘stans were what I expected, Kyr...

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Silk Road by MGB – Days 63 to 71 in Uzbekistan

11 June 2017 | Places

Kyrgyzstan was a case of continuous culture shock, not what I had expected of the ex-Soviet Central Asian ‘stans when it came to the geography or the culture. The surprises continued in Uzbekistan, when we reached Samarkand and Bukhara with their wonderful Islamic art...

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MGBs on the Silk Road – Day 57 to Day 63

10 June 2017 | Places

Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, if I’ve had culture shock in recent years then these two countries have been the places that provided it. They simply were not at all like I expected, scenically or culturally. I was expecting deserts, I got the Swiss Alps. I was expecting t...

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