Apr. 10th, 2010

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Kerri is guiding me through this strange city. We have seen many wonderful and interesting sights and eaten some unknown food. We grazed through the central food market this afternoon where we had icecream that grabbed the eater by the back of the throat. We could have bought small live crabs, blueberries for $30 a bag – small bag – taro roots and wasabi grinders.

We have visited temples, ridden subways and walked along beside a canal under cherry trees, just we two alone with about a bazillion tourists.

Our hotel is beside the huge central station, with trains and buses to all parts of Kyoto. It is an amazing sight. If there was a train to get from one side of the station to the other, this would be handy. We passed many shoe shops, but by the end of the afternoon I was looking for a foot shop to buy a new pair.

Finally worked out how to get online. Free internet and breakfast for a thousand yen a pop. That’s about ten dollars and is Japanese – no bacon and eggs, but lots of odd morsels.

Oh yeah. After the red-eye into Hong Kong, the flight up and the train out, we were about ready to drop. We crashed into bed for an afternoon nap, woke briefly well after sundown, decided we didn't need dinner, and slumbered on until dawn.
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Today we took the Philosopher’s Walk, beside a narrow canal under the cherry blossoms. As the water flowed downhill, the individual cherry blossom petals fell into the water, becoming more and more numerous until the whole surface was covered in a carpet of pink.

Kerri and I looked at all these individual petals floating down, swirling here and there, bumped aside by koi leaping, snagged in branches, flowing over rocks in the shallow stream, but all moving on together, and we were charmed.

We walked on, pausing here and there, stopping for morning refreshments at a tiny restaurant, passing by and through temples, pathways, up and down hills, and eventually taking a train back to the city.

Here for another day before our wider travels continue, leading us back to Australia on the First of May.

Short hop

Apr. 10th, 2010 09:57 pm
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Sydney from Maryborough

QF 806 CBR-SYD B734 VH-TJY "Maryborough"
Thursday 8 April 2010
Seats: 8A-C
Scheduled: 1830
Boarding: 1810 Gate 12
Pushback: 1830
Takeoff: 1840 to North
Descent: 1856
Landing: 1918 from N
Gate: 1932 (Gate 9)

Most of my trips begin with the flight from Canberra to Sydney. Canberra International Airport doesn't actually have any regular international flights. Occasionally a plane will be diverted here, there are visits from heads of state and such, making the VIP terminal an interesting place for planespotters, and years and years ago there were flights to Fiji, promoted as an attractive alternative to wintertime Canberra.

But with the major airlines hub of Sydney a short flight away, it's to Sydney we generally go. Of course, if I'm doing a round the world trip to build up status credits and airmiles, it's much better to travel there via Perth, but Kerri frowns on these shenanigans.

Night flight on a clear evening. Canberra's northern suburbs pass in diminishing review, roads outlined in gold and silver, sports fields and carparks turned into glowing blobs. It's beautiful but soon gone. As ever, I have the window seat, and Kerri the aisle, with the empty seat in the middle thankfully remaining vacant.

Browse the inflight magazine, look out the window at occasional lights, listen to the comedy channel on the audio system and the time passes quickly enough. I could sit like a rock and the flight would pass quickly: it's always less than an hour. My record is about 28 minutes, but tonight we turn over Sydney's northern suburbs to land from the north, and we are presented with a fairyland view of the biggest city in Australia. The Bridge is outlined, the skyscrapers of the central area lit up, and then we are down amongst the railway lines and schools and roads and thumping onto the third runway.

Quick deplane, race along the terminal, and into the waiting lounge for the shuttle over to International.



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