Tuesday, 2 September 2014


I saw 'Felony' last week before departing Australia for my vacation and could have left any comment about it until my return in a month's time but it is such a good film I want to add my recommendation whilst it is newly screening in Australian cinemas.

The film is about police officers and how they pull together when confronted with a problem they would rather not have come to outside notice.

One officer, only just hailed a hero for one operation, faces a dilemma when he becomes involved in an incident that could end his career. There are experienced officers who know only too well how to manage the situation and the characteristic new boy whose persistence to uncover the truth just will not go away.

Although the setting is the police force these behavioural dilemmas are just as valid for any other group of people who share a function or activity.

Don't be discouraged by the apparent stereotype characters I've mentioned above.

This is an intelligent story, beautifully acted. The style of the film may be a little slow - in the way of many great French films, I would add - but I was never bored.

An excellent Australian contemporary drama that deserves to have box office success.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Beverly Hills curiosities

Which was does the wind blow?

Rodeo Drive stores have individual emergency services connections

A Beverly Hills house in the style of Spanish architect Gaudi

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The wonders of modern travel

One of the countless wonders of modern life and therefore also of modern travel is the capacity to listen to your local radio station live apparently from almost anywhere in the world.

Have a look at the 'app' displayed on my smart phone just now.

Where I am it is just after 4pm on Sunday and I am in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles USA listening to a live program from a local radio station in Australia where it is just after 9am on Monday.

Amongst the fun of experiencing the strange and different things about life overseas it is reassuring as well to have a moment to hear something, live, from home.

Who's a pretty boy, then?

Me, me, me!

'We' all know about that movie 'Pretty Girl' with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere which was largely set in and around the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and Rodeo Drive.

Here is the hotel on Wilshire Boulevard at the junction with Rodeo Drive.

This morning, early Sunday, I took a wander down to the hotel. Minding my own business I took a photo of the entrance. Quite silently and unnoticed by me a very efficient Concierge (not the one from the movie) appeared by my side and offered to take my photo.

If you enlarge the photo you can more clearly see him approaching me reflected in the glass door.

Here is his a sample of his work. I thought he was pointing my camera in the wrong direction but when I saw the photos I knew I was wrong. I reckon he has taken a few of these photos before.

Seeing as the Concierge was so hospitable I decided to take a seat in the lobby and watch the world pass by for a while.

Beverly Wilshire Hotel lobby

Having made it inside I couldn't resist an admittedly genuine need to visit the hotel toilet. Of course, once there what does one do but take a photograph?

Typical of 5 star hotel toilets, I think

Later on I took a cheapie short tour of Beverly Hills on a stylised Trolley Bus. It only cost $5 and was all over in 45 minutes and served as a sample of the bigger, longer, more expansive and expensive tours on offer.

Of course, it included a tour of streets where the narrator pointed out film stars' homes - or rather former homes; if you believe what they are saying. I didn't bother to photo many of these but here are two just for an indication of the variety of homes. Of course many homes we passed were on massive properties invisible to we gawkers the way they are set behind high hedges and walls. We could just as easily been passing a cemetery or golf course for all I knew.

Gene Kelly's home...apparently, maybe, supposedly
Jackie Collins' home...allegedly, possibly, who knows
Debbie Reynold's & a young Carrie Fisher's home...could be, why not

Saturday, 30 August 2014


The bookings were made many months ago and the countdown seemed slow until this week but finally departure day has arrived (if you get my gist).

Departure from Sydney Airport was delayed nearly an hour because of congestion in outwards immigration (there I go again) and a different form of congestion with birds sucked into an engine, thankfully of another plane, not ours. Despite the delay we still managed to arrive at LAX (Los Angeles) before we had departed Sydney. It was about 2pm 30 August as we raced down the runway for takeoff at Sydney and it was 10.20am 30 August when we touched at Los Angeles today.

Having mentioned congestion at Sydney Airport I won't nonetheless accept criticism of our facilities without argument given the even worse crowding here. It took nearly an hour to navigate the snake queue for Border clearance and once there you are photographed and they take a print of every finger and thumb. After baggage collection and customs clearance I walked along a series of tunnels and into the public area.

I looked without success for any information on the options for getting to my hotel but there was no such assistance apart from several cursory overhead signs which frankly are of no help. I did notice there are upgrades of the airport in progress and maybe these facilities will come with time.

In the end I joined the taxi rank. An Iranian cab driver drove me efficiently - as best I could tell - to my hotel. He was a friendly fellow but the journey was somewhat ruined by his persistence in questioning me on how he could get to Australia for work. Interestingly he mentioned that his cousin had gone to Indonesia and from there by boat headed for Australia but that he had been taken to Manus Island. The Government may have 'stopped' the boats in its view but not the interest.

Anyway - enough of politics; this is not a political blog - on to the vacation.

This is my hotel right in the centre of (luxury) things on Rodeo Drive.

Brand names on every corner.

Brand names side by side.

Even on Rodeo Drive brand names have clearance sales; like Brooks Brothers here offering 60% off for the Labor Day holiday.

But even on Rodeo Drive there is the ominous sight of a vacant store.

So what purchase did I make as a memento of my stay on Rodeo Drive? What do you think about this subtle little number?

Only kidding!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sore throat

Look up 'sore throat' on Google Images and you will see a lot of rather gross images of...well...sore throats. I was looking for an image of a good looking male with a sore throat to illustrate this post but I didn't find any. I scrolled through many screens of 'sore throat' images until I reached this one...

...what does it have do with sore throats? I think, I'm not sure but I think, the band is playing a song called 'sore throat'. It will have to do.

With wilful, typical timing, nature - or someone - has given me a sore throat and cough on the eve of my overseas holiday which will involve many hours spent in aeroplanes. It is an itchy, dry cough, most annoying and has evolved into laryngitis and cough. Friends in as disparate locations as Brisbane have been laid low with similar symptoms. I am taking medication.

This happens to me too often. 'Big trip coming up?' 'Here, take a cold/cough with you.'

The longest of the flights is the first leg, this Saturday. Thirteen hours and forty minutes to Los Angeles. Subsequent flights will be five hours and thirty minutes to New York, eight hours and ten minutes to Helsinki, a mere three hours and five minutes to London, an even shorter two hours and fifty minutes back to Helsinki, nine hours and fifty minutes to Hong Kong and finally nine hours and twenty minutes home to Sydney.

Lots of opportunities for me to pass my sore throat on to others, lots of opportunities to catch a sore throat back from others.