Wanted: dead or alive

One thing travellers ought to know is that marketplaces around the world are full of fake products. If somebody is offering you a Louis Vuitton bag at a ridiculous price, then it’s not an LV bag. The same goes for all sorts of branded products that aren’t what they are supposed to be.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong shopkeepers have been warned not to sell fake Gucci products

And the distinction between what’s legal and what isn’t applies even if the intended “recipient” is dead.

Continue reading Wanted: dead or alive

Travelling north

The thing about being an Australian with a taste for travel is that it’s all too easy, and extremely tempting, to jump onto a plane tosee the world without first seeing your own country.

CIAF (Queensland.com)
CIAF (Queensland.com)

Although I’ve done a lot of travel within the great big, broad, brown land, there are parts I’ve missed or neglected — including northern and far north Queensland, in my own home state.

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Making a Breakaway

Anybody who has ever been on a cruise ship knows that they almost always depart on time.

Norwegian Breakaway (NCL)
Norwegian Breakaway (NCL)

On the first night of my very first cruise, the cruise director told the passengers: “If you are late back to port, we will leave without you. We’ve done it before; we’ll do it again – and I’ll be standing there waving at you as we sail away.”

It seems that scenario just happened on the Norwegian Breakaway — perhaps with the exception of the waving.

Pictures have emerged of a woman who was late back to port at Nassau in the Bahamas apparently sobbing and pleading with the ship to return, because she had left her children onboard.

Details are scarce about whether the children were alone, and what the ship’s captain or the cruise line did. Social media users seem divided over the issue – some said the ship ought to have returned, others said that she would have known the rules and should have followed them.

I can see both sides. My inclination is to side with those who endorsed the decision to depart without her, but the presence of the children onboard complicates things.

BA names best dressed

Victoria Beckham (British Airways)
Victoria Beckham (British Airways)

I’m not quite sure why an airline would compile a list of best dressed travellers” – purely because it’s going to offend a lot of people who aren’t included, or are not as high up that list as they might like to be.

Nevertheless, British Airways has done just that in association with Hollywood fashion stylist Elizabeth Saltzman.

According to a media release, it’s about celebrating “the relationship between flying and fashion and to honour today’s globe-trotting trendsetters, spanning the worlds of film, music and entertainment”.

Anyway, the first place on this list is occupied by Victoria Beckham, formerly known as Posh Spice. The rest of the top 10, in order, are Amal Clooney, Kendall Jenner, Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Charlize Theron, Taylor Swift, Marion Cotillard, Lupita Nyong’O and Heidi Klum.

I guess one of the conditions was that you not only had to be well dressed, but famous as well.

Or, as Ms Saltzman says: “Flying today is more accessible than ever. People are more aware of themselves, whether it is their health and beauty regimes, time management or carbon footprint. The women on this list are all powerful examples of the modern world. Their style is classic with a personal twist. This is about the power of women and being able to balance it all.”

Dancing Diadema

For many travellers, cruising is about dancing. From the couples of a certain age who still like to cut a rug the old-fashioned way to the professionals who perform for the rest of us to watch on in awe, it’s all to be seen on the high seas.

Here’s some video I took on my most recent cruise, on the Costa Diadema, of the ship’s animation team and dancers, and some of the passengers getting into the spirit.

Shakespeare celebrations

As  I write, it’s the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare — playwright, poet and man of enduring fascination to tourists.

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of England’s (and perhaps the world’s) greatest writer, is a major draw. Few packaged tours exclude it. His birthplace, his mother’s house, the church where he was christened, the school he attended and the theatres where his plays are still performed attract many thousands of people every week.

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Leave those cats alone

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of photographing cats in the wild. By which, I mean domestic cats on the streets of big cities, in small town, at beaches, near famous monuments and anywhere else I can find them.


Despite the fact that they are a growing phenomenon — with about 60 in Tokyo alone, and many more across Asia and Europe — I haven’t yet been to a cat cafe.

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Best of the best beaches

There is a simple and very good reason to be wary about lists that claim to name the best (whatever) in the world. Since no researcher or writer has ever experienced every (whatever) in the world, nobody is able to make an objective judgement.


But the internet is full of such lists, many of them in the realm of travel. So, just for giggles, here are some highlights from recent best-of lists.

Continue reading Best of the best beaches

Being in Brisbane

Brisbane City Hall

It may be hard to be objective to write about your home town, but I’m going to try.

First, it’s true that Brisbane, where I was born and I’ve spent more than half of my life, is not the immediate “go-to” Australian city. Sydney is that — because of the harbour, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Bondi Beach, the Manly ferry and so many other attractions that all would-be tourists associate with the land down under. Continue reading Being in Brisbane

Travel tips from all over

I’ve  seen as many travel-tips websites as I’ve had hot English breakfasts. Most of them cover the same ground – about insurance, how to pack (roll your clothes, don’t fold them), how to get a cheap airfare or an upgrade, and so on – but I’ve been searching for those that are a little left-field.

Sometimes the most interesting sights are hidden from view
Sometimes the most interesting sights are hidden from view

Here’s a taster:

Continue reading Travel tips from all over