A different direction: Lovin’ Lorne

My drive from Melbourne to Lorne, on the Victorian coastline, is not quite Hunter S. Thompson’s iconic road journey, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, where he packs his attorney, two bags of grass, mescaline, acid and a salt shaker half full of cocaine: I’m packin’ my mum, some nice nectarines and a swimsuit in the hope that the water in Lorne’s Loutit Bay, aka Bass Strait, isn’t going to freeze my blood.

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Where good looks count: Clear Mountain Lodge, Brisbane

Here’s a little tale about a lodge on Brisbane’s far northern fringe, near Samford. So I played down the arguments about the GPS, but it truly was a grim, bleak drive up to the lodge. Well worth it, really.

IT IS a cold and windy night, the night we head to Clear Mountain Lodge, a small hotel about 35 minutes’ drive north of the Brisbane city centre.

The lodge is, unsurprisingly, at the top of lonely Clear Mountain, in Brisbane’s little-known hinterland. In the dark of night, having been unceremoniously stranded in Queensland thanks to Chilean volcanic ash clouds, the lodge could be on the moon, for all I can see.

Thank goodness for the GPS, the neo-tech husband says. I’ll switch off my Walkman so I can hear you call me antediluvian but I just don’t trust them. So we argue all the way to Clear Mountain, before calling the hotel to check its location.

“Just drive to the top of the hill. You can’t miss it,” the receptionist says. “Don’t follow the GPS and go on Old School Road. It’ll send you down a four-wheel-drive track through a forest.” Tres Wolf Creek.

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Cairo hormones high while NYC snoozes and loses

Cairo thrashes New York for late-night flirting. Who’d a thought?

In case you missed it this week, online dating site Badoo found that the Egyptian capital tops the world as most nocturnal city with the latest night logons for chatting and flirting on its website.

The Sex in the City capital, New York, was caught snoozing and therefore losing, coming in at a rather poor 32nd out of the 180 cities Badoo operates in. London came in 17th and Paris 18th. The naughtiest European city was Malaga, with six Spanish cities in the top 10 hotspots.

Cairo, a city I once heard described as not so much a city that never sleeps, but a city that sleeps in shifts, sees its flirt and chat activity peak at 00.45am.

Badoo’s 10 Most 24-hour cities
1. Cairo (Egypt)
2. Montevideo (Uruguay)
3. Beirut (Lebanon)
4. Malaga (Spain)
5. Zaragoza (Spain)
6. Madrid (Spain)
7. Barcelona (Spain)
8. Valencia (Spain)
9. Seville (Spain)
10. Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Upper West Side comes to Melbourne

It’s a sign of Australia’s enduring cultural cringe that Melbourne now apparently has an Upper West Side. Thank you, New York City, for helping us find new names for our city streets. 

There’s always been that joke about ‘the Paris end of Collins St’, then there’s the Greek Quarter, Chinatown and the Spanish strip of tapas bars in Fitzroy. Let’s reclaim the streets: create our own Boganville, perhaps Gillard Grove, or Tonytown. Thank god for ACDC Lane, a shining light in the culturally confused wilderness.

Unfortunately, Melbourne’s Upper West Side is more mongrel than Manhattan. At the moment, our homegrown UWS is a scuzzy collection of building sites in the no-man’s-land around Spencer St, perilously close to the so-called gentlemen’s clubs (frequented by anything but gentlemen).

You can have your own slice of paradise for $342,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Bargain of the century. I wonder how much it’d cost in NYC?