Filming at Airbus Headquarters and one of the last Air France Concordes, Toulouse, 2012

TIM_1158I recall the people kindly gave us a cherry picker and the keys to the plane and said ‘she’s all yours for the next two days’. A slightly surreal moment and a real dream for the entire film crew who became sudden aeronautical specialists and plane nerds.

Reasons why we travel no.1 Brazil, November-December 2013

Scrawled on the back of an interview release form on route to Sao Paulo and a long return flight to Europe after four weeks travelling and filming throughout Brazil

‘The last morning, travelling through Sao Paulo State along rutted roads. At this moment homeward bound you recollect Brazil, its variation, its surprises. The van jerks and dips, brown puddles splash. In the distance you glimpse labourers and smiling children, dark floating colours against green fields where white coated cattle languidly cluster. Horses mottled and brown stand sedately by the roadside, small farms and estancias damp walled blues and reds hidden among dripping fronds of banana palms. Ahead where the swollen river bends the forest rises to a crooked bank of curving mountains, clouds of scurrying rain descend through the trees. Impressions flash through your mind. The great vastness of Mato Grosso its endless fields, studded forest and horizons; the shimmering sun-baked palm trees of Maranhão and Tocantins; enormous humidity of Amazonas and Para; the cool rains and mists of Sao Paulo. All images, all indelible. Jauntily hated gauchos canter cockily on horses down narrow streets of a country town. Beneath blue skies a laden lorry on a blood-red road. Women huddled in a crowd, split husks of coconut shells you hear them laughing and singing. Through fields of wavering heat workers walk languidly, children splash sandaled feet through pools of fallen rain, at night hearing the jungle breath. Straight concentric lines of Brasilia, crumbling ornate Manaus, Belem old colonial twist and mango trees, smell of sea and Amazon mingling, the flap and buzz of beetles against a gas light, village dogs sprawled in midday shade, rubbish dump steams in morning heat, vultures gather and jostle, crowded airport lounges the sound of students in full song, the bustle of city streets, a boat swings at its mooring, the blare of a radio, the easy swing of a hammock, rainwater dripping from corrugated rim, the rumble of thunder in the hills, jumbled colourful stack of favelas, red clay-tiled roofs, sweat running in rivulets, bare-footed boy on motorcycle, rusting TV satellite dishes in the jungle.’

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Clare Agius taqta xaghra qasir ghall-MCCFF

One of Malta’s most beloved actresses, Claire Agius, recently chopped off her signature curly locks for an amazing cause. Agius donated her voluminous hair to the Malta Community Chest Fund, so that it could be turned into a wig for for cancer patients who have lost their own hair to treatment. This was the journey (only in Maltese).

As dawn breaks a Dayak woman on the way to her traditional farm pauses to gaze across the rolling terrain of the Meratus Mountains, Borneo, Indonesia, 2007

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Probably (at the time) the worst airport in the world, Ouessa, Republic of Congo, 2009

RNHEAJauMqqln3yn4oXvSxAno1_1280Probably the worst airport in the world, at the time, although there have been a few since which come close or even superseded to reach the top of the league table, however this remains strong in the memory. The little landing strip, situated in the remote north of the country on the outskirts of Ouessa a tiny town of incomplete dirt streets lined with low walled buildings, a small berth and rusting jetty which is slowly sinking into the vast river and an incongruous five-storey Congolese bank headquarters (what an earth it was doing there was never clearly explained) replete with a skin of shining tinted glass. Ouessa airport earns its award as the worst airport in the world for one simple reason…it’s not really there. Well it is there, only its wrapped in tape, sealed from the outside world. The brand new terminal building, despite being completed eight months before, has remained closed ever since due to the president having not agreed on a suitable date for the opening ceremony. Passengers are trafficked along a sunbaked runway to a small shed of wood and tin roofing which serves inadequately in all departments as departures and arrivals, fly blown butcher stall, shuttered and long-closed if ever opened bar, the local customs and police station where small sums of dirty money are exchanged for various reasons and finally as a taxi rank for the handful of cars which still work.