Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

allrite's travels in 2011

March : Flew to Melbourne for the day to listen to a MSO John Williams concert. March : Flew to Thailand, visited Bangkok and Chiang Mai, rode elephants, petted tigers. March/April : Onward flight to Fukuoka in Japan, trains to Nagasaki, Yufuin, Oita, Beppu, Kumamoto, Osaka, Kyoto. Onsens and hells. May : Day trip to Canberra for work June : ***** July : Three days in Canberra for work October : Up to Rockhampton for my sister's wedding November : Our 10th anniversary trip to Europe via Kuala Lumpur. Stopped in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Switzerland and France. Passed through Germany. December : Overnight stay in Canberra for work. Visited a total of nine countries, ten if you count Australia. Twenty-five flights on seven airlines (or nine if you count regional subsidiaries). Fourteen different aircraft types, counting subtypes. Countless trains. Already booked what's likely to be our first trip of 2012. Almost the same as in 2011: down

Reflections on a 10th anniversary in Europe

More than a month has passed since our trip to Europe. The story of the trip is written on allrite@ , but now I wish to sort out my impressions of the journey. After the excitement of the journey itself what you are left with is your memories, the ultimate souvenirs of your holiday. Highlights for me were the sight of the Malaysian Airlines 747 waiting like an old liner in dock to carry us on an adventure. The red Australian desert and the dry but snow capped mountains of Afghanistan, mysterious lands with few inhabitants but many stories to tell. A relaxing transit hotel at Kuala Lumpur's International Airport that was just what I wanted and modern and spacious accommodation near Paddington station. Standing atop Het Gravensteen castle and gazing across the amazing historic skyline of Ghent in Belgium. Belgian chocolates, waffles and fries. Eating a continental breakfast in our deluxe sleeper compartment while outside the pretty villages of the Elbe Valley rolled past

The more experienced Virgin back to Sydney

After my fill of work web stuff I couldn't wait to return to Sydney to see my family again. After visiting the huge Canberra Qantas lounge on my last flight from Canberra I was curious to compare it with Virgin Australia's, seeing as it was included on my ticket. My first impressions were that it was quite nice, though not as good as Qantas, nor as large. There was a bit of selection of antipasto, breads and fillings, along with free drinks. I made myself a sandwich and an onion soup, then had an apple. Just PC's and no stylish Macs in the business centre and the televisions were stuck on Foxtel, which I find very annoying. So glad that they aren't supplying services to the Australia Network instead of the ABC. While waiting a formation of military helicopters flew over, consisting of three Army Kiowas, a black and a white Navy A109E, all of which landed at RAAF Fairbairn and one NavySeahawk that flew off. Very cool! When I returned from a trip to the toi

Like a virgin

I had my first flight today on one of Virgin Australia's new ATR72-500s to Canberra. The only other time I have flown in one of those turboprops was an international flight from Kuantan in Malaysia to Singapore with Firefly. Like that ride, today's was comfortable and pretty smooth, despite flying through a few cloud layers. I had a pretty poor sleep last night. Alex woke up with a fever and took a long while to resettle. Then I had to wake before 6am to catch the bus and train down to the airport. My government airfare gives free access to the Virgin Lounge. It took me a while to find it, but I was quite impressed by it's appearance and food selection. Quite a decent buffet breakfast (though without most of the hot buffet selection of a hotel) and some reasonable, though partly blocked, views of the airport operations. And here was I thinking that I'd never get to visit airline lounges... After cutting across the Kurnell Peninsula and tracking inland, but

Jingle bell in KL

"I want to go see friends and play with toys." After over two weeks on the road Alex was entitled to be a little travel weary. I can't say that I was in any hurry to return to Australia myself, but I longed for a lazy day, relaxing in the hotel room or by the pool, going out only to eat food at a local kopitiam or hawker centre. It was not to be. We had to check out of our hotel and meet some childhood friends of B before heading off to the airport in the evening. First we ducked down to the nearby hawker centre for a final breakfast of roti canai and milo ais. Thomas and Liz have a daughter Isabelle who is five months younger than Alex. Confused, Alex nicknamed her Jingle Bells. We drove over to the nearby Pavilion shopping centre where the two kids immediately raced around together.KL is not particularly child friendly and Alex had had few opportunities to run around freely. Now he could not stop. Run, run, run! Run to the lift, press the button, run hide run. Upm

Raining in KL

By the time we left the hotel it was midday. I was still feeling tired, but our time here was limited so we had to do something. We acceeded to Alex's demands and caught a monorail a couple of stations up, then a light rail to Pasar Seni, the Central Markets. B was looking for curry powder and knew it should be available somewhere around there. Somewhere... We wandered the streets, past moneychangers and jewellers, though a street of Indian goods and made it to outside Khota Baru, opposite Petaling Street when the very dark clouds opened up. It rained as only the tropics can. The streets were flooding and lightning flashed close by with loud thunderclaps. Taxis would pull up and disgorge their passengers into the water. Umbrellas were useless. We were stuck there for an hour before it eventually cleared enough for us to cross the sheltered bridge and make our way into covered Petaling Street. We ignored the watch and t-shirt sellers and eventually found a couple of shops sell

Exhausted in Kuala Lumpur

The path through Kuala Lumpur International Airport was, by now, a familiar one. At least this time we could promise Alex that, yes, he could catch the train lifts as we descended to join the KLIA Express service to the city. The light was beautiful as we raced past palm plantations and the amazing architecture of Putrajaya, reaching KL proper in 28 minutes. As we sat in the taxi driving to our hotel in Bukit Bintang the green, decaying city outside brought back so many memories. This was the second country I ever visited and it feels so familiar. We had to wait a few hours to check in at the Parkroyal hotel so we ducked behind to the hawker stalls to eat some breakfast of roti canai and milo ais. Gosh the milo ais tasted so good. Then Alex went crazy around the big Christmas decorations of The Pavilion, relishing the opportunity to run around. I was literally falling asleep on my feet and very glad when we could finally check in to our swank room. Pity about all the street noi