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Hua Hin, Thailand: Luxury with a private pool

Hua Hin, Thailand: Luxury with a private pool

Three hours drive south of Bangkok -- on a typically terrifying journey of close encounters and near-misses along the highway -- is the town of Hua Hin, little more than a shop-lined wide spot in the road for some tourists, and ignored completely by most others. But while the islands of south-east Thailand are becoming a clutter of beach...

San Francisco to Sacramento: The road less travelled

San Francisco to Sacramento: The road less travelled

Bill Foster never saw an animal he didn't like. And like so much that he'd shoot it, have it's head chopped off and stuffed, and brought back to his bar in smalltown Rio Vista, halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento. While most hit Interstate 80 and speed between SanFran's Bay Bridge to California's capital in a couple of hours, there...

Bordeaux, France: Paradise and lunch

Bordeaux, France: Paradise and lunch

As I looked across the manicured box-hedge to the garden where peacocks ambled, and then on up the orderly rows of grape vines marching towards the 18th century chateau, the thought occurred to me: if the prettiest part of Paradise -- with a cellar of more than 15,000 wines -- were transported to our world then it would look exactly like this....

Oregon, USA: Night of the Hunters

Oregon, USA: Night of the Hunters

Sonny -- that's what the big bellowing men called him -- runs a restaurant in Klamath Falls, a town in central Oregon halfway between San Francisco and Portland. His place, the Dynasty, boasts "authentic Chinese food". Sonny is from Taiwan. This town was originally called Linkville, but a century or so ago the locals decided they...

Mendocino, California: Life in the mellow lane

Mendocino, California: Life in the mellow lane

The Sir Douglas Quintet out of Texas didn't have too many hits in the 60s but they cracked one successful and catchy single as the decade drew to a close. The band sprung the biggest hit of their career with a paean to the small town of Mendocino 250 kilometres north of San Francisco. San Antonio-born band leader Doug Sahm had relocated to San...

Rome, Italy: The only sure thing in life

Rome, Italy: The only sure thing in life

It's all in the odd juxtaposition really. Just off the Piazza Barberini in Rome with its magnificent Fountain of Triton by Bernini -- and only a short walk from the more famous Trevi Fountain -- is the Autocentri Balduini on Via Vittorio Veneto. In the window glistening Lamborghinis are displayed like shop mannequins in a clothing store....

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