Saturday, June 24, 2006

a journey...

yup, i'm back home, feeling a bit sleepy, but I guess you can expect that.
Here's how to get from Friedenau to Bayswater...

Thurs 22. 9:10am lug your bags to Frederich-Wilhelm-Platz and catch the U9 underground train in the direction of Osloer Str. but get off at the next stop at Bundesplatz and go up the escaltor to get an S41 on the ring line going anti-clockwise. Austeig rechts at Jungfernheide and get on a bus. Acording to the plan we had, the airport bus goes from here. Plan is old, it changed a month ago, so catch another bus and go two stops and catch bus 109 or X9 (express service) to Tegel Flughaven. A better plan would've been to stay on the U9 to Zoo Station, and catch the X9 from there. But we didn't know that then. Said 'Seeya' to Daniela, never Goodbye...
11:40 LH183 Berlin to Frankfurt. 55mins
14:40 VN542 Frankfurt to Ho Chi Minh City. 11 hours, 25 mins or so. I meet up with Peter and Graeme and they bring news that the Economy part of the Vietnam Airlines plane is over-booked. We ask nicely and get upgraded to deluxe economy. Very nice, hardly anyone in that section, a bit of extra leg room and we could stretch out on the long flight and get comfy. Didn't sleep though...
Graeme heads off to a backpackers hotel, while Peter and I get the complimentary bus to our Day hotel deeper in the town. For 45 minutes our (thankfully airconditioned - very sticky here) wends it's way through the Saigon traffic, like a whale in an ocean teeming with significantly smaller sea life. This mad-crazy scooter city.
A few hours for spazieren, sleeping and showering before getting on a smaller, less air-conditioned bus back to the terminal, for interminable queuing and news that our plane was delayed. Lot's of sitting around waiting. I read Stasiland while Peter fell asleep in his chair.
Over 90 mins late, VN781 finally takes off. No possiblity of an upgrade, and in fact, my seat has less legroom than normal. There is a metal box fitted under the seat in front at exactly the place I want to put my right foot. So my right leg was always on a slight angle and I was worried that it would affect my knee. However, I did manage to get some decent sleep in for once, and awoke in daylight somewhere over Oz and not very long before breakfast!
Arrived at around 10am 24 June(all times local times), the pilot had picked up time, but it was still an 8 hour sort of flight. Peter was flying on to Launceston and thence by donkey or camel to Poatina. I caught to airport bus to 'Southern Cross Station'. Silly name, most people still know it as 'Spencer Street'. Coincidentally Papestr. Bahnhoff in Berlin has also been recently up-graded and renamed S├╝dkreuz - German for south cross. What's with this city synchronicity?
Anyhow, to plat form ten, get a Belgrave train and get off at Bayswater, then about three stops on the Chirnside park bus (don't recall it's number) and walk down my street.
So that's 6 buses, 3 trains and three planes...
It's easy. Come visit some time.

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