Monthly Archives: September 2011

CHINATOWN, SYDNEY – where tat meets taste

Paddy's Market is the perfect place to buy a Chinese kangaroo.

I’ve never spent much time in Sydney’s Chinatown. It seemed a bit phony and touristy; for an authentic Asian experience I’ve always pointed visitors towards Cabramatta, where thousands of South-East Asian Australians have settled, bringing their culture and their food with them.

The Chinese food I remember from my youth was stodgy fried rice and sweet and sour pork. We thought it was daring to eat back then, but now we’ve grown up into sophisticated world citizens we’ve discovered more interesting Malay, Thai, Indian and Vietnamese cuisine.

Having a bit of time to kill before a meeting in the city, I took a walk around Haymarket. I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

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SYDNEY CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL 2011 – Go! Take the kids!

Erth's touchy-feely, extremely life-like dragon was a huge hit at Carriageworks 2010.

The grandson and I went to Riverside Theatre at Parramatta yesterday to see the premiere of a new musical, The Chaos Fairy. It was all go out there. The foyer was crowded with kids and parents, a ringmaster warmed up the crowd, while in the courtyard kids were learning circus tricks, making collages and plaiting wool. The Sydney Children’s Festival has expanded this year from its base at Carriageworks, and a great thing that is. Continue reading

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PETER GILMORE’S QUAY – Australia’s best restaurant

We had no idea of what was in store for us...

To be selected as the 27th best restaurant in the world by some very hard markers means you need to be pretty damn special. Only one Australian establishment made the 2011 S.Pellegrino list of the World’s Top 50 restaurants.

For what turned out to be a very special occasion, we were invited to eat there by our daughter, herself a cook of considerable repute. Continue reading

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SINGAPORE STOPOVER GUIDE – alternative hotels, restaurants and fun

Singapore can look modern and generic, but if you look from the right angle...

I must have passed through Singapore more than any other city, occasionally stopping over for a day or two. So it was nice to be paid a modest fee for writing a short alternative guide to the place.

When I first began travelling, Singapore was not a favoured destination.

If the rumours of the 1970s were correct, Singaporean officials, obsessed with cleanliness and conformity, would give you a compulsory haircut on arrival, confiscate your chewing gum, cane you for littering and kill you for any drug offence.

Things have changed considerably, though you’d be crazy to think of dealing, carrying or using illicit drugs here. Continue reading

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MY WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES OF 2011

As I often tell my writing students, a good story always starts with something going wrong. So when I caught myself writing a summary post about the best meal, prettiest town, most charming B&B and most spectacular scenery etc of the past five months, I thought, ‘Stop that immediately, Richard! Everyone prefers reading about your disasters.’

So here are my worst travel experiences of the past five months: Continue reading

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Filed under Budget travel, Travel- Europe

THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING: back in Sydney this week

Matthew Whittet is simply superb as nine (nearly ten) year old Thomas Klopper. Photo: Heidrun Lohr.

Okay, let’s be up front about this. I’m using my blog to plug my play, because it’s a production I’m immensely proud to be part of.

The Book of Everything will be back in Sydney for short season before it goes to the New Victory Theatre, 42nd St, New York in 2012, and I do want everyone to see it. Daytime schools performances are already sold out, but tickets are still available for evening and school holiday sessions. Continue reading

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SPLASH IN THE DARK – West Cork sea kayaks

Fortunately this is not our boat.

Kayaking at night seemed a strange activity. Wouldn’t it be pointless to paddle around beautiful surroundings in pitch darkness? ‘Oh no,’ the girl in the Skibbereen Visitors Centre assured me, ‘It’s wonderful! Out there on the water, under the stars. On a clear night.’ I glanced through the window to the street, where people were scuttling for cover as the leaden Irish sky unleashed another shower. Continue reading

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