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Showing posts from April, 2013

Qantas - Emirates Gala Dinner

On Thursday night I was fortunate enough to attend a gala dinner celebrating the Qantas - Emirates partnership thanks to the kind folk at Qantas' Digital Communication Team. I've never been to a black tie dinner before, so this was a very new experience for me and only the second time in my life that I've hired a suit. The event was held in a Qantas hanger adjacent to Domestic Terminal 3. A huge Qantas A380 occupied half the hanger and was illuminated by patterns of light throughout the night. We were treated to a wonderfully delicious Neil Perry dinner of mezze entree and a succulent lamb and ginger yam mash for dinner. I passed on the tiramisu, not being a lover of coffee, but there were carts serving smooth gelato. While guests were milling around prior to being seated various canapes were served, including "Chicken with Strange Sauce", which caused a few smiles. Karl Stefanovic MC'd the event and it was very funny hearing some of the other interv

Last Qantas to the Continent

Today marks the last flights of Qantas to continental Europe with the cessation of their QF5/6 flights to Frankfurt via Singapore. I've never done the flight to Frankfurt, only taking QF5 as far as Singapore, though I've flown to London with them, which is now their only European destination and via Dubai. Much as I would like to see Dubai, I'm a little sad that it's no longer possible to fly to Europe via Asia all on Qantas as I have very much enjoyed my Asian stopovers. And I love their 747s, my favourite aircraft and one that holds so many happy memories for me. Now it's just A380s all the way there, though the 747 remains on other routes. But with so many airlines retiring their 747s it's going to be difficult to experience them all the way to Europe again. I was so, so tempted over the past week to burn up my remaining Qantas Frequent Flyer points to book seats between Singapore and Frankfurt on these last flights. With what remained available I woul

Asia 2013 in short

It appears that 30,000 words is too many for most people to read, so here's a summary of our recent trip to Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan . It's okay, I write this blog mainly to record my trips for myself, if anyone else finds it interesting then that's just a bonus. Singapore We flew to Singapore on Scoot. I found their seats hard and uncomfortable, B not so much. We stayed at the Parkroyal on Beach Road, which was nice. Our main purpose of visiting Singapore was to eat, and we had great food at the Maxwell and Old Airport Road food centres, but the best was chilli crab and Haron 30's satay at the East Coast Lagoon Hawker Centre. We also visited the Gardens by the Bay, enjoying the great glass Flower and Cloud Forest conservatories. Best of all were the lights of the Supertrees. Malaysia Penang AirAsia took us to B's birthplace of Penang Island, where we stayed at the lovely Parkroyal Penang resort in Batu Ferringhi, along with Mother-in-

The end of the line

Where is that, the old track going? Where is there, I want to know Running away, I want to follow Far away, I want to go Into the distance, the old track leading Into the unknown, I will follow Hidden away, I will seek Beyond horizons, I will go Comes the time, the old track ceases Comes the place, I find the end Where it goes, I cannot follow The passing of a dear friend We begin this final installment of our 25 day trip around Asia at the end. Once the Shin'etsu Line ran all the way from Takasaki to Nagano and Niigata via the very steep (1 in 15) Usui Pass. So steep that it required a rack system, like that of the Oigawa Line of a week ago, before that was replaced by powerful helper locomotives. With the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen in October 1997 the Usui Pass section was closed and the line split into separate sections. The section from Takasaki now terminates at Yokokawa and it was to there that we were heading. It's only half an hour by local t