Australia’s Kangaroo Island is a wildlife-filled wonder

The Toronto Star | Monday, November 26th, 2012

KANGAROO ISLAND, AUSTRALIA – Craig tells me to put my head into the hole in the ground and I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. All morning, he’s told me to look up trees, into shrubs, under thorny bushes.

On hands and knees, I cautiously poke my head in and abruptly come face to face with a wee fairy penguin, the smallest species of penguin on earth. He looks equally amazed by my sudden appearance as I am with his, and we regard each other with wonder. I’m giddy – yet another animal to add to my growing list. Read on…

Asia Travel: Thailand chef adds a dash of zest to vegetarian cooking

The Toronto Star | Saturday, August 25th, 2012

BANGKOK—May Kaidee is dressed to the nines, her regal Thai costume and golden bangles perfectly in place on her petite frame as she flits around her restaurant kitchen giving instruction. She’s as brilliantly colourful and quick as a hummingbird, her expressive hands constantly in motion. Sweaty students squeal when the chili paste hits the scorching woks like napalm, sending a fiery burst of cough-inducing spice into the air. It’s absolute pandemonium when May breaks out into her signature cooking song, calling for all to join in.

“Sap sap sap sap sap,” she sings over the chaos and clatter. Yummy, yummy, yummy. . . Read on…

Slinging the blues at the Raffles Hotel

The Toronto Star | Thursday, July 5th, 2012

SINGAPORE – Some time after the third Singapore Sling I started to get loud.

“Another Sling, ol’ sport!” I bellowed, slapping the wood bar, sending peanut shells flying. The bartender looked nervous. He also looked like he was 15 – scrawny, insignificant.

Never mind that one Sling was $20 – half my lean backpacker per diem. Or the fact that it was a terrible drink – pink, frothy and sweet, with enough gin to knock out a mule, or make you into one. But there were things that you had to do while in Singapore, and sipping Singapore Slings at Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar, where the drink was invented, was one of them.

I had stumbled into a time capsule. Read on…