Singapore galore!

After getting through customs, I walked over to get my car into the city. I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only people who flies first class and then stays at a hostel! The driver had not heard of the place I was staying, but I think it’s also fairly new. After stashing my bags and checking in with the happenings on the interwebs, I went for an exploratory walk around the city. I was staying in Chinatown, so fairly close to the center of things. I was able to walk down to the Marina Bay and did an entire circle of the bay, including the Merlion!
Upon returning to my hostel I was able to check in and got settled in my “bunk” at the Adler Luxury Hostel.  The set up is a cross between a pod hotel and a hostel. The beds are quite wide and have a fair amount of room to move around. There is also a locker and some shelves within your “pod” and a heavy duty curtain that keeps the light out. It does have a tendency to get a but stuffy because the curtain also blocks air circulation, but that didn’t stop me from accidentally having a nap… Oops.
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I cancelled my ticket home.

Yes, I cancelled my ticket back to Vancouver at the end of this month 😮  But don’t worry, I have a plan!  I’m actually going to hang out in Sydney for a few weeks and work out of my company’s office there.  It’s a good chance to get to spend time in Australia, since I did fly all the way here 🙂  I will now be flying back on September 8th, perhaps direct, they’re still trying to confirm my ticket.

I’m sure I’ll be planning a few weekend trips, so be sure to keep an eye on my blog!  I’m also in the process of catching up on all my crazy adventures (including both scuba diving and skydiving!) and hope to be posting them soon!  It’s been a bit hard without any proper computer access, but I think my post for Singapore is almost complete.

Thanks for reading!

And we are off to the equator…ish.

The next part of my adventure would take me to Singapore. The only time I’ve ever been to Asia before would be in Turkey and the UAE, not what most people think of when you say Asia; usually most people go with either China/Japan or Southeast Asia. This time I’d be smack dab in the middle of Southeast Asia! No doubt about it 🙂

I arrived at the Emirates terminal (at DXB the terminals are Emirates and everyone else…) and saw signs towards the first/business check in and started walking… And walking… And went through to what seemed to be an entirely separate terminal dedicated for first and business class check in. There were a few desks open so I walked up and asked if I could get a printed version of my boarding pass (I’d managed to check in online earlier that morning). A few seconds later I was handed my boarding pass and directed towards the gates.  After a quick trip through passport control and security it was time to head to the lounge.  My flight was leaving out of B12, which is not the new, super fancy, A380 terminal, so I headed towards the B gates and went to find my lounge.  At the A gates, the first class lounge in the entire terminal with lots of duty free shops.  Terminal B is quite a bit smaller, covering about half of the gates, B13 and higher.  I entered the lounge and walked around for a bit before finding the spa and checking to see if my massage appointment was confirmed.  Turns out they’d booked it for 7 am instead of pm, but the attendant was able to switch it for me to 7pm.
That left me with a bit of time to relax and have a glass of wine. Continue reading

Thoughts…

Woke up this morning to the news out of Nice, France… Yet another tragic event in the world. Luckily everyone I know is safe, but that’s not the case for many others.

As terrible events seem to become more frequent, there are many different reactions people have: anger, fear, confusion, worry.  But on the other hand, the world comes together, neighbour helps neighbour, and compassion and kindness also come to the forefront.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ -Mr Rogers

I think it is the second set of emotions we should focus on.  The world can be a big scary place, but that doesn’t mean you should live in fear and shut yourself away.   If anything, I think it demonstrates the need people have to get out and experience all the good things our world has to offer.

Events like these only strengthen my resolve to not let fear and doubt get the better of me.   I love to travel and think that it’s one of the best ways to understand the world.  The more you can experience and understand, the more compassion you can have for others.  The world is full of amazing places and people and I’d hate to miss out on any of that because of the chance something might happen; you only get one shot at this life, so you’ve got to make the most of it. There is so much to be seen and to deny yourself of that would be to give in to the chaos that others are trying to create.

I’m off to Kuala Lumpur today, but Nice will be in my thoughts.

Short stay in Dubai… With an option on heat stoke.

Next time I decide it’s a good idea to go somewhere in the desert in the middle of summer, somebody stop me! Not to say that it’s not a nice place to visit, it’s just that Dubai gets very hot in the middle of the day. Actually that’s an understatement… It feels like you’re one of those ants the mean kids would point magnifying glasses at.

But back to the beginning. I arrived in Dubai and got a car from the airport to my hotel, the Doubletree By Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach.  The hotel is pretty much at the other end of the city from the airport by the Dubai Marina, just past the Palm.  But it was also a great use of my Hilton points! Rooms were over 1200 AED a night (about 1500 AED full price), but only 40,000 points.  And since I am a Gold member, that includes breakfast! After a little over half an hour we pulled up to the hotel and I thanked my driver, and went to check in.  I’d gotten a few emails from the hotel prior to my stay, so they knew approximately when I’d be arriving.  Check in was fairly smooth, and I think there was a new guy working the desk (other staff seemed to give him a bit of direction when he got stuck a few times) but it didn’t take that much longer than I was expecting.  They also brought me an iced tea welcome drink to enjoy. I had tried to check in on the app prior to arriving, but it wasn’t working quite right, so I was surprised when instead of room 505 they checked me in to room 1003.  Not that I thought it would make much of a difference, but alright.  I was escorted to my room by the night manager (which I thought was a bit odd… But we’ll find out why later) and was given a tour of “the smallest room in the hotel” which included a living room, bed room, 2 bathrooms, and a balcony. Continue reading

Heading over the north pole with Emirates … Santa? Are you there?

After the rest of my flight down to LAX, we landed safely at Terminal 6 and I headed to Alaska’s Board Room to start my long layover. I had a few hours to kill until the Emirates lounge opened at 12:45. I had visited the lounge previously on a layover in LAX and while it’s not that big a lounge, you can grab a snack and a drink or two while avoiding the busy LAX terminals; it’s much more relaxing than sitting around the gates.

A little after noon I left Terminal 6 and headed towards the Tom Bradly International Yerminal. LAX recently opened a walkway that runs from Terminal 4 to the TBIT  and earlier opened an underground walkway that connects Terminals 4 through 8. This means that I wouldn’t have to leave and re-enter security in order to get to the terminal. Terminals 1, 2, and 3 are still separate, so luckily I didn’t land at any of those terminals. The walk took about 15 minutes and gets a bit confusing once you get to Terminal 4 since you have to leave the underground walkways and head through the gates to get to the overhead walkway that links to the International Terminal.

I took a quick look around the terminal before heading upstairs to enjoy the lounge. The lounge is a decent size with seating “outside” on a balcony that overlooks the rest of the terminal as well as inside, where it’s a bit quieter. The gate we were leaving from was right across from where the lounge is, so I kept an eye out and saw our plane when it pulled into the gate 🙂 after spending a few hours enjoying the amenities of the lounge, including having a quick meal to tide me over, it was time to board the plane for the long 16 hour journey. The boarding area was pretty chaotic and it took me a while to figure out exactly where to go through the gate, but eventually I made it up the escalator and entered the second floor of the A380!

When I entered the plane they checked my boarding pass and called over a flight attendant to take me to my seat, 2K… And what a seat it was.  I’d been obsessing about this flight a little bit so I had some idea what it was going to be like, but it was still pretty cool walking up to my suite 🙂

Once I had taken some pictures and settled in I was asked if I’d like anything to drink.  From my research, I knew they didn’t serve the Dom until we were in the air in LA so I asked what kind of juice they had and ended up going with some fresh carrot juice!  Then came the dates and Arabic coffee (I think I had about 5 little cups of it).  And the menus.  And the slippers and pjs… And pretty much anything you wanted!

We ended up sitting on the ground for quite a while due to various delays, although I wasn’t really complaining since I had my little cocoon to play with.  The cabin was actually pretty empty with only 4 or 5 of the 14 seats occupied; I asked our flight attendant about it and she said it was fairly unusual and that the last few times she’d worked the route it was a full cabin. Eventually it was time for out long taxi down the runway (which is pretty cool to watch from the tail camera) and we took off over the Pacific Ocean, turned north, and we were Dubai bound!  After watching our process on the monitor and out the window for a while, I decided to change into my pjs and get comfy.

First class has an a la cart dining system where you can order you food whenever you like, it just takes a little while for them to heat it up for you.  I relaxed for a little while, ordered a few glasses of Dom Perignon, got started on a movie, and then ordered an appetizer plate and my special meal (VGML) for dinner.  While the spread had a nice variety, my special meal seemed like a bit of an after thought; basically a bunch of sides thrown together.   

I had also had a chance to book my shower appointment.. I went with 2 1/2 hours before landing so I’d have time to revel in the fact that I’d had a shower at 35,000 ft in the air! 

Then I decided it was time to try to get some rest, so I asked the flight attendant to make up my bed, which included a memory foam mattress cover on my seat and a duvet! The problem you face with this route is that you end up going over the North Pole ( Hi Santa! Hope the elves are working hard and the reindeer are eating lots of carrots!) in the summer with its 24 hours of sun which means the majority of the flight is in brilliant daylight.  Add onto that the fact they were having problems dimming the cabin lights and I wasn’t the most successful at the napping part.

After getting some rest and watching some more of the enormous entertainment selection, I decided to get up and wander to check out the bar.  The bar on the A380 is at the back of the plane on the upper deck, just in front of the main galley for business class.  There were quite a few people up and about the cabin, so it was a happening place.  But as it was nearing time for my shower I headed back to my seat.  After watching the “time until landing” indicator go from 3 hrs all the way down to 2:20, I finally asked about my shower only to findout they were having technical difficulties and we wouldn’t be able to shower today 😦 This totally bummed me out as I was really looking forward to it! But such is my luck when it comes to travel.  I did end up taking a walk through the lower deck of the plane, which is all economy class seating, and goes on forever! By this time I’d change into my regular clothes and freshened up as best I could sans shower, so at least I wasn’t walking through the cabin in my pjs 😉

I ordered my breakfast, fruit and special pancakes, and went to get a drink at the bar while it was being heated.  Ended up chatting with a few of the crew, who were all so friendly and took a few photos of me posing behind the bar.  Sadly I didn’t get to try on one of the cool hats they wear… Next time! With a little under 2 hours to go I headed back to my seat to eat some breakfast, which was very odd since we were going to be landing at 8 pm, but made sense if you were still on west coast time.  It was also around this time that the sun finally set, after being in my sky for about 26 hours, and it was pretty spectacular, I did well in chosing the right side of the airplane!


And then we were fastening our seatbelts and stowing our carry-ons as it was time to land in Dubai.  For such a long flight it was actually bareable and never really seemed to drag too much.  The movies, wifi, and large amount of alcohol consumed probably  had something to do with it, but also the A380 is an amazing plane and I think really helps with making the flight more manageable.

After coming to our gate, I disembarked down the stairs (also super cool… I love stairs on planes!) and was off towards customs with my fast track pass in hand. I wasn’t exhausted, but was looking forward to getting some sleep in a real bed.

127 miles down, 38,607 miles to go…

I’m on my way!  I have successfully completed the first leg of my trip and have 2 more flights to go today.  After an early wake up call and a ride to the airport, I headed over to the nexus lane and zipped through security… Well, relatively zippy.  The regular line was quite long, and I was through in about 10 minutes and went through the nexus passport control. I did get asked about my luggage (apparently taking carry on for a 3 week trip is a bit odd) but the customs dude seems okay with it once he saw it. 

I took a quick wander over to Starbucks, but the line was very long, so I just headed to the gate instead.  Boarding started just a few minutes after I arrived and I scanned my Boarding pass and was walking down the jet bridge.

Recently Alaska switched the YVR-SEA service from the Q-400s to the CRJ-700 and it was my first flight on the new planes (new to the route, not actually new planes)  so I was eager to check it out.  I had secured seat 1A so after leaving my roller bag on top of the ramp I settled in to the front row (because is there any other row?? 😉 ).  It’s a bulkhead seat so there is a bit more leg room than normal.
The rest of the passengers boarded fairly quickly and we pushed back from the gate ahead of our departure time.  After a quick safety demonstration, we started to taxi towards to runway, but the captain came on on told us they were holding out flight in Vancouver due to the weather in Seattle and we were looking at a 25-30 min delay.  Of course the flight was delayed… I was on it :/ This was part of the reason I booked such a long layover on LAX, because there was going to be no way I was missing my flight to Dubai!

After sitting in the holding area for about 15 minutes, we continued our long taxi to the runway and were in the air a little after 6:30.  This was going to make my connection to LA a little tight, but there was still a good chance I’d make it.  

The flight itself was pretty uneventful, except I did notice it was a LOT quieter 🙂 We landed and about 7:10 and after holding for a few minutes for crowd control (SeaTac is a very busy airport) we finally pulled up to our C gate.  Since I had to wait for my bag at the gate, it took a few more minutes which meant I had just enough time to hop over to the N gates on the train and make it to my gate.  No lounge for me 😦 

They had just called “all rows” when I arrived at the gate so I quickly made my way onboard and settled into 2A.  I

 was planning to post this on the ground, but blog posts from the air will just have to do.  Currently speeding towards LAX on the rest of my long journey…

route finalmap

 

a total of 38,734 miles of flying.  To put that in perspective, YVR-YYZ is about 2,000 miles… so I’ll be flying that over 19 times over the next 3 1/2 weeks.

It’s almost here! RTW 2016!

I can check in to my Emirates flight in just over 2 hours!  Emirates check in is 48 hours in advance instead of the usual 24 (Although I think Cathay Pacific might be 72?)  I always get that rush when I can finally check in for a flight.  It means that it’s finally real and I’m one step closer to getting on that plane 🙂

emirates-first-class-a380-suite-doors-closed

I have to get down to LAX first on Alaska (via SEA), but I can’t check in for those flights until tomorrow morning.  It’s going to be a long layover in LAX, but I planned it that way so I would have time to enjoy a lounge or two 🙂 Emirates just opened their new lounge in LAX last year, so I’m excited to give it a try. Continue reading

1 day, 4 parks: A Disney World Adventure

Since we were in Florida I suggested we go to Disney World for the day.  My friend agreed without truly realizing what she was in for 😉 Having gotten about 4 hours of sleep the night before, we didn’t get the quickest start to the day… which was also compounded by our Uber driving dropping us off at the wrong park 😦  But eventually we made our way over to the Animal Kingdom, had our park-hopper tickets in hand, and were off and running (literally) to our first fastpass+!img_3050

Disney World tickets come with the fastpass+ option which lets you pick up to 3 rides to use your fastpass at one park up to a month before you get there.  We had booked in the Safari and the River Rapid rides at Animal Kingdom as well as myself on the roller coaster (my friend is not a fan).  Continue reading