Modern Dystopia

Tag Archive: Travel

Back Breaking Baggage

I was browsing through my Google stats and noticed that someone visited my site after looking up “baggage limit in china airlines Sydney”. Wow, what a bizarre search to return my website I thought.

Of course I do have an article talking about my experiences flying China Eastern Airlines. So obviously there’s a link, but what I find amusing, in my own quirky way, is that it made me think of the back breaking load I subjected myself (and the airline staff) to.

China Eastern Airlines has a maximum baggage weight of 20kgs for economy class travellers. When my bag was weighed on departure it came in at a whopping 31kgs! The check-in assistant didn’t blink an eye, she simple slipped a ‘Heavy, 2 person lift’ tag on it and sent it on it’s way to give some poor baggage handler a hernia. I was, quite naturally, relieved at not being asked to pay an excess baggage fee.

Returning from France I topped that even, with 32kgs! My carry on luggage luckily wasn’t weighed, because I estimated that to be about 25kgs all up as well. With camera, books, laptop and leather coat etc.

Did I get lucky? or are Chinese airlines a bit more relaxed about these things? perhaps it was the fact that on each and every leg of my trip the planes weren’t full. So they had a bit of extra capacity. Anyway, there you go. To the person that was wondering about weight limits, I hope this gives you an answer, albeit not an official one. if you want to check out their actual site and I realkly think they’re a fine airline to fly with, go here: http://www.flychinaeastern.com/ or here: http://www.ce-air.com/cea2/en_US/homepage

Shanghai to Paris




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Originally uploaded by Gomisan

Back to the regular program.

A quick blog on the Shanghai to Paris leg of my trip. I had about a 4 hour stopover in Shanghai, the airport seemed huge and semi deserted at the time I flew in. Signage wasn’t particularly clear but I managed to find my way through.

Of note was the insistence of immigration control to see my flight details, luckily I had requested a copy, and printed out my e-ticket! Flight Centre hadn’t supplied this without my prompting and it was needed! Luckily my printout seemed to suffice after it had been looked over by a couple of people and they stamped my passport and let me on my way.

I found my way to the departure area, and was passed through not one, but two security checkpoints. First my baggage got a cursory scan then I had the full empty pockets, laptop out, face scanned by a camera, body scanned with a wand treatment.

From there to the departure lounge, which had a long row of duty free shops, but a very poor selection. A few clothes, some perfumes and chocolates etc, but no tech gear. I had really been hoping to pick up a small video camera for Tania but nothing like it to be seen.

I was tired, and hungry so I sat down in a little cafe there and paid some ridiculous amount for a ham/cheese sandwich, some fries and an awful apple/celery juice which tasted like water.

I was also hanging out for a cigarette, and I had overheard someone mention a smoking room, so I sought it out. A dingy tobacco stained room, walled with tiles and metal benches. I think I’ve posted a photo on Flickr. Certainly put me off enjoying the smoke, so I returned pretty quickly to the gate and stretched out on the seats and tried to get some rest.

The flight itself was pretty uneventful, if a bit long. Over 12 hours. Again I had two seats to myself, my neighbour having spotted a free row of four and taken himself off there to stretch out and sleep! In fact it seemed half the plane reorganised itself to get more comfortable the flight must have only been half to 2/3rds full.

The predominance of frenchmen/women aboard was notable, and the inflight “Sunshine Callisthenics” had none of the participation I had seen on the first leg, rather I think I was one of the few who took part, and it really helped again!

Paris, zipped through immigration, short wait for my bag and out. No customs check! felt weird to just be allowed to walk out without having my stuff inspected, I guess I’m used to Australia’s stringent requirements. I made my way to the train, absolutely stuffed by this point.

Trains are trains anywhere, I got on, got off, shoved my way through peak hour crowds of parisians, got on another, got off made my way to the platforms where I needed to be for my train to Briare.

Of course that makes it all seem rather simple. Not so! I’m not travelling light, and really couldn’t sit down. Escalators were out in one station and I had to haul my baggage up a long flight. I’d left my Paris to Briare train ticket back in Australia and with a few phrases of french hastily texted to me by Helen I tried to sot out a replacement. This is turns out, is impossible. I had to buy a NEW ticket. Fuck. Except, they had my reservation, so they sold me the same seat again. Red tape gone mad. It was lucky I did have a reservation though, as I hadn’t realised I was travelling at the start of France’s biggest national weekend and the trains were all full.

So on train to Briare, next stop, seeing my Mum and John for the first time in 5 months!

Leaving Sydney




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Originally uploaded by Gomisan

OK, I’m finally catching up on some blogging. Only a week late!

In my last post I was on King St Sydney and about to meet up with Nina and friends for dinner.

Well Megan had dropped me in town and I wandered down towards King St, stopping by a number of shops on the way. Gallery Serpentine, Reactor Rubber. Then on King St Istarted spending money, first at Slim’s Vintage, then at Faster Pussycat. Both great little shops, and to be honest if I’d been there earlier in the day, and it hadn’t been cold and raining I would have explored more shops and probably been broke before I even left Australia.

Dinner was at Cicciolina ( http://www.cicciolina.com.au/ ) and it was FANTASTIC! I had the Seafood Hotpot and it was just mouth wateringly to die for. Fresh water scampi, king prawns, black mussels, calamari, fish fillet, garlic, chilli in a basil tomato sauce. If you are in Sydney, and get a chance don’t miss it.

After dinner we drank cocktails at a cool cocktail bar across the road whose name escapes me. But suffice to say they were damn nice too and I sucked down quite a few.

All this left me with a bit of a hangover as I boarded my flight to Shanghai. I’ve posted a pic from the plane. Pretty much standard fare I guess, if maybe a bit less sophisticated than Malaysian Airlines. But I gather China Eastern Airlines are one of the biggest chinese airlines so I wasn’t too fussed.

I must say the food on the flight to Shanghai was actually really good, and the flight attendants friendly. The plane was mostly filled with Chinese heading home and the whole atmosphere on the plane was good. I was lucky and had 2 seats to myself, which gave me room to stretch and get some sleep. Something that was appreciated also was the inflight callisthenics that they did as the flight grew near an end. I woke from a half sleep to see almost everyone on board waving arms about in unison, and I quickly joined in. The difference it made to my stiff tired joints was miraculous!

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. My next blog will continue from Shanghai airport. I’ll try and get it written after dinner.

Sydney




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Originally uploaded by Gomisan

Ok, so this has to be one he most photographed landmarks in the world. But it is very photogenic, so I haven’t been able to resist. I took this Sunday when I was wandering about with my cousin Megan.

We’d just been to an Aroma & Spice festival, lots of coffee, tea, spices etc. The Sydney crowds were so huge though that it was pointless even trying to get a taste of anything. We ended up meeting up with friends of Megan’s and went to a bar for drinks instead.

It was the Harbour Bar, part of the Park Hyatt I think, a bit pricey, but nice and comfortable. Good to meet new people, Tammy, and Paul, who it turns out was the drummer for Icehouse and plays with Sneaky Sound System and a few other names who I’ve quickly forgotten.

I’ve been kept busy here. Helping Megan bumping in & out a show at The Shangri La where she was donating her time and displays to promote her business to the hotel industry (it was an industry function). Lot’s of walking about Sydney too, though without much money to spend I can’t exactly enjoy all the shops 🙂

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I’ll post another blog when I’ve uploaded some more photos. Go check out my Flickr page there’s more shots of the Opera House. LOL.

Get me back to France!

After my short trip to France last year, I really want to get back. Even more so because my mum has now moved their permanently AND she is getting married there in July!

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Things have been really tough financially this year though, so my savings are a meagre $700 out of an estimated $4000 that the trip (including airfares) will cost me.

So… live vicariusly through me, sponsor my trip to France and i’ll send you a special photo taken just for you. Hey I’ll even include your name in my book of photos which I’ll be self publishing when I return!