A Travellerspoint blog

Stressful end


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Today was more of the same ... shopping, eating and meeting up with crew friends after checking out of the hotel at 11am. We headed to the airport after 6pm from the Holiday Inn Express where we had returned our rental car.

The check-in area was deserted. The flight was rather full but not completely full. However, the plane was very heavy and as standby passengers, there was a real risk of not being boarded. There was another flight less than an hour after but it was the same story. Aaahhh ... the joys (and stress) of the cheap staff tickets that everyone envies.

After a bit of waiting, we were issued boarding passes. Other people (in bigger groups, travelling with more luggage, but probably with less priority or years of service) were accepted for the flight much much later. The two of us were stuck in the middle in the block of four seats. I was relieved to be on the flight and not stuck in LA for another day. In 12 hours, I'd be home in my own bed after 3+ months of travel.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Around LA


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Our hotel bathroom window looks out at the flightpath for LA Airport. It’s quite amazing to see big jets like the A380 coming in to land while taking care of business. I wonder if there’s a curfew for the airport as we didn’t hear any aircraft noise through the night.

We collected our usual cheapie car from the Holiday Inn Express nearby and drove around LA to shop, eat and meet up with crew friends.

Dinner was at Quality Seafoods at Redondo Pier where I had a lobster meal for USD18 plus a big beer for USD2. What a bargain!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

California here we come!


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We woke at 0600 to take the bus to the airport for our 0910 flight to London Heathrow. That kind of wake up time isn't normally an issue for me but having had sleep-ins for the last few days, it was harder. We had two pleasant surprises in a row. The first was finding a lounge we could use before the flight.

Even at that early hour in the lounge, I was extremely productive. I had received an email from Jetstar upon waking up, saying that my flight next year has been rescheduled. An immediate connection in Singapore (AKL-SIN-KUL) has become an overnight.

Strangely, the original flight still exists. An online chat through their website while in the lounge resolved this and I was reinstated to the original time. The chat agent wasn’t any wiser than me but I suspect that my SIN-KUL flight was cancelled necessitating an overnight, but was then reinstated (but without me on it).

Then the second pleasnt surprise was the delicious hot breakfast (omelette, bacon, egg and grilled tomato) on the short 1h25 British Airways flight (quicker actually).

As usual, luggage at Heathrow took forever even though it was a domestic flight parked near the carousel. It took about 45 minutes for us to get to the Heathrow Express for the 4 minute ride to T1.

Air New Zealand normally opens its counter 4h30 prior to the flight and we should have been able to walk straight up for check-in. But today, they had a meeting which meant that it opened only 3h30 prior, so we had a brief wait at the front of the queue.

We were the first to check-in.Fortunately, we were given our boarding passes straight away, without having to wait for all confirmed passengers to check-in. We were airside 3h before the flight and were in the Servisair lounge soon after.

The flight was packed but being daylight all the way, we weren't too uncomfortable. Arrivals in Los Angeles [Los-Angeles-travel-guide-12789] was a shambles though, with the queue-management through immigration. A couple of airport officers changed the snake-queue from time to time, resulting in people at the back suddenly being taken to the front of newly-opened counters ... much to the anger of people who had been queueing for a long time. However, things looked worse than they actually were, as weonly took an hour to clear formalities at LAX. It had taken Kim more than 3 hours the last time.

We took the shuttle to the Super 8 motel for a good night sleep.

Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Walking tour of the old town


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large_5550_13789890613713.jpgOld town of Edinburgh.
We found out that there's a free walking tour of the old town which leaves at 1100 each morning. This kind of free walking tour operates in various European cities, and a tip is kinda expected but not obligatory.

The weather was a bit drizzly and Kim had to buy an umbrella. The excellent guide knew the history well and gave great insights into life back in the days when Edinburgh [Edinburgh-travel-guide-363606] was a smelly city beside the big sewage dump which is now the city's garden. Were it not for him, walking around would be quite meaningless apart from the architectural delights.

There was a bit of soft cross-sell for their other tours. At the end, we gave what we thought was a reasonable tip. For the large group, the tip would add up to a decent hourly rate for him.

Our lunch (for the third day) consisted of delicious filled baguettes in a lunch bar on Rose Street. They were very fresh and crusty. Kim decided to walk to the Holyrood Palace after lunch but decided against the GBP12 entrance.

We felt that we have had a decent glimpse of Edinburgh, but the rich and convoluted history is a bit too much to take in since I never studed British history in school.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

The castle


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large_5550_13789908878334.jpgView of new town from Edinburgh castle.
Edinburgh's most obvious attraction is its castle located on the hilltop towering over the city. We paid our visit there in the morning. They run a free but short guided tour which gave a brief insight into the history. Otherwise it would be like any other castle with its collection of furniture, portraits, ceramics, swords etc, right?

No, not quite. Edinburgh Castle contains the Scottish crown jewels. It is still largely run by the military and there were a few military museums contained within. Yawn!I am getting jaded after over 3 months on the road.

We wandered around bits of the old town (near the castle) and new town (main part of Edinburgh [Edinburgh-travel-guide-363606] now), in the early afternoon before retiring for a nap.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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