The Flying Kangaroo jumps in a different direction

Qantas has slowly but surely been unveiling a new strategy for its big-ticket flights from Australia.


On top of its announced aim to offer ultra-long-haul flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, the Flying Kangaroo is preparingto redirect its flagship QF Flight 1 to London back via Singapore, rather than Dubai, which has been the single stopover for the past few years.

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Tourism and taboo topics in the Middle East

Updated (see footnote)

I’ve mentioned here before that I’ve become a regular contributor to, and that my answers to questions on travel are gaining a small amount of attention.

Well, in the past few days, one of them has gone through the roof. There have been tens of thousands of engagements with my answer to this question: Is it okay to stay in a hotel with a fiancée for a vacation in Abu Dhabi?

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The man from the Mercure

I’ve moved from the Ramada Downtown and I’m now ensconced at the Mercure City Centre, Abu Dhabi.

As this is an Accor Hotel, I’m on more familiar turf here. The hotel — one of the oldest in the Abu Dhabi CBD (and, I believe, originally The Novotel), is showing a bit of wear and tear, but the experience so far has been very pleasant.

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Hidden Abu Dhabi

Although I’ve been living in Abu Dhabi for five years — and I’m about to leave —  there are bits I’ve missed.

The other day, I had a wander around the side streets near the corner of Hamdan and Salam (Sheikh Zayed) Streets in the CBD, and I found some thriving small shops and restaurants that had previously been off my radar.

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Tourist court is a win-win

Nobody wins when a tourist gets arrested in a foreign place for doing something they didn’t even know was illegal.

Abu Dhabi

Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse anywhere, but some places have a reputation for making things excessively difficult for people — often naive young people — who break the law.

So, it’s good to see that one popular destination is doing something about it.

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Christmas is all around

Christmas markets, Christmas lunches, Christmas shopping … it’s all happening, and not just in traditionally Christian countries.

From Kakadu, Shanghai

Not long after I moved to Abu Dhabi, somebody sneered on social media about  “politically correct” Britain, where some councils had (allegedly) banned Christmas, and then added for good measure: “I bet you’re not allowed to celebrate it in the UAE, either.”

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Flowering of the desert

The northern winter really is a good time to visit the United Arab Emirates. Few people may think of greenery and flowers when they think about the desert, but — thanks to the hard work of dedicated gardeners — it really does bloom at this time of year.

Here are some pictures I’ve taken in Abu Dhabi over the past few days.

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My neck of the woods

Those of us who like to travel sometimes forget about the delights of where we live. While researching the next exotic destination, we are sometimes oblivious to changes in our own neighbourhood.


It pays to have a look around; to go somewhere new but nearby. I did this today with my first proper visit to Al Maryah Island, which has been designed to be the new central business district of Abu Dhabi (which, in case you don’t know is where I live).

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