Results tagged “Airports” from Eurasia 2012

Had a very slow day Thursday. I woke up at 5:15 when I thought the lamp was on. But it was just the sun shining through the bathroom window onto it. Closed the door, but didn't really sleep anymore.

So just took it easy. Stu enjoyed the big bed :)

At 10:30 I suddenly realised I hadn't gotten ready and I wanted to repack my suitcase. Blah. So was a little bit rushed to check out by 12pm.

After we checked out we wandered around and found an Excelsior Cafe for drinks and nibblies.

Then walked through the park and up to the Tokyo Government building to go up the tower.

Then back down to find some late lunch (just maccas :( we were almost out of money).

Back past Excelsior Cafe for another coffee for the sweetie, then upstairs to the hotel to get on the bus to the airport. We decided that the "Limousine" bus at 3000 yen per person would be much much easier than dragging my broken suitcase all over Tokyo on the trains, and not that much more expensive than the NEX anyway (our passes had long since expired). It was door to door and saved quite a lot of hassle.

Got there with reasonable time to spare, so went to the Qantas lounge, and sat in pretty much the same place as last time - even the plane was at the same gate! (different plane though).

I was near the back in a row of three, but fortunately only one other person on the aisle so noone next to us. The sweetie had booked separately and got himself an exit row seat for more legroom (although the thickness of the door made it look like it actually had *less* room?) Noone directly next to him either.

Niether of us slept :(

I watched Margin Call and Inception and some Big Bang Theory.

Couldn't eat much dinner (too many snackages in the Qantas lounge). They turned the cabin lights on at 4am :( Trying to match the sun in Japan or something?? And breakfast came a little while later.

Tried out the new egate thingie at immigration, but the machines didn't like either of us - probably because of our glasses reflecting or something - will take them off next time.

Customs wasn't too bad. Had to show them our wooden stuff. There was a sign up saying they were filming Border Security there today, but alas didn't see them.

Then over to the domestic terminal. Had a short break in the Qantas lounge.

A very full Dash 8. Had a lovely view over Sydney, flying over the St George and Sutherland Shires, then south of south west.

Arrival, picked up bags and got a lift home (thanks heaps Dave!!)

My computer's keyboard, mouse and monitor are so strange and huge! The house is freezing.. we might have turned the heater on for the afternoon.

So fifty six days of travelling for me. Wow!! Saw so much amazing stuff. A couple of blahnesses, but overall a great trip :)


Distance covered on the GPS: 8066.9 km + 284.5 km
Steps walked: 10296 + ?
Photos on the Canon: 47 + 3
Photos on the Sony: 60 + 135
Videos: 1

Closed the blinds, had aircon that worked, a room that faced northwest, and sheets as well as a blanket. You'd think I'd have had the perfect sleep conditions. But alas, it still took me ages to get to sleep and felt like I was awake for ages early in the night. Sigh. But at least slept til after 7am which was good.

Had breakfast downstairs. There were no checks at all and the place is open to the airport terminal, so really anyone could just come in and eat breakfast there - bizarre!

Checked out and wandered across to the checkin gate for the planes. Turns out the JAL ticket I'd bought was already the boarding pass. Checked our bags, but didn't need to print anything else. Weird! Some confusion as we were trying to figure out how to get boarding passes, when in fact we already had them!

Flight was pretty dull. Clouds just after takeoff til just before landing, except for a small gap in the clouds looking down to the coastline at Sendai where the tsunami last year hit the worst. Sad..

Landed, got our bags, then had to face dragging my broken bag all the way across Tokyo :( The sweetie was the bestest sweetie ever and carried it and/or rolled it on top of his bag. I carried his carry-on bag.

So a monorail ride to Hamamatsucho then it was either a Yamonote line train or a Oedo subway to get to Shinjuku. We took the Yamonote line simply because we were super familiar with it.

Then the long painful walk to the hotel :(

We found the building ok, but walked around it trying to find the actual hotel :( Was quite blah by the time we found it upstairs. But you pay a premium for this hotel for a reason - there's pretty great service. They saw us coming and ran to grab our bags and help us check in, so that was nice. The sweetie thought we should get an upgrade to a corner room. Well we've already spent a fortune on this place, so why not heh.

Got to our room and it's super awesome :) Well the view is super awesome. And there's aircon that seems to work and a huge bed and a funky bathroom area. Hung out for a little while but decided to go out and find some food (it was mid-late afternoon but we still hadn't had lunch).

Wandered towards Shinjuku and ended up in the "geek" area with Yodobashi Camera and other such stores around. Decided to have dinner at a little place there - where you have to decide what you want before you go in, pay on the vending machine, and take the tickets inside for your food. And it turned out to be a super tasty chicken dish that I really really enjoyed. Who needs Michelin stars when you can find great food for under $10!

Stopped in at a Family Mart for some supplies, then came back to the hotel and enjoyed the view while using the internet :)

So after a drinks interlude, we went up to the New York Bar, a-la Lost in Translation. Had a couple of drinks and listened to the jazz band with front row seats.. a very pleasant evening :)


Distance covered on the GPS: 937.1 km
Steps walked: 10118
Photos on the Canon: 150
Photos on the Sony: 111
Videos: 0

Have I ever mentioned that heat in hotels is a major pain? Overheated again last night. And woke up with the sun at 3:45. Grunt.

Bit of a slow start. I headed out a bit before nine to withdraw some money and pick up some supplies for breakfast.

So didn't get out of the hotel til a bit after ten.

Headed up to the Asahiyama Zoo, quite a good little zoo outside of Asahikawa. The enclosures for the penguins and seals (and other animals too) are well thought out and you get some *great* views of the animals. For the penguins there's a tube you walk right through their tank, like the sharks at Darling Harbour. And the seals have this vertical tube they dive through right in the middle of this room you walk through. Sometimes they stop in mid flight and nose the perspex, so there's all these people in a room with a seal floating the middle! Extremelly cool!!

The polar bears looked a little miserable in the heat (or maybe they were just bored). Only gripe about viewing them was you queue for ages in a dark stairwell for who knows what. Turns out there's a little "bubble" you can stick your head up in the middle of their enclosure. OK but not really worth waiting in the heat.

But yeah otherwise a great day and took over four hundred photos in four hours.

Then Japan took another opportunity to completely rip us off. We needed to get to Chitose airport, so programmed the GPS with either the back roads or the expressways. The expressways were 30km longer but a bit quicker, and it quoted us 2250 yen, according to the GPS for the tolls. OK so we did that. And then got quite disappointed that the speed limits on the expressways were 80 km/h .. ???? I thought they were meant to be 100. The road certainly would have handled it. But all the signs we saw said 80. Now it *might* have been that the 80 was only for temporary stuff, like lanes merging in, and the default limit was 100. But if that was the case it certainly wasn't obvious. Give me Australian speed indicators any day (which always make it clear what the speed limit should be when it changes). And give me Australian traffic lights too - everywhere else I've seen doesn't have nearly enough lights. Sometimes in Japan there's *one* light, which is pretty easy to miss. Europe was pretty bad too - there's nothing on the far side of the intersection, so pedestrians can't see what's being shown to the traffic coming. Anyway, where was I? Oh, Japan ripping us off again. The expressway from Asahikawa to Sapporo cost us 3800 yen!!! That's like $50 for 100km of road. Absolutely ridiculous. And for not much time saving either! We should have taken the back roads!!! Blah :(:(

But got out to the airport car rental place without any other dramas (filling up with petrol near the airport at a full service petrol station). Returned the car, and got their shuttle bus to the airport.

From there we just needed to find the airport hotel where we were staying the night. It's right in the domestic terminal which is pretty easy. Sadly no view of the planes from our side of the hotel.

Checked in, then went down to the airport food court to get some dinner and watch the planes while we ate. They even have free wifi! Win!

Then back to do photo stuff and blog.


Distance covered on the GPS: 209.4 km
Steps walked: 11793
Photos on the Canon: 406
Photos on the Sony: 26
Videos: 4

Well that was a long day. Starting like three days ago (it's 9:24am Tuesday local time by the time I'm blogging this).

So woke up quite early (as you do) and got myself ready. Was down at breakfast slightly before it started at 7am, but they let me in anyway. Fairly simple breakfast and was done by about 7:20. Went and grabbed my stuff and checked out and headed for the station. Thought I'd make the 7:40 train, but actually things went smoothly at the station and I got the 7:32. Very short trip to the airport, went on a longish walk to the terminal, checked in quickly, then sat around bored for nearly an hour. Oh well :)

First flight was on an A319. Back row on the right, row of three seats to myself. Nice view of Denmark before it got a bit cloudy over Europe.

At Zurich had a short gap between flights - enough to download the GPS and give it a bit of a quick charge.

Second flight on an A330, second back row on the right, two seats to myself. Nearly twelve hour flight, but probably one of the least stressful long haul flights I've ever been on. Having room to spread out, being able to get up whenever I pleased, being able to fidget in peace.. was just awesome. Plus it never got dark. We left at 1pm but it never got night. When it was supposed to be night we were so far north that the sun was coming over the north pole :) Very very cool. I watched four movies - I Heart Huckabees, The Bridges of Madison County, I Robot and The Vow.

Had a super long wait in immigration in Tokyo. They must have had a few planes come in at once because the hall was completely full and we had to wait an hour to get through :( Fortunately I was with this nice Danish guy (who had been diagonally in front of me on both flights!) so we were chatting about stuff while we waited. He travels to Japan a lot because he has a Japanese girlfriend.

Went downstairs to get my JR pass then hopped on the NEX into Shinagawa then a shinkansen to Osaka. Shiny wasn't being very shiny. Dozed a little but didn't really sleep.

At Osaka station, after a little bit of fuss, found the sweetie!!!!!!!!!!!!! Epic awesome :):):):)

Grabbed a McPork for lunch and ate it as we walked down to the hotel, getting there a bit after 2pm.

So yeah, shower, resting, "catching up", beer from the hotel vending machines, it was a lovely afternoon.

Headed out to get some dinner - went to the little ramen place we went to during the heatwave last time we were here.

Turns out this hotel does have a laundry (yayy!) so put our washing on. But it took over two hours and it was already late. I was falling alseep and completely non-functional, so the sweetie very nicely collected the washing when it was done.


Distance covered on the GPS: 10494 km
Steps walked: 10453
Photos on the Canon: 56
Photos on the Sony: 201
Videos: 0
DKK Spent: ?
Yen Spent: 150 plus whatever the sweetie spent

Pretty light day today.

The beef bacon was back today :)

Left the hotel at 7:30 and went to the airport.

Like Jordan there is an xray to get into the airport before checkin. Checkin was a bit stressful because I didn't get a window seat on one of my flights so had to try and get it changed and it was all just messy and stressful :(

So go through that and found that Cairo airport has free wifi!

Then down to the "gate" (through security, which bans liquids over 100mL, even on domestic flights). We got driven all around the airport to our plane which was parked in the middle of nowhere.

The first flight was from Cairo to Aswan. I was sitting on the right side of the plane so could see a bit of the lake when we turned around and came in from the south, but not the dam :(

Went to the terminal in Aswan and it was basically time to board the next flight to Abu Simbel. Since everyone was there (it was just an Embraer 170, and not full) they said we could depart early! So we actually departed twenty five minutes early which was pretty awesome.

Bad luck with seating prevailed. We took off to the north but turned around to the left very quickly, before the dam, so I didn't see anything much from my right hand side seat. Dad again got better photos from the left side of the plane. However noone was in a window seat on the left side so I moved over there after the seatbelt sign turned off. This is because when you fly into Abu Simbel, if you fly in from the south east, you get a great view of the temples as you come into land. So did that and got my view - hurrah!!

Got the Egypt Air courtesy bus down the road to the entrance to Abu Simbel, and we walked the rest of the way down the hill to our boat.

It's a pretty cool boat. It's like a little hotel on water. There's something like seventy rooms, as well as various lounges, bars and even a small pool.

All for twenty one tourists.

!

Yup, twenty one people on the ship plus guides. There's more crew than guests! Seems like a bit of a waste to be running the ship plus having all these bored staff. But on the other hand it's kinda cool to have the ship mostly deserted, and know half the people here.

So anyway, as soon as we arrived we went straight to lunch. It was a full four course fine dining meal!! Craziness. Of course I'd had a big breakfast. So this is not going to end well. Diet starts in a week when I get to London .. hrmmm

After lunch we watched a documentary on the moving of the Abu Simbel temples to higher ground which was necessary when they built the Aswan High Dam.

Then we had afternoon tea, but it felt like we'd only just had lunch, so didn't feel like much.

And then a little time to spare before going around to the temples for the sound and light show. Have I ever mentioned my bad luck with seating. So as to try and avoid heads in the way I said can we sit in the front row. The guide said if we wanted to. But there was a chain in the way there so decided to move and the guide said "I tried to tell you but you wouldn't believe me". *sigh*. So grumpy about the whole thing. Did find a spot with no heads in front, but then got a big block of some thing blocking part of it. But I wasn't going to move again. *sigh*. So didn't enjoy it as much as I might have. Plus being sick and tired certainly didn't help.

Got back to the boat for another four course meal. But I just had an entree and main, and skipped the soup and dessert. Came back here to type this up, but haven't even downloaded my photos from today - need to get to bed - getting up at stoopid o'clock tomorrow to see the temples in the sunrise.


Distance covered on the GPS: 1050 km
Steps walked: 11378
Photos on the Canon: 190
Photos on the Sony: 91
Videos: 0
EGP Spent: 36

Not sure if this should be day 1, or day 1 and day 2. Because it certainly covers two full days. My entire weekend was spent getting to the other side of the planet.

It's 5pm here. Midnight in Canberra.

So I guess we should start from the beginning hey?

Got a reasonable chunk of what I had to do done before I left. A few things outstanding. An internet connection here would be kinda handy for that .. hrmm.

Got a lift to the airport (thanks Dave!). Checked in, and checked my bag all the way through (four flights - yipe!)

Qantas 737-800 VH-TJR at Canberra Airport
Qantas 737-800 VH-TJR at Canberra Airport

First flight (Canberra to Sydney) was pretty uneventful. Took off to the north so got a decent view of Canberra from my window seat. Flew over the Sutherland Shire coming into Sydney (so saw my parent's house and mine in the distance too), then swung out over the ocean before coming in on 34L.

Canberra from the plane
Canberra from the plane

Gungahlin from the plane
Gungahlin from the plane

Gunning from the plane
Gunning from the plane

Sutherland Shire from the plane
Sutherland Shire from the plane

Como from the plane - look mum I can see your house!
Como from the plane - look mum I can see your house!

Transferred over on the Qantas tarmac tour bus to the international terminal.

Then went and found the gate, and more importantly, power points to charge a few things.

Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-LAN at Sydney Airport
Cathay Pacific A330-300 B-LAN at Sydney Airport

Second flight (Sydney to Hong Kong) was on Cathay Pacific, on an A330, and this was a pretty decent flight. Except for one small glitch.

This.  This is why you can't trust travel agents to book seats.
This. This is why you can't trust travel agents to book seats.

But it was a nice modern plane with a really nice in-flight entertainment system with a good touch screen. Except for one small glitch. Finding the volume control took me ages and I ended up having to read the help to figure out how to do it. Turns out you have to press *outside* the screen for those functions. Yeah really intuitive design there guys. Not. The people in front of me were struggling with it too. I ended up watching three movies - The Artist, The Muppets and War Horse. Also a special on the Titanic (topical, since it was sailing to its doom exactly 100 years ago at that point).

Limited view of Sydney from the plane
Limited view of Sydney from the plane

This would have been so awesome with a *real* window seat
This would have been so awesome with a *real* window seat

Full zoom and you can *almost* forget the wing is there
Full zoom and you can *almost* forget the wing is there

Late lunch on the plane
Late lunch on the plane

Flew in around some pretty cool clouds around Hong Kong. Went through security (I always wonder why you have to do this when you've just come off a plane that's already been checked) then walked and walked and walked to my next gate. DaveO was not kidding when he said Hong Kong airport was huge! In the end only had about fifteen minutes at the gate before my flight was called. That's cutting it a bit fine!

Long neck of Hong Kong Airport.  Doc was right, this place is huge!
Long neck of Hong Kong Airport. Doc was right, this place is huge!

So the third flight (Hong Kong to Zurich) was twelve hours of pain. I was trying to sleep so didn't have dinner, and didn't watch anything. Didn't really sleep. Got hungry during the night and had to get some snacks. Gave up at one point and watched My Week with Marilyn. But really I just watched the flight track on the back of the seat. It was pretty tortuous.

While on the plane I heard these two girls talking to an American guy about where they were going, but wasn't really paying attention. And as we got off I found out they were going to Israel and were going to Tel Aviv on the same flight as me. So later when we were trying to find out what gate to go to next I said gate E. They were from Sydney and going to Tel Aviv for a Bar Mitzva (sp??). So we all hung out in Zurich airport together for the next two hours.

Lovely mother and daughter I met during the transfer of planes in Zurich
Lovely mother and daughter I met during the transfer of planes in Zurich

Me on the terminal train in Zurich
Me on the terminal train in Zurich

Needs more cowbell!
Needs more cowbell!

So the last flight was from Zurich to Tel Aviv. I couldn't even watch the GPS track this time as it was borked. So I attempted to doze (failed) and watched the Greek islands go by (after the clouds had cleared). The Mediterranean is very blue. So blue that clouds don't cast a shadow. That's what it seems like anyway heh.

My monitor was broken, no video for me
My monitor was broken, no video for me

Lunch? on the plane
Lunch? on the plane

Looking across to Dirfi mountain in Greece
Looking across to Dirfi mountain in Greece

Athens
Athens

Athens International Airport
Athens International Airport

Gyaros
Gyaros

Rineia, Delos and Mikonos
Rineia, Delos and Mikonos

The clouds didn't cast any shadow it was all so blue
The clouds didn't cast any shadow it was all so blue

Chocolate on the plane
Chocolate on the plane

Tel Aviv (our hotel was the one on the right of the three in the bottom right)
Tel Aviv (our hotel was the one on the right of the three in the bottom right)

Tel Aviv, including City Hall
Tel Aviv, including City Hall

Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Airport
Tel Aviv Airport

After an eternity we finally landed, but they parked us off in a corner of the airport and said they'd be processing our passports at the old terminal. Seems there's been some sort of festival here and they were worried about demonstrations.. or something.

So I asked that my passport/visa be stamped on a loose sheet, as they say you should do that if you're ever likely to be going to any islam countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia. So that was all cool, and then we got onto more busses to go to the other terminal to pickup our bags.

But at this point they took my loose sheet. And I'm going .. hang on a sec.. don't I need that? But so many people were coming through and they were being taken from all of them. I'd read a horror story about this on the web where this happened to someone and they had all sorts of dramas trying to sort it out. So I just *know* it's going to happen to me. Probably when I try to go to Jordan they'll freak out that there's no evidence I entered the country. hrmmmmmmmm

But then I saw my name on a card, so went over. It was an airport worker who was sorting out my hotel transfer. So I asked her about the stamp, but she said it should be ok. But she wasn't terribly confident about that. So I quickly went to an ATM then went through customs. I asked her if it was true that you needed to declare cameras and laptops etc, but she didn't think you did. Again, not too confidently :( What's the bet that I'm going to have dramas leaving the country because of *that* too?? :(

So had the shuttle to myself to the hotel. The guy might have been fishing for a tip but I'm like.. I've got no money.. (unless you have change of 100 shekels..hrmm). Checked in ok but there were guys insisting on bringing my bag up. And I'm like.. I've dragged this suitcase all over the world. I can take it up an elevator by myself. And guess what, the place has internet, with a fee (don't know how much). So it seems the fancier the hotel, the more nonsense you have to deal with, and the more likely you are to have to pay for internet. Grunt.

High rise offices in Tel Aviv
High rise offices in Tel Aviv

It's very hot here. I was going to go on a mission to see a few things, but it's too late and it's too much effort. So might just go outside and watch the sun set. Well, if I could see the sun through the clouds..

Hotel room at the Renaissance (I had a cot bed)
Hotel room at the Renaissance (I had a cot bed)

View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room

So seven hours later.

I did go for a little walk down on the beach. Touched the Mediterranean Sea. Then had a shower and went downstairs for dinner. All by myself. I must have looked like a bit of a loser.

On the beach
On the beach

Beach frontage
Beach frontage

Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea
Sunset over the Mediterranean Sea

Looking towards Old Jaffa
Looking towards Old Jaffa

I tried to stay awake as long as possible after dinner, as that would be the best way to reset the body clock, but I was simply not functioning. So after repacking my bags and rearranging everything, I collapsed into bed around 9:30.

The parents are due here any time now along with the rest of the group. But I'm up now because waiters came to do the door with plates of food for dinner (since they were meant to get dinner but the restaurant is only open til 9:30pm). I wasn't quite functioning, so let them in, where they saw the laptop setup. Hope they don't try and come back for it tomorrow....

Oh well, might do some photos stuff. I really don't know that I'll be able to get photos up as I go this trip .. we'll see...

Distance covered on the GPS: 20439 km
Steps walked: 6008+8113
Photos on the Canon: 266+66
Photos on the Sony: 286+30
Videos: 0