Before we begin....
The last trip I did to London I did not write in as ridiculous a fashion as my regular 6 readers are used to.
On this subsequent trip, I will go back to my regular stype of making most of whats written up, stretching the truth and confusing the facts.
If you cant handle that, I dont care, I mainly write this for my own amusement and because plain old photos are boring as hell.
Day 1 - Friday February 26th, 2010
Adelaide to London via Perth and Singapore
The first of my many flights was a domestic qantas flight from Adelaide to Perth, now I fly out of Adelaide airport every single week so this is hardly exciting. Plane was a surprisingly ancient 737-4, these are quite rare in the qantas fleet as most are the much newer 737-8 with wingtips. If you dont like plane nerd stuff you might want to move on because when you sit on planes and in airports for 30 hours, this is what you talk about.
Perth airport is a welcome to 1983 experience, actually Perth in general is, its my least favourite Australian city, its also 42C when I get there. Being hot outside wouldnt be a problem at a modern airport would it? In Perth it is as the international terminal is an inexplicable 20 minute drive from the domestic terminal, through busy suburban streets with no dedicated road and a transit bus which I just missed that comes once every hour.
So instead I get to line up for a taxi with 100 other people, but there are none (this is Perth remember). After about 30 minutes I finally get into a taxi and tell him international terminal please, to which he answers 'Fuck, I waited in line for 2 hours for a lousy fare around the block'. The driver then continues to abuse me for quite some time about all sorts of things, tells me im a Sydneysider in a suit that should stay in Sydney (im wearing jeans and a tshirt and am from Adelaide). On the journey you go through an industrial area where Australias 2 largest supermarket chains have their major distribution centres, and traffic is down to 1 lane as they are putting in new lanes etc for this. So the journey takes 30 minutes.
Once at the international terminal, theres barely time before my flight to get into the poor qantas club, but I did manage to have a couple of chocolates.
The qantas club in Adelaide, which is pre international customs and shared between domestic and international flights.
My plane to Perth, older 737 pre wingtips.
This is the lunch meal on the domestic flight, red curry, its actually really nice, probably the best meal I had on the whole journey (blackberry picture).
A330, not my one though (blackberry picture).
Perth to Singapore
Plane was an a330, this plane, possibly the very same aircraft, was involved in qantas's most serious event ever recently. The autopilot went crazy due to pitot tube problems and descended suddenly (pitot tube issues are also believed to have brought down the air france plane). I figure that for this reason, especially if its the same actual plane, that its been gone over with a fine tooth comb so many times since that its now the safest plane in the fleet.
I had a bulkhead row, as I do for all routes due to my status with qantas, and no one sitting next to me. Flight was very comfortable. I watched Inglorious Basterds which was surprisingly boring, im not a Tarantino fan and continue to not be.
I flew economy the entire journey, my frugalness shall not be denied!
Bulkhead seat, leg room not great but no one in front to recline into your face, movie screen pops out from a hole between the seats.
Meal was a beef stew thing, as you can see the basic format of the meal is the same as qantas domestic flights. Ice creams were offered later on (this flight was only 5 hours), I declined due to my need to not blow up like a blimp.
Now, I love airports in general (mock me now), but I was really excited to spend a couple of hours in Singapore airport.
I have 3 hours to kill, so first I go check out the first class lounge, which is pretty dissapointing, and has the worlds slowest wifi internet.
Wondering if it was just the wifi I try one of their terminals they have set up and its even slower, not to worry I dont want to be trapped in here with people in fancy suits discussing the wine anyway.
So I set off to walk a lap of the airport, words cannot describe how large it is, how much there is to see, how clean and modern and generally impressive it is.
Every public toilet, and there are many, has an attendant, theres a swimming pool, xbox lounge, butterfly zoo, rain forest, various other gardens etc. Theres multiple trains linking parts of it together without drivers, theres multiple shopping malls, not just airport shops but real shops. Theres too many food courts and restaurants to count, lots of hotels and just miles and miles of gates.
When my plane left we taxi'd past the gates and I counted 42 wide body Singapore airlines planes lined up at gates.
They also have smoking lounges everywhere where you can get outside, it was only 30C but it felt hot as hell, Singapore is literally on the equator and considered the hottest city in the world.
Before too long it was time to board my 747 for London.
My attempt at an arty shot, up the middle of the travelators of one of the long hallways of gates, this must have been a kilometre long.
One of the many indoor gardens.
View from the smoking lounge in the low cost terminal, dont be fooled it has more shops and entertainment than the other terminals (all terminals are linked by the way).
Riding the driverless inter terminal train
The luggage trolleys have touch screens and know where they are, telling you of attractions nearby
Singapore to London
Now for the longest leg, about 14 hours on the plane. Again I have a bulk head seat, and a very good one as with legs fully stretched I cannot touch the bulk head, however the plane is absolutely full so I have people next to me.
Still im pretty comfortable, I decide to try and sleep, really hard, have you ever really tried to sleep? it doesnt work that way.
I dont really know if I slept at all, but I didnt watch much on the tv things, which didnt work properly until they had been rebooted a few times (this always seems to be the case), the moving map with time remaining didnt work the whole flight, I actually think that made the time pass quicker as I didnt just sit and stare at every minute.
The beauty of the bulk head seat is you can get up and walk around whenever you want, theres room to squeeze past my 2 neighbours in seats b and c without waking them.
I started getting up periodically for no real reason, just to stretch etc. I did notice when doing so that the same people were generally standing in the same spots stretching their legs also.
Flight was very smooth, and darkness the entire way, could see lots of lights out the windows but didnt know where I was.
My seat, picture doesnt convey it well but theres really a lot of leg room.
A really terrible roast chicken meal, my previous experience tells me flights catered from Singapore have terrible meals, yet every where I read that Singapore itself has fantastic food. Check out that bread roll the forks almost touching, its like a squeeze toy for a dog.
Day 2 - Saturday February 27th 2010
Arriving in London
Last time I arrived in London it took 2 full hours to clear customs, on this occasion it took 5 minute tops, but not before there was some drama. Whilst in the line I noticed a young guy from India, a girl from China and a black african dude (I heard airport cops mutter something about Somali Sam as he walked past so lets call him that) all getting the third degree. All 3 of them seemed very stressed, they all had enough hand luggage alone (this is before collecting check in luggage) to suggest they were moving permanently, none of them had return flights.
I never found out if any of them got through customs, as I got called up, said hi, got my thing stamped and handed back to me without a single question, didnt ask to see my itinerary or anything, racial profiling in full effect!
Thinking the drama of last time was magically avoided, its time to go collect my bag, im one of the first there and nothings moving yet, not to worry.
30 minutes later theres still nothing, and theres an announcement, the belt is jammed and they are working on it. Theres a lot of angry Australians at this point, like me they have been travelling for 26 hours.
Finally the belt moves, for a good 5 seconds before stopping again.
This cycle repeats a few times and about 5 bags come out of the chute thing, and 500 people try to find out if they are one of the lucky 5 at once! Theres calls to remain calm.
The cycle repeats some more, eventually a middle aged woman in a power suit gets on hands and knees and crawls along the belt through the rubber flap things her ass still on our side of the world, her face on the other.
After about 10 seconds she makes a hasty retreat, backing up on all fours, followed by a bald red faced stressed looking englishmans head which pokes through and says 'We're trying to fix it, how does crawling along it help? The other two belts dont work at all, dont blame me blame the airport owners!'.
After about an hours wait in total my bag comes out in one of the spurts of a few seconds movement and I move on.
Its now about 6:30am and I make a hasty exit to the regular train line, which goes very close to my hotel.
Theres a few people waiting for the train, but the boards dont say when the next train is coming...this is concerning.
Theres regular human announcements about an escelator issue and problems with closed lines on the weekend, these arent recordings, after about the 5th one of these someone yells back in a corkney accent and says 'WE KNOW ABOUT THE ESCELATORS, TELL US WHEN THE FOOKING TRAINS COMING!'.
It came around the corner about 10 seconds later, which only added to the hilarity for me.
The train ride into the city took forever, the train stopped a few times for no good reason, and being the first train of the morning it was absolutely full. Eventually it gets to Kings Cross and I go outside...and freeze, its 4C, raining and windy, Perth was 42C remember! I walk as quickly as I can to my hotel, I was pretty sure I wouldnt be able to check in yet, and I was right, so I arrange to leave my bags, only they wont accept laptops as they get stolen (what kind of secure bag storage in a business hotel is this I wonder?).
So I set out into the cold and rain with my heavy laptop bag looking for food, drink and shelter and first settle on a Mcdonalds, because its the first thing I came to.
After not eating what I purchased I went to Coffee Republic for a Coffee, a scroll pastry thing and settle into the internet which they provide free.
I cant really remember what I did, but I sat there for over an hour and decided to go back to my hotel to see if I can check in, which I can!
Determined to beat jet lag, I decide to sleep until about 1pm, set my alarm accordingly.
Alarm goes off
I get up and decide to reset it
Cant work out how (its a new blackberry and im confused)
Decide to sleep 30 more minutes, I will wake up on my own...
Wake up at 8:30pm! I slept 10 hours solid, ive never done that before! FFFFUUUUU!!! (people who arent internet savvy, google FFFUUUUU or any slight variation of).
Now worried about how I will adjust to the new time zone, 11 hours different from my own, I decide a long walk is the answer, it normally is.
I set out and walk along the Tottentham Court and Charring Cross road all the way to the London eye and back again, its actually not too far to walk the entire length of Central London North to South through Leceister Square etc.
For dinner I had a sandwich and fruit salad with a skinny hot chocolate to warm up.
When back in Leceister Square, theres literally a million people, and theres a lot of double decker busses going around that are hired out for parties. On the top deck theres generally drunken antics going on with the goal of those on board to make asses of themselves so everyone at street level can see. But I didnt expect to see actual asses. A bus goes past and theres particularly loud girls going crazy in it, and a naked guy pole dancing on one of the actual bus poles, then the reverse is following it, some drunken guys and a girl doing similar things to a pole. Im guessing this was a combo bucks party/hens night.
On the way back stopped at Sainsburys for a cereal bar for breakfast (for my diet!) and some more fruit salad.
And now its 1am and im typing this and wondering if I can go back to sleep again at all.
Along my walk I spotted this, and decided I needed to improve my life, so I wandered in and asked for Tom.
Unfortunately I was too late to see my favourite play based on my favourite movie.
Heres my dinner, this trip report will feature lots of shots of food, because its easy to carry my camera around in my coat pocket.
Day 3 - Sunday February 28th 2010
London is cold and wet
I think I finally went to sleep again at 2am and slept until 6 or there abouts, which means I slept 14 hours out of the last 24. My goal today is to stay awake all day and go to sleep at a proper time of between 10 and 11pm so im on english time for work tomorrow, we shall see how that goes.
However, it being 6am on Sunday morning, theres nothing I can actually do yet, the news warns of torrential rain, freezing wind, flood and a maximum of 5C. Should be a great day.
After careful planning I decided today I would go to the Imperial war museum in the morning, and then head out to meet with some fellow elite members of society at their prestigious studio.
This plan meant very little outside travel would be necessary, to get to the museum I had to go to waterloo station, and what a station this is.
Heres a shot of the inside, you cant really take a photo to show its sheer size, plus its actually 3 or 4 stations on top of each other and joined together...somehow.
I decided that the safest exit was probably this one, down below the entire tunnel was covered like this, and there was a full on game of football with a flat ball going on in the tunnel.
The war museum
All the museums I visited last time were impressive, for some reason I missed the war museum, not sure why as on a list it probably stands out to me as the most interesting, since they have planes and tanks.
It was raining now and I did get wet getting from the station to the museum, once there I joined a line of people under cover and had to wait for about 15 minutes, but there was no shortage of entertainment. The guy behind me has 3 small kids with him, and heres what I heard him say....
(long pause, hes looking at me...I realise after about 10 seconds hes on a hands free phone thingy)
'wake up ya poof!'
(I can only hear 1/2 of the conversation)
'Yea I will be there this afternoon'
'not sure, depends if we get a paki for a mini cab driver, around 2'
'Tell the missus to piss off'
The best part of this was the volume he had the conversation, with his kids, and with 100 people crowded under the entrance to the building waiting to get in.
Just when you thought nothing else could happen, theres police sirens and some sort of a chase is happening. At a nearby intersection the sirens change to the angry sirens as the intersection is blocked, then theres a huge smash and the sound of a horn stuck on.
It seems the police caused the accident, I was a bit too far from the scene to get details, but did my best with the photo below.
Finally...after all the fun above, I got into the museum, which was heated to about 30C, theres really too much in here to take in during a single visit.
Highlights were the tanks and planes of course, the trench was cool, and the holocaust exhibit was large and detailed. Interestingly the jews blame christianity for causing the holocaust, this is quite evident in the exhibit, theres sections on the reaction of various church leaders which the pope recently apologised for.
I think if I run out of things to do, I might go back to have a proper look at the world war 1 and 2 sections, which I largely just walked through as I was running out of time.
The outside of the war museum, those guns are ridiculously large, the angle of the photo doesnt convey that, but they are easily as long as two busses.
The blurry scene of the accident I mentioned above.
Tanks and planes.
My brunch, a strange salad of cumin roasted carrot, feta, carmelised nuts and lettuce.
A v2 rocket which should have been rotated but I forget to before uploading it so bad luck, turn your head 90 degrees to the right now.
Artillery, there were also some sections of bombers up here you could climb through.
Here I am in my awesome jacket, it finally paid for itself.
A german BF-109, which is the same as my room number
Teddington Tree House Club
It was time to head out to teddington on the overland to visit the studio/treehouse club/xbox drop in centre.
Since I was last there, the station has been updated to accept oyster card, which is great, you no longer have to wonder if you have a correct ticket.
I wont mention any names, but I played some guitar (badly) and some xbox (quite well), I think id be happier if my skills were reversed.
After a while, tiredness set in and it was time to come back.
Outside waterloo is the london eye, youve all seen it before
Heres my lunch, from starbucks, yep.
I like trains, look how happy I am.
The return journey was unenventful and fast, its far easier to get to teddington via waterloo than it is catching the district line to wimbledon and transferring to overland there (note to self).
For dinner I had...a sandwhich, some yoghurt and some fruit salad from tescos. I am slowly making my way around all the supermarkets to see who does the best sandwhiches and fruit salad, marks and spencer will win of course, but that wont stop me trying the others. My dinner sandwhich was from tescos hi class range, mozzarella, roma tomato and basil, basically a mahgerita pizza on bread, the bread also seemed to have sun dried tomatoes baked into it.
And now im waiting for it to be late enough for me to go to sleep, its a struggle!
Page 2 now has stuff on it, so click the link below to keep reading if you are really bored