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Even More Trips

6 Mar - 28 Mar 2014

23 Mar - 10 Apr 2013

Tokyo weekend
25 Oct - 30 Oct 2012

China again
27 Aug - 13 Sep 2012

Japan and Taiwan
1 Mar - 22 Mar 2012

1 Nov - 18 Nov 2011

Korea, mainly...
3 Sep - 17 Sep 2011

Taiwan / Hong Kong / Singapore / ?
25 Mar - 11 Apr 2011

London, for the third time
25 Jun - 17 Jul 2010

Japan and Hong Kong
2 May - 18 May 2010

London again and Hong Kong
26 Feb - 25 Mar 2010

5 Sep - 22 Sep 2009

South East Asia
3 Dec - 18 Dec 2005

London and Germany for work with a week in Austria - May and June 2016 - Page 2

Day 6 - Friday, 27 May 2016

Trafficus horribilus

Today was my last day up north, and a lot of driving was required.
After completing my work for the day, I had left myself 3 hours to make a journey to drop off my hire car and get the train that both the car GPS and my mobile with google maps told me would take 91 minutes.
I made the train with 2 minutes to spare, which included running whilst dragging my suitcase.
On the M60 freeway I came to a stop, inexplicably, for an hour, at times I moved ahead a few metres, but in the hour I travelled no more than half a mile. I saw a number of people urinating behind their car door on the road.
There was no accident causing this, Google maps traffic info did not report one, I never saw one. The map did however say 55 minutes remaining, +2.5 hours for traffic congestion!
So I was convinced I had missed my train, but after an hour all of a sudden movement, and never any explanation as to what had happened. The worst traffic I have ever experienced. There must have been 50,000 cars stopped on the freeway.

Now invigorated having run to get my train, which was a Virgin train and apparently the nicest in the UK, I found myself in a cramped seat, facing the people in front of me across a small table they had piled up with their horrible english mayonaise filled sandwiches.
Next up a guy gets on loudly talking, hes a young bald guy in a track suit, cause this is Manchester. Anyway, hes explaining to someone hes doing a job for, that hes running late because he had to knock a pakis teeth out because he refused to pay up after losing some sort of a bet.
He actually described in great detail how many teeth he knocked out and how the Paki crawled around in the street to retrieve them and was almost killed by a truck. To top it off after that story he was vividly describing to the guy on the phone how the job would be no problem because he was going to use a few of the lads he was inside with.
Thankfully he got off the train only 1 stop along the route to London.

My next ridiculous thing on the train ride was when a spoilt family featuring children wearing bow ties decided that radio controlled cars going up and down the floor of the train the full length of the carriage was fun for everyone on board.
Everyone else was annoyed because the car kept bashing into them, and an old guy trying to find his seat nearly fell trying to avoid it.
So when the woman across from me complained that the parents should be told to control their brats, I decided to confiscate the car. Next time it came along I just picked it up, found the switch and turned it off. Then put it on the little table in front of me whilst I contined to study how to speak Chinese on my phone in silence.
It stayed there for about 10 minutes, the father came to have a look and said nothing, which was amusing, beacuse then a few minutes later the mother came down and apologised and asked if she might be able to have the car back on the condition they dont use it again on the train. So I handed it over.

My Virgin train, does about 200kmph I think, so a semi bullet train. It seemed to stop a lot.

This is England.

My room in London is right by the Euston station where the train arrives, which is very near Kings Cross on the northern edge of central London.

The view out of my window however looks away from the city.

London is quite familiar

2 updates today.
I set off for a long walk, first of all I had to find a laundry to do my clothes washing tomorrow morning. I found one I used years ago, still there. And they still dont have a change machine.
So I had to buy a series of things for under a pound to get 4 pounds change each time, I estimate washing and drying one load of washing will cost 9 pounds! Which is $18.
The hotel laundry service would cost 50 pounds, but doesnt operate on weekends.

I noticed on my walk that I was highly familiar with everywhere I went, the cross city tunnel is still not finished, it had been started last time I was here. There were a huge amount of people out, mostly standing outside bars smoking on a Friday after work.
It is also warm, 20 degrees, and perhaps the first warm day of the season, so many people seemed to be getting drunk to celebrate.
I saw a group of idiots walking about singing a song to the tune of what is probably a football song, but they had replaced all the words with BEER!.
Every now and then someone would yell something at the crew, but every sentence would end in lads, as in LETS GO THIS WAY LADS! or CHECK OUT THE JUGS ON THAT ONE LADS!

London has not quite worked out how to make apartments.

The buses have been replaced since I was last here. There seems to be a lot more of them too.

Rubbish continues to be huge piles of bags.

I think this is new. Buildings made of lego. Quite pleased with this photo.

I found a great spot for dinner. Its take away gourmet authentic organic something Korean food. But you can also eat in store, which I did.
It was delicious. I especially like that you can select little side dishes to go with it. I got the Kim Chi and of course Gochujang. It was very delicious and quite cheap.

Harry Potter is a play now. Also the mouse trap is still playing, 64 years straight.

Chinatown hasnt really improved.

This is your average place in Chinatown, its all 10 pound buffet featuring chips. I made the right choice with the Korean.

Picadilly circus was packed out with people watching people. The English flags are for a holiday on Monday for the Queens birthday, I think? I wont be here Monday.

There were also some freaks to entertain me.

And a gypsy band distracting people whilst their children pickpocketed the tourists.

Oxford circus is also flagged up to the max. I enjoyed the food halls of the various stores where I made purchases for 1 pound or less to get washing machine change.

And then once I saw the BT tower, I knew I was near my hotel and it was time to go home.

Day 7 - Saturday, 28 May 2016

Washing and walking

My day started at 6am as always, bright and early to do my washing. Having done my research and collected my change, this went off without a hitch.
The dryer was awesome. A huge drum that dried all my clothes with almost cold air (I had it turned all the way down) in under half an hour.
The laundry was full of old people who socialise there, some turned up just for a chat, they had no clothes to wash.

After returning my now clean clothes home, I found out my room includes breakfast in the rate. Since I saw a sign saying this was 20 pounds ($40) to purchase if its not in your room rate, I thought I should at least try it.
I wouldnt have paid $5 for it. The only edible things were toast and jam. There were people with mountains of beans and cheap horrible smelling sausages, and of course chips and tater tots or whatever you call them, because thats what you need for breakfast.

I then set out for one of my huge walks, 30,000 steps huge, and I have a further huge walk planned for this evening. Dont really have any funny stories to tell, town was generally very quiet, although I saw a bunch of middle age drunken women starting their hens night at 10am carrying full sized anatomically aroused fully inflated sex dolls with them.
Oh and also, British word of the day / month / whatever is 'cheeky' everything comes with or is a cheeky something. For example you can buy a pork sausage and get a cheeky pint for free, or you can get a pair of flip flops and get a cheeky tank top for free. Or you can buy a length of copper tube and get a cheeky 1/4 inch bolt for free.

My washing machine. Probably the best visit to a laundry I have ever experienced!

This is Covent Garden. It has a few closed off streets and an undercover art market that was very popular even early in the day.

The market itself, although this isnt the busy bit.

Me, upon reflection.

I bought some licorice, because I like licorice a lot, except in England its called Liquorice, I think. It was cheap and good to chew on whilst walking.

This is the mighty river Thames. As history buffs will know, its where Hitler sailed the Bismarck to start World War 1 by killing Henry the 8th.

After crossing the Thames I was at Southbank, relevant because I live at Southbank in Melbourne these days. Not sure what this place is exactly, but its in Southbank so theres that.

London decorates mundane things with crests, shields, seals and secret handshakes.

I risked going to jail by photographing other peoples children hanging out with scary bubble man.

Then I found Burrough market, a place I had not been to before. Very busy, and nearly all food.

The market is right near The Shard, which was not here last time I visited. It is the tallest building in the European Union, but only the 87th tallest in the world. Europe sucks.

Back in the market I decided to try some fudge.

Then I smelt the cheese.

Then I was amazed because they char grill entire wheels of cheese and scrape runny bits off onto stale bread and throw it at poor children. It was a bit terrifying.

Then I saw an actual gallon of mayonaise with a high flow delivery system for passers by who didnt have enough mayo with their fudge. It was time to flee.

Heres the tower bridge, with the battleship still there. I have been on that ship, its a floating museum and excellent.

I stopped for a healthy salad for lunch. It still had some mayonaise but I chose the option with the least mayonaise. It was quite good, but a case of find the chicken because you didnt get much, a bit like the beef in the pho in Manchester 2 nights ago.

Nearer Liverpool station is whatever this market is, which is shut. Actually everything up this end of town apart from Starbucks which everyone uses as free public toilets was shut.

I passed by the gherkin.

I am amazed they were allowed to knock this down and leave just the facade. One day, centuries from now, we might have facades in front of facades in front of facades.

In London its acceptable to let a dozen drunk people without helmets ride a group bike up the streets between double decker buses.

And if you live here, you need to stay up late to put your rubbish out. I am basically never awake at 11pm so I would not be able to live here.

Heres the Harry Potter train station I think?

And inside is the Eurostar, which I have been on to Paris. Notable because when I went on it I hung out in the dining car and a person who smelt bad and had 2 bodyguards and appeared to be Johnny Depp was also in there drinking black coffee.
Notable today because he has just had a restraining order served on him for bashing his soon to be ex wife who just divorced him. He didnt bash anyone on the Eurostar that I noticed.

Olympic food court

I was last in London in 2010, the Olympics were held here in 2012, better go see the Olympic site then.
It is located east of the city at Stratford, not too far, probably closer to the main part of the city than Sydney olympic park, which I have been to once ever in my life.
Getting here meant getting the tube, I remembered my Oyster card from 2010, and it still works just fine and had credit on it. The Australia dollar has dropped since then so I made money.
The train was deafening. I think something was wrong with it, surely the wheels had not been greased since the war. I know I am a girl when it comes to noise but there were lots of others with their fingers in their ears also.
Anyway, a few stops later, I was there, the local deafness awareness group was in attendance giving out assistance dogs because I now need one.

The area is largely under construction, or maybe re construction, with grand plans to make it a new city centre, like the other new city centre which is nearby at London docklands.
It now occurs to me that Melbourne has copied London with both Southbank and Docklands.

My frequent flyer status allows me to use the high class escalator in each tube station.

This scultpure represents the symbolic waste of hosting the Olympics.

As it turns out, it was the European swimming championships in the old swimming venue. Presumably this is the Dutch synchronized swimming team practicing their underwater dancing after applying their waterproof makeup.

Here it is, the place where Grant Hackett introduced the Australian team to the benefits of stilnox sleeping tablets and then beat his wife half to death.

And the main arena.

Dont worry there is a Westfield nearby, Australians are building most of London.

It is part of a much larger development.

Very similar to the centre at Shephards Bush, it is part indoor part outdoor with a lot of larger shops spread over 2 levels.

The food court is excellent. There are multiple food courts, this is the high end one for snobs like me. Whilst it was busy, the poor person food court with mcdonalds was so busy people were sitting in circles on the floor. Never seen that before.

I managed to find the least flavoursome, most rabbit food like option in the entire centre.
I notice a lot Carribean food in London, and there is basically none in Australia. The stores always have 'soul' in the name for no good reason.
So heres my hot tip for the best new franchise in 2017, combining the jerk in jerk chicken and the soul in carribean soul, we have SOUL JERK.

The centre was really very very busy, made it difficult to walk around. Lots of foreigners with children and large families with old people who could barely walk carrying huge bags of expensive crap to fly home with.

After my rabbit food dinner I was still starving, so I decided to start on breakfast and had some corn flakes. To my surprise they are made in Israel. I thought they only made guns and tanks over there.

mother on 2016-05-28 said:
Hello, enjoyed reading all about your adventures as usual. Hope you are having fun on your days off.

Day 8 - Sunday, 29 May 2016

Victory lap

This afternoon and evening I am going to Munich. After almost missing my train in Manchester, and experiencing and hearing about hilarious delays getting through customs at Heathrow in the past, I will be leaving myself plenty of time.
Before that, I was up early to walk a lap of London, have to keep up my daily quota of excessive steps for health and virility.
This took me to several stops for coffee and past many of the main tourist attractions. The only people out and about at this hour were large tour groups and joggers, running the Westminster mile, more on that below.

After a Saturday night London was looking very dirty indeed, but there was a huge team of people out physically sweeping every part of the street, still I had to watch where I was walking to avoid vomit.
It is rather weird to see people buying alcohol from a convenience store at 7am and then sitting out the front drinking it and just getting up and leaving the bottle for one of the street sweeping guys to collect.
Also much of London smells of urine in the morning, see below for why.

This picture is only here because it is the street with all the guitar shops on it. They mostly sell guitars for old people. Apparently according to most of the worlds guitar shops there are only 2 brands worth stocking.

I stopped for a breakfast cake.

Then I discovered that Switzerland owns this part of London as of some time in the 1990's. These are the crests representing each region of Switzerland and a statement from the Mayor of Westminster as to why he donated this part of London.

I was too early even for the people that dress up as statues.

This is lord Trafalgar, who with the help of the spaniards succesfully led the crusades to victory over the French in what is now Canada before returning home via China with ships full of opium to please her majesty Queen Mary.

This is why all the streets are full of piss. Every public convenience requires correct change.

More of Trafalgar square with the Royal gallery now under construction, of course.

Then I found myself on the mall, with flags again, but also barriers for some kind of race.

I ran to the palace, hoping to see the Queen and Charles do some kind of Royal relay.

Whilst waiting I was able to enjoy the beautifully manicured piles of dirt.

And also throw stones at some ducks floating in the algae.

Then I found out it was an 'Olympic legacy event' called the Westminster mile, lots of heats where you run a lap around the palace grounds. Competitors were supposed to be split into groups representing their skill level, but some fools had lied about their capabilities and were nearly a mile behind in a 1 mile race.

To keep the crowd of no one entertained, the local steel drum band was playing the theme to Beverly Hills Cop.

I kept running against the runners and found myself just in time to see Big Ben.

Then I mocked the ferris wheel for being too expensive for poor folks like me to enjoy.

Not to worry, the sign promised something hilarious would happen here, but unfortunately this tortured horse never bit any children on the head.

This left me just enough time to be appalled at the Hillsong church.
Australia has now given enough money to these cancer faking pedophiles to enable them to spread their disease globally.

British queues of madness

Bonus update because I got to Heathrow way too early and have time to kill before my flight, also because I have an amusing tale to tell.
Getting to Heathrow was relatively painless, I took the tube as its not far and I had time to kill. Due to the regular maintenance this of course requires you to transfer around differnt lines to negotiate line closures, but I have done that before.
Once arriving at the airport, I found myself to be in what I thought was a tiny terminal, but as it turns out there is also a 'B' section for flights to the USA which you transfer to underground, I walked there and back.
Walking back from the B section to the A section seemed to have the security confused.

Anyway, taking it back a step, I was surprised to find there are no customs checks to leave the UK to go to Germany, a benefit of being in the EU (for now at least).
In theory, you can fly without any ID on a print at home ticket, just like the security issue we have in Australia.
Even more surprising, I found out my work paid for ticket has no baggage included, so I had to buy the luxury of taking a bag for 20 pounds.
This is where the fun starts!
Me: Can I get a receipt please?
Her: If you take your ticket I just printed to the ticket purchasing counter they can print you a receipt.
Me: That long line snaking around the building?
Her: Yes that one....
Now at this stage I will point out that I am flying Lufthansa, which is German, but the ticket and baggage handling team were all Menzies employees.

Me: I dont queue for no reason, I am not British, surely you can print me a receipt from here?
Her: Sir, you need to go queue at the ticket counter for a receipt.
Me: thats ridiculous, if I bought a can of coke at Tescos would they send me down the street to queue for a receipt?
Her: Its not the same thing, and besides theres nothing you can do about it.
......I owned the silence, this sounds like a challenge.

Me: Actually I think you overcharged me, can you please show me how much you charged me?
Her: No, I cant show you, well I could show you on the screen, actually I am not sure I can now, please go to the ticket purchasing counter.
Me: Actually, I think you just stole money from me, overcharged me in fact, I think you have a deal going with your office to overcharge people and claim the difference.
Her: Now you are being stupid, I have done no such thing.
Me: Prove it...with a receipt, or get your manager.
I should point out, there was no one else in the check in queue except me, I wasnt playing this game and holding up a thousand people.
She got on the phone and the manager comes out from behind the window.

Manager: How can I help sir?
Me: I did not get a receipt for my baggage purchase, I need one, plus I think I may have been overcharged, but now she cant tell me how much I was charged, if only there was a receipt, plus she then accused me of being stupid.
Manager to her: Did you call this gentlemen stupid?
Her: well, no, sort of, not really, he was....
Manager: Sir, please wait here, whilst I go fetch you a receipt.
Me to her: You really did bring that upon yourself by telling me there was nothing I could do about it. Perhaps you could mention this experience at your next review and suggest a possible enhancement would be the ability to print receipts where the sale for extra baggage is made.
She said nothing and soon after I got an apology from the manager and a receipt.

I stopped at Euston train station for lunch. In the picture this falafel was served with a cheeky crisp exotic middle eastern slaw. The picture had the box divided into two halves with one half being salad and the same number of falafels on the left.
As you can see in mine there is no salad, just rice and falafel and a few bits of capsicum.
I pointed this out and they told me no one likes the salad so they stopped adding it to the meals, instead they put extra rice.

Terminal 2 at Heathrow check in area is quite ordinary.

Once through security, but not customs as there is none, its a bit nicer, free wifi is fast too.

Ok then.

The Egyptair planes have to park far from the terminal, as one of them blew up the other day (perhaps?). Also note the concorde in the background.

Now in Germany

A third update, but it will be short.
The flight was fine, many Germans stood up the whole way? It was a small Airbus A320 like Jetstar use in Australia. I got a strange sandwich with stale bread.
Munich airport was efficient, then I got the train, which took a long time but dropped me off at the Munich central station, my hotel room is right over the road.
The immediate surrounds look nice, its late, and I have to get ready for work tomorrow, but I had to get some food. There were no drunken fools hanging about the station, so thats a good sign.
Short update, boring photos, no stories to tell!

The photos will be boring also. This is proof I am at Munich airport with my tiny plane there somewhere.

In Germany they advertise interesting gasses in the arrival hall.

The terminals are linked by a huge undercover arena type thing sponsored by Audi.

I got an S train into town. Its quite luxurious, but took about an hour. Nothing to see out the window either, by the time we reached civilization it went underground.

My hotel is luxurious.

Too luxurious for the likes of me.

It also has a great view of the main entrance to the main station.

I went to investigate quickly, and to get food.

I was tempted by a German bullet train.

But instead had a sausage.
I might update this update at some point with a better quality of update because I feel the effort put into this update has not been consistent with the effort which I have put into previous updates. I will keep you updated.

Adriana on 2016-05-30 said:
As I am the only one who comments, are you embarrassed so have decided not to put them up? I don't mind - will keep commenting anyway.

Adriana on 2016-05-29 said:
Ich bin ein Munchen herr.

Day 9 - Monday, 30 May 2016

Raining and busy

I was really busy.
It is raining and I couldnt find much time to go splash in puddles.
Worst update ever. Tomorrow I should have more time to do stuff, I am updating this at midnight local time.

In the brief time I could wander about after work I went the wrong way first, past strip clubs and second hand goods shops, with shady looking gypsies hanging about begging for change.

Things started to look better as I entered the old part of the city.

The main shopping street is actually very nice.

But it was raining and I was just about jogging to get back to my hotel in time for some more work to be done.

Many recognisable brand name stores now occupy buildings such as this. Foot Looker and Urban Outfitters and Ecco etc all are in such buildings.

Then there are the local Bavarian fashion brands like this.

I was the only idiot standing in the rain taking a photo of a fountain.

Mother on 2016-05-31 said:
No tall buildings in Munchen?

Now there is a page 3, not sure if the new navigation thing works ok or not.


Latest Update

Day 1 - Sunday, 22 May 2016
  First of many meals
  Internet in the sky
Day 2 - Monday, 23 May 2016
  Dubai airport is quite large
  Manchester airport is quite old
Day 3 - Tuesday, 24 May 2016
  The cold light of day and night
Day 4 - Wednesday, 25 May 2016
  Cold and damp
Day 5 - Thursday, 26 May 2016
  A real city
Day 6 - Friday, 27 May 2016
  Trafficus horribilus
  London is quite familiar
Day 7 - Saturday, 28 May 2016
  Washing and walking
  Olympic food court
Day 8 - Sunday, 29 May 2016
  Victory lap
  British queues of madness
  Now in Germany
Day 9 - Monday, 30 May 2016
  Raining and busy
Day 10 - Tuesday, 31 May 2016
  I finally got to see where I am
Day 11 - Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Day 12 - Thursday, 2 June 2016
  Clocks and accordians
Day 13 - Friday, 3 June 2016
  Scene comparison
  Strawberry salad
Day 14 - Saturday, 4 June 2016
Day 15 - Sunday, 5 June 2016
  I made it in 9 hours
Day 16 - Monday, 6 June 2016
  Now in Austria
  Time for shorts
Day 17 - Tuesday, 7 June 2016
  Thousands of flying creatures
  I promise no mountain photos
Day 18 - Wednesday, 8 June 2016
  Smallest hotel room ever
Day 19 - Thursday, 9 June 2016
  Record saturation
  Supermarket is the only healthy option
Day 20 - Friday, 10 June 2016
  Dog piss department store
  Please buy us beer
Day 21 - Saturday, 11 June 2016
  The museum is overrrated
  Dinner time
Day 22 - Sunday, 12 June 2016
  The short flight