22 August, 2011

Xi'an - China!

OK, this IS a little late, but I am 'back dating' so as to keep it all in order, OK!

We arrived into Xi'an thanks to China Eastern Airlines. This was an interesting adventure, in that it was my first time on the carrier and the first time into China itself! True, I had been to Hong Kong, but mainland China, this was all new! We managed to clear immigration quite quickly, although the young lass at the counter was quite efficient in checking all of the documents! She corrected a couple of misplaced/aligned strokes of the pen to make sure that she actually 'worked', but who am I to complain!!!

We caught the bus into the center of Xi'an, and the hotel was a mere 3-4 minute walk. And my goodness, the swarm of cabbies that greeted us was amazing! We politely said no... No... NO I lost count just how many times I said this, but they just didn't seem to get the message!

Checking into the hotel, which was right opposite the Bell Tower, was also hassle free, and we were up on the 6th floor. When we opened the room we had a great view outside to the Bell Tower! We quickly unpacked, and thought about what to eat for dinner... And would you believe it, we had McDonalds opposite!!! It was more of a matter of quick and easy - it was late and we were tired...

So in the morning, we woke early, and (again) headed over to McDonalds for breakfast as it was not included in the tariff. We then came back to the lobby, spoke to concierge, and we had a driver for the day to take us out to the 2011 International Horticultural Exposition. It would take some 45 minutes to get out there, and it was nice to have someone doing the driving... It was CHAOS out there!!!

Bell Tower - Xi'an Night

Bell Tower - Xi'an - Day

Until I get my CF card data recovery done (it got corrupted whilst transferring pics to laptop), I will post about the Expo at a later date...

Hoo roo for now... ------

21 August, 2011

Doing the Kai Tak Trek...

Today, we did the 'Kai Tak Trek, in that we headed for the infamous, Checkerboard! It was the navigational aide for the arrival path for the old Kai Tak. It could certainly do with a repaint nowadays, AND inclusion to the Heritage List!!

After this epic walk (in the heat) we then headed off to the new airport for a bit of spotting and cool... The Airport Express got us there in relative style, and if nothing else, it was cool!! We shot some interesting aircraft, most of which we don't get at home, but every time a Cathay A330 came in, it was cameras down...

The 'Checkerboard'

'J' spotting...

Pufy Cloud

Stormy Cloud (didn't happen though)

9th Green Marriot

Hoo roo for now...


20 August, 2011

A day in Honkers...

Today, was always going to be an interesting day... It was just HOW interesting! It started off with the sorting for washing, a calculus error, and then out and onto the long sardine can called the train!! It is actually a good service, better than Cityrail CityFAIL back home!

We eventually got to Hong Kong Central, and made our way down to the Pier where the Big Bus Tors stand is located, purchased tickets and on we went. It was another WARM day here, and both J & D stayed downstairs in the AC whilst I went upstairs. Once we got going though, there was a nice cool breeze! we saw the sights, many, and we reached our stop at the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak. This is a well worth visit, so I will let the pics tell the story!

On the buses...

Property anyone?


St Mary's, Hong Kong

Shopping Strip


Bamboo Scaffolding

Ding Ding

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

Tiffany & Co.

Hoo roo for now...


19 August, 2011

A gondola to a Buddha and Night at the Harbour!

This will be quick as its late, and I am tired (even after a nap this afternoon!)!!

Today, we went out to Ngong Ping for the Gondola up to the Big Buddha. It is a wonderful trip up, as last time I was here it was foggy, so I was really happy to see clear(ish) blue sunny skies! It also offers some fantastic views across over the airport!

Hong Kong Airport

Once at the top, we headed over to the Po Lin Monastery Gate, and then onwards to the Big Buddha.

Water Lilly

Where are we??

Po Lin Monastery Entrance

Big Buddha

Big Buddha

It was a very hot day, and glary on the eyes!!! We then headed out to the HAECO facility, after some advice from a local mate, but as it looked like some incoming clouds, we thought it best to head back into town... We had a nap before heading into Hong Kong itself but thanks to a VERY long line for 'The Peak' we headed across the Harbour on the Star Ferry!! Here is a panorama I got tonight!

HKG Harbour Panorama

Hoo roo for now...


18 August, 2011

Travel Day - KUL to HKG

Today was an early start, and was to be a travel day between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. It started early, and after a quick breakfast at the hotel, we headed (via taxi) to the airport... It was hazy, warm and humid, and it was 6am!!

We checked in easily enough and cleared immigration whilst chatting too some girls heading back to Brisbane... We eventually got to the gate to find that the scheduled B772ER had been swapped for an A333 instead! J stayed with the bags whilst D &I went to get a coffee... I swear, it would have been quicker going to Hong Kong and getting the coffee's there!!!

We soon boarded, interesting in itself, with lots of people and well behaved kids. There was a tour guide, well, we'll call him the 'Telly Tubby' as he was prancing around organising everyone like nothing else!! It even carried through onto the plane!!

Anyways, we were held for a little while (all up, c. 60 minutes) but eventually we headed out to 14R past the 'Observation Deck' (which was behind glass...).

Kuala Lumpur "Observation Deck"

Once in the air, breakfast was served, which was an omelet, sausage, tomato mushrooms (Fungi) and bread, with fruit salad and a Creme Brulee! It was very yumm!!!

I managed to get a little sleep as well, as there wasn't any PTV, and the seating was, well lets say, COLOURFUL!

MH Breakfast

We eventually entered into Hong Kong airspace and started our decent into Hong Kong. It was, despite the menacing clouds, quite clear and sunny (and warm and humid)!!!

China Sea somewhere

Approaching HKG...

We got to the dog box hotel, and unpacked and headed around the corner to get a local SIM card for our phones (and iPad), before crossing the road to the train into Kowloon for the light show... It was a bit of a let down, but as I am tired, I will edit photos and post int tomorrow!!

Hoo roo for now... ------

17 August, 2011

A day in KUL

OK, today was supposed to be a day on the tour bus (Hop-on Hop-off, to familiarise ourselves with KL. We also planned on going atop of the Petronas Towers. We did the bus thing, got on at stop 1 (around the corner from Hotel) and got off at stop 22, Petronas Towers... Got to the area to buy tickets, only to find that there was no more tickets for the day... How cranky we were!!

Royal Crest

Old Steam Engine

Well, disgruntled as we were, we jumped onto the bus again, and headed for the KL Tower. There was no issue at all here for us, we paid to get up to the top of the tower and (apart from the hazy) were not disappointed from the 360 degree views!! It was amazing to say the least!

After we got down from the heights, we NEEDED a coffee, found a little coffee shop and headed out to the verandah to sit and rest... Then OUT from the trees they came, the monkeys!!!

Monkey Feeding

Monkey Family

Monkey KL Tower

When we got back (eventually) I went to the front desk to enquire about wanting a swim in the pool under renovation... The previous evening, the duty manager said he could arrange another location, but today it was an offer of a dinner or a massage... Needless to say, I took up the offer of the 60 minute massage!!!

Hoo roo for now...


15 August, 2011

The trip to KUL...

OK, the trip to KUL was fairly uneventful, except for the change in tyre prior to being pushed back, but that only made us 20-30 minutes late... But once in the air, service was fine, food was good, I had the lamb curry for dinner, as did J, and then the chicken roll prior to arrival! We met up with D in the airport, and eventually got to the hotel for a late dinner and bed!


Yesterday, we caught the monorail and headed up to KL Sentral (Little India) and explored the area of it sights and scents... Here are some pics!


Back Lane KL Sentral

Fountain Roundabout KL Sentral

Main Drag KL Sentral

Patronas Towers Day

Eventually through the day, there was a storm, some lightening and thunder, and we dodged it pretty much. After dinner, we headed over to the Petronas Towers for some night shots as well...

Patronas Towers night

So, that was our first day in KUL, more tomorrow!!

Hoo roo for now... ------

10 August, 2011

WW No. 52 - Grasshopper on Camellia

Grasshopper on Camellia

Hoo roo for now... ------

01 August, 2011

Getting use to the 7D

OK, now I know that I am no photography expert, but the learning curve UP from my trusty old Canon EOS 400D to the 7D has been a steep one. I have had a bit of 'coaching' from the side (thanks guys) and I am slowly getting use to it. However, the biggest thing I have issue with, is the location of the power on/off switch! On the 400, it was operated by my right thumb, and on the 7D, it is on the other side of the body... So yesterday, in an emergency to get a shot, I found out on numerous times, that I needed to turn it back on, DOH! But, this is only a minor thing to get use to!

Whilst out yesterday, mainly for an afternoon of lunch and spotting with some mates for the USAF C-17 arrival, I also got out the macro filter and shot some stuff; Mouse Eared Chickweed - which is of course, a weed growing in a lawn nearby...

Mouse Eared Chickweed

USAF C-17_03

Hoo roo for now...