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Showing posts from August, 2008

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

My first overseas trip: Singapore and Malaysia

I've always loved to travel. My first memory is of sitting in a an aircraft, aged 18 months or so. Yet I never believed that I could travel overseas. To me, it seemed like something you did when you retired, or if you were rich. That all changed when I met B. She had not only travelled overseas, she was from overseas . B was born in Malaysia and arrived in Australia, with her family, in 1988. She still had relatives and friends in Malaysia and Singapore and she, along with the remainder of her family, planned to return for a visit during the Australian summer of 1995. At the time I was staying in B's mother's house while we were studying at university. After B's father passed away the year before I was the nominal "man" of the house and its high maintenance garden; her brother Michael was studying up in Queensland. B and I were quite inseparable and her mother kindly offered to pay for me to join them on their vacation. So it was that I obtained my very firs

Virgin Blue versus Qantas to Canberra

Back down to Canberra again for the day for a meeting that couldn't be done over a teleconference. How to make it interesting? Use it as a chance to compare Australia's two largest domestic airline services. My previous trips had all been on Qantas and QantasLink aircraft, a mixture of Boeing 737-400 jets and Dash 8 Q400 turboprops. Virgin Blue have also started flying the Sydney-Canberra route using their new Embraer E-170 jets. I had only flown on Virgin twice before, up to Rockhampton and back, and I wanted to see what they were like. The fact that they had the cheapest fares was another bonus, nothing like saving the organisation money! I picked Qantas on the way back because of their times were more convenient. This also gave me an opportunity to directly compare the services. Both Qantas and Virgin offer online check-in from 24 hours before the flight, which is fantastic a) because I can select the seats for myself and b) because I don't have to reach the airport so e