Day 10 - Tuesday September 15th 2009
Museums and rain
Didnt take any photos today.
It rained constantly all day, more rain than I have ever seen in my life.
I went to the natural history museum, which is full of animals mainly, lots of dinosaurs. They have an animatronic dinosaur which is life sized and makes a lot of noises, children all started screaming and crying, it was great.
Then it rained some more.
I had a marks and spencer pasta salad for dinner, and hung around the hotel to rest my soaking wet feet.
Day 11 - Wednesday September 16th 2009
Went to Oxford on the train today. Its about an hour west of London and you have to change trains at Reading. The trains were fast and perfectly on time again.
Oxford is a large university city with many old buildings, however they charge you to get into them all, and I wasnt about to pay to see the inside of a church.
It would seem its also a city for tourists who want to go shopping, but these days its just the same stores as you find in london, it is a bit weird seeing subway and mcdonalds inside buildings that look like castles.
The train station at oxford, note the thousands of bikes, you can see bikes in large numbers around lots of stations, even in london.
A market, the meat on show out in the open unrefrigerated is something you wouldnt see in Australia.
The high street.
The christ church.
More christ, there was no wood that I could see.
Cobble stones, watching someone ride a bike over them is amusing.
Bad photo of me.
Some other impressive old building.
The historic covered market, it smelt of rotten fish.
The town cryer.
You see dogs everywhere in london, in malls like this, on the train, not dogs for blind folks, just regular dogs.
My lunch, a burrito from the mission that was delicious, the hot sauce was actually hot, yes I went to historic oxford and had mexican food.
You can rent a small boat such as this, and then im not sure what.
In the centre of town theres large open areas that no one uses for anything useful such as this one, theres lots of signs telling you to keep off the grass.
The oxford castle, seems to be some sort of theme park with a ghost train and flashing lights and hosts a rave on the weekends.
I think I spotted a nuclear power plant.
Day 12 - Thursday September 17th 2009
The science museum
Today I went to the science museum, the best museum I have ever been to. They have lots of aircraft inside the building, spitfires, rocket planes from world war 2, lear jets, cross section of a 747, harriers etc. Then they also have a rocket exhibit, with real lunar modules, a full sized rocket, v1 and v2 rockets from world war 2 etc.
Theres also lots of cars and other machines, a whole section on the history of medicine, too much to effectively see in a day.
Eventually my feet were sore so I came back to the hotel, but then headed straight out to the studio to play xbox and have indian food, got home quite late, thanks to bob for giving me a lift.
Day 13 - Friday September 18th 2009
I think im getting a cold.
So I walked for about 6 hours, and eventually found myself at edgeware road, which is the lebanese area. They have a lebanese mcdonalds looking chain store there called little beirut.
Im now drinking orange juice pretending im not getting a cold.
Day 14 - Saturday September 19th 2009
Sick, Markets, Relaxing
Without photos this website is sad and pathetic and sound like twitter and yet I have none.
Today Im certain I have some sort of cold, but it also seems quite minor. So I drank about 4 gallons of water and set off for the Portobello Markets. These were not really my kind of thing as it was mainly antiques, and about a million poeple. Then I discovered that London really doesnt believe in portable toilets at all, I asked a cop and he said theres none in the whole market, so I go back to the train station, nope, they removed them all. I really shouldnt have drank all that water.
In the evening I went for a walk around the west end and china town, again not taking my camera as I am sick of carrying it. There were lots of people and bright lights. Tomorrow there will be pictures I promise.
At some point, either today or yesterday I also went to the street with all the guitar shops called Denmark street, the range wasnt great, but there was a grown man arguing with his manager about his working hours and how its unfair to be told off for being late, in front of many customers, which I found quite amusing. Perhaps if you get upset about such things as trivial as that, thats why you work as a sales assistant in a cheap guitar store when you are 40 years old.
Day 15 - Sunday September 20th 2009
Last full day in London
In the morning I went to the national gallery. Its full of famous artists paintings, mainly impressionists.
When I came out most of the roads were closed and there were bikes everywhere, some kind of tree hugger event on a grand scale, as you can see below I took a photo of a celebrity more famous than the queen in london.
Then I went to the Victoria and Albert museum which is an impressive museum, its huge with modern and old things, huge things, along with the science museum, this is the best museum.
In the afternoon, gman (whos real identity is still a secret) agreed to meet me in London and show me all the sites. We visited various embassy officials, diplomats, spies, mafia heads, triads, and then had dinner at a diner.
Theres bikes everywhere!.
More bikes, whats going on?.
The giant chess pieces didnt know.
Still more bikes.
Awaiting the king.
Grand Chancellor Boris, Supreme ruler of London.
Not sure who this is, she rode with boris, the media gave her a lot of attention.
Aftermath of bike fest.
My true identity revealed.
Day 16 - Monday September 21st 2009
My flight left Heathrow at a very civil time of about 11:30 in the morning. So I left the hotel without drama at 9, walked across the road to the Earls Court tube station which is on the line that goes direct to Heathrow. Waited about 2 seconds for a train which was empty and I was at the airport in under 30 minutes.
Going through customs was also painless, I checked in at the first class counter and some ass kissing ensued from the Qantas concierge. As Qantas is moving terminals next month, they dont have a lounge currently, so you have to use the British Airways one, it was fairly basic, the coffee was terrible (from a machine) but they did have bacon sandwhiches.
The plane for the return journey is an A380, and being a plane nerd I am quite excited, I am however flying economy class. The seats are much nicer than 747, the on demand movie thing is also quite a bit nicer. It was generally a much more comfortable flight to Singapore then on the way to England. I recall watching American Beauty which I had not seen, good film.
Here is my plane, also known as my tomb for the next 26 hours (longer than expected, read on!).
Day 17 - Tuesday September 22nd 2009
After the 14 hour unenventful flight you stop over in Singapore. I am excited to explore the airport in the 1.5 hours you get for stopover, however we are half an hour late. They still have to get everyone off and back on though, and clean the plane, pump the toilets, refuel etc. The actual real reason there are no direct flights from England to Australia is because the toilets on the plane cant cope, and neither can the crew (who like me, cant sleep on a plane).
I run around looking in the airport, I saw the rainforest but didnt have time to go on. Never did find the Qantas lounge though.
Reboarded the same plane to find the seats next to me empty, my previous seat mates had been found better seats, so that I could have some extra space for myself which was nice.
The only movie I can remember watching was no country for old men, another top film I had not seen. The food on this leg was terrible.
Now, the flight was scheduled to land in Sydney around 18:30, and I had a connection to Adelaide at 20:30, so plenty of time. However when we arrive near Sydney, theres too much crosswind to land, some other flights had been diverted to Newcastle, an A380 is too big to go there so we either had to wait, or divert to Brisbane or Melbourne. The pilot explained all of this so no one seemed particularly panicky about it. However after an hour he did attempt an approach, I looked out the window to see the lights to the left of the plane, ordinarily you dont expect to see them at all. The pilot was already well into executing a missed approach at this time so there was no real drama. He then explained this to the passengers who by now seemed to be worrying.
We circled for another hour and landed without incident, greeted by applause from the passengers.
The observant among you would notice this puts me too late to make my connection, theres 30 of us on this flight trying to make the same connection. As soon as we land we are informed they are holding the flight to Adelaide for us, dont collect your bags, run to the transfer bus, and your bags will be delivered to your home tomorrow.
I am a bit surprised at this, I just assumed I had missed the flight, so I follow jogging like a fool. Every step of the way we are assured the plane is waiting, no need to run etc.
So we arrive at the gate for the flight to Adelaide, to see it backing out. People go nuts, bang on the glass, screaming, swearing, it was awesome. Im trying hard not to laugh, and just observing the scene from afar. I really should have made a video. Within a couple of minutes a qantas lady comes over, and shes got her hands up as if to ask for calm, first thing she says is 'now I know you were told they were holding the plane for you'
First response I heard was, and I quote 'You fucking whore!'
She turned around on the spot, and people looked even angrier. A few minutes she comes back with some federal police officers (no doubt excited they actually have something to do).
We were escorted to the ticket desk and rebooked onto flights for the next morning, and put up in a good hotel in Sydney for the night, with dinner, breakfast, overnight bag things (as we couldnt be reunited with our own bags at this time).
So all this means, my trip is extended in to a bonus day, and what a day...read on!
Day 18 - Wednesday September 23rd 2009
Its the end of the world.
I wake up at 6am, for my 7am flight, look out the window of the hi rise hotel, shut the curtains and sit down on the bed, then open them again for another look.
I wasnt quite sure what country I was in, so I turn on the tv. Yep, Sydney, worst dust storm in living memory.
It really was surreal.
I decide to go to the airport, but know full well that no plane will be operating.
Sat in the Qantas club all day, finally got a flight at 4pm once the dust had cleared, did a full days work in the Qantas club.
I should have taken more pictures of the dust storm. They made worldwide news so you can find them all over the internet
My taxi driver was silent for 20 minutes and then said, 'I think this is just what the world will be like from now on'.