.: General Travel
Looks like we won't be going to Europe via Korea in September/October. Another trip cancelled/delayed. Another time this year? I wonder.
After watching Spirited Away I'm in the mood for Japanese. I cooked teriyaki fish and vegetables with a sesame sauce tonight, from one of the cookbooks we brought home from Japan. On the weekend I did some more work on my Japanese model railway layout. But it is not enough.
We arrived back from our 10 day holiday in Malaysia and Thailand on Friday. Still feeling the effects of the time difference and lack of sleep on the flight back. Slept in until midday yesterday. Kita is happy to see us again and is very clingy. I do think that he enjoyed his time with the other two dogs though.
Brought back a Sony VAIO VGN-CR35G/R notebook computer. So much faster than my Mum's Celeron Acer.
You can read about the trip on my travel blog.
We have decided now to go to Malaysia rather than Europe early next year. The timing and costs for Europe just didn't work out and we found a cheap Jetstar deal for Malaysia. Also thinking of visiting Thailand as part of the trip. I came across a remarkable video of a Thai market located literally on a train line:
Also on YouTube a mini Doctor Who episode, Time Crash, produced for a BBC charity show. I miss Doctor Who - it was the best show on TV this year. Can't wait to buy Murray Gold's soundtrack to Series 3!
My gut tells me that we will not have a change of government after tomorrow's federal elections. At lunch today we discussed hijacking the work Christmas Party cruise and seeking asylum overseas if the Libs are returned.
At this moment six years ago I was on a Qantas 747 en route to Heathrow Airport and thence to Paris for our honeymoon. It was our first of three trips to Europe. Earlier today I put down a deposit on a fourth.
Yesterday Flight Centre held a European Travel Expo at Darling Harbour. This year the days of the week corresponded with those of our wedding and I thought that the event had a nice element of synchronicity about it.
The day before I had looked up in the sky above my head and saw a Qantas 747-400. I wish I could say that it was Qantas that we would be flying with but sadly they were prohibitively expensive. I would like to have picked our holiday out of their European travel booklet, our honeymoon hotel, the Victor Masse was still in there. That we could have flown out the next day would have been even better.
Sadly, we do not have that much freedom. And experience tells us that we can do it much cheaper by researching our own hotels.
I paid instead for flights with Air China, via Shanghai and Beijing. Yes, despite our experiences in China we would fly back through there. It's not that it's a bad country or that there is anything wrong with the airports (except the toilets). In fact, we found the airports very efficient for domestic flights. I would just rather a stopover in somewhere comfortable like Japan, Hong Kong, Seoul or Singapore. We want to visit Thailand as well. Oh well, this might be our chance to visit Suzhou or Huangshan (Yellow Mountain).
In Europe the idea is that we will visit Eastern Europe and France again. I have notions of going to Scandinavia, but who knows?
Then again, we may find the whole trip is called off or greatly delayed. We have a decision point arriving soon and one of the advantages of the Air China fare, apart from its price, is that full payment can be postponed until after that point.
The safest seat may be at the rear of a passenger plane but that's where you will fell the greatest effects of turbulence. As turbulence is far more common than crashes I think I'll stick to the front of the aircraft (or as close as I can get in discount economy!).
The Sydney Morning Herald recently carried an article entitled High altitude flights spark symptoms. It referred to a study of the Effect of Aircraft-Cabin Altitude on Passenger Discomfort published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that the reported rates of discomfort increased greatly at simulated altitudes above 2100 metres and durations between 3 to 9 hours. The onset of acute mountain sickness did not appear to depend on the altitudes studies (between 198 to 2438 metres) in those that experienced it (17.4%).
I believe that I experienced altitude sickness on flights with Malaysian Airlines and Asiana with severe headaches and nausea that improved upon descent to lower altitudes. It is interesting that this did not occur with all airlines (eg Qantas, Cathay Pacific) leading me to suspect that some airlines cycle cabin air more often (perhaps affecting the oxygen and carbon dioxide ratios) or keep their cabin pressure lower (although the study would seem to discount that). Both strategies save fuel.