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Showing posts from July, 2007

Inflight entertainment

I'm pretty excited about the new Qantas inflight entertainment systems that they will be installing on the Airbus A380 aircraft. On board internet access (I'll have to try posting to this blog!), USB sockets, better games and 500 cd's of music (hopefully some will be soundtracks) amongst the features. The one I'm most looking forward to is the pilot's eye camera view. My favourite form of inflight entertainment is simply looking out the window, staring at the dry floodplains of desert Australia, the busy nights of Asian cities, the canals of Amsterdam. I also keep an eye out for high clouds and other possible sources of turbulence. While I stare I'm either listening to the plane's audio or my own source of music. If there is something displayed on my screen it is generally the moving map, so I know where I am and how much longer until we escape the turbulence once and for all (i.e. landing). Sometimes looking out the window isn't an option. It might

Japan, Sydney

I felt very Japanese at the end of last week. On Thursday I dined at Japanese restaurants for both lunch and dinner, then a couple of Japanese ladies sat opposite us in the train on the East Hills line, a rare sight. Friday morning saw us preparing for our trip with a visit to the Japanese consulate for B's visa and to the JNTO tourism office in Australia Square. While waiting at Wynyard station we overhead a Japanese guys talking loudly on his mobile phone. The JNTO is a very useful source of information on cultural interests, self-guided walks, accommodation, maps and tours. The office was highlighting beautiful Kanazawa, which we visited last year. I highly recommend Kanazawa during the cherry blossom season and, evening if it is cold and wet, a nighttime walk through the Kenroku-en gardens is not to be missed.

A quick trip to Canberra and back

I've flown on so many planes this year, 11 so far with at least two more to go. They have ranged in size from the little Embraer ERJ-145 from Chengdu to Yichang to the big 747-400 between Tokyo to Hong Kong. Yesterday I added my first my first turboprop flight for the year to that list. I had a meeting in Canberra and, not being a driver, had little choice but to fly down from Sydney. Yes, it's not environmentally friendly and if there was a fast European or Japanese style train between the two cities I would much rather have taken it. But there isn't, so I bought my tickets on the company credit card and set my alarm for a little earlier than normal. The flight down was on a Boeing 737-400 that was starting to look a little tired. A couple of the overhead screens didn't work. It felt a bit like the Chinese domestic flights. Unlike in China the crew actually enforced the safety regulations, ordering a couple of passengers to switch off and properly stow their laptops a

The train to the airport

Trying to cram that last item into the luggage, write that last email to your colleagues of instructions for doing your job while you are away, waiting for the last song to download on to your MP3 player, soaking up every last minute of the city you are in. It's stressful stuff leaving your home, hotel or office to catch that flight. If you will be traveling to the airport by taxi or car you are probably worried about when your ride will arrive to pick you up or that you will be stuck in the traffic and miss your flight. That's the nice thing about trains. The follow a schedule and for the most part they stick to it. You know when you will be departing and when you will arrive. The time in between can be spent relaxing, recovering from the last minute panic. Probably my favourite train to the airport is the Narita Express (N'EX). We invariably arrive on the platform at Shinjuku Station straining and perspiring from the overloaded bags of goodies that is the consequence of

The next trip - Jetstar to Osaka

In May I succumbed to the Jetstar "Fly a friend for $3 Third Birthday Sale" and purchased cheap tickets for B and I to Osaka, flying out on our anniversary. Unfortunately, her company wouldn't let her take leave over that period, so I took advantage of another sale to rebook for September. Although I didn't realise it at the time the holiday falls on "APEC Week" when the APEC summit is held in Sydney and we have a day off on the Friday. Less of my precious leave used up is a good thing! Not certain what it will be like arriving back on the Sunday with the extra security. Perhaps some good views of the dignitaries' aircraft? We are only spending five nights in Japan on this trip, constrained both by our leave and by the availability of the sale fares. This will be our fifth trip to Japan, but there is still so much to see. Unfortunately, the trip dates are close to those of our first trip to Japan, which suffered due to the sticky weather. No cherry blo

Welcome to the journey

So I'm a travel addict. What gives it away? Is it the fact that the computer I'm writing this on is Japanese or that model trains from that same country run around my desk. Perhaps it's the diecast airliners on the shelf above. The black and white poster of the bridges of Paris on the wall, the guidebook to China, the Notre Dame gargoyle, the miniature koi-no-bori. But you can't see any of that, can you? This blog is where I can record and share my experiences and my dreams of travel within Australia and overseas. I've recorded many of my previous trips online - see the box to the right - and I often go back and reread those accounts, losing myself again in my travel addiction. Welcome to my journey!