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Entries about air travel

It's not that ridiculous...


The trip from Singapore to Bangkok was our major activity for the day, and it proceeded nice and smoothly until we arrived at immigration and I handed over my passport. My photo has me at the height of a grade 2 crew cut and wearing contact lenses; I currently have 3 months of growth (Afroboy I have been referred to more than once) and was wearing glasses at the time. The girl behind the counter did her best, but managed about 3 seconds before collapsing in laughter. It was very off putting.

After being ridiculed, we grabbed our stuff and caught a bus into the centre of Bangkok to the backpackers lodge we were staying at. The end of the day was spent exploring the surrounding neighbourhood and sinking a few well deserved beers.

Posted by jefranklin 04:22 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking air_travel round_the_world Comments (0)

Fond Farewell to Sydney

View Backpacking 2006 on jefranklin's travel map.

Another summary posting as we have spent the last week catching up with friends and family.

The first four days were spent staying with our mate Jay in Brisbane. In a fit of enthusiasm, Heather had put together an itinerary of things to do for our stay there. All of that though was thrown out of the window in preference for something a lot more favourable: watching movies, chatting and drinking :) Not a very productive way to spend our time but a truer reflection of the friendship we have.
After Brisbane, we flew down to Sydney as our Australia travels had sadly come to close. We stayed with Hazel & Mike, taking advantage of their generous nature mercilessly ;)

We spent our time in Sydney finishing off last minute stuff such as sending stuff off to the UK, arranging visas for China and packing. We also had a very nice dinner with our family and had drinks with friends on the evening of Paddy's day at the Australian Hotel. The morning we left was spent with Hazel, Mike and Heather's mum doing breakfast before we all headed off to Kingsford Smith airport and our good-byes. The flight itself was really comfortable as we weren't flying with the World's Worst Airline (for international travel) but were on Singapore Airlines. I managed to squeeze in 3 movies ("Good night & Good Luck","Kiss, kiss, bang, bang" and "Walk the line") and an episode of the Office (reminding me of my previous job :) during the flight.
Eventually (8 hours actually) we landed at Changi airport, and caught the local train into Chinatown and checked into the dodgy backpackers that would be home for our time in Singapore (managing to get lost on the way). It was good to get the backpack off my back, as it weighed in at around 55lbs.

Posted by jefranklin 04:15 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking air_travel round_the_world Comments (0)

Darwin Pt 2

View Backpacking 2006 on jefranklin's travel map.

After a day of touring Litchfield park, we spent today touring Darwin itself. The day was due to start with a visit to Aquascene. This is a closed off bay where (for $7 each) we get to feed hundreds of large fish that virtually beach themselves in order to get fed. The only problem is that it is dependent on what time the tide comes in, for example the other day it was a very unreasonable 5:45am. Today however, it was at a much more acceptable 9am; as if we were going to drag ourselves out of bed at that time. As such, we missed out on Aquascene :)

Instead we did the coastal walk to the WW2 oil storage tunnels, which were constructed when a Japanese attack destroyed a number of the overland tanks in 1942 (they were never used though, as they took 2 1/2 years to build by which time the war was thankfully over). Within the tunnels they have photos taken around Darwin during the war, and it was both interesting to see the "homes" the servicemen made for themselves in limited conditions and saddening to know that governments will constantly call on servicemen to expose themselves to danger on a regular basis. Two months of growing my hair and I am already sounding like a hippy...

After the tunnels, we bimbled to the local marina, where we split a fish & chips for lunch (doing things on the cheap :) and tried spotting a crocodile in the harbour, to no avail. This was followed by us wandering around the town centre for a couple of hours as Heather decided she needed a shopping fix - she only got a singlet though.

The weather in Darwin is much more akin to SE Asia, than say Sydney. As such, the temperature gets to around 35° but the humidity is through the roof. In short, this means the average tourist walks around drenched in sweat, looking as if they had been out in a monsoon. However, every shop seems to have the desire to try and have frost form on the shelves, as they have the air-conditioning set to about -5° or so. The effect of which is that walking in and out of shops is like plunging into alternate hot and cold baths, albeit without the water.

The evening was spent at a marina, eating at a reasonably priced Italian restaurant. Getting there was a bit a bit of a challenge though, as we were doing a coastal walk, which ran close to mangrove swamps. We were on the sharp lookout for drop crocs and saltwater crocs, breaking into runs whenever we heard or saw something dodgy. Heather's sandal strap broke at one point while running, and I am pretty sure her scream was only just audible to humans (dogs & bats wouldn't have had any problems though). Added to this, we couldn't go in the sea due to it being the season for lethal box jelly fish. Such friendly wildlife in these parts.

We had to wrap the night up early as we have a 4am start, and as this is for our flight to Cairns, there's no sleeping through.

Posted by jefranklin 21:19 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel round_the_world Comments (0)

The Plane Ride from Hell

-17 °C
View Our wedding and honeymoon on jefranklin's travel map.

The day had arrived for our flight to Santorini; arrival time at Sydney airport was 12 midday, and we were kindly given a lift there by Mike, who was going to be best man at our wedding.

The flight route was Sydney to Bangkok - Bangkok to Zurich - Zurich to Athens and Athens to Santorini. Accompanying us as far as Athens was Heather's mum (and my soon to be mother-in-law), Doris.

The leg from Sydney to Bangkok was British Airways and was packed, as always. As we checked in early, we had a row of 3 seats to ourselves but even so, my shoulders were hanging over the side of the seat into the aisle. Total flying time for this flight was about 10 hours, total sleep: 0 hours.

From Bangkok to Zurich we flew Swissair long haul and although the plane was not full, I still managed to have my shoulders hanging over into the aisle (some space would have been nice...). Total flight time: 12 hours, total sleep: 1 hour approximately (although Heather may dispute that figure!)

The Zurich to Athens leg was also Swissair, except whenever you wanted something it was chargeable (unlike on long haul). Still, by this point I was downing alcohol as if I was about to spend a month in the Middle East, so a little thing like money was not going to stop me. Total flight time, 3 hours, total sleep: 0 hours.

The final leg was on a smally turboprop Olympic Airlines airplane and was pretty packed (with locals). Fortunately, it was a short trip of 45 minutes or so.

Total flying time was just under 26 hours, although by the time you add the time that we hung around airports, it was more like 35 hours. Total sleep was about 1 hour, and I am not too sure of the number of alcholic units consumed :)

Anyway, on landing at Thira, we were relieved to see that our suitcases had made it as well (fortunate, as they contained not only our holiday clothes, but our wedding clothes as well). It's pleasing to know that checking through baggage does tend to work properly. We picked up our hire car, which blended in nicely with local cars because it looked as if it had not been cleaned in its life and had some minor damage (loose trim, broken wing mirror, etc.)

DCP_2124.jpgWe drove straight to our hotel, and caught some much needed sleep. Fortunately, we woke up before sunset and saw our first Santorini sunset - a very romantic end to the plane ride from hell.

More to come later...

Posted by jefranklin 08:00 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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