Honoring a Failed Dream: Sydney’s ANZAC Memorial

Visiting a war memorial is probably not high on the list of most vacationers, but I’m an Air Force wife, so paying my respects to Australia’s veterans was an obligation.

?????????????????????????????????The ANZAC Memorial dominates the open grassy lawns of Sydney’s Hyde Park. Fundraising for the memorial started one year to the day of the Gallipoli invasion in Turkey during World War I, in which Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) forces were decimated during an eight-month-long campaign. It was dedicated in November 1934, in front of crowds which overflowed the broad, grassy lawns of the park into the boulevards and side streets. Those attending were sure that they were honoring those who served in the last war ever to be fought.

To an outsider, it seems strange that so many men chose to take up arms for England. After all, most of them were descendants of people shipped to Australia as criminals or undesirables by the British. But the love for Mother England was stronger than any grudge. Many of them still had blood ties to the Empire, and that home was threatened. Beyond that, this was the War to End All Wars, and fighting for that idealistic cause was hard to resist.

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Sydney Fish Market: Catch of the Day for the World

A large pelican waddles confidently across the parking lot at the Sydney Fish Market.SFM Pelican As he struts towards the loading dock of a fishmonger’s, a white-aproned employee appears. Far from chasing the bird away, he tosses scraps and small fish into the pelican’s open gullet in what appears to be a familiar routine.

“He’s here every day,” the fishmonger confirms, “and it’s his car park, make no mistake.”

Like the happily sated pelican, seafood buyers converge on the Sydney Fish Market every dawn. The second-largest wholesale fish market in the world (Japan’s is #1), the SFM auctions, sells, and ships an average 55 tons of seafood a day (it tops out at 86 tons), an average of 100 different species a day (about 400 different species a year), supplied by fishing fleets in Australian, New Zealand, and Indonesia. Continue reading

Sydney Celebrates the Year of the Snake

Few cities are as vibrantly alive and enthusiastically multi-cultural as Sydney, Australia. Few events show off those traits better than the city’s celebration of Chinese New Year. Chinese ladiesGranted, Sydney has perhaps the largest Chinese community outside the mainland – about 6% of Sydney’s population and the various Chinese dialects are the second most spoken languages in the city after English – anchored by a flourishing Chinatown. But for the two weeks of the traditional New Year’s observances, every “G’Day” in Sydney becomes “Nín Hāo” and pubs offer dim sum and spring rolls as well as Barramundi sandwiches and vegetarian burgers. The shells of the Sydney Opera House glow Chinese red. Even the fashionistas’ bible, Harper’s Bazaar, publishes an edition in Mandarin. Continue reading

Tilghman Island Inn

tilghmanislandProfile of David McCallum and his award-winning retreat, the Tilghman Island Inn.

Originally published in Chesapeake Taste.

Tilghman Island is about as remote a spot as one can find on the Eastern Shore. Home for generations of watermen, the air on Tilghman Island is scented with salt and crab. Driveways are made of oyster shells; red wing blackbirds perch in stands of cattails.

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A Capital Pleasure: Dogs in DC

Tongue lolling, plumed tail wagging, our 10-year-old Golden Retriever, Duke, trotted toward the ducks in the Reflecting Pool near the Washington Monument. He tentatively tapped the water with his paw, but decided against a swim.

Our capital visit was Duke’s first foray into city life. My husband, Ron, and I worried about how he’d react, but Duke took to the bustling metropolis like a candidate takes to campaign rallies. Tourists stopping to pet Duke Continue reading

Visiting the Culinary Underground: Culinary Institute of America

First published in Woodall’s

I have been to the CIA and explored its inner sanctum. I have seen its trainees in action, watched them learning the skills they will practice throughout the world. I have experienced the results of their work – the sauteés, the sauces, the soufleés.

Yes, the CIA – The Culinary Institute of America – where students study James Beard, not James Bond. It’s the country’s premier school for aspiring professional chefs.

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Busiest Rest Stop in America

First published by Travelocity

The list of “must-see” funky tourist spots includes Rock City in Chattanooga and Wall Drug Store in South Dakota. But travelers tooling down I-95 can visit one of Americas’ unsung tourist Meccas without leaving the highway.

The Maryland House Rest Stop, plopped between the north- and south-bound lanes of the Interstate about 40 miles north of Baltimore, claims to be the busiest rest stop in America. About 3-million of the estimated 25-million people who pass it each year stop in for a snack or a leak or to fill up gas tanks and guts for the next leg of the trip.

It’s a hungry, thirsty bunch that sets the parking brake in the 500-space car, truck, semi-trailer, motorcycle, RV, and motorcoach parking lot. Last year, they ordered 157,002 Cinnabons, 215,323 slices of cheese pizza, and ate 83,000 breakfasts at Bob’s Big Boy.

The rest stop’s busiest day of the year is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Travelers returning from the annual family bonding session ordered 6000 burgers, 3000 hot dogs, and 1000 cups of coffee. The rest of the year, the Roy Rogers outlet served up 88-thousand ‘no cheese’ roast beef sandwiches. Cheese lovers bought another 70-thousand meals.

No figures on how much diesel the tractor trailers drank in 2000, but at the self-serve, drivers pumped nearly 12-million gallons of gasoline. More than enough to cruise to the next hot spot in the guidebook.