Archive for September 2018

Artist Penny Metcalf works from her kitchen in Sydney. Photo: Michele MossopWhen Martin Frawley’s band Twerps got a brief but favourable write-up in the Night Life section of The New Yorker in March – the Melbourne quartet being praised for its “upbeat, carefree sound” and “excellent vocal melodies” – his mum Penelope was understandably proud.
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A month later, she has herself joined the pantheon, with her comic-strip recaps of the final season of Mad Men – illustrated by her, with dialogue by American writer Heather Havrilesky – being published on The New Yorker website.

“I so wanted to be able to say to him, ‘Hey guess what … ‘,” Metcalf says. “Because we have this joke that I’m just trying to get on his bandwagon.”

The strip was born when Metcalf, a painter with a Masters degree from the Victorian College of the Arts, visited the US earlier this month. In Los Angeles, she caught up with her “very sassy” writer friend Havrilesky, an occasional contributor to The New Yorker’s humour page, Shouts & Murmurs.

Havrilesky raised the idea of doing something on Mad Men; she suggested Metcalf try her hand at some character sketches; she shopped the idea around and, soon enough, The New Yorker bit. The first two strips – each recapping one episode – debuted on Tuesday.

For Metcalf, who sketches the panels by hand in the kitchen of her Sydney home before reworking them on an app on her iPad, it was a leap into the unknown.

“Heather wanted line sketches originally and that’s not really what I do,” says Metcalf, who is more used to painting domestic landscapes (towers of cups and jugs jostling for cupboard space) and suburban architecture (1960s streetscapes that suggest a mash-up of Howard Arkley and Edward Hopper). “In the end I just said, ‘I’ll do these beautiful portraits and you can be as disrespectful as you like with the text’.”

Her Don Draper is, she says, “as dumb as a thumb, and he’s shaped a bit like a thumb – it’s a thumbnail sketch”. She’s slowly building a library of characters – each picture takes eight to 10 hours to create – and may do a few variations – Roger with and without moustache, for example, Stan with and without beard, a glamorous Megan and Megan “in her Lady of the Canyon mode – I keep on thinking they’re going to do a Sharon Tate thing there”.

Of course, there’s every chance we’ve seen the last of Megan, and Metcalf knows that what she creates will be dictated by what happens on the show. Which, incidentally, she is a little ambivalent about.

“All the men in it are utter duds and all the women get completely done over,” she says. “They set up all this stuff and never do anything with it, which is why I don’t mind taking the piss. There’s all this detail without much meat being made of it.

“They could have done more with the lying you do in advertising versus the lying you do in real life; they could have had more fun with it. It’s a strangely dissatisfying effect the show has.”

Soon enough it will all be over, which is part of the appeal. “I like that it’s finite.”

Havrilesky is already wondering what they may tackle next – “she’s saying ‘what about Game of Thrones?’ but it’s hundreds of characters” – but one show is certainly off-limits.

“I think Parks and Recreation is the most perfect beast there is,” Metcalf says. “You can’t recap that because it’s already so funny. You could only do it as a homage.”

On twitter: @karlkwin

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Better and Homes and Gardens host Johanna Griggs was moved when she visited World War I battlefields. Photo: Channel SevenTelevision presenter Johanna Griggs found herself a world away from fix-me-up houses and flower trends for this week’s episode of Better Homes and Gardens.
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Rather than querying paint choices, Griggs was at the Somme, her mind buzzing with questions like: Who were these boys? How could this waste of life happen? What have we learnt?

After years of dreaming about visiting the battlefields of World War I, Griggs embarked on an emotional journey to France and Germany in the hopes of bringing the forgotten stories home to Australians.

Griggs found herself overwhelmed by the scale of the lives lost and particularly by the ages of those who had died, many of whom were younger than her own two boys.

“You can’t actually fathom it until you see all the crosses,” Griggs says. “You look at these beautiful picturesque fields and they tell you there’s 2600 buried there and you walk up to a wall with the name of 11,000 men who don’t have graves. It’s the scale of it.”

Griggs hosted the show from the French village of Villers-Bretonneux, which Australian Diggers won back from the Germans on April 25 in 1918.

“I kind of get a bit sad that we have to wait for the centenary of such a monumental occasion for all these stories to be told,” Griggs says in reference to the string of Anzac-focused television shows that have aired this year.

“It’s great we’ve got the chance to tell them now but I kind of wish we knew more and were taught more about that history along the way.”

Although a very different feel to Better Homes and Gardens’ usual chirpy tone, Griggs says she is proud and excited to be part of the episode.

The whirlwind six-day trip to France and Germany has only sparked her hunger to find out more about Australia’s war history and she says she hopes to further explore the region in the future.

Better Homes and Gardens’ Anzac special airs on April 24 at 7pm on Channel Seven.  

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Penny Downie (second from left) joins the party at Downton Abbey. Photo: Channel Seven
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Brisbane-born Penny Downie has gone from playing a violent prostitute named Kerry Vincent in 12 episodes of Prisoner, back in 1980, to playing a gracious aristocrat named Lady Sinderby in five episodes of Downton Abbey, starting this week. They might seem like very different roles, but as she reflects on her career, she sees a common theme.

“From what I can remember about Prisoner, I was some kind of prostitute who did something terrible to a pimp because he did something terrible to me. But then I got rehabilitated by being inside and being given art therapy; then I got paroled because I was really quite a nice person, except that Kerry had issues, as they say.

“When I think about the work I’ve done in Britain and the work I’d done in Australia, quite often there’s a sense of being an outsider, which I’ve always really rather enjoyed. The first telly that I did in the UK was an episode of Minder in 1984, and I was playing an Australian con-woman in England.

“There is something slightly ‘other’, even about the Sinderbys. They’re very, very moneyed English people who have a title. We are invited to Downton but it is not necessarily plain sailing. My son Atticus is a friend of Lady Rose and the family are invited to Downton by Lady Rose. There is that thread of something else. They are Jewish and even though they’re incredibly wealthy, it’s from a different place within the society at the time.”

Downie found being an outsider useful when she started to do Shakespeare on stage in London and Stratford. “I’ve done quite a bit of Shakespeare, and I was sort of liberated when I stopped thinking about it as a very English thing, because he wrote such muscular women,” she says.

“I loved doing that because it was the sense of always being a bit outside. I didn’t need to ‘fit in’. Being an Australian living in the UK for all these years, the longer you’re here, the more English you sound, the more displaced sometimes you feel. But it lets you look and listen in a slightly different way, and I’ve enjoyed that.”

Downie has done Poirot, Silent Witness, Father Brown, Silk, Waking the Dead, New Tricks, and Inspector Morse, but Downton Abbey is the biggest budget series she’s worked on in British television: “It’s this huge juggernaut. It’s an institution. The attention to detail is extraordinary.”

She says the scripts are so meticulously constructed she was able to understand her character very quickly: “She’s astute. She’s witty. She’s a warm person. She loves her son very, very much. And she’s nobody’s fool.

“I was so excited when they sent me the script because it was really clever writing. I remember really responding to the clarity of the ideas. The thing about Downton is Julian Fellowes is holding so many storylines, so with the minimum of words you have to get the maximum of meaning.

“There’s so much subtext going around and it’s there on the page if you pick it up. With Lady Sinderby, I went ‘Oh, yes please, I get this, it’s nailed because of how he said it on the page.’ And your imagination takes over and you tease it out. That’s what we’re paid for. “

Downton Abbeyairs on Seven on Thursday night at 9.

Parkinson plays favourites

In 1979, when Michael Parkinson first visited Australia to make a TV show, a journalist at the airport asked him if he was here because he couldn’t get work in Britain.

“What sort of a bloody question is that, for Christ’s sake?” Parkinson says. “One radio announcer called me a ratbag, another called me a carpetbagger. But the nice thing which overruled all that was the rest of Australia saying, ‘Give the Pom a fair go’.”

He realised the aggression he encountered was a symptom of the cultural cringe, our feeling at the time that nothing about Australia could possibly be of interest to someone from a grown-up country like Britain. As he reflects on how the place he calls his second home has changed in 36 years, Parkinson particularly appreciates the disappearance of the cringe.

“I think Australians have become altogether more self-confident in presenting a face to the world,” he says. “Australia doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody.”

Parkinson, 80, registered another transformation as he prepared Parky’s Favourite Australians, a two-part series based on 35 years of interviews, which Channel Ten launches on Thursday.

“I’m reminded of the Ian Thorpe interview last year, where he said for the first time that he was gay. I did reflect that we had reached a moment in time when nobody was the least bit surprised, but we were delighted that he’d finally come clean so that he could present himself as he was, rather than living a lie.

“I remembered an interview with Robert Helpmann  [actor and dancer] all those years ago in which I asked him what it was like being gay in Sydney in the ’20s and ’30s, and he told this story that because of the way he was dressed, he was thrown into the sea at Bondi. I thought: that’s where Australia’s gone, from that to a point where Ian Thorpe makes a confession and everybody says ‘what were you frightened of? It doesn’t matter any more’. So really I was charting the way that a nation has changed for the better, in many many ways. It’s very satisfying to me to recapture that in the interviews that I did.”

Parkinson finds Australians easy to interview. “What attracted me was the openness of the society and the friendliness of people. It reminded me of where I grew up in the north country of England. People said good day to you, they wanted to know your business, they were warm, they didn’t walk past you in the street without acknowledging you. I found it very easy to settle in there.

“All that stuff came together in the interviews. They were not pompous, generally speaking, they were not stuffy, not bound by convention and centuries of good taste, that didn’t bother them any more. This was a different tribe of people, and that made my job so much easier.”

Parkinson has been knighted by the Queen, but he was puzzled when Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the awarding of an Australian knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh. “Of all the people to give a knighthood to! The Duke of Edinburgh needs another knighthood like I need another person to interview. Just when Australia was in political turmoil, it was ill judged. But in the end it doesn’t matter. There are more important things to be addressed in Australia and in our country too.”

Parkinson lists three interviews he particularly enjoyed: 

Kerry Packer: “Packer was in his prime, a great bull of a man, a man who had divided opinion about him. I interviewed him on the pretext of talking about World Series Cricket. He knew I had written some pieces about him which were not supportive, shall we say, and so we went on and we had a scrap. I admired him greatly. Our interview was combative, so it’s a good interview, a proper interview.”

Cliff Young: “He’s the potato farmer who won the walking race between Sydney and Melbourne and came in 45 minutes ahead of the field wearing gumboots and overalls. Only in Australia. A true hillbilly, a wonderful character and I did a hilarious interview with him.”

Rodney Ansell: “He was a kid from the outback, a bullcatcher from the Northern Territory, a TV natural, talked about how you catch 2000-pound bulls and all that. Paul Hogan was watching this show and thought. ‘Christ, that’s a wonderful character, so he created Crocodile Dundee.’ From which came the movie and a realisation about Australia in the rest of the world. Rodney’s got his place in history because of that.”

Parkinson intends to keep visiting Australia every summer. “I’m still hoping that I’ll be in Australia when I see England regain the Ashes. I hope I don’t disappear before that happens. That would bother me slightly.”

Parky’s Favourite Australians starts on Ten on Wednesday at 7.30pm. 

Vote for The Bogies

Today we publish the voting form for The Bogie Awards, this column’s annual (since 2007) opportunity to vent your rage, contempt and sardonic humour on those who have annoyed, embarrassed and insulted you over the past 12 months of televisual entertainment in Australia.

The Bogies run parallel with a similarly named honours system that will be announced in a shimmering ceremony at a casino on the evening of May 3. The results of your voting will be announced in this column the same day. These are the nominations on which we’d like you to pass judgement …

Least real “Reality” show: My Kitchen Rules (Seven); The Block (Nine); Beauty and the Geek (Seven); The Real Housewives of Melbourne (Arena); The Bachelor Australia (Ten).

Smuggest talent quest judge: Shaynna Blaze (The Block); George Calombaris (MasterChef); Pete Evans (My Kitchen Rules); Alex Perry (Australia’s Next Top Model); Matt Preston (MasterChef); Neale Whitaker (The Block).

Network most contemptuous of viewers: ABC; Foxtel; Nine; SBS; Seven; Ten.

Most incomprehensible plotting: The Code; State of Affairs; Fortitude; How To Get Away With Murder; Witnesses.

Least deserving of renewal: Big Brother, Wonderland; Resurrection; Hiding; The Chaser’s Media Circus; I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Most annoying streaming “service”: Presto, Netflix, Quickflix, Stan, Ezyflix, Foxtel Play.

Most insidious use of breasts to exploit viewers’ base instincts: The Bachelor Australia; Girls; Game of Thrones; Sunrise; I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here; Criminal Minds; Vikings; Stalker.

Most over-exposed: Anzac events; Poh; Manu Feildel; Shaun Micallef; Julia Morris; Stephen Fry; Annabel Crabb; Tony Jones; Grant Denyer.

Worst catch-up service: ABC, Nine, Seven, SBS, Ten.

Most embarrassing program (The Naomi Robson Cup): Big Brother; Gogglebox; Today Tonight; A Current Affair; The Real Housewives of Melbourne; The Biggest Loser Australia; The Bolt Report; I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Furthest past use-by date (The Bert Newton Trophy): The Simpsons (Eleven, Fox8); Downton Abbey (Seven); Midsomer Murders (ABC); QI (ABC); Border Security (Seven); Grey’s Anatomy (Seven); CSI (Nine); Dancing with the Stars (Seven); Scott Cam; Sonia Kruger.

The Black Bogie (The Sandilands Chalice): Matt Preston; Andrew O’Keefe; Richard Wilkins; Karl Stefanovic; Eddie McGuire; David Koch; Andrew Bolt.

How to vote: Make your selection from the lists above and send your decision to [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校. Or go to smh苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/entertainment/blog/the-tribal-mind. Feel free to add comments and extra nominations.

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A funky stairway links the Nishi building with Hotel Hotel in NewActon, Canberra. Photo: Nic Walker A funky stairway links the Nishi building with Hotel Hotel in NewActon, Canberra. Photo: Nic Walker
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A funky stairway links the Nishi building with Hotel Hotel in NewActon, Canberra. Photo: Nic Walker

A funky stairway links the Nishi building with Hotel Hotel in NewActon, Canberra. Photo: Nic Walker

Among the most affecting exhibits at the Australian War Memorial are Ben Quilty’s revealing portraits. Photo: Jay Cronan

Summer stonefruit, elderflower cream and berry granita at Monster Kitchen and Bar, Hotel Hotel.

While many outsiders have a jaundiced view of our national capital, possibly because it’s full of politicians and career bureaucrats, locals espouse its merits with uncommon ardour. Whichever camp you’re in, Canberra is made for a short break, with institutions such as the War Memorial voted Trip Advisor’s No. 1 South Pacific landmark, and the National Gallery always a draw. There’s also a rash of new accommodation, including the refurbished Hotel Kurrajong Canberra. The evolution of dining precincts, such as Kingston foreshore, central Lonsdale Street and NewActon, suggest that Canberrans are making increasingly good use of the old sheep paddock.    DAY ONE

Largely flat and with a network of purpose-built paths, Canberra is arguably Australia’s most cycling-friendly city, so today we get around on hired bikes (mrspokes苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛, $40 a day). First stop is the National Capital Exhibition (open daily, free, visitcanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/attraction/national-capital-exhibition), overlooking Lake Burley Griffin. It’s an excellent starting point with a city model (with lights indicating attractions), Walter Burley Griffin’s award-winning 1911 design for Canberra and the chance for kids to build their own capital from lego.

Next, we cross the lake to the National Gallery, wandering through the free galleries of Australian and international art and lingering over lunch at the Sculpture Garden restaurant (open Wednesday to Sunday, noon-3pm, $44 two courses per person). In the afternoon, we take in the visiting James Turrell retrospective. Moving, meditative and unusually beautiful, the works span the 50-year career of the American master of light and space. The Virtuality squared installation, a high-ceilinged space suffused with shifting coloured light, is particularly enthralling (until June 8, entry $25.49 weekdays, $30.58 weekends, nga.gov419论坛).

We end our day royally with caviar and champagne, followed by 36-day dry, aged angus rib-eye, at C Dine Bar (open Tuesday to Sunday, cdinebar苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛) on the Kingston foreshore. DAY TWO

Canberrans love their city’s easy access to mountains and bush. Following local advice, we rise early and drive for 45 minutes to Namadgi National Park (visitcanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/namadgi-national-park), an alpine wilderness comprising 46 per cent of the ACT, for a four-kilometre bushwalk. The climb up Booroomba Rocks and the views over Tuggeranong Valley make an exhilarating start to the day.

Back in town, there is more excitement at Questacon science museum (Open Tuesday to Sunday, adults $23, children $17.50, questacon.edu419论坛) where, in two hours, we experience a lightning strike, an earthquake and go freefalling down a vertical shute.

We recover at nearby Old Parliament House, the nation’s seat of democracy between 1927 and 1988. The ageing leather sofas, frosted windows and hushed corridors here recall a more erudite political era (open daily, adults $2, children $1, moadoph.gov419论坛).

Tonight we delve into Canberra’s “little Melbourne” in central Braddon, beginning with Barley Griffin ale and hand-crushed cider at BentSpoke microbrewery (Mort Street, bentspokebrewing苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛). Then it’s on to the new eightysix restaurant, a noisily sociable eatery where we let the waiters pick dishes like duck buns and “ghetto beef with salsa verde” for us (open Tuesday to Sunday, eightysix苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.   DAY THREE

We begin with breakfast upstairs at Lonsdale Street Brasserie, a central people-watching venue, before spending the day at the Australian War Memorial. From its commemorative walls, festooned with poppies, recording the country’s 102,000 war dead to newly curated galleries covering our nation’s role in World War I, this is a compellingly poignant museum. Among the most affecting exhibits are Ben Quilty’s revealing portraits of military personnel serving in Afghanistan. Yet a sense of peace and Digger spirit also pervades the War Memorial.

We break our visit with lunch at the adjacent Poppies cafe, and stay until 4.55pm to witness the Last Post, a ceremony dedicated daily to an individual Australian lost in conflict. (War Memorial, open daily, 10am-5pm, entry free, awm.gov419论坛.)

On our final night, we head to the NewActon dining enclave, but don’t stray far from Hotel Hotel, bedazzled by its funky interior design full of suspended wood planks and retro furniture. In its midst is Monster Kitchen and Bar, with its equally innovative shared plates. We try most of them, savouring the twice-cooked octopus with chorizo, and wagyu rump with miso, apple, kohlrabi and burnt bonito butter (hotel-hotel苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/eat-and-drink/monster).  TRIP NOTESMORE INFORMATION

visitcanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛  GETTING THERE

Qantas and Virgin fly to Canberra from Melbourne and Sydney. The capital is 3½ hours’ drive from Sydney, or eight hours from Melbourne. STAYING THERE

The Avenue, 80 Northbourne Avenue, is a new, central boutique hotel. From $179 a night. avenuehotel苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛

Hotel Kurrajong Canberra, built in the 1920s, has reopened after a major refurbishment. From $199 a night. tfehotels苏州美甲美睫培训学校/brands/kurrajong/hotel-kurrajong

Hotel Hotel, design-centric accommodation in NewActon. From $257 a night. hotel-hotel苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛

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I HOPE TO TRAVEL TO CUBA WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS IN OCTOBER. OUR ITINERARY INCLUDES HAVANA, VINALES, CIENFUEGOS, TRINIDAD AND CAMAGUEY. IS THERE ANYWHERE WE COULD SEE LOTS OF FLAMINGOS WITHOUT SPENDING MANY HOURS DOING SO? WHAT WOULD BE AN ECONOMICAL ROUTE TO GET TO CUBA USING BETTER AIRLINES?
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H. BROWN, ENGADINE

Cuba has some 70,000 nesting Caribbean flamingos and countless chicks, the largest colony in the Western Hemisphere. The best place to see these majestic birds is the Rio Maximo Wildlife Reserve, a flamingo conservation and rehabilitation facility run by Cuban conservation biologists, located to the north of Camaguey Province. However it’s not particularly user-friendly, since access is difficult. Flamingos are quite often seen from the causeway out to Cayo Coco but this might not feature on your itinerary, and it would mean a long detour off the main route to Camaguey.

Contours Travel Managing Director Ted Dziadkiewicz advises Qantas or Air New Zealand to Los Angeles, then Mexicana Airlines to Mexico City and on to Havana. Another option with an excellent and highly reliable airline is LA to Panama City with Copa Airlines and on to Havana. He advises against Cuban airlines on grounds of reliability.

Melbourne-based Contours Travel (contourstravel苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛) is a Cuba specialist, and a great choice for anyone planning to visit this fascinating  but creaking Caribbean island.

WE ARE PLANNING A TRIP TO EUROPE OVER CHRISTMAS WITH OUR 6-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER AND WOULD LIKE TO VISIT SOME CHRISTMAS MARKETS, POSSIBLY IN GERMANY. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

T. ARMITAGE, NEWCASTLE

Germany is ground zero for Christmas markets, and it is only fitting that Berlin has more than 50. Pick of the bunch is the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche Market, centred around the Gedächtniskirche, the Memorial Church, at one of the city’s main shopping arteries. As well as the hand-carved, cuddly and cute that are the staple Christmas market fare, Berlin brings its own edgy awareness to the business with contemporary works by designers and artists. Along with the essential mulled wine, sausages and sauerkraut, expect artworks and an eclectic selection of antique and contemporary jewellery.

The oldest Christmas market in Germany, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, takes its name from the local striezel or stollen, the fruity cake-loaf that is Germany’s own Christmas cake. Among the goods for sale are pflaumentoffel, good-luck charms made from dried plums, representing the small boys once employed as chimney sweeps. Christmas pyramids, textiles, gingerbread, filigree lace products from Plauen, blown-glass tree decorations from Lauscha and candleholders from the Erzgebirge Mountains are among the goods for sale.

If you want something smaller, Mittenwald is a picturebook Bavarian alpine town, set against the soaring rock wave of Westl Karwendelspitze. Obermarkt, the main street, is lined with houses with folk-art scenes painted on their shuttered facades, along with wooden balconies and carved gables. Goethe called it “a picture book come alive,” and the Christmas market here is a beauty. At an elevation of around 1100 metres, Mittenwald is almost guaranteed a white Christmas. Access is easy since the town lies on the main train line between Munich and Innsbruck, with frequent services in both directions.

Whichever you choose, check dates carefully. While the Christmas markets in the cities are open for most of December, those such as Mittenwald might only operate for a few days.

I’M A 27-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WANTING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CHEAP RETURN AIRFARES TO LA IN MAY. I’D LIKE TO JOIN A TOUR FROM LA UP THE WEST COAST, IDEALLY TO PORTLAND AND SEATTLE, AND ALSO TAKING IN YOSEMITE AND THE GRAND CANYON. I’M NOT THE PARTYING/DRINKING TYPE SO I HAVE RULED OUT CONTIKI. I’VE LOOKED AT G-ADVENTURES, GECKO AND INTREPID YET THE AFFORDABLE ONES – AROUND $1500 FOR 10 DAYS – ARE CAMPING, WHICH IS NOT MY STYLE. CAN YOU SUGGEST OTHER TOUR OPERATORS THAT ARE YOUNG ADULT-FRIENDLY, HAVE A MAX OF TWO PER ROOM, AREN’T ABOUT DRINKING AND ARE AFFORDABLE?

B. ISAACS, SYDNEY

A tour that takes in the natural wonders of the American West, from LA all the way to Seattle with motel accommodation and within budget is a tall order. One that might almost fit the bill is the 9-day Western Discovery tour from Travelbag (travelbag.co.uk). This starts in LA and includes the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Las Vegas and Yosemite before finishing in San Francisco. Accommodation is in hotels, motels and inns and the price starts from $1650 . From San Francisco you could hop on  a bus to get to Portland and Seattle. Travelbag’s 7-day Western Trails tour starts from just $1100, but it starts and finishes in LA. Most of Travelbag’s tours of the American West include Las Vegas and this might not be your thing, however their itineraries can be customised so this might be a better option

CONVERSATION OVER TO YOU…

The question was “Hotel minibars are a trap for the unwary, the tired, the hungry and possibly the traveller with kids in their own hotel room. Ever been caught out, and what was the damage? “

M. Clarke writes “Yes. Four days into a two-week cruise, I decided to check my on-board account was surprised to see mini-bar charges listed.  My kids had had the mid-afternoon munchies and helped themselves to chocolates and chips from the mini-bar at $5.95 per item!”

“I have a particular weakness for Toblerone chocolate bars,” admits J. Wright. “When I spied one late at night at the minibar. I thought ‘Whacko!’. However it was light as a feather – a previous guest had neatly sliced open the end with a sharp knife and removed the contents. I wasn’t charged, but would happily have paid the rather stiff bill.”

From K. Davis, “I bought a can of Coke from a convenience store, drank it in my hotel room and tossed the can into the waste bin, then when I checked out the hotel had recorded that as a sale from the minibar! Outrageous! They reversed the charge when I explained and they did a count of the minibar, but they really should have checked that first.”

P. Millic writes “My experimentally-minded son discovered that a minibar with sensors can be fooled. If the drink cans are on their side, you can pop the top and allow the contents to dribble out into a glass below, without a sale being recorded. But as a morally-minded parent, I made him confess and we paid up.”

Next question: Incidents of air rage are on the rise, and it’s ugly. Ever been a witness, or just seen plain bad behaviour on a flight?

Send response to [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛. The best response will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.

SEND US YOUR TRAVEL QUESTIONS

Include your name and your suburb or town and send it to [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 All published questions will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.

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