BOLLY GOOD SHOW
IT is no small secret DepartureLounge is a fan of all things Indian and has even appeared as an extra in a Bollywood movie, thanks to industrial quantities of eyeliner, a well-placed bindi and a hairdo sufficiently hard and high to serve as a lampshade.
Luckily, as a working knowledge of Hindi is not among Lounge ’ s increasingly out-of-date range of talents (penmanship, perfect sponges), it was not a speaking part. Lounge was merely required to look cheap and busty in a Wild West-style bar (this set dressing was not explained; the script suggested we were in cosmopolitan Mumbai) and flap her falsies (eyelashes, not the other) at the lead actor, who earlier was dressed as a doctor but changed into a cowboy on the way to the bar.
It will be a relief to many that Lounge is not featured in , which had its world premiere in Sydney last week. The stuttering title is typical anything-goes Bollywood nuttiness but the film, according to Lounge ’ s well-placed sources, is enormous fun.
HeyyBabyy , which is based on the hit ThreeMenandaBaby , was shot in Sydney and NSW Tourism Minister Matt Brown and his department heavyweights have got behind its promotion. Locations such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Martin Place, Bondi Beach and Darling Harbour are featured in the film, which is expected to be seen by almost one billion viewers in India and other international markets. No wonder Brown and his tourism crew put on a lavish opening night at Sydney’s heritage State Theatre, complete with showers of rose petals, sari-clad dancers and drummers.
Let’s hope some of those overseas cinemagoers are so taken with shiny Sydney they head down here on holiday. Brown reckons India is our fastest growing inbound market, expected to increase by 18 per cent a year during the next decade.
HeyyBabyy is now showing at Greater Union cinemas. www.greaterunion.com.au.
STILL on the subcontinent, one of Lounge ’ s favourite boltholes, the Galle Fort Hotel on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, has landed an award of distinction for outstanding conservation achievements at the 2007 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards. Hoteliers Karl Steinberg and Christopher Ong must be thrilled with the accolade: the Galle Fort area narrowly missed devastation during the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 and ongoing upheavals in Sri Lanka have meant hard times and low occupancies for most tourism enterprises.
Steinberg and Ong, both Australians, were also lauded for ‘‘ the temporary adaptation of the hotel into an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the tsunami and the subsequent contribution of the hotel to the recovery of Galle through cultural tourism’’. www.galleforthotel.com.
AS further evidence of Sri Lanka’s tourism plight, Amanresorts has reduced rates by about 50 per cent at its two properties there, Amangalla at Galle and Amanwella at Tangalle on the south coast. In tandem with the special tariffs, Amangalla has a new Ayurvedic program of three, seven or 14 days; daily consultations, Ayurvedic treatments, all meals, daily yoga and meditation, and temple visits are included in the deal.
Amanresorts has also announced the opening in November of its fifth lodge, with 16 suites, in the mountain kingdom of Bhutan. The luxe group will also open in New Delhi in 2008, presumably in time for the Commonwealth Games in October. www.amanresorts.com.
TAMIL Tigers on the rampage in Sri Lanka and raining cats and dogs on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. Tourism Noosa has issued a press statement to assure travellers that ‘‘ most popular holiday spots were spared any major flooding’’. Tourism Noosa’s chief executive Steve Cooper says the David Low Way at Sunrise Beach will remain closed for up to seven days after the collapse of a pedestrian underpass due to the unprecedented rainfall in and around the popular holiday town.
‘‘ The Sunshine Motorway will be the main access point for any visitors travelling north from Brisbane or Sunshine Coast airport during that time,’’ he says. Lounge suggests intending travellers should double-check conditions with Tourism Noosa, (07) 5430 5000 or 1300 066 672; www.tourismnoosa.com.au.
AH, but Virgin Atlantic is not concerned about rain in Britain: quite the opposite, in fact. The airline carried 25 per cent more passengers out of Britain during the August long weekend, compared with the same time last year. The rise is attributed to ‘‘ atrocious British weather’’. An airline spokesman commented that as ‘‘ Sydney moves towards summer, it is anticipated that thousands of Brits will escape the below-par weather as well’’. Not so much a barmy as a balmy army, then. www.virgin.com/atlantic.
FIND of the week: Lovely little Orpheus Island (42 guests; no children under 15) off the Queensland coast has a free-flights package valid to January 28. Stay five nights and receive complimentary air transfers from Townsville (a savings of $450 a person). www.orpheus.com.au.
loves: One of Lounge ’ s favourite artists, Helen McCosker, will be exhibiting with Susan Ingram at Frog Rock Wines, Mudgee, NSW, until October 1
LOUNGE (10am to 5pm). How convivial to combine wine tasting with viewing of fine landscape paintings of the region. www.frogrockwines.com.
loathes: Paying for baggage trolleys at Sydney domestic airport terminals. It seems doubly dreadful when arriving from Adelaide’s fabulous new airport, where trolleys are plentiful and free.