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travel notes

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In the past three weeks I’ve been in six cities seeing six amazing concerts by Tori Amos. The travel has been mostly painless but I found some interesting differences between cities and their facilities based on the choices I made and the random circumstances I found myself in.

  • Best hotel: Medusa, Darlinghurst, Sydney.
  • Best budget accommodation: City West Motel, Thebarton, Adelaide.
  • Worst hotel: Riverside, Southbank, Brisbane.

The Medusa is simply wonderful; stay there even for one night if you can. For $75 a night, the City West Motel in Adelaide was a much nicer place to stay than the $120 a night Riverside Hotel in Brisbane. The former was clean, quiet, comfortable and a bargain. The latter was smelly, noisy and a poor deal. The staff won’t even call a taxi for you. You have to pick up a phone and do it for yourself. Avoid it if you can.


  • Best meal: The Pony Club, Mt Lawley, Perth.
  • Honourable mention: antipasto plate at Cafe Essen, Canberra (above).
  • Worst meal: the Iskender at the Turkish place in Southbank, Brisbane. A simple dish done poorly and overpriced.

I like good food; what classifies as good food, however, does not always mean expensive food. Furthermore, overpriced food is rarely good. For $12, the antipasto plate at Essen was both a bargain and delicious. Having just walked away from my first meet and greet with Tori in a complete daze, I was lucky to find it. It was crowded (perhaps more to do with there being little else to do on a Sunday afternoon in Canberra) and the coffee was excellent.

  • Best breakfast: scrambled eggs with spinach and deep fried zucchini flowers at Fratelli Paradiso, Sydney.
  • Honourable mention: pizza and coffee at Fornu, Henley Beach Rd, Thebarton, Adelaide.
  • Worst breakfast: Qantas Club lounge, Brisbane (see below).

I’ve written about Fratelli Paradiso previously. Fornu (not sure I have the name correct – the assistance of a local would be appreciated) is a cute Italian bakery with a coffee machine where I had an excellent macchiato and a delicious little fresh vegetarian pizza with artichoke for breakfast. You can tell it’s authentic because inside is a short man with a big moustache shouting at someone…

  • Best public toilet: Melbourne airport.
  • Worst public toilet: Brisbane airport.
  • Best Qantas club lounge: Canberra.
  • Worst Qantas club lounge: Brisbane.

Gratitude to the lovely staff at Qantas Club in Canberra who called the IT helpline for me when I informed them their wi-fi router was misbehaving. I was able to quickly get it reset so I could get online and write my blog. Apparently previous clients that morning has also experienced problems but no one had been able to define the problem and thus suggest the correct solution.

Scowls to the Quantas Club staff in Brisbane who cleared away the breakfast items at 8am on Sunday. Luckily I got a piece of toast and jam 5 minutes earlier (Vegemite was also absent from the counter – that’s unAustralian). When I went back for more it was all gone. What the? On weekdays breakfast goes to at least 9am in the Melbourne and Sydney lounges. On weekends you could expect it to go until 10am, but not in Brisbane, where you get sliced beef and lentil salad at 8.05am. Blah!

  • Best concert venue: Sydney Opera House.
  • Worst concert venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre is actually an adequate concert venue. The sound is acceptable but the staff were clueless. It’s hard to beat the Opera House for sound and sense of occasion. The Canberra Theatre and Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide were both very good. Hamer Hall in Melbourne and the Concert Hall in Perth are also good but does not sound quite as wonderful as the Opera House.

  • Best venue ushers: Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide.
  • Worst venue ushers: Concert Hall, Perth (camera nazis).

Some ushers (Perth, Melbourne and Sydney) seemed to think it their duty to attempt to stop photography. The game is over. Every phone could be a camera and as there were no security checks on bringing devices into the venues why try to stop us using them? The Adelaide ushers knew there was no point and concentrated on keeping a lot of very excited fans calm and not blocking fire escapes etc.

  • Best flight: Perth to Melbourne (half empty flight as the AFL grand final was on, front row of economy all to myself).
  • Worst flight: mid-morning Sydney to Brisbane (full of idiot tourists and retards going home using their iPods when they shouldn’t).

Flying a lot provides a good opportunity to watch other people and observe their behaviour. The ban on using MP3 players such as iPods on takeoff and landing may be irritating, but if that is the rule then I expect everyone to honour it. I respect your safety, and I will enfore your respect of my safety with extreme prejudice.

I reported 3 people to the flight attendants for keeping their iPods on while we taxied onto the runway or as we descended to land. 1 of the crew was appreciative of my intervention; the other 2 looked at me blankly then frowned as they insipidly enforced the rule. Honestly, if it causes no danger, change the rule. If there is a reason for the rule, then it should be enforced. Qantas, make up your mind.

Finally, a big hello and thanks to all the amazing Tori fans I met on tour: if you’re going to spend hours waiting around in carparks and other uncomfortable places for a higher purpose, some quality company and conversation makes you feel good about it.

One comment

  1. Couldn’t agree more on the Riverside Hotel. It is a dump with poor rooms and rude staff.

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