tip off

October, 2011


Oman: where dolphins and turquoise water meet camels with birth control bags

I wondered if the text I’d underlined in the Oman Lonely Planet could possibly be correct. The writer had raved about Oman’s khors-rocky inlets and its pristine beaches, about its windswept deserts and the stark and treeless mountains.


Just 50,000 of my closest music loving friends and a small hurricane

There is something peculiarly English about the music festival. I think it has something to do with Glastonbury, mud, and Kate Moss. I’ve been to loads of Australian festivals over the years (although perhaps not any more, considering the overblown ticket prices) but a UK outing was high on my list of cultural things to do. […]


The Age goes to Bali: the worst travel article ever published?

There’s a nauseating article all over the Fairfax press today titled “Bali: why bother?“. In it Age journalist Carolyn Webb talks about her recent holiday to Ubud, Bali, where touts harassing her to buy things and offering her transport on their motorbikes ruined her holiday. The souvenirs were too tacky, the streets were too noisy […]


New York, how do I love thee

This week a recruiter asked me what someone from Australia (with its miraculous 5% unemployment rate) is doing looking for a job in New York. Fair question. The number of people unemployed in the US, at 14 million, is equivalent to two-thirds of the population of Australia.


Battling it out with Colombia’s CIA

James Salmon writes: Colombia’s new tourism slogan of “The only risk is wanting to stay” means I couldn’t say I wasn’t warned. And after nearly two months enjoying all the country had to offer — hiking to the Lost City of the Tayrona, partying in the Caribbean metropolis Cartagena, lazing on the Guajira Peninsula’s desolate […]


Room for one more: riding the buses of Manila

Buses in the Philippines come in two varieties, ordinary and airconditioned. And ordinary buses are very ordinary, says Henry Bateman.


Generosity in the oldest city in the world

It’s that combination of history that got me, and the people, so unexpectedly warm and full of generous ways — from sharing their sweets with you on a bus trip from Damascus to Palmrya to searching up and down the street for someone with sufficient English to guide you back to the Ummayad Mosque, after you have become hopelessly lost in the myriad labyrinthine ways of the Old City of Damascus.


The blood, sweat and fears in riding an elephant

There I was, sitting on the back of an elephant, having her spray water at me from puddles that she walked past. In the Thai jungle, with the sun beating down mercilessly.


Room for one more: how to ride a jeepney

Henry Bateman writes: The Philippines is renowned for its multi-coloured, highly decorated jeepneys. But after about 10 minutes in the country, you realize that these are the exception. Officially referred to as PUJs, the majority are drab utilitarian vehicles with the route details painted on their sides being their major decoration and more often than […]