Emails from the Edge: A Journey Through Troubled Times
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He’s been expelled from Syria on suspicion of terrorism, been dragged from the Hungarian parliament in handcuffs and interviewed the editor-in-chief of al-Jazeera, all during a remarkable two-year journey by wheelchair across Eurasia. Walkley Award-winning journalist Ken Haley’s travels take in 41 countries and in Emails from the Edge he portrays life in the Middle East as it really is, not as the media portray it, and draws an intriguing parallel with his own life.
With great humour, and not a hint of sentimentality, he lays bare his darkest times, when he plunged over the precipice into madness, and reveals the wanderlust that led him to the heart of the world’s hot spots.
overnight and then clip them to the top of my boots—which, with the battery flex dangling down to the insoles, cannot be worn in comfort. One of the boots is just bearable, the other almost unwearable: it pinches my toes with a pain as acute as that which prompted me to buy these cure-alls in the first place. When I first hit the street, the temperature of my right foot is perhaps 10°C while the left feels like a pincushion with sensation. Krakow is a city for all seasons, a showpiece of
the hardiest spirit—and a ward full of people whose vitality is reeling from a heavy blow is a ward full of fragile spirits. And yet, if it is true that there is always someone worse off than yourself, a hospital is likely to be where you two will meet up. The patient who had the biggest effect on my outlook was my next-bed neighbour Paul. He was nineteen when, one Friday night while his parents were out, a mate came round to his place and suggested they go for a drive (in the mate’s car).
late Dr Gerald Ungar, Dr Terry Lim, Mr Doug Brown and surgical team (you know who you are): for bringing me back from the brink. The nurses and specialist staff on Ward 13 and in rehab at the Austin: for seeing me through, and for all your help, physical and philosophical. Terry Lane and Jon Faine, and Sarah Ashley, Jon’s producer, the first to think my story might interest the wider world. Garry Linnell: for reminding me why we write. Michael Gawenda and Rod Wiedermann: for sending me to a
home-grown terror came to London in July 2005 the shock was palpable, yet life went on. But, of course, different—double—standards apply to the Middle East. The best accommodation option I come across is a ‘cheapie’—the Hotel Regis—one block in from the beach and, although up a brief flight of stairs, staffed by friendly receptionists. The place is run by Syrians (like hotel, like country) and my chair is such a tight fit in the lift that a staff member must run upstairs and joggle the backrest
Luna Park beneath me. In an open-air café a few metres away, half a dozen patrons are kicking up their heels this Sunday afternoon in a collective dance step, to the rapt attention of not only myself but everyone else present. Recorded music it may be, but the sense of a people who know how to enjoy themselves, and are gobbling up life by the hungry mouthful after years of denial, is inescapable. DAY 297 (5 MARCH): BEIRUT Afif Abdul Malik has a low opinion of travel agents. ‘In this