Florida to Nova Scotia by Road – Part 1: London to Orlando

Today I leave on a flight to Orlando, Florida where I will be meeting up with a friend before embarking on a road trip up the east coast of the US and up into Canada over to Nova Scotia. Actually I’m writing this after the event, as I didn’t actually have time to pack properly, let alone write the post, but nevermind that. This is the shortest notice of a trip I have done todate, with only 2 weeks between the first mention of the idea and actually going! It started out as an invitation to visit my friend’s new place in Nova Scotia, but then I had the opportunity to fly out earlier and join the trip up from Florida. The time was so short that I didn’t even have time to fix the minor issues with my new laptop, and so ended up taking my 5 year old Vaio. As I couldn’t get my new laptop to play nice, I grabbed a spare SSD (which I normally use for video recording) and dropped that into my old vaio. The newer Vaio has a different type of SSD, and its an ultrabook, so it wasn’t practical to swap out the drive, where as the older model is only 6 screws or so. As I was worried about the airport security scrutinising my laptop and the risk of it saying it was unlicensed (as it was a re-install on a new drive and I didn’t have time to sort that out) I had to quickly go buy a retail copy of windows, I ended up with Windows 10 Pro (which I didn’t really want but its all they had) and I got that finished mere hours before running out the door for my flight. My packing was the worst and most unplanned ever, and forgot several items I really should of thought about, but I can get replacements in the US later. I hope to be able to get some photos and maybe some videos while out there, including some US or Canadian trains, but will have to see what happens there. I also still need to edit and upload the layout update ‘Weekend Engineering 4’ which I filmed before leaving, that should be fun with a core 2 duo, how I wish I had my i7 ultrabook with me….

DSC_0001Time for a quick coffee before my flight, in a very nice and cute penguin cup.

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 – Akihabara Re-visited, Tokyo, Japan

Jan 12th – Bit of a slow morning as had to sort some things out for the return trip, namely arranging my transfer to the Airport for the next day. Skipped the hotel breakfast – safer option.

Met up with Ferlyn at Akihabara in the afternoon, and the weather was horrid, rainy and windy and very cold. Exactly what we didn’t want for wandering around outside. After a bit of battling through the crowd of umbrellas, we arrived at our first stop the @Home Cafe – this was huge, 3 floors of Maid cafe, and each one has a different theme. The queue was incredible, went down the stairs 3 floors. Decided not to wait and were about to go when we found the lowest floor of @Home had a traditional Japanese style theme – and NO Queue! So we went in. I can see why this place was so popular, really good decor, the costumes were really good and the service was great. We were lucky enough to catch (and be part of) a game of paper scissors stone – I was out first round, Ferlyn got to the second, eventually it came down to 2 very nervous Japanese gentlemen, who then had to compete up in the centre with the Maids. Was all good fun, even if I couldn’t remember the sequence of actions properly lol.

We had a desert and I got a green tea, which the maid prepared in front of us – then came the adding of the love – we had to perform this ritual before being allowed to enjoy the tea, it basically consisted of bringing your hands together to form a heart shape, then saying a couple of words in Japanese, and all 3 of us had to do it at once – the purpose is to add love into the tea to make it extra special. Took a couple of attempts, mainly down to me again not quite getting the sequence right, but after it must have worked – faith – as the tea was great. We also had to partake similar rituals of adding love for each item ordered, and for our desert the maid would pour the source on, but would only stop upon making the correct “mew mew” sound. The cute cat theme was present in other areas, such as part of the paper scissors stone sequence involved a couple of cat like actions, including making of cat ears on our head, all very cute and was good fun.

Then we had a look round one of the big stores which sells like everything, spent a bit of time there looking in the costume section – so many different ones and such amazing designs. Also had a look at the other @Home cafe in there, again big queue, and quite a bit smaller. Then we had dinner at a Okonomiyaki restaurant, and this was quite different from what I’d tried before, but we had 2 different dishes and both were really good, also very filling and couldn’t eat all of it, but glad to have tried it before I left Japan. Then it was time to head back, and took the JR line back to Shinagawa.

Didn’t take any photos that day as the rain and wind were so bad, so here’s a random photo of Ferlyn (on the left) as a maid from back in March at Cosafe. Actually its not random, I love this photo 🙂


The second photo is from Christmas Eve at Cosafe (Ferlyn in red), for more Cosafe photos see this post.

Asia Tour – Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan

Jan 11th – First full day of Tokyo part 2, had the hotel breakfast buffet, and then headed out to Roppongi to have a look around, wasn’t sure what to expect but from the guide its full of international themed places. As I was there in day, it wasn’t overly exciting, few nice shops tho and a nice mall just over the main road from the station.

Lots of international bars and restaurants – even found a place called Piccadilly (see photo), a Mexican, french and Spanish restaurant, and a couple of English and Irish themed bars. All closed at the time, appears only open for the evening. Didn’t feel like waiting 2-3 hours, so headed back. Wasn’t feeling so great when I got back – appears the hotel breakfast was to blame..hmm. Decided not to be too adventurous, and had dinner in the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, stayed in after that and got an early night.