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Archive for February, 2008


Here’s a few of the more humorous photos from our trip to Japan.

Mind the Burn

Burn baby, burn baby.


Hand Soup

Keeping the hands well fed.


Flash Toilet Bowl

Oh, don’t worry, I think I’ve got this one covered.


Facial body remover

So, what’s left then?


Riding Stingray

Whadaya mean “Don’t ride the stingray”?


Like a rest

A rest? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Nikko, Japan

Nikko famous bridge

Whilst Andrew and Mark VDB went to work in Japan, having to look at really boring things like electronics and huge plasma or LCD TV screens or whatever they are and talk to engineers, I could escape and take a closer look at nature. Most specifically, I wanted to go and see Nikko, which is reputed to have amazing beauty, mountains and wild mushrooms; often at once. Unfortunately for Andrew our travelling schedule didn’t really accommodate travelling north of Tokyo, so it was a day-trip, just for one.

Nikko leaf Nikko hut Nikko walker

Without question Nikko was my favourite place in Japan. As a location it was most beautiful. There were mountains, streams of water, large rocks, more greenery than I’d seen in China and to top it all, amazingly fresh air. It was like being in Tasmania. There was also a distinct lack of people, which, after Tokyo, was to be revelled in.

Nikko monk statues

Nikko pillar Nikko Moss Nikko monk statue

Getting to Nikko was more time-consuming than not, but a good book enabled the (almost) 3 hours one-way trip to go past like a Shinkansen, and after 3 trains I was there. I’d intended to go to the botanic gardens, but though I got off at the right place, I think I walked the wrong way, but had a wonderful day anyway. On the other hand, the walk may be part of the Botanic Gardens.

Nikko Bridge Nikko stream Nikko family shrines

Since Nikko is best described by photos, I’ve included many. Apologies to those on dial-up.

Nikko Sunset

International Transfers

We’ve just spent a wonderful 2 weeks back in Australia for a mix of work and pleasure. Hopefully blogging will get back to something resembling regular soon.

Travelling internationally knocks me around a bit. I find that the combination of long hours and airline travel leaves me feeling a bit ordinary for a day or so. After flying to Australia I picked up a virus that took me out for a couple of days.

On this recent return journey we arose at 7am Adelaide time for a 10:50am, 2 hour flight to Sydney, made it through to Sydney’s International Terminal (domestic and international terminals are connected by a bus) mooched around for a few hours due to our flight being delayed by 2 hours (technical problem on our A330 in-bound from Melbourne), watched 3 movies and some TV on the 9 hour flight, cleared customs, collected bags, just made the Sky Limo taxi service to the Huang Gang border (driver had a lead foot, up to 140 klicks), crossed the China border and took a taxi back to our apartment, arriving at 12:45pm local time (3:15am Adelaide time).

Obviously, the journey back to China was a long and detailed sequence of events but it’s one that we’ve done quite a few times now and, thankfully, can do in our sleep. Sleep is exactly what we did when we got home too, Gail sleeping through till well after midday.

I’m not quite exactly sure how those who flit from country to country as a daily part of their jobs cope. I don’t think I could do overnighters followed by a day of meetings and another overnight flight in the evening, not without having a bed on the plane anyway.

Speaking of beds on planes, Qantas is going to be introducing a new Premium Economy seat that is sort of halfway between Business and Economy classes, to be introduced progressively during 2008 on routes operated by 747’s and A380’s. For your extra cash you’ll get a bigger seat that is more adjustable, a bigger TV screen with more functions, better food and noise cancelling headsets. The price will be about 75% more than super budget economy seats (about 25% above off-the-shelf economy fares) which does beg the question, what does business class offer over and above this to justify it’s huge price tag?

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