A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2 - Still flying.

overcast 22 °C

Day 2 - Still flying.

2:30am - Above a place called Ust-Kamenogorsk

Having woken up face-down and dribbling on my tray table, I give up on sleep. It is now dark outside - we have flown out of day and into night, and when I go aft to the toilet I can see nearly sunrise on the horizon. The magical flight plan doodah tells me we have 4 hours and eighteen minutes still to go and will land at quarter to seven in the morning.

I order a cup noodle (it was either that or a fruit pot and I may need the carbs) and relax a bit. Not too much though - it's chopsticks or nothing and I have to work hard not to flick noodle juice over everyone within three metres of me, man alive, the stuff travels. Fred is still watching Sherlock Holmes and appears to be stuck in some sort of quantum loop. I am annoyingly awake and decide to write some more waffle to you good people - anyone still reading this post, I credit both your patience and tenacity but also question your sanity. So I will stop now, polish off my cup noodle and then possible indulge myself with more scrabble.

Oh, the bourgeoisie of it all.


05:25am - Flying over Mainland China

Right, time for Fred to write his first entry into this blog... We currently have only another hour and a half before we are due to land into Hong Kong International. It is still dark outside. We have just been served breakfast, I decided against my second breakfast of the day because my body thinks it's nighttime and even if I was hungry eating breakfast at 5am seems a little bit hard to take. Ginger has decided the same so we both settle down with a cup of tea (each, not one between us) and finish off watching our films.

I have sent the last hour laughing like an idiot watching Sean Lock Live on the iPad (well worth a watch!) and Ginger has been watching Shutter Island. During this flight I have been busy watching the graphics of where we are in the world. Currently we are flying at 39,000 ft at a speed of nearly 600mph heading for Nanning.

We both haven't really got much sleep as it is very noisy with the air conditioning so we are busy making out plans around being able to get a nap this afternoon, timing it nicely for when the weather is at it's hottest. The pilot seems to reckon with be in the high 20's and will only be 7 in the morning. Excited to get there now, and see what the day brings!


5:50am - Urrrgh.

Clearly Fred is not nearly as jaded as I am about flying long haul, either that or he has had some sleep (more likely) and I definitely haven't. We have flown 5542 miles now and there are still a few more to go yet but I am excited about touching down and seeing what's about. Most likely a lot of Chinese businesspeople hunting out some breakfast.

The sun is gradually making it's way over the horizon and I can see the clouds turning pink and orange through the little window. The little window however is rapidly blocked by the blonde toddler so I have no time to enjoy the view. Someone farts and I realise that romance, in all it's forms, is gone from the world.

53 minutes to go. Someone get me off this thing....

8:45am - City Garden Road, Hong Kong

Well, we're off, currently sat on the street by our hotel taking the scenery in. There are lots of natives with dogs, food etc on their way to work/school/wherever. I've found a place to stock up on film for the F3 so as soon as we are checked in and showered and what have you I'll set off for some grab bags.

Fred is doing a bit of snapping of his own at the moment and the locals seem to find him quite funny. There is bamboo scaffolding and makeshift balconies everywhere, along with little eateries packed with workers having breakfast. None of them have menus in English of course, but we will do our best.

The heat isn't so bad at present but it is only quarter to nine in the morning and the humidity is something else. It is actually refreshing after recycled plane air but now we have dragged our suitcases halfway across Hong Kong island it's a little overpowering and so is the smell of me - I am in dire need of a shower and change of clothes.

We are finally here, and more details will be forthcoming as we get them...


Sent from my iPad

Posted by fredginger 19:00 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (1)

Day 1 - The Flight

all seasons in one day 22 °C
View Fred & Ginger Go To The Land of Kangaroos... on fredginger's travel map.

Day 1 - The Flight

We arrive at Heathrow International Airport, seen off by my mother who is in tears for the second time in as many hours. Terminal 3 is in much better condition than I remember, all shiny and new with lots of nice shops - Fred gets bored after being dragged around Mappin & Webb, Tie Rack and duty free for an hour so we sit down and discuss the vagaries of BA being on strike and if it is possible to hijack an airplane with a crochet hook.

Fred spots a man reading a newspaper with "Inside the mind of a terrorist bomber!" on the back - I snap off a frame as I'm sure this man must be drier than the Sahara dessert to be reading such a thing in a departure lounge. There are two texans sitting beside us getting very nervous about all of the "bad sorts" (women in saris) and grumbling about the "risks" (women in burkhas) - Fred talks loudly about how NASCAR is ridiculous and how he has been in pubs with a longer history than the USA. They move seats.

Soon, the gate is called - I win the bet as to which sector it would be in and we set off along the travelators towards gate 19. Opposite us when we get there is Hitlers great grandson, with an even more opulent moustache (iPhone picture was taken, for posterity.) as is typical for Heathrow, the flight leaves the gate on time but takes off half an hour late - the pilot reassures us we have been given a quicker flight path over Copenhagen. Our flight goes in an arc over the Baltic Sea, presumably to avoid the middle east, then dips back down east of Tehran. As we board, I bore Fred with the vagaries of our Boeing 747 and he asks "are we allowed upstairs, it looks better upstairs" and I say "no."

We find our seats - row 67, F and G. No window seats, pooh! My aspirations of amazingly aesthetic aerial photography will have to wait. Fred is a little frightened as we take off and turbulence abounds but I assure him that the boredom will get him before fear does - it's 12 hours to Hong Kong and even iPad and films can't amuse him for that long. I then waffle about the mechanics of flight and the girl next to me asks me to shut up.

Soon there is food, an oh! Chicken in tarragon sauce! It actually doesn't taste like recycled cardboard - aeroplane food has come a long way in recent years. We both wash it down with tea and play scrabble - as I write, we are south of Helsinki and have 8 hours and 51 minutes to go. We are 33,000 feet and soon it will be time for sleep. Actually there is a blonde toddler a few seats over utterly passed out on her mother's lap, wedged comfortably into a seat-square space - I think she's got the right idea.


9:45pm Hong Kong time - Somewhere Over Northern Russia.

The Michael Jackson nano's specially prepared playlist is up and running. So far we've had some classic Easyworld (a return to 'year 8 music'), black uhuru (my father would be proud) and it's now on Wolfmother's 'California Queen'. Fortunately Fred is getting sleepy so we won't have to resort to the sedatives. Gay steward gives him a wink and an ice cream - I remind him that he shouldn't accept sweets from strange men who walk with their chests stuck out but he ignores me in favour of munching on the Twix.

After only a few hours I am wishing we were in the Airbus 380 or Norton Widebody - these Boeing things are marvels of modern technology but they're also noiser than the Blitz. Blonde toddler has woken up and is colouring happily - not screaming, but I think the racket of the air conditioning would drown out her little lungs even if she was. She has just turned her nose up at the free blanket ("ugh daddy, nasty!"), preferring to snuggle up in her mother's cashmere jumper instead - good girl, start as you mean to carry on.

Ye gods. The boredom is setting in now and I find myself analysing and judging my fellow passengers - there is a portly British man the row behind, clearly having a mid life crisis, wearing a bright pink shirt and wearing Ferrari sunglasses. My hunch is that if he owned a Ferrari to go with them he wouldn't be sat in economy drinking airline ale and flirting shamelessly with the stewardesses. He is also wearing a pair of g-star raw shorts that belong on someone half his age and some skate shoes - he has clearly been given a couple of thousand pounds and told to "go nuts".

To my right we have a tall, curly haired young man who is fast asleep on his little purple pillow, snoring gently. As I poke him (gently) in the face he snorts into wakefulness with some choice language, probably picked up by the wide-eyed blonde toddler the other side of him, and demands to know where we are. "Somewhere over northern Russia, which is a long way from Manchester" I tell him. "Oh," he says, rolling over, or doing something as close as you can get to rolling over in an aeroplane. He mumbles something over the noise - "Manchester... -Manchester?" I tell him that you can't see it from here and he tells me to sod off.


Posted by fredginger 19:00 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (2)

Prep & Planning

Learn Cantonese, pack, get money, get visas, get sedatives for the plane...

semi-overcast 15 °C

It's all very exciting, neither of us can believe we're off so soon. We've pretty much done all our planning, it's actually executing the stuff we've planned that is causing problems - mostly because we're both a little incompetent, but also because there's a lot else going on.

Surprisingly, we have found there is more involved in going to Australia than Hong Kong. For starters, all foreign nationals without and Australian visa need to apply for an ETA - and electronic travel authority. This is easy and it can be done online - getting currency is harder as it needs to be ordered in most places. The exchange rate at the moment has also dropped from about 3 AUD to 1 Pound Sterling to about 1.5, so value for money in Aus is not at it's best. Hong Kong is fairly straightforward - just fill in the Landing Cards on the aeroplane with details of where you're from and where you're staying.

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So - the itinerary. Here goes nothing.


[*]30th - 31st May: Aeroplane. Long bloody flight, and Ginger means what she says about sedatives.

[*]31st May - 7th June: Hong Kong. Mostly touristy stuff, but Ginger has made a rule that Fred must not eat McDonalds, only local food.

[*]7th - 8th June: Aeroplane again. Shorter flight, but still a long bloody flight.

[*]8th - 19th June: Sydney. Mein Farter showing us sights, places, best boozing holes and hopefully cheap eats.

[*]19th - 26th June: Port Douglas. Tropical paradise with rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef thrown in. A lovely place to be when Fred gets his degree classification - if it's bad news at least he's on a white sandy beach with the crocodiles and sharks.

[*]26th June - 13th July: Sydney again. Settling into the city nicely before we're torn away by...

[*]13th - 14th July: Aeroplane. Even longer bloody flight with a one and a half hour stop on Bangkok for refueling.

So there it is - the master plan. We will of course be filling you in on details, pictures and videos as we go along.

Posted by fredginger 03:49 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged packing Comments (0)

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