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Mike Arkus
An inveterate traveler, Mike Arkus worked for more than four decades as a Reuters journalist, much of it as foreign correspondent, being based in posts as disparate as France and Cuba, Israel and Brazil for over three years at a time.

He has so far visited 273 of the 321 countries and territories listed worldwide by the Travelers' Century Club - from Greenland and Iceland to Antarctica, Patagonia and the Falklands, and from Papua-New Guinea and Borneo to Sao Tome and Principe and Gabon. In a typical year he spent a week in the Virgin Islands; another week in Saba, Statia, St. Barths and Anguilla; a month in the Galapagos and Ecuador's Andean and Amazon regions; and seven weeks in Angola, both Congos, Djibouti, Somalia (Somaliland) and Ethiopia.

Entries by Mike Arkus

From Piggy Doo to King Arthur's Avalon: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 13

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 4:28 PM

Now here's a nice phrase to describe divine comfort that the Newfies are especially fond of: as happy as a pig in shit. Actually, at this moment in time Yours Truly is anything but as happy as the aforesaid porker.

It's pissing down chamber pots, the clouds have...

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At the Easternmost Point of North America: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 12

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 4:00 PM

About nine miles southeast of St. John's, Newfoundland's capital, on the outer edge of the Avalon Peninsula, the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean break on a craggy headland that is the easternmost point of North America -- Cape Spear.

Like L'Anse aux Meadows, the name...

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Miquelon and Queen Tut -- A Little Bit of France Off Canada: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front, Part 11

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 2:27 PM

The Midnight Knock On The Door. Well it's not exactly midnight. Actually it's 6.45 a.m., and it wakes Yours Truly up with a right start. And it's not the secret police. It's Madame, the owner of the St. Pierre B&B on the tiny speck that is all that remains of...

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St. Pierre, a Tiny Pin Point of France and Al Capone's Prohibition Haunt: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front -- Part 10

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 3:59 PM

Back in the halcyon days of old, New France -- France's North American Empire -- covered 3,088,817 square miles, only 550,000 or so less than today's China. Then Britain and France began fighting a host of wars over the vast tract of land that rightfully belonged to neither -- those...

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From Brigadoon to the Twilight Zone in Canada's Gros Morne National Park: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 9

(0) Comments | Posted September 1, 2014 | 1:53 PM

It's not only overcast, it's raining now, too, but the clouds are high enough to allow some great panoramas. In fact everything has a special enchantment as mountains, forests, lakes, cliffs and little shore-side fishing villages loom into and out of the mists in Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park -...

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To Cape Breton Island on Friday the 13th: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 5

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 3:28 PM

Maritime Bus runs twice a day from Halifax to Sydney at the northern end of Nova Scotia, passing through Baddeck, gateway to the world famous Cabot Trail in Cape Breton National Park, so I should be laughing at this stage of my overland-by-public-transport Canadian odyssey.

Except that today is Friday...

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Ships Ahoy in Halifax -- Cunard, Titanic and Sea Migrants: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front, Part 4

(0) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 9:12 PM

If there's any town in Canada's three Maritime Provinces that prides itself on its maritime history, it is Halifax, capital of Nova Scotia.

From a parade of gaudy ships figureheads and a statue of famous son and shipping line magnate Samuel Cunard, to its grim role as final...

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Nature's Beauty and History's Horrors Intersect on Anniversary of Ukrainian Holocaust Massacre: Mourning on the Looney Front

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 3:07 PM

As you stroll along the clifftops of this stunningly beautiful town in western Ukraine, gaze at the river in the ravine below languidly looping back on itself beneath the forested slopes, wander through the historic streets and up to the fairy-tale castle, there is little to reveal that this is...

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At Home With Anne of Green Gables: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front -- Part 3

(0) Comments | Posted August 11, 2014 | 9:00 AM

The luxuriantly wooded hills, the gently flowering dales, the silvery streams, the emerald gardens and orchards, the deep green roof and shutters set off by bright white wooden walls... it may be a cliché to say the site of the evergreen Anne of Green Gables, Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery's...

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Zen and the Art of Ford Fusion Maintenance: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 8

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 6:05 PM

Millennia before Leif Eriksson came to Newfoundland from the east, about four or five millennia to be exact, a people archaeologists call Maritime Archaic Indians came from the west to a limestone spit of land in the centre of the Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula.

It is thither now, five or...

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Vinland, or the Guy Who Pipped Columbus at the Post: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 7

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 4:55 PM

About 1,000 years ago, some 500 years before Christopher Columbus's great-grandfather 25 times removed was even a glimmer in the eye of his great-grandfather 26 times removed, this now barren spit of land in the far north-west corner of Newfoundland welcomed the first known European to have landed in North...

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There Are Cars, Then There Are Cars -- When Fusion Means Confusion: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front, Part 6

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 5:33 PM

OK, this is where the real fun starts. I'm in Deer Lake, western Newfoundland, where the province's only long-distance bus line takes a very distinct turn east, while I take a very distinct turn north. But first of all, how did I get here on my overland-or-by-sea-public-transport Canadian odyssey?

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Bar Harbor's Bounty, Natural and Man-Made: A Bus Drive and a Walk on the Looney Front

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 2:35 PM

Hundreds of years before this speck of a town on a speck of an island became the famed Bar Harbor of the Gilded Age, indigenous Wabanaki people hunted, fished, gathered berries, and doubtless otherwise cavorted on the pink granite cliffs, verdant slopes and deep blue sea inlets that they called...

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Chasing the World's Highest Tides in the Bay of Fundy: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 2

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:50 PM

Slicing between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the 170-mile-long Bay of Fundy is home to the world's highest tides, with a differential of over 53 feet at its highest. Here 160 billion tonnes of seawater slosh in and out twice every 25 hours -- more than...

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Canada's Willy Wonka Wonder World: Canadian Odyssey on the Looney Front - Part 1

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2014 | 3:23 PM

I'm in Canada's Willy Wonka wonder world, the chocolate factory that produced the first chocolate nut bar in North America, that introduced the first heart-shaped Valentine's Day box - a land flowing with milk and honey, or rather free samples of delicious confections judiciously located throughout the establishment.


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Away from the Races at Saratoga Springs: Swampland Mansions, Spas and Casinos on the Looney Front

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2014 | 7:00 PM

Saratoga Springs in upstate New York may be best known to many as home to a world famous race track for thoroughbred horses, the second oldest in the United States that began its long life in 1863. It may also be best known to James Bond film fans as the...

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Lazy Daze on the Caicos Islands: Low Key, High Cost on the Looney Front

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 5:54 PM

They may lack the dramatic peaks of St. Lucia's 2,500-foot Pitons, the lush jungles of Dominica, the plunging hollows of Jamaica's Cockpit Country and the magnificent hilltop vistas of the Virgin Islands, but the equally Caribbean though often scrubby Caicos Islands have a laid-back charm that surreptitiously seduces and ensnares.

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White Gold, Black Slaves, Red Blood: Countless Years a Slave on the Looney Front

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 1:56 AM

White gold, they called it, the salt that made white men rich and black slaves wretched with a horrendous plight beyond all suffering in the salt pans of Grand Turk. Today the pans spread out their reddish waters across this small Caribbean island off the north coast of Haiti, virtually...

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Greece's Jewish Community - Over 2,000 Years Old: Down Memory Lane on the Looney Front

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 12:45 PM

It is not only Salonika, the major intellectual and cultural centre of Greek Jewry for over two millennia, or the ancient community of Rhodes, nor such famous members as Colonel Mordechai Frizis, the officer who fought valiantly against the Italian invasion in 1940, that recall how widespread Greece's Jewish community...

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Greece's Rock Portrait Gallery, From Craggy Ogres to de Gaulle's Nose: Suspended in Mid-Air on the Looney Front, Part II

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 12:27 AM

When it comes to seeing human, animal or any other likenesses in Mother Nature's giant crags, rocks, cliff faces and mountain outcroppings, nobody can be more obtuse than Yours Truly. Others see the image of the Virgin Mary; I see a rock. Others see a crenelated castle turret; I see...

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