Category Archives: Travel

Airport boredom

So right now I’m sitting in the airport in Beijing waiting for my flight; a wait of about 2 hours now. I have a myriad choice of internet connections here. I could sign up for the free airport ones via SMS if I had a Chinese phone, or if I went to one of the many kiosks that would allow me to use my passport number (which are over the other side of the airport). Needless to say, those are a no. Various other services are there to pay for, if you can find your way through the menus and pages that direct you to where to pay. In the end I’ve settled for good old Boingo wifi, which I’ve used in various other airports and pretty much always just works. It’s a bit pricey, but it works.

Now for the down side. Of course, the internet here is massively restricted for anything outside of China – or so it would seem. I still can’t get Facebook, or Twitter, or any connection to a great deal of websites, returning “No Data Received” and “Connection Error” and “No Route to Host” errors. Great.

Besides the internet issues there’s also the fact that I’m hungry and thirsty. There was breakfast at the hotel but I walked in, looked around, and walked straight out again. No coffee. No tea. No toast. No eggs. No bacon. All that was there was odd soups, noodles, and various other bits and pieces that didn’t look entirely edible to me. All of it was far too heavy to have for breakfast. Instead I settled for a cup of green tea (very old green tea) in my room. The problem here, at the airport, is that I have no money to buy anything. Generally the currencies they accept are of the country, and American dollars. I have about 7000 Japanese yen, and about £5 in my pocket. And not an ATM in sight. So… I’m screwed until I get on the plane and they give me something to eat and drink.

Oh and I didn’t get an upgrade. I asked. They quoted something like 14000 RMB for it; roughly £1350. So that was a no. Arse.

Here’s to two hours of waiting boredom.

Returning from Japan

My last post was from the first night in Japan, if I recall. Now I’m sitting here, in Beijing, writing a post on my return from Japan. Obviously I’m not home yet, being in Beijing and all, but this is about the only medium, that works right now, for me to get some thoughts across. The reason for this is that I’m currently sitting behind the behemoth that is the Chinese firewall for the internet. I’m finding that even the most basic of sites aren’t working from here, such as twitter, Facebook, YouTube, a few Google sites Etc. That might be a combination of the Chinese censorship, and the hotel’s filtering; either way it’s a pain in the ass.

On the up side, it’s around 10pm right now, and I’ll be heading towards an early bed in order to be up at 8am, so that I can grab some free breakfast after spending the night in this free hotel then jump on the free bus back to the airport to get on my newly scheduled flight back to the UK a day later than planned.

I’m going to see if I can blag an upgrade for my seat on the plane. Free or not, I want business class damnit (unless it would cost me more than £200…)

See you all back in England. (o/

In Japan :D

Well here I am, typing this post on my laptop in an apartment in Jujo in Tokyo in Japan. My dilFluke was on overdrive for the journey here. On the first flight, London to Beijing, I ended up with an empty seat next to me. Possibly the only empty seat on the plane, and it was mine! Good thing too, as it would appear that Air China planes have even less leg room than other planes I’ve been on. My knees literally touch the seat in front of me with my ass right at the back of the seat. Not all that comfortable, to be honest, but it was nice to have lateral space to spread in to.

My main worries had been on the transfer between Beijing and Tokyo. The scheduled stop over was 1h25m. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the Beijing website hadn’t said that the minimum time for international to international transfers was 60 minutes, and the Air China said 120 minutes for the same thing. As it turned out Beijing was near enough empty. Seriously. I saw about 300 people while I was there, and 250 of those had just got off the same plane as me. As a result I was off of my plane and sitting next to the gate for the next one within about 15 minutes. All of this would have been great if the plane was on schedule, but as it turns out it had been delayed anyway, by about 30 minutes. All in all I had time for a wander, a drink, quick toilet stop, and still had time to sit around reading for a while before I boarded.

Once in Japan things got interesting. The JR line wasn’t running, so no NEX (Narita express) to Shinjuku. Ok, so I’ll not get there in the 38 minutes that would have managed. There is another train line, but it’s a lot more convoluted and longer, and slower. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the huge ass queue that almost made a loop around the airport waiting for it. One rapidly made decision later and I come to a resounding “NO”. A quick stop at the information desk pointed me towards the bus direct to Shinjuku. By this point I’ve already rented a phone and call Laura to know the issues. She jovially points out that, due to traffic and such, the bus would most likely take around 3 hours. Beyond that she then goes on to say that the train I’d have to take after would most likely be packed like sardines too. Further fun for me to look forward to.

As luck had it, or dilFluke, the bus took around an hour, or an hour and a half (I’m not quite sure as by then I was drifting in and out of sleep). Even more luck, or the last remnants of dilFluke left  in the pot, made the train I needed just fine. No packing, no squeezing, and most importantly, no queue. Shinjuku station was playing with me for a while though. While walking towards the platform I needed the queue built up and built up, crazy long length queue… for a different platform. Phew! *shakes fist at Shinjuku station for toying with him like that*

Anyway, short journey on that train and I arrive at Jujo. I called Laura, she toddled over to get me, and we promptly stop off at a convenience store (combini) for hydrating liquid (Aquarius), and dehydrating liquid (Asahi beer), then proceed to grab a small bite for me to eat. Short walk later and we’re at her place.

Hours pass and beer is drunk until midnightish while I wonder how the hell I’m still awake. Eventually sleep came, but not for long. During the night there was another earthquake. Laura reckoned that it was around the 6 mark. I’m both happy and pissed at that earthquake. Happy because I’ve finally experienced one. Pissed because the bastard woke me up.

But anyway, in the end here I am. Sitting in Japan.

If anyone wants to know my number while I’m out here let me know and I’ll send it over. I can’t call out, but calls in are free. Well, I could have got a plan to call out, but from 120 yen a minute? The phone is already costing me 300 yen a day, and 80 yen per minute on domestic calls… phones are expensive here huh. :/

Anyway – Yey! Japan!