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The Unusuals


Exploring the unexplored
pekinois-british airways-

The dog and the British airways

During the 70’s, there was an Anglo-Saxon millionaire who split her time between London and New York. She was British Airways best client, the company coddled and pampered her to no end. One day, she called the airline and requested that they transport her dog, a tiny Pekinese, from London to New York.  She then…

THE LAST KING OF OUDH

In the 17th century, the English devised a rich and powerful kingdom, that of Oudh, around the lavish and marvellous capital of Lucknow, to counterbalance power relations, however weakened they had become, in the Great Moghol in Delhi. In the middle of the 19th century, the sovereign of Oudh was Wajid Ali Shah. He was…

THE VULTURES OF THE TOWERS OF SILENCE

Thousands of years ago, the Persians were of Zoroastrian confession. Founded by the Prophet Zoroaster in the 6th century B.C., this religion ‘of fire’ was in fact one of the first, if not the first, monotheist schools of thought in History. Later, the Muslim invasion and fanaticism forced an entire colony of Zoroastrians into exile….

MANDU THE SULTAN AND THE DANCER

Not far from Maheshwar, Mandu was the capital of a vast and extremely wealthy Islamic sultanate. In the 14th century, it was the biggest city in India with a million inhabitants. One of the sultans had returned from a trip to Africa with 150,000 baobab saplings. With their strange, unique forms, they still stand proudly…

TURTLES FROM THE GANGES

In order to reach Paradise, a deceased Indian must be burned on a log on the Ghats, and his/her ashes be thrown into the Ganges. The cadaver can also be thrown into the sacred river. Many decades ago, the Indian government had some trouble with this practice. It greatly harmed the tourism industry. In fact,…

THE QUEEN WHO HAD 92 TEMPLES

In the 17th century, powerful kingdoms appeared in the north-western part of India, arising out of the decadence of the Great Moghul Empire. Resourceful men had carved out these states which they governed with great efficiency. And so it was that the Kingdom of Indore came into being. A century later, the ruling Maharajah decided to…

The Sergeant cursed and Nostradamus’s tomb

A few years ago, the mayor of Salon-en-Provence in southern France decided to move an ancient cemetary in order to enable a motorway to be built. A specialist company was entrusted with moving the graves, one by one, to the new location. Finally, just one was left. It belonged to the famous physician and seer,…

Zucco or the Mafia’s Wine

A distant uncle, Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, inherited a fine estate about 50 kilometres from Palermo from his mother, The Queen of the french,Maria Amalia of the two Sicilers.  The property was called Zucco, and included vineyard which produced a highly-reputed sweet wine. In my youth, I sampled several bottles of it, all etched…

On Dracula’s Footsteps V

In 1459, during the course of a devastating raid in Transylvania, Vlad attacked Brasov. He burned the poor suburbs, in particular the church of Saint Bartholomew, today full of factories. He bombarded the ramparts, particularly the stronghold of weavers. On Quinta Hill, in full view of the besieged, he impaled dozens of prisoners. One of…