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Showing posts from 2008

The turbulence wuss flies to Canberra

I was woken at 5:30 by the anguished cries of my 28 day old son, hungry for his morning feed. Two wet outfits later I had to call on my wife for help while I packed my bag. This was to be my first day back at work since my son's birth, except that instead of catching a train to my office I was flying to a meeting in Canberra. My wife dropped me off at the station and I caught the train to the airport. It looked like a magnificent day outside, blue skies with just a hint of morning cloud. Finally, I thought, I could look forward to a smooth flight where I could just enjoy the scenery outside. Before booking the flight a couple of days prior I had first consulted the forecast to ensure that I would enjoy a flight hopefully free of turbulence. As I rode the escalators up from the Domestic Terminal train station and the Baggage collection area on the ground floor I looked to my right to see Gail Kennedy?, the CEO of Westpac Bank at the valet parking desk. I recalled the item on the mor

A Honeymoon in Paris

This was the trip that changed everything, the trip by which all future overseas journeys were measured. After a couple of horrible flights during my second overseas holiday to Malaysia in early 2000, I doubted whether I really wanted to travel overseas again. However, B was adamant that she wanted a honeymoon overseas and how could I deny my true love her dream wedding? We thought about Los Angeles, holiday packages to Disneyland were reasonably priced. But where was the romance in that? New Zealand was reasonably priced and reputedly beautiful, but it was so close! Surely we could visit it later. Where could be more romantic for a honeymoon than the city of love: Paris? We found an excellent deal with Qantas and, amidst the myriad other wedding preparations, booked it. Through Qantas Travel, their headquarters at the time just opposite my previous place of work, we arranged a hotel room, a tour to Mont St Michel and some museum and travel passes. Now we usually book everything ourse

A night by Botany Bay

Realising that this would probably be the last anniversary for a long time that we could spend alone as a couple B and I stayed Sunday night in a hotel at Brighton Le Sands. The Novotel Brighton Beach has a pretty poor reputation amongst my work colleagues, but it was there that B and I spent our wedding night. That time, along with our subsequent visits, have always been enjoyable experiences. Indeed we have a great fondness for the beaches around Botany Bay. I will admit that one of the attractions for me is that Sydney's major airport juts out into the bay's otherwise serene waters and I can watch and dream as the big jets fly over the bay. Our hotel room was high up on the cornered ziggurat building, overlooking the bay, the airport and the city. Sadly the hotel had changed since our last stay. The large Balinese-style decorative pool and waterfall had gone, converted into additional outdoor bar seating. So too has the waterslide disappeared, now a children's playground

Memorabilia & Memories

Behind me, on the Japanese noren curtain, the petals of cherry blossoms gently drift to the ground. In front of me a model Narita Express runs past a Shinto temple. Diecast jet aircraft are poised in front of carp streamers to leap off the desk and across the ocean. Above me, posters for Le Chat Noir and the Moulin de la Galette stand astride a black and white photograph of the bridges of Paris. The reminders of holidays past and dreams of journeys to come surround me in the house. Each time we travel we bring back mementos of the journey. Today I was sorting through bags of brochures, maps and tickets, each bag a separate trip, filing and tossing. The maps and guides to cities and sights are useful future references, but it is the little items that stir the memories. Business cards of a Tokyo hairdresser, tickets for the awful train ride from Yichang to Nanjing, the little cards of directions to the Chinese hotels for the taxi drivers, menu cards and boarding passes for flights, an t

More Canberra, more turbulence

I may not be racing around Europe right now, but I did go somewhere today. Yes, back to Canberra again. How exciting... Well, I would have liked to have seen Canberra, visited Floriade again, the War Memorial, but there was no time for that. Just another meeting at the headquarters. I'm now officially tired of flying to Canberra. Tired of driving there as well. Despite the protestations of my work colleague, who claimed that the buses were far less dingy, I wanted to catch the train, but it was sold out. So I dutifully purchased the Qantas tickets online, ensuring that I was flying by jet. The day outside looked magnificent, a scorcher, but the air was still. Fear lurked, because the weather reports forecast storms and winds in the afternoon. How unfair! The last two times I flew back from Canberra we passed through a storm and a front. No sign of that as I stared out the windows of Terminal 3. I noticed the Qantas A380 sitting out on the tarmac and watched the movements of the ot

Here, not there

We should be in Korea right now. An overnight stay near Incheon Airport, then a flight to Prague tomorrow. Twenty days later we would be flying out of Amsterdam and back through Seoul to Sydney. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, that trip was cancelled. Poor B, with her bloated baby belly, is in no fit state to fly. I could do with a holiday right now. This was to be our first trip to Eastern Europe and I was also looking forward to walking around the medieval towns of Bretagne in France. Hopefully we'll have our chance next year, our child's first trip to another land. We'll just have to wait and see.

Overseas trip 2: Return to Kuala Lumpur

Over four years was to pass between my first and second trips overseas. This was to be a shorter holiday, both in time and distance travelled, accompanying B's mother and B back to Kuala Lumpur for a week. I had not particularly enjoyed Kuala Lumpur the first time we had visited. It was hot and muggy, polluted and run down. However, apparently the city had been cleaned up for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, so I was interested in seeing how much it had changed. I also looked forward to the opportunity to sample more of the delights of Malaysia's hawker stalls! The flights and hotel were organised through a cheap travel agent in Sydney's Chinatown. On the afternoon of Friday the 3 March 2000 we boarded our Malaysian Airlines 747 for the flight from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur's new international airport. It was the first time that I had encountered a personal seatback inflight entertainment system. I watched Three Kings and The 13th Warrior on the tiny screen, played