Sunday, December 27, 2015


We did scoff a bit when the lady next door proclaimed, “Our son has travelled all over the world, and he says there’s just about nowhere as nice as Arrawarra”, in what seemed to be an in-real-life scene from The Castle. We’d only been in Arrawarra a few hours and, whilst charmed by our gorgeous, rented beach-house, it did seem a bit of a stretch. Sure, it’s a nice spot but we’ve been to plenty of them over the years, many displayed on an enormous world map in the house's living room.

Arrawarra is a bit of a secret spot. You won’t find it on a  world map, no matter how big. From my experience, a typical conversation about the place goes something like this...

Monday, July 27, 2015


Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore.
Theme parks have changed a lot since I was a kid. Much of the change has been around technology, the Disney people doing some incredible end-to-end, near-field, auto-payment, ride-scheduling spookiness, collecting lots of juicy data along the way - a transaction that seems OK to everyone.

But the most visible change for me, is the advent of digital There is a XX minute wait for this ride signage. Having recently spent a day at the very excellent Universal Studios Singapore I can attest to their accuracy. The suggested 60-minute wait for the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure was absolutely bang-on. Even with the straight-to-the-front-of-the-line VIP ticket holders regularly slipping past us, we awaited an hour virtually to the second.

Friday, March 20, 2015


The advent of the wheely bag totally revolutionised luggage. No more back-breaking, awkward hauling and dragging of large rectangular suitcases. Those little wheels changed everything. Telescopic handle - click, click, click - lean forward and away you go silently on those glassy-smooth airport floors. 

That big, heavy bag is no longer the ungainly beast that it once was. It's even acceptable for a fair-sized piece of carry-on to be wheel-enabled getting you right to the aircraft door leaving you only having to pick it up for the final few steps to your seat and the overhead bin.

But what about luggage that's smaller than that? Are wheels acceptable on a briefcase, for example? I've seen things that look like wallets-on-wheels being confidently escorted by men in suits apparently unaware of the shame they're bringing to their kind. Just pick the thing up, for crying out loud. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I don't know about you, but I think there are some absolute tell-tale signs that you've booked the wrong hotel. 

Travelling for business recently I encountered a number of capital-city hotels. All mid-range (no sense of entitlement here), well-located, looked good on the interwebs and, accordingly, seemed to offer incredible value. Some of the hotels delivered in spades. One or two did not, and I could tell within seconds at the check-in desk that I was about to be slapped with the disappointment stick.

One, in particular, offered a perfect storm of signs that I'd booked the wrong hotel.

1. On Arrival: The highlighting of some unnervingly strict Ts & Cs on the arrival paperwork, accompanied by the following warnings: Sir, please note that if you damage the room, or if it requires excessive cleaning you will be charged $XX. And, Sir, please note that check-out is strictly 10.00am. Your credit card will be charged $XX for every 20 minutes after 10.00.

Side note: I stayed in a hotel in Bali once that even had a charge for getting tattoo ink on the bed sheets. 

That kind of thing. Alarm bells even going in.