lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

After a fun breakfast barbecue organised by Sue Ann and Trevor, we headed to Melbourne airport.

I had perhaps been a little ambitious in my packing, and the various souvenirs, and all the fan fund auction stuff put both my main bag and my carry on luggage over their limits. Oops. I slip away to remove a lot of books. I establish that I am allowed a laptop bag, so I get away with a couple of extra kilos that way.

I manage to get checked in on the second attempt, and head for a coffee with Sue'n'Trev. Soon it's time to say goodbye and go to find my plane.

After the security check I make my way to the gate. There she stands, the A380, huge and supreme in the afternoon sun.

It's quite an experience, even in economy class. There are a few neat features like a usb port for charging phones and things, and a network port that suggested internet might be available one day, through I couldn't find anything saying it could be used or what it would cost.

The rest behind the cut... )
lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

After a most excellent party at Damien and Juliette's, I find myself back in Adelaide airport at an uncivil hour, waiting to board the flight back to Melbourne.

Today I'll be going to MUGS, the Melbourne LEGO Users Group. It should be a lot of fun, but perhaps staying up past midnight was not the best combination with a 06:50 flight.

lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

After a most excellent party at Damien and Juliette's, I find myself back in Adelaide airport at an uncivil hour, waiting to board the flight back to Melbourne.

Today I'll be going to MUGS, the Melbourne LEGO Users Group. It should be a lot of fun, but perhaps staying up past midnight was not the best combination with a 06:50 flight.

lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

The flight to Wellington was fairly uneventful. The plane was only half full, so I had a row to myself. I watched the in flight movie for a bit, but it was pretty awful, so I snoozed for a bit.

On the way into Wellington, we were treated to some pretty amazing views of the complex of islands and peninsulas making up the northern tip of the South Island. Amazing fractals.

At the airport I was greeted by Norman Cates, a former DUFF winner and all round nice guy. He gave me a lift to his house, showed me around, and headed back to work. It was really nice of Norman to pick me up, as while I'm sure I could have made my own way, it really made it a whole lot more lot more pleasant.

I was fairly shattered, so I had a nap for a couple of hours. After getting up and having a shower, I felt human again, and caught up with email till Norman got back from work.

The rest behind the cut... )
lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

I'm writing this on an iPad in Sydney airport.

Nice bit of kit despite some minor annoyances. I miss Swype for the keyboard, for example. The kid next to me has been showing his grandmother how to use it for reading eBooks, and they can't seem to make the fonts big enough for her to read comfortably. But this isn't the place for a technology rant.

Back in the vastness of Bangkok, I was chatting with a chap in a purple Buddhist robe who turned out to be from Texas, but has been living in Burma (isn't that Myanmar now?) for the last nine years and is flying home to see his parents for the first time in tearly a decade.

The woman sitting next to me on thpe plane is a school teacher from Sydney, flying home from England where her husband was playing cricket, and their daughter lives. We comparg the Irish and Australian education systems. They seem to have a lot in common, probably because they were both set up by the British.

The rest behind the cut... )

Bangkok

Aug. 22nd, 2010 11:25 am
lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

Bangkok airport is huge and modern and all looks very shiny. However, it is quite possibly connected into an alternate reality, with a vast concourse seeming to stretch to infinity. I walked for what ssemed like miles and came to the baggage collection and immigration areas. I didn't need either of these so I walked back and went through the security check for connecting flights.

The first half of the flight was fine, with a good selection of movies and TV shows (I watched How to Train Your Dragon, which was silly, but good fun. Hoping to get some sleep on the second half.

I think changing my socks would be a good idea.

Next stop Sydney!

lostcarpark: (Default)

Originally published at James's GUFF Trip. Please leave any comments there.

Well, here I am in Heathrow.

Liam stood me up to go surfing in cornwell, but that's okay - I'd have done the same (if I wasn't going to Australia instead).

However, James Bacon met me instead on his lunch break, so that was cool. Then went to the pub for beer and fish'n'chips (that's french fries for any Americans). Going to head over to check in a while (just have to confirm which terminal to go to).

Also been charting with Kate about my programme items, so that was useful. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Next stop Bangkok.

lostcarpark: (Lego Harry Potter)
It's been a while since I've posted anything under this topic, but I've been busy. I guess part of the reason for this is that I've reached the point where there's not a lot to say about GUFF in general terms, and it's getting into the specifics of my trip. It's also hard to comment on the plans I'm making when it could all turn pear shaped when the trip actually starts. However, I feel for that very reason, now is a good time to talk about my intentions. Then I can see how they compare to what actually happens.

Part 8 - Planning

More or less the first thing I did after finding out I was the GUFF delegate was to check out the visa situation, since if there was likely to be any problem getting into the country. Fortunately, providing you're an EU citizen, it's pretty straightforward these days. For Australia, you must apply for a "eVisitor" online. This is free, and is normally granted in about 24 hours. For New Zealand it's even easier, as EU citizens can travel for holidays without a visa.

The next thing was to check I could get the time off work. There were raised eyebrows at me taking my entire year's holidays in a single block, but in the end it was no problem. I wanted to go to Au Contraire before Aussiecon, so a week an New Zealand followed by 3 weeks in Australia seemed a logical breakdown.

I also started talking to as many previous fan fund winners as I could, and got lots of helpful advice. Ang, Sue Ann and James Bacon in particular have been hugely helpful. I also got a number of offers of places to stay during the trip, which was also fantastic.

I felt it would be a good idea to get my main flights booked as soon as I could, so I at least had the main part of the trip nailed down. I looked at lots of options from various airlines. I did toy with the idea of trying to do a round the world trip, but that didn't seem to be practical, and these days it's best not to travel through the US unless necessary, as I really don't want to end up on the wrong side of Homeland Security.

There were some fairly cheap options for flights to Australia, but the tricky part seemed to be the New Zealand leg. In the end, the best deal seemed to be to book with Quantas as a multi-stop trip. While they were a little more expensive for an Australia only journey, they were a lot cheaper than any combination of flights I managed to find. It should also mean that if anything goes wrong with my flight connection, it's the Airline's fault and they have to look after me.

The next step was planning what to do when I get there. I'll go into my plans for the conventions later. For now I'll talk about what I'm doing around them.

Norman Cates, a former DUFF delegate, was very generous in offering to put me up when I arrive in Wellington. Hopefully I'll get to meet some of New Zealand fans in the run up to Au Contraire,

I would have liked to go to lots of places in Australia. Sydney is the obvious choice, though only really for touristy reasons. However, I was advised that the biggest fan community outside Melbourne was Perth, so a stop-over there seemed a must. I also felt it would be nice to catch up with old friends Damien and Juliette as their 2005 trip was one of the things that sparked my interest in GUFF. After that there really wasn't time for any more stop-offs.

Sue Ann suggest I come to the monthly meeting of MUGS, the Melbourne LEGO Users Group, so keen to forge more links between LEGO and SF fans, I readily agreed.

Booking internal flights in Australia was pretty easy, and reasonably cheap. I hope that JetStar are nicer than Ryanair (I think I've flown with Ryanair enough that I doubt anything will surprise me).

One thing I'm quite pleased about is that my flight on the way out is on a 747 (operated by BA - I hope they don't go on strike), while on the way back I'm on a A380 super-jumbo. I haven't been on either before, so getting to experience the two largest passenger planes on the same trip should be interesting.

I've outlined my itinerary below.

Sat 21 Aug: Arrive in Heathrow, depart for Wellington
I've a few hours in Heathrow. Anyone fancy meeting for a pint there?

Mon 23 Aug: Arrive in Wellington

Fri 27 Aug-Mon 29 Aug
Au Contraire

Tue 31 Aug: Depart Wellington, arrive in Melbourne

Thu 2 Sep-Mon 6 Sep
Aussiecon 4

Tue 7 Sep-Wed 8 Sep
Melbourne

Thu 9 Sep-Sun 12 Sep
Adelaide

Sun 12 Seo-Tue 14 Sep
Melbourne

Wed 15 Sep-Sat 18 Sep
Perth

Sun 19 Sep
Depart Melbourne

Mon 20 Sep
Arrive Dublin
lostcarpark: (Lego Big Air)
I'll be doing a bit of travelling this weekend...

I fly into London, arriving 17:05, then getting the train into London Bridge for [livejournal.com profile] flickgc's and [livejournal.com profile] drplokta's wedding reception.

I'm meeting some people over the weekend, but I'm not quite sure who yet as I'm my usual lazy self about organising these things. If you'd like to meet up over the course of the weekend send me a text (you'll get my mobile number here).

On Monday I'm meeting some Lego fans in Gatwick, and we're flying on to Billund in Denmark where we will be treated to a tour of the Lego factory.

On Tuesday, we'll be meeting one of the Lego designers, then spending a few hours in the Danish LegoLand park. We'll then catch a flight back to Gatwick, and from there I'll get my flight back to Dublin.

I can't wait!

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