Quick Note – Photos

Just wanted to add a note on about the photos – or the lack of – the Hotel internet connections were not working too well with picture uploads – I will go back and edit the posts to add in the photos later. Have quite a few to add in so might take a day or 2.

All the photos have been done for the Asia Mini Tour.

Ok – now done all the photos except for Takayama. Still trying to choose a sensible number of good ones to add on here.

Finally can start posting new stuff again now.

Asia Tour – Return to London

Jan 13th. Finally the day I had been dreading since the start of the trip – the return ‘home’. Early start, skipped the hotel breakfast again, didn’t want to risk any problems with a 12 hour flight. I actually missed the Airport bus I had booked the previous day by about 2 minutes, but it was only an hour to the next one and I was already earlier than I needed to be. Had a light snack and tea in the hotel coffee shop during the wait. The airport was good, nothing of real interest to report although I didn’t bother to look around. The flight on BA08 was scheduled on time, however we got stuck on the taxi way for about a 30 minute delay. The flight was good, got a little bumpy at London, and good old Heathrow added in a nice 30 minute delay as usual – this time due to wind. Then had a nice 1 hour bus trip to Walton-On-Thames and got a Taxi from there – in total bus and taxi cost was £14. Quote from 2 taxis at the airport – £60. The hour bus trip was worth it.

Btw – its really freezing, Tokyo was warmer and less windy, even that day in Akihabara was not as cold as it was in my flat – 1 month away, not really surprising its going to be cold in there tho. Now its back to ‘Real Life’ and back to work. I really dont want to. I want to be back in Singapore with my friends already, and I havn’t had a single day back at work yet. Its raining right now (Jan 14th), which just adds to how miserable the UK appears right now.

Asia Tour – Singapore to Korea

Dec 27th/28th – Depart Singapore for Seoul, South Korea.

I spend the last half day by having lunch with my friends at Cosafe, before taking Korean Air flight KE642 to Seoul Gimpo Airport. This would be the start of the trip to uncharted territory, no one in my family has ever been to Korea, and so the mission to the unknown had started. I had no language skills at all in Korean, nor had any real idea of what I should be seeing in Seoul, but with only a day and a half, the time was seriously limited from the start. The other problem, was that I had steadily become more ill over the last 2 days, and already sounded pretty rough from the cold I had, but the temperature drop in Seoul made matters worse, and I was unfortunately forced to take the hotel up on an early check in charge, and get a nice bed for the morning arrival. Not so bad when considering my flight arrived at 06:00 local time, and having no sleep on the flight, I was pretty much walking dead following the hour transfer to the hotel.

Above: Some random shots of Seoul.

I did venture out that night however, and after a brief encounter with a Korea cash machine / ATM where by we had a disagreement on exactly how much won I wanted to withdraw, (500,000 instead of 100,000) I made my way to the area frequented by foreign tourists. I must say that this particular area was not an enjoyable experience, I am sure the Korean people are a wonderful and kind people, however this area is clearly a “pull every cent you can from anything which walks in” kinda place, and it dosnt matter where your from, “welcome American, beer only $5.99 here!” I appreciate that being white makes me look like an American, however after explaining where I’m from they could have refrained from giving me all the prices in US $, as no offence, but to an Englishman, this is somewhat useless, and KRW was more useful a currency to me.

The worst part however, was the trip back in a taxi, having simply assumed I could get a taxi back having arrived via one, I was quite alarmed to discover many taxis would simply refuse the fair, either claiming no knowledge of the place – even with directions and a map in Korean, and others simply not being interested. After about 30 minutes, one taxi finally did attempt the trip, and got me on the same street as my hotel.

Dec 29th – Seoul to Haneda, Tokyo.

I maybe being unfair to Seoul when I say this, but for me, this was really not a very inviting place, and to be honest, I really did not enjoy my time there. The next morning I made my way to the airport a bit early, and was quite eagerly awaiting my flight to Haneda, Tokyo.

Above: Seoul Gimpo Airport, Christmas tree and Cinema – yes a cinema in the airport!

Asia Tour – Singapore, Korea and Japan 2007-8.

Day 1 – London
Writing this a little late due to not having the blog up at the time, but here it is anyhow.

After what seemed like an never ending day at the office, which by my own fault had decided to do prior to flying, I was very greatful for my good friend Dimitris giving me the all important lift to the airport. I arrived at London Heathrow nice and early for my 21:45 departure on BA 015. Having done the usual insane security precautions despite flying in the opposite direction to the USA, I embarked on a 13 hour flight to Singapore. As it turned out, due to some re-shuffling of passengers, I was lucky enough to get a free upgrade to the slightly-better cabin. Even so, its 13 hours, grr. To be fair, the flight was pretty good, although as per usual I got about 2 hours sleep, never mind, just keep remembering its all worth it once you get there.

Day 2 – Singapore
Dec 15th, and I finally get out of the plane to sunny Singapore, already from walking into the airport (Changi if you know it well) I get that “I am home feeling”, not really a surprise as this is my third visit to Singapore in less than 2 years. It has become a dream location for me, and so “home from home” almost. Either way, I’m glad to be here. Unfortunately my friend couldn’t meet me this time due to work, but it didn’t really matter, I’ve taken the taxi ride so many times is almost part of the process anyway, and is actually quite nice ride. Took the usual route into the city and ended up at the Amara as per usual, it may not be the best in Singapore, but it has that familiarity from staying there so many time before that its worth the effort.

After a very brief unpacking, I decided to pay a visit to a cafe which I frequented on my last visit, the famous Cosafe Maid Cafe at Chijmes on Victoria St. For me this was an important part of the visit, and also means I get to see some old friends from my last visit. Also I was really curious to see if it was the same, as it turns out they had just completed a re-fit, and the new Cosafe (pronounced cos-afe – like cosplay Cafe) Maid Bar & Restaurant was quite an improvement, and I highly recommend a visit, the food is even better then before, and really is exceptional, in addition the service is as always excellent. Please do stop by, and make sure you say “hello” to Floyd and Desmond” for me.
Cosafe Maid Bar & Restaurant

After closing at around 2am, I was still not tired, most likely due to jet lag totally making a mess of things, I headed out to St James’ Power Station. Again, not disappointed with Movida, pumping tunes and a great night out night till the early hours.