Saturday, 26 April 2008

No laughing, it's Chinglish - News - Travel -

No laughing, it's Chinglish - News - Travel - "Linguistic cleansing is ridding Beijing of its unintentionally hilarious English translations, writes Karen Halabi.

Chinese authorities are close to completing a linguistic cleansing that began last year when Beijing launched a campaign to rid the city of bad English and stop the world laughing. The official site of the Chinese Olympic Committee and China Youth Daily both report work is progressing well to ensure Beijing's signs are grammatically correct in time for the Olympics."

New kid on the bloc - Europe - World - Travel -

New kid on the bloc - Europe - World - Travel -

History remains ... communist-era bronzed figure in Statue Park. Photo: AFP

This dynamic eastern European nation is as diverse as it is fascinating, writes Graham Simmons.

When Romanian philosopher Andrei Plesu said,'Europe is not designed for speed', he may well have had the Danube-Main-Rhine rivers in mind."

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Sally's Australian Regional Food Guide Relaunched

Last week saw the relaunch of the Australian Regional Food Guide website. With new features including Google maps, weather forecasts, and hundreds of listings, the site is set to become the most important regional website in Australia.

“We have been researching regional products and producers now for ten years,” say the people behind the site, Gordon and Sally Hammond. With a background in food and travel writing, and photography, the couple have applied their skills to produce two editions of the Australian Regional Food Guide and now the website.

“The first edition in 1999 was groundbreaking,” says Sally Hammond, recalling hours of phoning people around the country as she collated information for over 1500 producers. “There had never been anything like it. Never anything that dealt with the entire country. Looking back it was a crazy thing to do. It was just such a huge task.”

Regardless, the book proved to be immensely popular, and was followed by a revision in 2004. So, is there another book planned?

“We could see that to revise yet again was not the way to go,” says Gordon Hammond. “Data is fragile. Details change so quickly and books are out of date before they are printed, so I taught myself web design and now we have a site that can be updated instantly.”

Gordon is proud of the ‘two clicks to anywhere’ ease of the new site, designed so people planning to travel to a region can see at a glance which places might be worth visiting, when the local markets are on and what events are coming up – even how the weather looks for the week ahead.

The site is also proving a valuable resource in the industry. Chefs can locate producers of ingredients they need, producers can network with others in the same field.

The front page of the site is packed with current news items, while an effective search function can bring up words and names in the listings or archives within seconds.

“To be listed, someone must be producing or using local food,” says Sally. “It might be a B&B that serves a scrumptious breakfast with fresh local eggs, bread and cheeses. It could be a restaurant showcasing regional produce and products. Or a blueberry farm, someone raising wagyu beef, an eel producer, or a strawberry plot. The key thing is that it provides the means for people to be able to locate regional food. Sometimes they will taste it or buy it within metres of where it is grown or being made.”

“We’re not finished yet,” say the Hammonds. “This is just the beginning. We have a list of features to add, and as technology improves we will incorporate more and more of them. Meanwhile, the plan is to encourage more producers and restaurants to take out full listings, and for advertisers to be attracted to the site.”

Australia is a huge country, rich in food and wine, with innovative people working in many food-related industries. Add to that the travelling public’s growing interest in ‘culinary tourism’ and it seems that a site like this could hardly have been launched at a better time.

More details:

• The books, and now the website, represent the most comprehensive Australia-wide directory for regional food, markets, and events.
• The information is firsthand – the Hammonds have travelled to every region in Australia and have personally contacted most of the operators listed on the site.
• Already approximately 1800 businesses are listed on a data base that is expanding rapidly.
• The site is selective. Only businesses that produce, promote or showcase regional food are included.
• Australia has 52 official regional tourism regions.
• The site is well optimised in the web search engines, and currently around 80 per cent of visitors to the site are from overseas.
• The site is self-funded – no government grants or corporate sponsorship has been received.
• Behind the scenes are Sally Hammond – well-known food and travel writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of food and cookery, and husband, Gordon, photographer and general tech-head.

Media Contact: Sally Hammond 02 9973 1169,; Gordon Hammond 02 9918 2997,

Sally and Gordon Hammond are available for interview.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Journeys - April 2008

Global Travel Writers

GTWBringing the world to your readers

The award-winning Global Travel Writers team bring you their latest offerings for April 2008

Coming Up: Karen Halabi heads to a camel camp at Oysan in northern India. John Borthwick sails Thailand's glorious Andaman coast. Graham Simmons disappears without trace.

Think outside the square. GTWers have decades of experience covering such diverse subjects as music, culture, cuisine, lifestyle, technology, aviation, sport and tourism business. [see themes]

Australia : Slovakia : Cruising : Mongolia
Airships : Singapore : India

echucaPhilip Game explores Australia’s largest inland port, at Echuca on the mighty Murray, where floods –and drought – are a way of life. Paddlesteamers still chug around the river bends, whistles screeching, as they have done for over a century. [more]

Guide to Expedition and Adventure Cruising

”True travellers are discovering adventure cruising in droves, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the travel business,” says Roderick Eime, “and it’s about time adventure cruisers had their own magazine.”

Rod has just completed this project. For you own copy, please email

The GTW Team:

Glenn A Baker
Graham Simmons
John Borthwick
Karen Halabi
Philip Game
Roderick Eime
Sally Hammond
Sheriden Rhodes
Thomas E King
Tricia Welsh

GTW Trivia:

Which GTW member once played in and wrote songs for a chart-topping rock'n'roll band? [answer]


PiestanyKaren Halabi learns why health seekers flock to Piestany, an authentic 200 year-old spa town in Slovakia. Once favoured as a health retreat by Austrian emperors and composers because of its thermal mineral springs, it is now frequented by celebrities and sportsmen. [more]
Residensea Sheriden Rhodes ponders the concept of travelling the globe without leaving home. Avoiding jet lag, queues at the airport and the hassle of packing and unpacking, an apartment on board the world’s first ever residential ship, World of Residensea may just be her ticket. [more]
MongoliaGlenn A Baker reminds us no Roman Emperor nor British monarch ever controlled more of the planet than the fearsome Mongols. He revisits Mongolia, the world of the mighty Khans, once masters of the largest contiguous land empire in world history. [more]
delhiThomas E King says New Delhi is now at the top of the leader board for the widest choice of quality golfing experiences in India. The Classic Golf Resort, a country club set against the stark Aravali Range set the benchmark when opened mid-1997. [more]
SingaporeThomas E King soars 165 metres over the Lion City enjoying the 360 degree view from the Singapore Flyer. Asia’s largest observation wheel encompasses the ever-changing cityscape and well beyond to parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. [more]
Zeppelin Roderick Eime recalls the glorious days of the Graf Zeppelin. Germany's mighty airship dominated the skies for nearly a decade, the pinnacle of luxury and aspirational travel. Thanks to new technology, Zeppelins are reborn in their traditional home. [more]
For more stories see: Global Travel Writers
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