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China4 April 18

Japan7 October 17

Taiwan4 March 17

Japan6 October 16

Europe May 16

Japan5 November 15

Korea2 March 15

Even More Trips

HongJapWan March 2014
Sichuan March 2013
Tokyo3 October 2012
China2 August 2012
Japwan March 2012
China November 2011
Korea September 2011
Taiwan March 2011
London3 June 2010
Japan May 2010
London2 February 2010
London September 2009
SE Asia December 2005

London 3 - June/July 2010 - Page 5

Day 19 - Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Paris shopping - nothing special!

Shopping in Paris is not all its cracked up to be.
I cant find anything French, and a lot of stores seem closed all week or possibly all summer, I cant quite decide based on the notes on the door.
Extensive research tells me which big department stores to go to, and I have, but theres nothing interesting in them, unless you want something from the Gap or Nike.
Now I dont know what to do, tomorrow is Bastille day, I have bought nothing at all and presumably everything will be shut! Then tomorrow night I go back to London. I hope people expecting gifts enjoy what I can find for them in the train station.... EVERYONE PANIC!!

Heres my breakfast, photo only provided to show chocolate corn flakes. I eat my cereal with yoghurt, the french danone yogurt comes in glass jars and is how all yoghurt should be, very thick.

In the morning I walked to the latin quarter, this market is nearby one of the stations, it was mostly selling fake watches, fake handbags and rotten looking fruit. Although the tins you can see all contain fois gras.

This is the Michael Jackson store.

Around Rue de la fayette (I think) theres lots of little alley ways, but the actual stores in them (not the restaurants) all seem shut, for no idea how long.

This bike is better than any other bike you have ever seen. It will take you places without ever needing to pedal.

There was about 10 guys with tripods and light metres and fancy lense bags taking photos of this corner, so I stood in front of them and did the same. But I dont get whats special about it.

The new Peugot RCZ looks better than anything else they made for 20 years, most of their recent cars have carrying handles.

Heres my lunch, roast pork baugette and some kind of chocolate cake with apple on top. The cake was great, the paper it was on went completely clear.

I did the same photo in London, now you get the Paris version.

Indian food

As I suggested I might, I decided to go back to little India for dinner. I deliberately chose the most plain looking of places and had a delicious dinner for 8 Euros.
The Indian waiter addressed me in french, to which I replied in French that I am sorry I cannot speak french, can you speak English? To which he offered a sigh of relief and told me he cant speak French either, and loves it when he has customers that are prepared to speak English.
The meal was very authentic, complete with the metal tray, the other customers were all Indian. The cool thing was they had sun music, Indian cable style MTV show on the tv. This show is hilarious because some of the dance moves the guys get up to are ridiculous. But also people from home SMS messages that appear live on screen, the best one was a guy telling his girlfriend they will get married soon and have 5 children all boys, as we planned!

Tomorrow is Bastille day, it will be a long day for me as I will be hanging around outside all day after I check out before I return to London in the evening. Apparently theres a flyover of about 100 military jets, that should be exciting.

Entree, I had onion bhaji, basically onion rings, but comes with 4 different chutney/pickle things to try with it

Lamb curry with various accompaniments. Very delicious actually. I also had dessert as it was included in the price, Galub Jamon. I feel very sick from overeating now.

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Day 20 - Wednesday, 14 July 2010

It rained on everyones parade

Today is Bastille day, which I have found out is the day some gypsies over ran the French government and destroyed a jail and let all the criminals escape into the city to graffiti it and throw rubbish everywhere. A trend that continues to this day.
Destroying a jail every year to commemorate it started to get expensive, so instead they decided to have a military parade.
Unlike other military parades we might be used to in Australia, Bastille day is not a day to remember soldiers that died in wars, instead its a day to show the world how awesome your military is, dont mess with us! A bit like the may day parades in other parts of the world.
A lot of world leaders and military Generals are invited to watch.
The most impressive thing for me is the flypast of the mainly French jets, over 100 jets flew over in waves, about 10 seconds apart, it must take a lot of work to get them all lined up like that.

I could not get anywhere near the actual parade, theres hundreds of police directing people away from the actual parade route, which was causing a lot of people to get mad, then the planes came about 20 minutes early, it soom became apparent why as a few seconds later there was a torrential downpour.

After the parade I had many hours to kill until it was time to board the Eurostar back to London, I mainly wandered through shops as it was still raining, I also drank a few coffees, and as a result spent at least 5 Euros paying for various public toilets. Amazingly even in department stores they make you pay, even if you have bought something.

The Gard du Nord Eurostar station is an absolute joke.
France needs to fix it, fast. Compared to St Pancras and any airport I have been to, it is 3rd world in comparison. It took a full hour to go through border control, 5 lines fed into 2, and every now and then the idiot french authorities would direct you to another line, one of which ended in a dead end. Its lucky I was an hour early.
Only 1 single bag xray machine is working, the others have dual language hand written signs saying out of order.
There is no air conditioning (by now the sun is shining again, you are in a fishbowl with a glass roof and 5000 people.
There are next to no useful shops, I had to buy a drink from the ice cream store, they had 3 bottles of coke left, I was worried!
Even past security, in the departure lounge, you have to pay to use the toilet. I am not sure everyone agrees with this policy as I am fairly sure people just piss where they feel like it.
It must be a huge embarassment for France, its a lot of peoples final memory of the country, in related news I hear Charles de Gaul airport is the worst in Europe (I havent been there myself).

I thought I was early for the parade, so I wasted time setting up my camera in ridiculous places to produce pictures such as this.

Turns out the planes came early, so you get to see some colored smoke.

AWACS and some mirages.

Rafale's and a refuelling plane.

Transport planes of some kind, arent you glad I culled the 20 or so shots down to 3?

Then the rain came down, the parade would have been in full march by this point, so everyones funny hats would have been ruined. French military have wonderful hats, with feathers etc. Some still have Napoleon hats going on.

Never in my trips to Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong etc. Have I been faced with a crouch down toilet thing. France has delivered. No issue for me of course, my shoes are wet already from the rain, I am sure any girls reading this might be concerned should they ever visit Paris though.

After the main parade the various units split off and go to various landmarks in the city and sing songs, these ones are heading to the academy of music (I think).

Not sure who they are but they have guns.

I think this was their destination, an impressive building. I am sure everyones sick of impressive building photos by now, but remember I have 8 hours to kill.

This is inside the galleries de la fayette department store. The roof dome is grand.

I decided to have my lunch there in the cafe, salad bar. Not bad for 4.70 euros I guess.

I think this is the French opera house.

Me and my new best friend the duck hung out for a while in this high end store.
Please remember how ridiculous I must look setting up my camera on the timer in the store and then standing still for 10 seconds whilst people wonder what I am doing.

A bad quality photo of the luxury food store. Its a bit underwhelming compared to the ones in Japan.

The spice market part of the store was great though, and smells fantastic.

Tanks from the parade have now turned up in variuos locations.

Heres Gare du Nord station, I took this photo whilst waiting in line.

And heres were 5 lines fed into 2 and caused great hilarity. The best part is there are 2 staff directing traffic and they are having a huge argument with each other.

And this is the crowded departure lounge. Theres no spare seats and if you look down the left theres a hundred or so people leaning against the wall. The only store is the tobacco shop you can see there, theres a pastisserie on the right, but they are sold out, and an ice cream shop where I bought one of the last drinks from.
St Pancras has a supermarket.

Hotel dramas!

After a pleasant ride home on the Eurostar, I arrived at my prepaid hotel, which is right on the tube line to Heathrow, and has a fridge, microwave, internet. It is not a particularly well run hotel, but for these features and the price I am willing to overlook the crappy staff. I have had some arguments with them before about them lying to me about the tv not working and when it would be fixed, and a similar conversation about the air conditioner.
Well this time they have sunk to a new low.
They have no room for me, yes they have my booking, and have taken out the payment, but apparently that doesnt get me a room.
Instead they have a room for me at an alternate hotel.
I made a lot of noise and demanded the real manager be woken up etc. When they refused I demanded a full refund, now. They refused. I accused them of theft and started ringing Visa and googling the company directors of the Shaftesbury hotel group. I now have a meeting with the manager for the London area at 9:30am.
So i got back on the tube and went to the alternate hotel, I was promised it was a sister hotel and the facilities are identical. Wrong.
Its a single bed, with no fridge, no microwave, no internet, in the smallest most hilarious room I have ever stayed in.
I cant wait for my meeting.

Here is my hotel room. That is the entire room, I am standing at the foot of the single bed which is against the wall. Notice the desk folds out from the wall, and you cant sit at it.

It was after 10pm by the time I got into my room (despite arriving at my original hotel at 8pm). So I couldnt get dinner anywhere nearby, as the hotel is located in a crap location. Heres my dinner, enjoy.

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Day 21 - Thursday, 15 July 2010

Last day in London

My flight isnt until 10pm, so I have plenty of time to kill.
I start out by arguing with some hotel staff before, the guy never turned up for my meeting, much to the shock and embarassment of the staff at the hotel.
So I went to their corporate office which was nearby, and informed them that they were too unprofessional to even turn up.
They would not let me see anyone. I have now called them many times to remind them of that fact. All I wanted was a meeting to discuss how unprofessional their staff were, and the management are worse. I intend to continue with this matter!

It was blowing a gale in London, and a bit rainy, despite this I walked around and froze. I think theres a hitory that on my last day any place it rains.
Eventually I went to the London Museum, where I had not been before, which is a history of London. It was of a very high quality and of course free. I learnt stuff, I didnt know London didnt exist at all before the Romans built it, it was largely farmland or forest before then.

It was now time to go back and pick up my bags, the long way, walking in a non direct manner. I again informed the hotel that despite assurances people were waiting for my calls and emails (which I had done), no one had bothered to respond to me. I also told the desk clerk from the night before (since he had now returned) that he was a dispicable liar. To which he agreed! And told me he didnt know why he lied so much, he cant help it. This is of course a tactic to get rid of me, and he no doubt knew I was going to the airport anyway. They are hoping I just shut up now.

I caught the fast train to the airport that leaves from Paddington, this isnt my preference, it saves you 15 minutes but costs you 18 pounds. My original hotel choice was on the slow line that costs 3 pounds.

I think I set a world record for check in, security, immigration, arrive at qantas lounge of 7 minutes, I timed it.

Do you think there could be any more drama? Yes. I was let into the first class lounge as always, im entitled. I am sitting by myself enjoying a glass of water, without even having my laptop out, and being very quiet. Someone comes over and asks for my card again, which I show. Then tells me I am not allowed in here, get out.
Now I am allowed in there, but the reception told me its up to the discression of British Airways (who qantas share the lounge with) who they let in. So I was thrown out based on appearances. Thats pretty awesome.
This time I got my meeting, with the duty qantas manager at Heathrow, they are following the matter up, I guess I can expect some sort of note or something in the mail.

Flight boarded and left on time.

I know I promised not to show too many car photos, but this is the brand new Ferrari 458 Italia, it nearly ran my over. I really like the red color, similar to my car, looks great on a Ferrari.

This is the salad I had at Selfridges for lunch, very delicious with Parma ham.

I found this sign to be amusing.

Inside the London museum, a chart of global warming through the ages. It seems to repeat in cycles, some people nearby were accusing the museum of being in global warming denial and how it was disgusting this was being shown to school children.

Like the various museums in Tokyo, the London museum has some very impressive models.

The place is built on the original Roman wall that ringed old Londinium as it was called, heres a piece that survived.

A recreation of the Garden of Pleasures, it was dark in here, check the exif data for details.

I enjoyed these long exposures so you get 2 to look at.

They mayors stagecoach is on show, they still use it once a year.

On my walk back to my hotel I walked along an elevated walkway that went for a long way and was completely deserted. This bit of ancient wall, covered in weeds and not sign posted was hidden along there. A spooky place with all empty 1970's buildings and no humans, in central London near Bank station.

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Day 22 - Friday, 16 July 2010

Planes, sleeping, showers in Singapore

I slept for most of the 13 hour flight (hooray), only movie I watched was date night, and I can hardly remember it. Food was good, I wont bore you with photos.
Singapore airport is fantastic, the first class lounge has the best showers ever, with multiple jets at different heights (see photo below).
After about 1.5 hours you get back on the plane, and I slept some more. My seat was very comfortable, the only show I watched was as we were landing into Melbourne, a documentary about the real 'great escape' which was pretty good. I didnt eat anything except the ice cream they offered, I think I slept through the dinner service because I dont remember it being offered but I do remember smelling it being heated up.

Heres the shower room in Singapore Qantas first lounge. Best shower ever.

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Day 23 - Saturday, 17 July 2010

Back where I started

And now I am sitting in Melbourne airport, waiting for my short 1 hour flight back to Adelaide, which doesnt leave for a couple of hours. Enjoying the hot breakfast in the Qantas lounge.

A very brief summary.
London is better than Paris, for visiting and probably for living, Paris is too dirty.
The weather was fantastic the whole time except for maybe the last day, but even that didnt stop me from enjoying myself.
The Paris metro is the worst public transport system I have been on, the order of greatness is Hong Kong > Tokyo > London > Sydney > Melbourne >>>>>>>> Paris.
I have never seen so much filth in all my life as I did on the Paris metro.

Still despite the filth, Paris is an interesting place to visit, if you want to see the Louvre etc. its great. Walk everywhere, you will see and experience more and not be subjected to the metro.

Possibly the last photo unless something really interesting happens between Melbourne and Adelaide, my breakfast in the Qantas domestic lounge melbourne. Quite fitting its a boring food photo dont you think?

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Day 1 - Friday, 25 June 2010
  Adelaide to Melbourne
  Melbourne Airport
  Melbourne to London on a 747
Day 2 - Saturday, 26 June 2010
  Welcome to London
Day 3 - Sunday, 27 June 2010
  Lazy Sunday morning in London
  Grand Prix Flying, England Failing
Day 4 - Monday, 28 June 2010
  I am working, so dont expect much
Day 5 - Tuesday, 29 June 2010
  Theres nothing to see at Canary Wharf
Day 6 - Wednesday, 30 June 2010
  Theres no such thing as too much walking
Day 7 - Thursday, 1 July 2010
  All day driving
Day 8 - Friday, 2 July 2010
  Theres not a lot of photos today
Day 9 - Saturday, 3 July 2010
  Wales hates vowels
  Edgware road is great
Day 10 - Sunday, 4 July 2010
  Administration day
Day 11 - Monday, 5 July 2010
  New working week
Day 12 - Tuesday, 6 July 2010
  Not Notting Hill or not?
Day 13 - Wednesday, 7 July 2010
  Train spotting cars
Day 14 - Thursday, 8 July 2010
Day 15 - Friday, 9 July 2010
  Last day of work
Day 16 - Saturday, 10 July 2010
  I am in Paris, prepare for photo overload
  Montmarte, I think?
Day 17 - Sunday, 11 July 2010
  Typical bloody tourist
  La Defense
Day 18 - Monday, 12 July 2010
  The Louvre
  I made my own dinner
  Little India
Day 19 - Tuesday, 13 July 2010
  Paris shopping - nothing special!
  Indian food
Day 20 - Wednesday, 14 July 2010
  It rained on everyones parade
  Hotel dramas!
Day 21 - Thursday, 15 July 2010
  Last day in London
Day 22 - Friday, 16 July 2010
  Planes, sleeping, showers in Singapore
Day 23 - Saturday, 17 July 2010
  Back where I started