Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold slams plans for new Sydney A-League team

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“I’m even worried about my job and my family and all the players and all their families”: Graham Arnold. Photo: Brendan Esposito Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has trashed the idea of a third Sydney A-League team in the city’s south, saying they would cannibalise a massive chunk of the Sky Blues’ supporter base and demean the value of local derbies.

Football Federation chief executive David Gallop appears committed to launching a third team in Sydney in the coming years, perhaps as soon as next year, having eyed the expiring licence of the Wellington Phoenix as an opportunity to increase the A-League’s presence in ‘s largest city.

Ironically, while Arnold grew up in the location of the proposed team, he believes it is no place for a professional club given the proximity of Sydney FC.

“I know David means well but the research Sydney FC have got is that 30 per cent of our members come from the Sutherland Shire and St George area and 40 per cent of our junior membership come from there,” he said.

“If you take 30 per cent of 12,000 [adult members] and 40 per cent our junior members, it leaves a big hole for us. If a club does go in there, do they end up taking over the inner west, because it’s close? If they do take over that area, [plus] Mascot, and build something at Barton Park, we’re going to end up left with Bondi.

“I’m a Sutherland Shire boy, I grew up there and played all my junior football and I’ve got friends there. We’ve got four-five young kids: [Alex] Gersbach, [Alex] Naumoff, [Anthony] Bouzanis and [Aaron] Calver who’ve come from that area.

“For me as a coach, and for us as a club, what we would lose would be enormous. I think that really needs to be thought through properly before any hasty decisions have been made.”

Arnold said Sydney FC owner David Traktovenko and his son-in-law Scott Barlow could re-think their investment in the Sky Blues if the FFA gives the green light to a new team so close to Sydney’s heartland.

“My biggest concerns at the moment are if Sydney FC are still going to be around. I think that’s how big a decision this is going to be,’ he said. “

“Sydney FC have been a leader in parting with money for the A-League to bring marquee players in. I’m even worried about my job and my family and all the players and all their families.

“Scott Barlow and David Trakotvenko will make a decision whether to stay or not and if they aren’t happy with what’s going on, and if they’re not happy with a potential Sutherland Shire team, and they walk away, what’s next?”

According to Arnold, Barlow was highly agitated about the FFA’s decision to move on a third Sydney team without consulting the city’s original A-League club.

“I spoke to Scott over the phone yesterday and he was extremely upset on how he’s getting treated. He feels disrespected in all of this and that’s sad to hear,” he said.

“Scott and David bought a licence for 100 per cent of Sydney. That’s already been cut to 50 per cent by the Wanderers coming and if Sutherland come in, that cuts it back to 33 per cent. Within a year, Paul Lederer loses 17 per cent of his licence and Sydney FC is the same.”

While the future of the Wellington Phoenix also seems heavily clouded, Arnold said the New Zealand side had done nothing to warrant their expulsion.

“Wellington Phoenix may not bring the so-called “metrics” to the game but there is a good market there,” he said.

“They’ve got a great coach in Ernie Merrick who plays really good football and they’ve been easy on the eye for the last couple of years. Plus you’ve got to worry about all those players. Where do they go? It’s worrying times.”

Third favourite Mongolian Khan out of the Melbourne Cup

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With the shock scratching of Mongolian Khan from Tuesday’s $6 million Melbourne Cup, Japanese stayer Fame Game is poised to start one of the shortest-priced favourites in recent Cup history.

In fact most bookmakers, including the huge Ladbrokes bookmaking firm, tightened Fame Game into $4, maintaining the scratching of the Caulfield Cup winner early on Thursday is a major stumbling block out of the way for the international galloper.

It was revealed Mongolian Khan came down with a sudden bout of colic and it soon became obvious the stallion could not take his place in the Cup due to the bowel complaint.

While Fame Game continues to tighten in markets across the world, amazingly in his home country, it is illegal to bet on overseas race meetings.

However, the Japan Racing Association has legislated, as from next year, certain races will be selected for the country’s punters to bet on.

It’s understood that the races chosen will have Japanese starters in the field. Japan racing has become one of the most dynamic industries on the world stage of racing.

It’s understood racing fans across Japan are warming to their two starters, Fame Game and Hokko Brave. Track watchers who have monitored the work of the pair maintain they will be at peak fitness by Tuesday.

In , Ladbrokes traders have made no secret of the fact Fame Game is the key runner for punters betting on the race.

“We knew his form coming to , we saw his run in the Caulfield Cup and we’ve been keeping pretty safe all along,” a Ladbrokes spokesman said. “Taking out a horse who looked one of the few who could potentially match it with him over the two miles, we really had no option but to tighten him up again.”

Prior to Mongolian Khan’s scratching, he was a $9 third favourite with Ladbrokes behind Fame Game ($4) and Trip to Paris ($8).

Fame Game comes into $3.80 but many believe he’ll be shorter by race time.

It was a bitter blow for New Zealand trainer Murray Baker who watched Mongolian Khan put in a staggering Melbourne Cup trial by winning the Caulfield Cup.

Colic is a general term used to describe any sort of abnormal pain or discomfort. Problems range from a mild transient discomfort or cramping to the unrelenting pain of a twisted bowel, which requires surgery to remedy the problem.

Horses have a complicated intestinal tract, including more than 20 metres of small and a large intestine the size of a full chaff bag.

Racing Victoria vets are examining all 42 Melbourne Cup aspirants and have announced that Sky Hunter and Quest For More, who are guaranteed a place in the Cup at 17th and 19th in ballot order, will be required to undergo further tests on Saturday morning.

It was reported that both imports had twisted shoes and required veterinary attention.

James Packer and Robert De Niro in Nobu restaurant joint venture

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Business buddies: James Packer and film star Robert De Niro during a news conference in Macau this week. Photo: Kin CheungFresh from working together on film sets, casino billionaire James Packer and Hollywood star Robert De Niro have struck a business deal in the kitchen.

Crown Resorts, the casino operator half-owned by Mr Packer, has paid $US100 million ($141 million) for 20 per cent of Nobu, the acclaimed Japanese restaurant chain owned by De Niro, along with celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and film producer Meir Teper.

Three Of Nobu’s 32 restaurants around the globe are in Crown casino complexes: Crown Perth, Crown Melbourne and City of Dreams Manila, which is part-owned by Crown’s Asian casino venture, Melco Crown.

Part of Crown’s business strategy is for the brands within its casinos to be replicated across its global properties.

Mr Packer and De Niro have forged a relationship via the n casino mogul’s film production company, RatPac Entertainment, which he owns with Hollywood production guru Brett Ratner.

De Niro also starred in The Audition, a short film made at a reported cost of $US70 million to promote the opening of Melco’s latest Macau casino, Studio City. The $US4 billion casino opened this week.

Crown chairman Robert Rankin said several new Nobu hotel and restaurant openings were planned.

“We see the Nobu brand as complementary to Crown Resorts’ global luxury entertainment positioning and the Nobu business has an attractive near-term growth profile,” he said. “James Packer established Crown’s relationship with Nobu some years ago . . . This acquisition cements that existing strong relationship.”

As part of the deal, Crown will nominate Mr Packer to join the Nobu board as one of four directors.

Hong Kong: The three minute guide

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The night view over Hong Kong harbour. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board The night view over Hong Kong harbour. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The night view over Hong Kong harbour. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The night view over Hong Kong harbour. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The writer travelled as a guest of Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.


It’s easy to get sucked into the consumer-driven, frenetic, adrenaline-rush pace of Hong Kong, renowned for its glittering harbour skyline, fabulous shopping and clash of traditional and contemporary lifestyles. But this is also a city in which to dawdle through a dim sum brunch, linger over lunch and take in neon-lit panoramas from a bar-topped skyscraper. After all, from simple noodles to elaborate top-end seafood extravaganzas, Hong Kong is a world-class gourmet destination.


The Peak (thepeak杭州龙凤论坛 provides the classic cityscapes; walk the looped, bamboo-shaded Harlech and Lugard roads for more spectacular outlooks. A cross-harbour ride on Star Ferry  (starferry杭州龙凤论坛 is another bargain-priced scenic delight. Man Mo Temple is Hong Kong’s oldest temple and stands on Hollywood Road, known for antique stores. Escape the concrete jungle at beachside Stanley (hk-stanley-market杭州龙凤论坛m), which has good seafood restaurants, or take a hike on Lantau Island (discoverhongkong杭州龙凤论坛m/lantau​) to the giant Buddha at ornate Po Lin Monastery (plm杭州龙凤论坛.hk).


Mouth-watering caramelised-pork char siu bao and other dumplings at Tim Ho Wan (timhowan杭州龙凤论坛m), provide one of the world’s cheapest Michelin-star meals; at the other end of the scale, Spring Moon (hongkong.peninsula杭州龙凤论坛m) has the city’s best dim sum and top-quality teas. Lung King Heen (fourseasons杭州龙凤论坛m/hongkong) offers superb seafood menus. For mid-range dining, head to Serenade Chinese Restaurant (maxims杭州龙凤论坛 for delicious red-bean buns and deep-fried fish, or Tim’s Kitchen (timskitchen杭州龙凤论坛 for traditional, home-style Cantonese fare.


It’s a pity so many visitors overlook Hong Kong Park (, a lovely Central district oasis that offers fish-filled ponds, odd sculptures, greenhouses bursting with begonias and a terrific walk-through aviary. In one corner, you can take in demonstrations of Chinese tea at the charming little Museum of Tea Ware (, housed in the city’s oldest colonial building, Flagstaff House. It outlines the history of tea culture and sells interesting teas and teapots.


Nothing beats cocktail hour in Hong Kong’s ultra-chic bars with a view. The world’s highest skyscraper watering hole (490 metres) is dizzying Ozone Bar (ritzcarlton杭州龙凤论坛m), notable for champagnes and Asian tapas. Maritime-themed Eye Bar (elite-concepts杭州龙凤论坛m) has a rare outdoor deck, and telescopes for peering at passing ships; adjacent Nanhai No. 1 (elite-concepts杭州龙凤论坛m) has Michelin-starred seafood cuisine. The old-time classic is Felix (hongkong.peninsula杭州龙凤论坛m), with decor by Philippe Starck​ and views even from bathrooms.


For a great location amid the eateries, markets and shops of bustling Kowloon, head to Novotel Hong Kong Nathan Road Kowloon (novotel杭州龙凤论坛m), which provides mid-range accommodation without sacrificing style and comfort. InterContinental Hong Kong (intercontinental杭州龙凤论坛m) has an absolute waterfront location and three Michelin-star restaurants, including Yan Toh Heen for sophisticated Cantonese fare. Hong Kong’s evening Symphony of Lights over the harbour is perfectly timed for cocktail and canape hour in the lobby lounge.


Foodies should aim for Hong Kong during late October and November’s Wine & Dine Month (discoverhongkong杭州龙凤论坛m), which starts with a four-day Wine & Dine Festival, featuring 150 food stalls from some of the city’s top restaurants along the harbour-side promenades in Kowloon.

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield ‘broke up a few months ago’

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Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have reportedly split up after four years of dating.

According to People magazine, the Amazing Spider-Man co-stars “broke up a few months ago”.

“There was no drama, they’ve been apart while working. They still care about each other,” a source told the publication.

“They still have love for one another. They are on good terms with each other and remain close.”

The news comes after People reported the couple had parted ways in April this year.

Stone, 26, and Garfield, 32, were last spotted together in Los Angeles in August.

It is believed that their respective filming schedules have kept the two apart over most of the past year.

Garfield has been working on Martin Scorsese’s new film, Silence, in Taiwan, while Stone has been filming La La Land (in which she stars opposite Ryan Gosling) in Los Angeles.

Garfield’s latest project, Hacksaw Ridge, started filming at Sydney’s Fox Studios last month.

Despite often giving joint interviews to promote the Spider-Man franchise, the high-profile pair have endeavoured to keep their private lives private.

Last year, the pair made headlines when they held signs in front of their faces encouraging people to donate to a number of charitable organisations after they realised they were being photographed on a lunch date.

“Good morning!” Stone’s sign read. “We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. And so we thought, let’s try this again. We don’t need the attention, but these wonderful organisations do.”

The sign covering Garfield’s face featured the websites of multiple charities.

In June, Stone said her relationship felt too “special” to talk about in interviews.

“I never talk about this stuff for this exact reason – because it’s all so speculative and baseless,” she told The Wall Street Journal.

“I understand the interest in it completely, because I’ve had it, too. But it’s so special to me that it never feels good to talk about, so I just continually don’t talk about it.”

True to form, neither party has released a statement regarding the reported break-up.

Murder accused Rodney Lawrence in court over Elizabeth Dixon cold case

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Elizabeth Dixon murder accused in Maitland court | PHOTOS Detectives from Central Hunter LAC arrive for court. 2015

Elizabeth Dixon’s funeral.

Police examine a car at the murder scene in April 1982 and inset, Elizabeth “Betty” Dixon. Main pic: Allan Jolly.

Det Sgt Frank Tracey in 1982 with a knife similar to one missing from Ms Dixon’s flat and her car key wallet, which is similar to a wallet which was missing.

TweetFacebookDetectives from Central Hunter LAC have charged a man over the 1982 murder of 31 year old Elizabeth Dixon pic.twitter杭州龙凤论坛m/TF0BwH2mRb

— NSW Police (@nswpolice) October 28, 2015Man in #RaymondTerrace court today charged over 1982 alleged stab murder in #CentralHunterhttps://t杭州龙凤论坛/TF7AEJQiNE

— NSW Police (@nswpolice) October 28, 2015BACKGROUND MURDERED IN 1982: Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Dixon.

Elizabeth “Betty” Dixon was stabbed 27 times, beaten with a blunt object and dumped in her car on a dirt track in Ashtonfield.

Now police have arrested and charged a man for her murder.

Artie Dover, the junior detective who helped in the initial murder investigation, had always thought the case needed to be solved for Betty.

“I remember the night like it was yesterday,” Mr Dover said.

“It was horrific. She was stabbed so many times she was like a pin cushion.”

Ms Dixon was brutally stabbed 27 times in her chest and neck, five of those piercings hit her heart.

The murder occurred some time between Saturday, April 3, and Tuesday, April 6, 1982.

She had been beaten across the head at least three times with a blunt object, while her hands were bound behind her back with a black shoelace that had been tied in a neat bow.

Ms Dixon was 31 at the time of her death and had been living in Tennyson Street, Metford. The last time she was seen was at East Maitland Hit ‘N’ Dip the Saturday before she was killed.

It was not until April 6 about 5.45pm that the body was discovered.

Pharmacist Bill Leahy found Ms Dixon inside her yellow 1977 Mazda that was parked on a bush track off Stronach Avenue in East Maitland.

She was slumped in the front seat just a short distance from her flat. Her car keys and wallet were missing.

At the time, Mr Leahy said he only checked inside the car because of its bright colour and he had seen it in the bushland the previous afternoon.

When news of the murder broke, the government posted a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer on January 2, 1985, but the case went cold.

It was not until 2013 that investigations reopened when the state government upped the reward to $150,000.

Unsolved Homicide Team detectives, through Strike Force Wickfield, reinterviewed every person who had initially spoken to police in the hope of reigniting the trail of evidence.

Now, 33 years later, police have found the breakthrough they had hoped for.

Ms Dixon, known as Betty to most people, had moved to from Ireland more than two years before she was killed.

She was well-known around the Maitland area, lived close to her sister and spent her spare time playing squash.

She would have been 64 years old this year.

Corey Webster stars as NZ Breakers beat Cairns Taipans in NBL

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Dominant: New Zealand’s Corey Webster shone against the Cairns Taipans. Photo: Brian CasseyToo much Corey Webster, too much Tai Wesley.

That was the one-two punch that powered the NZ Breakers to a statement 90-67 victory over the Cairns Taipans in the much-anticipated first matchup of the new NBL season between last year’s grand finalists at Vector Arena.

Both Webster and Wesley posted career-best points totals as they had their way with a surprisingly soft Taipans defence throughout a game that was close for a half (42-37 at the break), but ended up being decidedly one-sided in the Breakers’ favour as they coasted home over the closing two quarters.

Webster simply oozed class as he took his play up several notches from his return from NBA duty last week against the Kings. We’ll call that one (22 points) his sighter.

He was nigh on unstoppable in this Wednesday night clash in front of a disappointingly small crowd of 4347 in downtown Auckland, finishing with a career-high 35 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals. He made 14 of his 26 shots (three of eight from distance) and produced such a glorious array of step-back and pull-up jumpers that he made the difficult art of scoring look decidedly easy.

Wesley was also magnificent as he made a serious statement about his importance in the larger scheme of things for the Breakers who have now won two straight and are 3-3 for the season.

On a night when the Breakers’ two biggest players struggled, Wesley produced a monster effort in his favourite spot on the low block, spinning past or powering through outmatched defenders with ridiculous ease.

He also surpassed his club best with 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting, including one of two from beyond the arc. Throw in eight rebounds and it was some sort of night for the Guam-qualified American power forward.

Cedric Jackson added 10 points, eight boards and five assists for the Breakers, while Tom Abercrombie (eight points, seven boards and a pair of blocks) and Mika Vukona (seven points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes) were reduced to minor roles.

The Taipans scored just 30 second-half points and gave up 48, as they went flat right when they couldn’t afford to. They were paced by 17 points from Saints marksman Torrey Craig but there was too little of consequence from normally reliable operators like Mark Worthington, Cameron Gliddon, Stephen Weigh and Alex Loughton.

“We talked about being a little bit second and third gear in the first half … we knew they were at the end of a tough road trip and if we just locked down on our defence we had a chance to break the game open in the second half,” coach Dean Vickerman said.

“I thought Mika’s effort early in the third quarter when he comes up with two offensive rebounds and a score was the effort required to start the quarter.

“After that Corey and Wesley were outstanding. You get very good players like that you keep things pretty simple, and we gave Corey enough catches and enough space to make great decisions. A lot of teams in the world now don’t like the mid-range jump shot but it’s something he’s perfected and when that thing is going every one of those ball looked like they had a pretty good chance of going in.

“Wesley just had a great balance of scoring in the middle and making his baseline spins. He made really good assessments in the postup about the way he scored.”

The Breakers did well to shake off a slow start – they missed their first five shot attempts – and a handful of early fouls to build a 21-16 lead by the end of the opening quarter. They were helped by a couple of audacious step-back triples from Webster late in the piece (he had 11 points for the term, nailing all three of his attempts from deep), after the Taipans had built the early lead.

But the Snakes hung tough through the second period, and with the calls going their way (the foul count was 12-6 against the hosts for the half) the Breakers struggled to put any separation between themselves and the North Queenslanders, leading just 42-37 at the major break.

But for the three-point shooting it could have been even closer, the Breakers knocking down seven of their 12 long-balls, and the Taipans – the NBL’s worst team from the land of plenty – going just one of eight.

The Webster magic continued in the third as the Breakers won the quarter 20-12, with the classy Tall Black contributing half of that total with an array of step-back jumpers that are fast becoming this young man’s specialty. With the lead at 13 (62-49) this one was all but in the bag, and soon was as the hosts, spurred by Vukona’s early flurry, started the final quarter with the urgency they needed to seal the deal.

“I thought we did some really good things that first half,” Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said. “The second half we started the very first possession by giving up two offensive rebounds and a layup, and it just snowballed big time from there. Corey got hot and just went to work and we had no answer for that.”

The Breakers shot a tidy 51 percent from the floor, 44 from deep and won the rebound count 44-31. They also had just 10 turnovers and kept their opponents to just 38 percent shooting in their best overall effort of the season.

Next up are the Adelaide 36ers at the NSEC next Thursday.

Opal card to replace student bus pass

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Coogee Public School students with the new Opal card to be rolled out next year Photo: Peter RaeThe days of the old school bus pass are over with all students to switch to the Opal card at the start of the next school year.

More than 420,000 NSW school students from kindergarten to year 12 and TAFE students aged under 18 will be eligible for a new school Opal card next year for free travel on school days between their home and school.

Students from more than 2000 public, Catholic and independent schools across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, the Hunter, the Illawarra and the Southern Highlands will be able to use the Opal card on trains, buses and ferries.

But they will not be able to use them on Sydney’s light rail and they will still need a separate concession card for weekend travel.

The transport minister, Andrew Constance, and the education minister, Adrian Piccoli, said the move away from the old passes to the Opal card would make it easier for students, particularly those who needed to change modes of transport on their way to school.

Mr Piccoli said the school travel program provided more than $550 million to fund 80 million school trips each year.

“School travel assistance fees students from kindergarten to year 12 to and from home safely and keeps cars off the road at busy peak periods,” Mr Piccoli said.

All infants students over 4½ are eligible for free school travel, while primary students who live more than 1.6km or secondary students who live more than 2km from school can apply for an Opal card.

“To make it easier for families, students who have a paper school pass this year will automatically be issues with an Opal card at their school at the start of term in 2016,” Mr Piccoli said.

Is it OK to cheat on your partner when you travel overseas?

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There comes a time in most people’s lives when they have to admit they’ve seen the movie Road Trip. For me, that time is now.

Because you mightn’t think of this tale of American college kids trying to recover a misplaced sex tape as being one of much philosophical importance, but it did introduce the world to a concept that matches neatly with today’s blog topic: the “area code rule”. This law, suggested by the intellectual dynamo Sean William Scott, essentially states that if you’re in a different area code to your girlfriend or boyfriend and you cheat on them, it doesn’t count.

(He goes on to say that if you were too wasted to remember then it also doesn’t count, but let’s ignore that for now.)

This rule might sound unrealistic in its plausibility, but you’d be surprised how many travellers seem to follow it. Leaving your home has always meant trying new things, acting in a way you might not around your friends and family, taking risks and having adventures – and that attitude can sometimes result in people not exactly being the model boyfriend or girlfriend to their loving partner.

I remember talking about this with some friends a few years ago, and one of the women in our group said she’d never, ever let a guy she was dating go overseas by himself. “He’d cheat, definitely,” she said. “That’s just what guys do. He’d definitely do it.”

That’s obviously a bit extreme, but it probably has some small basis in truth. However, while it was comforting for my friend to think of this tendency to stray as a purely male domain, in my experience it’s anything but.

I used to work on bus tours of Europe – you know, the kind with lots of fun-seeking Aussies and Kiwis in their late teens and early 20s being carted around the continent’s pubs and clubs (sorry, tourist attractions). At the start of each tour we’d get people up to the front of the bus to introduce themselves, and one of the questions they’d answer was whether they were a “red light”, an “orange light”, or a “green light”.

Green if you’re single, red if you’re in a relationship, orange if you could be swayed in either direction. Time after time you’d see these sweet, sincere passengers get up on the microphone and announce that they were most definitely red lights – then a few days later they’d be emerging from someone else’s tent in the morning trying to remember what they’d done with their clothes. This was guys, and it was girls. Usually more of the latter.

The crew always used to say that the difference between a red light and a green light on those tours was about three beers. Three beers and the freedom of Europe on a holiday, surrounded by strangers out for a good time. It happened. A lot. And most of those sweet, sincere passengers then packed up their bags and headed back to their relationship in , their partners none the wiser.

This pattern of behaviour goes on through the ages, right up to the old cliché of the businessman seeking “comfort” on the lonely road. Travellers have a habit of doing this.

I should point out now – mostly for the benefit of my own lovely and patient girlfriend – that I don’t subscribe to the area code rule. No one could legitimately excuse this stuff just because they’re on the road. But there are plenty of travellers who would like to think they could. Plenty.

It’s so easy to change your mindset when you go overseas. To think that the anonymity provided by travel means that the old rules no longer apply. This can result in all sorts of risk taking, and straying from the boundaries of a relationship seems to be one of them.

You’re meeting new people when you travel, constantly. You’re sharing experiences – sometimes intense, enjoyable experiences, and sometimes just the lonely experience of being on the road away from people you love.

You’re trying new things. You’re getting swept up in the romance of your destination, getting lost in the exoticism of it all, in the feeling that nothing counts and nothing matters.

But of course, it does matter. Unless you subscribe to the area code rule.

Do you think travellers are prone to cheating on their partners?

See also: The dumb questions travellers ask on tour

See also: The best country in the world for food

Email: [email protected]杭州龙凤论坛

Instagram: instagram杭州龙凤论坛m/bengroundwater

Trick or treat… or notPoll

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All Hallow’s Eve approaches.

Haven’t you felt it in the air? Surely you’veseen it in the shops.

You can’t swing a witch’s cat without running into Halloween treats, costumes or makeup.

Pre-schools and primary schools have Halloween themed activities, teens and tweens have Halloween parties and pubs and clubs celebrate the occasion with their own events.

There was a time when we’d debate whether Halloween had a place in , but that horse (and its headless rider) have well and truly bolted.

It’s here and it’s here to stay.

Arguments that it’s a piece of cultural Americana don’t cut it. Halloween, which has Celtic and Gaelic roots and a mix of Christian and pagan origins,arrived in America via the UK – where the majority of ’s traditions already come from.

Nor can you argue that ns don’t care for Halloween.

It now rates as the second biggest commercial date on the calendar behind Christmas – outselling Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Easter and Valentine’s Day.

It may have been reinforced and indoctrinated by years of American movies and TV shows, but has embraced Halloween.

Or at least most of it.

The debate that remains relates to the custom of trick or treating.

Travel around regional and rural and it is still very much the exception rather than the rule.

For the most part, people don’t stock up on chocolates and lollies to hand out to the visiting hordes of cutely and grotesquely dressed kids, and not many people join in the door to door procession with their kids.

Those that do trick or treat, both kids and the parents, are left with an awkward anti-climax, feeling like beggars asking for a significant favour as they are greeted (or ignored) by door after door of disinterested residents

Householders, for the most part, feel uncomfortable and equally awkward with nothing to offer the kids, and little interest in changing that situation.

Trick or treating is NOT a widespread custom in .

So the question is, should it be?

Is the casual observance of dress-ups and parties based around Halloween as good as it’s going to get in ?

Is it even safe or wise to suggest taking food from strangers?

Should there be an etiquette where houses register or display a sign to indicate that they are Trick-or-Treat Friendly?

Have your say in our poll – let us know what you think about trick or treating. Will you be going door to door or prepared to hand out lollies this year?

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