The CNN Anchor and Correspondent shares his intimate knowledge of Sydney in Australia and New Delhi in India.
What do you love most about this city?
I like Sydney for a variety of reasons. I like that it’s a long way away from my home in New York and I like that it’s an extremely relaxing environment. I have many happy memories of going down to Australia, particularly to Sydney and just spending time there.
Where would you take a first-timer to in this city?
The Opera House. There’s something about that building. Not just its beauty, but the bravery and the courageousness to put that on the harbour. They could not have known it was going to be such a success. Everything about that building is magical. To sit there at Mrs Macquarie's Chair and look at the Opera House and see the Sydney Harbour Bridge behind it, is just magical.
What is the one thing that the first-timer must do in this city?
You must do the cliff-top coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee. Over the course of a couple of hours, you’ll stroll through some of the most stunning beaches including Tamarama and Bronte. It is absolutely spectacular.
The best place to have dinner with:
a) Family: Doyles in Watsons Bay for amazing views over Sydney Harbour and fresh seafood. The restaurant has been around for over 100 years – it’s iconic.
b) Friends: You must head to Bondi Beach. For a fancy meal, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is pretty hard to beat. For something more casual, try the bistro at the Bondi Icebergs Club. Both venues share the same incredible view over the ocean and Bondi Beach.
The best thing about the locals.
Friendliness plus willingness to enjoy themselves, not to take themselves too seriously, and to recognise that we’re on this planet for a few short years.
Name one souvenir to bring home.
A cheap stuffed toy kangaroo or koala. You can’t go all the way to Australia and not bring back one of those. And a boomerang. I was once in the Australian Outback and someone cut a boomerang from a piece of wood for me, and in front of me, he demonstrated that it would, properly thrown, come back. Forty years later, I have still not managed to make it come back.
Five words that sum up this city.
Exhilarating. Friendly. Lively. Energising. Invigorating.
New Delhi, India
One thing about the locals.
Everybody’s got a tale to tell you, something to sell, a deal to do, or just a conversation to have. I think the thing I love about India is that the world’s largest democracy is thriving. It’s a reminder of how great the country is.
What do you find most refreshing about this city?
It’s both exciting and vibrant. As soon as you get off the plane and you walk out the door, you are assaulted by the smells, the noise, the dust, and the colour.
The one experience or place that everyone must visit.
A trip to Delhi isn’t complete without a visit to the historic Red Fort and the market next to it. Oh, and just a warning, watch out for the monkeys – they are everywhere in Delhi.
The one local dish everyone must try.
You can’t go past a curry. But the thing I learned when dealing with Indian food is to eat carefully and choose your spices and your curries in the order in which you eat. There’s no point in destroying your taste buds right at the beginning. You won’t enjoy the chutneys and the sophisticated tastes that come if you just go straight for a Madras curry.
The best thing you can do here for free.
People watch. Go to the market or the railway station and just watch. You’re in a different country with a different culture, a different mentality and a different outlook. The sights, the sounds, the smells – soak it all up.
A lesson learnt from this city:
You will see things that will shock you. You will hear things that will distress you. You will experience things that you don’t particularly agree with. The lesson learnt is to be open-minded.
What was the best souvenir you took home from here?
Some beautiful pashminas. But here’s the problem. When you get home, everybody thinks because you bought it in India you must have paid $1.50. So you spend a fortune on real pashminas from a real store but nobody believes you!