Friday, 31 August 2012

We have arrived

It has been a very long couple of days but we are now all unpacked and feel like we can relax a bit.

We had a good night in Tokyo and went for a lovely walk n the morning in the hot sunshine. So nice to get out after being in a plane for the whole previous day. We got to the airport n plenty of time and got through customs no problems. Even though we were just in economy class we had good seats behind the bulk head so had heaps of leg room - not so good when the kids needed a sleep as the arms didn't fold up. We flew ANA and the staff were so lovely and attentive. The flight was only about three quarters full so also meant we got a bit more attention.

It was a long flight of over 12 hours so arrived in Paris very tired. We only had two hours before our connecting flight to Toulouse so managed to race through security - there was no customs! The bags came quite quickly so we headed for the train to take us to the domestic terminal. We discovered At this point That the Paris airport is not designed for travelers with lots of bags - we had seven suitcases plus 4 carry on plus three very tired children. Trolleys were not allowed up the travelator to the terminal train shuttle and were also not allowed on the train. This was a bit of a challenge and then we we got off the train we had to get All our cases up the very small lift. Jasper disappeared up the escalator but waited At the top thankfully. We then found a trolley only to go a short distance to discover a escalator we had to go up. We found some lifts, waited in the que and eventually got to the right place. We had made really good time and had done all that in under an hour and still had over an hour before our flight left. We discovered that this was not long enough! Our flight had Been oversold and because we were near the back of the line we got bumped off. I was so cross and told them so. They were helpful and managed to get us three confirmed seats. We said we were happy to go to the gate And see if there were any no shows although thought this unlikely as everyone had boarding passes. Amazingly two people didn't show and we got whisked on. I think everyone felt a bit sorry for us and certainly didn't try too hard to find the missing passengers!

Penelope and jasper slept the whole flight to Toulouse and when we arrived the shuttle was there to meet us and we got taken to our apartment. It was 8pm by now so we all got into our pjs and climbed into bed. Due to sleep n the plane and the fAct that in NZ it was the middle of the day the kids woke at 2am and stayed awake! Hopefully we all sleep a bit better tonight!

I am so proud of the kids though as it was a huge journey and they travelled so well with no complaining or tears. I do now agree with my friend Suzy who told me that it can be the last connecting flight that can be the killer - we certainly had that experience but thankfully it all worked out ok. Ido wonder how the other 2 passengers felt when they arrived at the gate to find that it was too late. Oh well I'm sure they wouldn't have minded catching the next flight three hours later.

Well James has just Arrived home from work with our brand new car, so I think we are going to head to the mall and get some lunch then go to the supermarket.

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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

No turning back.

It was a nice early start, we were on the 6:30am bus to the airport. Intake two trollies and the kids carrying a bag to take all our stuff. 11 bags in total, 4 carry on and 7 checked in.

I got talking to the lady behind the counter, her son wants to be an aircraft engineer. Needless to say we got confirmed seats and our baggage wasn't a problem.

The lady behind the counter must have really liked us, especially when she found out that I was going to Toulouse, as she gave us Business Class seats all together!

The kids did well on the trip, it was long and being in Business Class, put a bit more pressure on them/us to behave. They were good even though they talked really load with the noise canceling headsets on!

The trip was long and we all watched a lot of is huge. And we can tell this just from the airport and the few km to the Hotel. We are staying at the Hilton, which is nice, except that the travel agent didn't change the dates when she changed my flights, so we ended up getting charged a bit more.

It is very hot and muggy in Tokyo. We headed straight down to the pool as soon as we could.

We decided not to get any room service as the kids were tired and it was going to take too long.

I'm sure I have felt at least 3 aftershocks, but then it could be my imagination.

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Location:Narita Hilton hotel

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

In Auckland

Had a good flight to Auckland and managed to get here with all the bags and all the children!Luckily we were the only passengers on the hotel shuttle bus as we took up all the bag space at the front. Hannah and Penelope were very excited when we got to the hotel and saw there was a pool. The fact it was outside didn't deter them and they both got into there togs. Penelope put one toe in and decided it was too cold but Hannah was determined to give it a go! She got in up to her waist and then declared it as being freezing so got in the bath in her goggles and togs instead!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Trip planned

Went and picked up our visas today and have now got our air tickets and accommodation sorted. We fly to Auckland on Tuesday, stay there for the night and then fly to Tokyo Wednesday morning. We stay in Tokyo on Wednesday night then fly it to Paris then down to Toulouse.  Will be a long three days but good that we have day flights and staying in hotels at night.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Moving day

All feeling a bit tired after a day of busyness with packers here. We are surrounded by boxes and a half packed up house. I am desperate to tidy everything up but just have to be satisfied with Cleaning cupboards.

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Location:Hemingway Pl,Christchurch,New Zealand

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Back in NZ and nearly home

Well it all went pretty smoothly really, all the flights were on time. I managed to get about 5 hrs sleep got though customs and immigration.

Even had time to catch up with my boss at work before catching this flight down to CHC.

35mins and I'll be home.

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Location:Somewhere over the lower north island at 32000ft


Well I didn't sleep much at all on the flight to HKG. I watched another movie and read. I don't feel too bad and I hope that I can get some sleep on the flight over.

There is a thick brown fog hanging around outside, that briefly clears every now and then to reveal high rise apartment blocks that look more like beehives. Through the fog, you can just make out the silhouette of the mountains rising steeply behind the apartment buildings.

It is a very busy airport with planes coming and going all the time.

Just waiting to be called - it will be nice to be home.

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Location:S Runway Rd,,Hong Kong

A little of London

I arrived nice and early in London. So early that I could of caught the earlier flight to NZ via LAX, but it was too difficult, I had to ring the NZ staff travel office, which I did, only to discover that the phone number is not recognized. I decided that it would be good to have a look at tower bridge and Covent Garden, as they were two places that I wanted to see on the way to TLS, but didn't have time.

I am always surprised at how slow the London underground is. It took about 1:20hr to get to tower bridge. When I came out, there were people everywhere! I mean thousands. It was like a football match had just finished, except these people weren't going anywhere. Lots were going into the Tower of London, but most were just enjoying the sights and soaking up the atmosphere. The Tower Bridge looked good with the Olympic rings hanging down below.

I didn't hang around, I made my way to Covent Garden which was even more packed. London is just going off, there are people handing out free stuff, buy a newspaper get a free union jack flag ( or 3 if you talk nicely to the girls selling the paper).

I wished I could have stayed longer, but there were problems with the trains in the Underground, so I knew I had to leave enough time to get back and get my bags that I had stored at the airport, if I didn't get back within 4hrs I would have to pay double. I caught the Piccadilly line one stop from Holborn to Covent Garden and it was horrendous with people cramming into the train. I decided that rather than try get back on to the overcrowded, slow Piccadilly line, I would walk back to the Central line that was less crowed and went a lot faster and hook up with the Piccadilly line later, which is what I did. When I got to the Bag Drop, I explained that I was only a few minutes late and do you think she could let it slide - "No" was her answer in typical British fashion, "the computer dose it all, it is out of my control, sorry" she wasn't in the least bit sorry, but the computer was, and it only charged me for the 4hrs anyway, much to the disappointment the pretty young blond cow behind the counter.

I made my way through security and immigration. Had a diner before going to the gate.

On an old 777-200, still it all good in Business Class. So I have now watched two movies and we are not halfway to HKG yet. My plan is to try stay awake as long as possible so that on the next leg I can have a better chance of sleep, which will get my body clock closer to NZ time.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

On the way Home

I spent this morning re-packing my bag. Last night I spent a bit of time, working out how I could fit all my stuff into one bag so that I wouldn't have to worry about excess baggage. I had two things making this difficult.
1st - As I brought two bags with me, I needed to put one into the other. I hadn't accounted for the weight of that bag. So even though I had room for all my stuff, it was too heavy.
2nd - I have six bottle of French wine to take home. I thought that I had it sorted last night, the answer was to carry five of the six bottles has hand luggage.

So this morning as I was having a shower before going down to Breakfast, it suddenly hits me - I can't take liquids on an international flight in my carry on. So now my big suit case has a slightly smaller suitcase inside it, + six bottles of wine and not much else. My carry on is now full of clothes.

I drop the car back at Airbus, and catch the Airbus shuttle to the airport. I am going to be spending a bit of time at the airport, so I'm glad I have my iPad to keep me entertained.

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Location:11582m above France

Monday, 6 August 2012


After a late start ( to allow the effects of last night wear off) I drove to the medieval town of Albi. I went with one of the Emirate pilots that are staying at the hotel next door. His name is Mark and is from New Plymouth.

The drive up was quick and easy thanks to the toll roads. You really feel like you are in some sort of racing car game as the roads are smooth and fast.

We parked in the underground carpark and once out we were in the middle of a square, which had kids playing in the water fountain. It was very hot, and I did feel like stripping off and joining them, but I'm not too sure the locals would have approved.

We made our way through the narrow streets to the huge cathedral that is made out of brick. It is the biggest brick cathedral in the world.

We kept walking seeking shade as we went as it was soo hot. The town is on the banks of the river Tarn. There are three wonderful old bridges that go across it, one was built in 1040.

With the towers of the Berbie Palace, it looked very Fairy tale like. I will have to make sure that I bring P here

The views from the other side of the river were stunning. If it is this impressive, now, then it must have been even more so a thousand years ago.

Being so hot, and having walked around for quite a while, I thought that I deserved an ice cream or should I say Gelato.

The food in France is amazing and I'm sure I have put on weight. This is a lolly shop that was full of the most amazing treats.

Location:Albi .

Thursday, 2 August 2012


I'm having diner in the most unusual restaurant. I had a look at the menu outside, and assumed that it was the Specials as it only had one dish on it -Steak. I had heard that there was a restaurant down this way that served good steak, but there was always a que to get it, so this can't be the place.

I decide to go in. A lady in red, greets me and holds up one finer and says un - yes table for one. I wait for the menu, they bring me some water. I wait a bit more for the menu, they bring me a salad. Ok looks like I'm having a salad. It seems that no one will come near me until i have finished my salad. Finally a waitress in yellow comes over, " how do you want it cooked?" So that wasn't the Specials, that was it! As I look around, I notice that, yes everyone is having steak. But some are having fancy steak that is served on a raised silver platter, heated by two candles. What happens if I want to try that as well.

I look up and there it is -the que. There are about a dozen people out side waiting to get in. You think that with the que they would be in a hurry to get you your meal. But not so. Once you are in, they look after you. I like that.

It turns out the salad only served the purpose to make you not feel guilty of having just steak and chips. Because that is all it is. Here is my meal.

As you can see, I got a steak on my plate and one on the plater as well! It is very nice, but not the nicest steak I have ever had. It comes cut up for you. It is done just right, rare - I asked for medium, as I have already found rare means raw.

The que outside is huge now, well over 30 people. The people at the front now took nearly 20 mins to get there!

I order my dessert. I use the new App on my iPad and it fails me. I order what my iPad tells me is a under the heading of ice cream, a chocolate house, but it turns out to be chocolate cake. I apologies to the waitress, and together we work out what I want.

The que has died down a bit now.

I was going to bike around until I found a restaurant, but the bike stand near the hotel was empty. The one near the restaurant is full.

These are bikes you can hire. For a week it cost €5 or €25 for a year. The first half hour is free, then it is 50 cents per half hour after that. I'm glad I didn't bike as I am soo full I need to walk it off. I'm not use to seeing all the homeless, drunks on the street and I feel nervous with my iPad in hand. I reflect that, that was yet another 3 cooked meal day. Well at least I didn't have a big lunch though, I had Fish and ....oh yeah, chips. Let's not talk about what I had for breakfast. I looked in the mirror this morning and was motivated to go the Hotel gym. Looks like I'd better go tomorrow as well.

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Location:Boulevard de Strasbourg, Toulouse.