Hello and welcome to my 6th trip-report, part 2!
This map and all other maps in this TR created with www.gcmap.com, copyright Karl L. Swartz.
6th TR: Asia-Trip – AB,AZ,AF,NH,MU,KA,TG,RJ – Part 1: Featuring the flights to SIN and back, departing from TXL, arriving two days later in BRI.
This is Part 2:
— BRI-FCO —
My alarm rang at 6 o’clock in the morning and it took me forever to get up and pack the things I had used into my bag. Just anothern sign that there are more relaxed things than flying to SIN and back in less than 48 hours. But what was I complaining about? This was the third day of my self-chosen odyssey, which would lead me to Tokyo today. I managed to be out of my room at 6:45 AM and checked out at the front desk. Just ten minutes later I was sitting in the hotel bus on my way to the airport of BRI where we arrived after a short drive of 3 minutes.
The FIDS in the departure hall, at 6:59 AM, 51 minutes prior to scheduled departure:
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Ryanair check-in counters in the foreground, Alitalia counters in the background:
Before going to sleep last night I had used AZ online-check-in, which had worked flawlessly this time. Probably, because this were AZ flights being operated by AZ, too. I went to the baggage drop-off and just had one passanger in front of me. When the lady behind the counter checked my passport and booking she started printing out new boarding passes, seats not changed. I gave her a questioning look as I already had printed out my boarding passes she said that she had to issue me new BPs and asked how long I would stay in Tokyo. I told her that I would just be staying for a few hours before taking my next flight. That made her smile and she handed me the new BPs. I guess she wanted to know if I really would be taking the return flight on AZ as booked, which I would not take. But I had not lied to her either, as I just told her I would leave again after a few hours, what was true, too, as my flight on NH to ITM was leaving just a few hours after my arrival at NRT.
I directly passed through security, which took about 1 minute and sat down at my gate waiting for the boaridng announcement. Here the gate area:
My aircraft just before boarding:
Boarding started right on time at 7:20 AM. I waited till most pax were onboard and then went through without waiting. Minutes before, the long queue of pax all eager to board the aircraft:
Date: 26 November 2012
Flight: AZ 1608
Aircraft: Airbus A319-100
Aircraft Reg: EI-IMP
Departure Airport: BRI / Bari – Palese
Arrival Airport: FCO / Rom Fiumicino
Scheduled Departure Time: 07:50 / 07:50 AM
Actual Departure Time: 07:50 / 07:50 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 08:55 / 08:55 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 08:41 / 08:41 AM
Seat: 23F (window)
View from seat 23F with a Ryanair 738 ready for boarding:
Cabin view prior to departure:
Pushback and departure were right on time, take-off from BRI:
Service again water, tea and coffee only, I spent the time reading a story about the new CLS Shooting Brake:
Some views of these wonderful mountain ranges in the middle of Italy:
Approaching FCO right over the city, flying right over “Termini”, Romes terminus main train station:
Final approach and landing:
Passing a lot of company A320 series aircraft:
Parking at our “bus gate”, another apron parking position:
Some technical work being done at the company aicraft to our right. It looked like the guy was pumping something out of the aircraft. Waste water? Hydraulic fluid?
Under-wing shot, Markus-like:
We had landed at 8:39, were at our parking position at 8:41 and inside the terminal at 8:50. Way before our scheduled arrival time of 8:55. Another heads up to AZ! First stop after leaving the bus, the FIDS, gate G07 for me today:
— FCO-NRT —
Inside the terminal it looked like I had a walk of 10 minutes plus to my gate, but with more than 90 minutes until boarding time this was no hassle:
On my way to the G-gates I stopped at several shops selling electronic stuff for a travel charger, but they all claimed to be sold out or not having something like this in their portfolio. (Remember, I had forgotten my DSLR battery charger in the lounge at SIN and stil had to use my little back-up cam.) At least I found a shop for sweets and got a box of Rocher. Passing through the shopping mall named FCO:
Taking the airtrain to the G-gates:
A view of heavy AZ and CX metal at their apron parking-positions:
Gate G7. You see the lady at the desk looking at me? Right after I took the picture she came running to me and told me not to take pictures of the counter.
Some views of the mighty tripple-seven which would take me to NRT, I love the engines:
As I had a lot of time until boarding, more than one hour, I even took part in a survey about Italian airports. Don’t know if I really took part, because I was bored or because of the beautiful Italian lady asking me to do so. Whatever, she got what she wanted. later I had “breakfast”, a “little” box of Rocher:
Boarding time was 9:55, but nothing happened. Nearly 15 minutes later, at 10:09 boarding was called, stating with Business Class pax, Economy Plus, frequent fliers and Economy in two groups in the end. That was the plan, but it was not enforced, which is a thing I hate. So everyone stormed up to the gate agent and was let onboard, no matter which class or status they had. It took me about 10 minutes to board the aircraft, this really looked like a light load this day.
Date: 26 November 2012
Flight: AZ 782
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
Aircraft Reg: EI-ISB
Departure Airport: FCO / Rom Fiumicino
Arrival Airport: NRT / Tokyo Narita
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:45 / 10:45 AM
Actual Departure Time: 10:45 / 10:45 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 07:00 / 07:00 AM +1
Actual Arrival Time: 07:00 / 07:00 AM +1
Seat: 27A (window)
We boarded through door 2L, this is my seat 27A for this long flight to Tokyo. Matter of fact, seats 27 A, B and C were my seats for this flight as it turned out very quickly that this flight had a load-factor of under 30 percent.
That is how my row looked for the first half hour of our flight until some other pax claimed the block of center seats and and block of starboard seats:
Massiv wing of this 777-200ER:
Thanks to the light load we had no problems pushing back right on time. When the flaps got extended to their take-off position after pushback I was amazed at the crust of oil and other substances on the wing. It seems like AZ is learning a lot from AF, hohoho:
Lining up on runway 16R this time (it was 25 yesterday):
Take-off from FCO, passing the airport terminals while lifting off:
After take-off we flow a nearly 90 degrees right turn out over the Mediterranean Sea, before doing a 180 degrees left turn to get on a Northeasternly course to Tokyo:
Passing the airport again while making landfall to its South:
Our departure route:
Legroom would have been an absolute disaster on a plane with a high load factor, me knees were pressed againt the backrest of the seat in front of my while taking off. The IFE box was huge, taking up a lot of legroom, too. I could have lived with 3-4-3, but not with this seat pitch of 30 to 31 inches. Shame on AZ for this layout.
Acceptable sitting like this:
The seatback with the folding tray table, IFE control unit and IFE display. This is an older AVOD-system, but IMO acceptable, even for such long 12-hour-flights.
Movable headrests, I really like this feature a lot:
Wing after we had reached our initial cruise level:
My reading light was not working and when I touched it it fell out from the ceiling. I pushed it back in, but it was still not working. Good that I had two more of them.
Right after take-off the crew served drinks and a snack. They were super friendly and even made some jokes, apparently they were lucky, too, to have such a low load this day. I spent the next one and a half hour reading in my Tokyo guidebooks.
After the drink-run the crew came around handing out this cards, asking us to take part in a survey about the experience onboard. I took part the next day before going to sleep in Tokyo:
I used the time before dinner was served to explore the cabin and took this snapshots showing the light load this day:
Another wing-view while dinner was served:
The great crew handing out dinner:
9511 km to go, while flying into the arriving night:
IFE finally activated:
I took the japanese dinner option, baked chicken with rice and soya sauce, loved it, tasted fantastic:
After some time the crew picked up the trays again and asked everyone to close the window blinds. The cabin lights were turned off and it was time to go to sleep. I used the reading light to read one of guides for another 90 minutes and then went to sleep, too. I woke up a good hour later, because of one the flight attendants was chatting loudly to a female passenger one row behind me. That happened to me before on an AZ flight in 2008, back then the chatting went on for the whole flight. This time I got up and just wanted to ask her to be quit as most people were trying to sleep, but when she saw me getting up she apologized without me having said a word and I went back to sleep after taking these photos of the inflight-map and and more or less dark cabin:
I had problems sleeping that night, probably because I had crossed to many time zones in the past three days. I still tried sleeping, but woke up multiple times. Heads up to the crew for doing multiple drink-runs and keeping us hydrated. At one point, somewhere over Russia, I went to the galley and picked up somehting to drink . I met the purser there and asked him about the load-factor. He told me that 140 persons were onboard today, which is not much on a 293 seat aircraft, but more than I thought. The next photos show some towns somewhere over central Siberia, but they can not show the beauty that met my eyes. I could see all stars on a cloud-free sky, the wing was lit up by the very bright moon and small towns were lighting up the clouds from below. That is one of the things why I love flying, the world looks beautiful from above.
I went back to sleep, but only slept in 30 minute intervals. A good hour before landing at NRT breakfast was served. It was a cold, European breakfast, but very good.
While approaching the West coast of Japan the descend started and the sun was rising in the East.
We overflew Japan made a few turns to the right after we had overflown the East coast and turned back on a Westernly course to NRT.
While making landfall Mount Fuji became visible in the South, lit up in the red and orange tones of the sunrise. Wonderful!
Final approach and landing at NRT:
While taxiing to the gate I got a small glimpse of this DL hub:
VN A330 on a gate to our left:
I waited again for most passengers to leave the aircraft and then asked if I could take a few shots of the flightdeck. Premium Economy:
And finally, the flightdeck of the mighty 77E:
Arriving in the Japan, my first visit to this country:
Welcome to Japan
After the last photo the battery of my backup-cam gave up, so this left we with the camera of my smartphone (Samsung S3) and the photo function of my video-camera. Good for me that the Samsung has quite a good camera as long as enough light is available. And my bag had made it:
After passing customs and immigration, landside at Japan:
Exchanging 120 Euro into 12500 Yen:
Afterwards I bought a train ticket for the Skyliner, one of two Express trains running into Tokyo city, and went to the train station. I had about 40 minutes until my train would arrive, but could spend the time using wifi thanks to my Boingo account:
The train arriving:
At 9:15, exactly on time the Skyliner arrived at Tokyo Ueno station, were I changed into the Ginza metro line into the city:
I left the train at Ginza station and went into a camera store (BIC Camera, found at multiple places in Tokyo) and bought a charger for my DSLR battery. But buying the charger was not an easy thing to do. No one in the shop spoke English or wanted to speak English (typical shyness). It took three attempts to find a young, female sales assitent who could help me. And despite her broken English, she could sell me the product I needed. FINALLY! From that store I took the Yurakucho line to Nagatacho and from there the Hanzomon line to the Hanzomon station. From there I had about 300 meters to my Hotel, the Grand Arc Hanzomon, directly on the Westernly end of the park surrounding the emperors palace. More about that later. I checked-in, dropped of my bags at the reception as the room was not ready at this time and left again.
— HND-ITM —
Taking the Hanzomon, Ginza and JR Yamamote line I reached the Hammamatsucho station, where I bought a ticket for the Tokyo Monorail, which then took me directly into the domestic terminal no. 2 (owned by NH) of Haneda airport:
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Inside the domestic terminal no. 2:
My 14:00 / 02:00 PM flight to Osaka-Itami apparently on-time, leaving from gate 62:
I tried to use a self-service-machine, but only got a receipt telling me “Contact ground staff with this receipt”:
I went to desk 14 doing the check-in for this flight about 45 minutes prior to departure. I waited for about 10-15 minutes in the queue and then got my oldschool looking boarding pass. Good thing that I had already chosen my seat while booking the flights.
I hurried through security and arrived at the gate 10 minutes prior boarding time. Here she is, the 787-8, what a wonderful looking aircraft:
YouTube-Video of my aircraft seen from the terminal:
The gate area:
Gate information display even showing aircraft type and a small 787-picture:
Another photo JA809A:
Date: 27 November 2012
Airline: ANA – All Nippon Airways
Flight: NH 027
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Aircraft Reg: JA809A
Departure Airport: HND / Tokyo Haneda
Arrival Airport: ITM / Osaka Itami
Scheduled Departure Time: 14:00 / 02:00 PM
Actual Departure Time: 14:00 / 02:00 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 15:05 / 03:05 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 15:05 / 03:05 PM
Seat: 17K (window)
That wing! WOW! I already ask you to forgive me to post endless wing shots of the 787, but it looks so fanastatic, especially from inside the aircraft. And the flex when taking off and more so the “deflexing” when all the lift gets killed off on spoiler-deployment after touching down:
The huge engine:
Security card, 787-8:
Everything was on time, we taxied out and took off Southeasternly direction, followed by a long right turn:
Climing away from this huge Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area:
Legroom was okay, the layout overall a little bit tight (domestic 3-3-3), but acceptable.
IFE-box installed, it seems NH wanted the option to reconfigure the domestic aircraft on short notice for international use:
No IFE, configured for domestic flights only:
Demonstrating you the electronic-dimmable windows in the 787, the right window not dimmed at all, the left window completely dimmed (photo 1), half dimmed (photo 2) and not dimmed, too:
Shortly afterwards we flew past Mount Fuji and had a wonderful view of its peak. I really hated not having a fully loaded DSLR with me now:
Service was BOB only on this domestic flight. Here another wing view while overflying some mountain ridges on Japans Eastcoast:
I walked around taking some cabin photos, getting a lot of weird looks from the other passengers, rear Economy cabin:
Middle Economy cabin:
Front Economy cabin, with Biz Class being located in front of that cabin. Have a look at the dimmed windows, too:
Descending into the Osaka region, the trees already getting the wonderful red and orange leaves, typical for the Japanese autumn:
While approaching ITM the lady in the aisle seat asked me to stop taking pictures. I obeyed for a minute, but could not resist taking more photos from the landing:
Landing at ITM:
Parking beside a company 767:
I was not allowed into the flightdeck system “due to regulations”, so I took this photos of the 787s’ nose, great design:
— ITM-HND —
From leaving the aircraft to reaching the check-in counters it took me less than 10 minutes:
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It took a while to pass security, but I still had 20 minutes left until boarding time. My aircraft being prepared for the flight back:
The gate 10 waiting area:
Date: 27 November 2012
Airline: ANA – All Nippon Airways
Flight: NH 032
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Aircraft Reg: JA809A
Departure Airport: ITM / Osaka Itami
Arrival Airport: HND / Tokyo Haneda
Scheduled Departure Time: 16:00 / 04:00 PM
Actual Departure Time: 16:00 / 04:00 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 17:10 / 05:10 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 17:10 / 05:10 PM
Seat: 17K (window)
Boarding commenced on time, in a very orderly manner, typical for Japan as I found out. Here is the new Boeing PSU unit including their new vents. The unit is not only featured on the 787, but all other aircraft with sky interior, too:
Wing view before pushback:
As this is the same aircraft as on the outbound flight I will focus on videos for this inbound flight to HND.
Take-off and climb-out from ITM
Descend over Tokyo Bay and landing at HND
The nearly empty Monorail back to Hammamatsucho station:
And from Hammamatsucho station back on the Tokyo metro on the way to my hotel, “a little bit” more crowded now. Tokyo rush-hour:
— TOKYO —
Despite the interior of the hotel rooms not being brand-new, everything was clean, I got free wifi and I had a wonderful view. My hotel room:
Not to be missed out in Japan, the heated toilet:
The hotel lobby:
The horel restaurant where you can get some great food:
When I arrived back at the hotel around 6:30 PM I went to my room and wanted to close my eyes for 10 minutes. I had planned to go down afterwards, have dinner and plan my touristic program for the next days. But what happened? I did not wake up again until it was 11 AM on the next day. I had lunch in the hotel restaurant and then took the metro to Harajuku, where I visited the Meiji Shrine inside the Yoyogi-Park:
From the Yoyogi-Park it is just a short walk up to “Harajuku”-Street, which is basicly packed with shops for girls, focussing on clothing like school-uniforms and everything out of the cosplay- and emo-world. Can not describe it any better, so please don’t feel offened if you are inside that world. Quite crazy, especially if you see the people wearing all this costumes. Afterwards I continued South to Shibuya, a district of Tokyo famous for its shopping malls, bars and love hotels. Here my photo of the famous Shibuya crossing, a so called “all-go-crossing” in Japan. (Taken from the local Starbucks.)
I continued on to the next Burger King, where I had three Whoppers, plain and then strolled through the stores and malls in the area, passing many bars and internet-/gaming-cafes full of young Japanese people. Quite a nice place that district. After a visit to “Tokyo Hands”, a huge department store I strolled back to the train station and took the trusted Hanzomon line back to my hotel. The next photo is taken out of my hotel room, the emperors park very dark on the left, the districts from Ginza (left) to Shimbashi (right) lit up in the distance, with the Tokyo TV tower out-shining all the skyscrapers.
On the next morning I had to get up early, which was still very difficult with all these flights in my bones. I took Hanzomon and Maronouchi lines to Tokyo station and from there on the JR Yamanote line to Hamamatsucho. This time I did not change to the monorail, but left the station and entered the Tokyo World Trade Center just a few meters away. The Tokyo WTC is home to at least two large bus companies doing tourist trips throughout Tokyo and the surrounding region, but also many more companies offering long-range, domestic bus-travel. I had prebooked a trip with one company via Expedia to Mount Fuji and Hakone this day. We had a speedy bus driver and a great guide, speaking very good English. Due to a lot snowfall in the last days we were not able to reach the highest bus station, so we had to return from the third last station IIRC. Here you see me smiling in this winters sunlight, just a few hundred meters away from the top of Mount Fuji.
Mount Fuji as seen from a bus-stop on our way to Hakone:
Hakone was a cool place, too, despite it being a little bit smelly, because of all the free sulfur in the air (Mount Owakudani at Hakone is still a active vulcano). We took a cable-car up to Mount Owakudani and had a good time taking a lot of photos there from all the vulcanic action, sulfur coming out of the mountain at many places. We even could see Mount Fuji in the distance, because we had such a clear sky this day. The bus then took is down to the north end of Lake Ashinoko, from where we took a “pirate ship” to the southwestern end of the lake, where the bus picked us up again. After that wonderful day, which I had enjoyed to the fullest, I got dropped off at Hakone station. With some other tourists I had decided to book the premium option, which would take us back to Tokyo 30mins faster and in style, travelling with the famous Shinkansen high-speed-train.
Needless to say the ride with the Shinkansen was great fun, but even more interesting was to see the Japanese rail system at work. Most corridors have four parallel tracks, even at small stations like Hakone. “Through-trains”, which just stop at important stations, take the inner tracks and pass the small stations at full speed. My Shinkansen, stopping at multiple stations was travelling on the outer tracks, thus not slowing down the faster non-stop-trains. I was tired after returning from my trip, had dinner at the hotel and went to bed early. On the next morning I took the Hanzomon line to Oshiage, where I went up on the Tokyo Sky Tree. An amazing experience at 520m above this huge, never-ending city out of concrete and skyscrapers all around.
I went around the Sky Tree and took photos of all directions and later stitched them to a nearly 180 degree panorama. I recommend you to click on the image and download it from my site to feel the city in full-size.
From Oshiago I took the trains to Akihabara, Tokyos electronic district, a crazy mix out of hundreds of stores for any electronic good you could think of, mixed with maid-cafes, a paradise for the nerd in every man. Unbelievable! I took the following photo in front of some crazy store, where like hundred Japanese men of every age were waiting in a row to get an autograph from the two young ladies in their cosplay-clothing. FOR WHAT REASON? It’s Tokyo. I loved it. The people are so friendly their, they can do what they want, it’s a total different culture compared to Europe (or any other country I guess).
I had dinner at the local “golden M” and then took the Ginza line to Ginza, from where I had a nice walk through Tokyos poshest district, in westernly direction to the emperors palace. If you don’t book a tour far in advance you can not enter the palace, so I just took some shots from the outside and the surrounding parks.
Again I went on the train and got to Hamamatsucho again, where I went up on the World Trade Center and enjoyed another view over Tokyo and Tokyo bay. I then continued by foot to the Zojo-ji shrine. Here I could view some locals practice the rite of lighting up some incense sticks and speaking their prayers. Another few hundred meters by foot led me to Tokyos TV Tower, from where I took my third panorama that day, this time by night. Probably the best place to see Tokyo from above. The WTC is too far in the South, the Skytree is too high and too far in the Northeast of the town. Afterwards I went to the train station again and went to Roppongi, Tokyos “party-district”, at least that was the case in the 80s and 90s. I had dinner there and said goodbye to this lovely town and went on back to my hotel.
— NRT-PVG —
I had a hard time already leaving Tokyo, I wanted to see more of the city and swore to come back. Despite leaving the city, another let-down for me was, that I was feeling ill that morning; I think I had catched a cold. I packed, checked-out at 7 o’clock and then took the metro back to Ueno, from where I took the next Skyliner to NRT airport, terminal 2 this time. In the train I drank a Pepsi NEX, which is not available in Germany as far as i know. Very tasty, better than Coke Zero.
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There was a first passport control after the train station:
After I had changed my Yen into Chinese Yuan, I went to the FIDS, to check where my check-in-desk was located: MU272 to Peking/Beijing via Shanghai, check-in-desk B
NRT Terminal 2:
The MU check-in area where I waited more than 20 minutes in the queu. I know, it does not look packed, but they were in incredible slow. Well, I was in holiday-mood and did not care, I had already selected seat 33A while booking and everything worked out fine.
As I had more than one hour to pass until boarding-time I went up to the Airport mall, where I had pancakes and also visited the outdoor viewing-terrace:
About 15 minutes before boarding I went back into the terminal and passed security, which took not more than four minutes (I know, I know, I should have left the terrace earlier, but I was lucky):
I took the airtrain and was at the gate at 10:23, 2 minutes before boarding time:
The gate area:
As soon as the young gate agent went to the microphone everyone lined up. I joined the queu after most others were onboard, what did not take very long, at 10:41 the boarding was complete.
AI 777 at the next gate:
Date: 01 December 2012
Airline: China Eastern Airlines
Flight: MU 0272
Aircraft: Airbus A330-300X
Aircraft Reg: B-6097
Departure Airport: NRT / Tokyo Narita
Arrival Airport: PVG / Shanghai Pudong
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:55 / 10:55 AM
Actual Departure Time: 10:55 / 10:55 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 13:00 / 01:00 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 13:00 / 01:00 PM
Seat: 35A (window) (changed to 33A)
Onboard my first A330:
As I had another person seating in 35B I changed to 33A where I enjoyed the freedom of having two seats for myself. Then something happened what I never expected to experience myself. It was so crazy that I only knew it from kid-hating a.netters and hollywood-movies, a small boy, age 8-10 started kicking into the back of my seat with all his power, like ten times. He was sitting alone in 34A and no parents were to be seen around. After the fith or sixth kick he started saying “fat man, fat man” in comibination with the next kicks. I started to look around for his parents, other Chinese pax were also looking over what was going on, but noone felt responsible for the young lad. I turned, grabbed his hand through the space between seats A and B and told him to shut the f*** up and behave. He just gave me a stupid smile and sat back in his seat. Craziest experience ever, I mean it was a small chinese boy, you can not harm or shout at him, but that nobody felt responsible for him was not normal, too. It turned out, that he was an UM, but the flight attendants did not care a bit about him. More about him later…
Wing-view on taxi-out:
A house of one of the NIMBYs who does not want to give up his estace on the NRT grounds (or an airplane enthusiast, who knows ^^):
Nippon Cargo landing before we got our take-off clearence:
Take-off and climb-out:
Above the clouds, finally sunshine again:
Legroom was okay…
… but having two seats is better:
Overhead PSU without air ducts, I hate airlines opting against them, especially with my cold I felt hot and wanted some cold air blowing on my head:
Soon after take-off the first drink-run was done with some tasty nuts as a bonus:
About 20 minutes later lunch was served, I could choose between fish and beef and took the beef option. I sorted out the vegetables and had a very tasty lunch (only the little cake tasted very flavorless):
After lunch I filled out the immigration card, then took a stroll through the cabin. The interior was a little bit dated looking, but fine for an intra-asian flight. BTW, we were all asked to close our windows as we came closer to the Chinese airspace:
Inflight wing-view with great weather, just very dirty windows:
After I had returned to my seat, another drink-run was done and the small boy started talking to me again, I guess you remember him. But to my astonishment he was totally friendly this time and tried to start a conversation with me. His English was really good for a 8-10 year old. He said things like “I am a boy from China, and you?” and “I have pets, fish, and you?”. I gave him short answers as I can’t be really angry at little kids, at least not for a long time. What also was annoying that a lot of pax were continuously pressing the call-buttons, the ceiling looked like a christmas-tree at times. There have been two drink-runs on that short flight and the chinese pax treated the flight attendants like slaves ordering drinks to their seats the whole time. While I hate lazy FAs, I would have just stayed inside the galley as a FA on that flight.
After the boy had asked me all his questions he started running around for at least 30 minutes, talking to all pax close to him, even getting the old lady in the aisle seat in the middle section to stand up and look through his window; I guess because of the nice blue sky. When the boy finally was so tired, that he started sleeping, I started sleeping, too, instantly. About an hour later he must have woken up and instantly woke me up, too, with pokes on top of my head. I looked at him and he asked me if it is bad in the USA. He probably thought that all white men come from USA and are very bad people. Strangest flight I ever had in my whole life. My cold was not getting better, I was really feeling tired and lucky when the descend started. Nearly there:
Descend through some thick layers of clouds:
Shortly before landing the boy got up from his seats despite a FA waving him to sit down again. He ran into the BizClass to his apparently favorite FA, a young chinese girl. At least he had a good taste. She came back with him, tugged him into his seat and went back to her own seat. While we were flying some rounds in a holding he got up again after one minute and started laughing at all the people around us with an outstretchted index finger. This time the FA stayed at her seat, what made him run to her just before touchdown and stayed up front in biz class or on the lap of the FA, I don’t know. Did I say “strangest flight ever”?
Overflying some industrial area around PVG:
Passing a MU A343 just before touch-down:
Touchdown, the first time on chinese grounds!
Air Macau A321:
KL 744 rotating:
Parking at gate 13:
When the passengers started to get up the boy came to his seat and told me “get up, get up now”. I ignored him and waited for everyone to leave and was allowed to visit biz class and the cockpit:
My airplane head-on:
It was a long walk to immigration as we arrived at the domestic part of Terminal 1, so that this aircraft could fly on to PEK with the same flight number. In just two days, this would be my flight, too. Taking a picture from the Chinese security did not seam to be a good idea, because I was stopped immediately when fondling with my camera, when looking at some pics, while waiting in the queu. But at least there were friendly “Ni Hao” signs everywhere. After passing the immigration (what took very long) I picked up my baggage, which again had made it. YES!
I walked to the Maglev/Transrapid station (what felt like quite a long way with my cold getting worser) and bought a return-ticket. All pax have to wait in some waiting area before being allowed onto the platform (after the train had arrived). After everyone had enough time to take a few photos we boarded the train, which runs to Longyang Road outside the city center of Shanghai, just a few miles away from the airport. But better 5mins in the Transrapid, than 25 in the packed metro train.
This train only reached 301 km/h, the speed depends on the time of the day.
The Transrapid at Longyang Road station:
Quite stupid to not let the Transrapid run up into the city-center, so it takes another 15 minutes from Longyang Road with the metro up to Nanjing Road. Here I disembarked and walked the 20 minutes to my hotel right at the Bund (Bund is the seafront at the Huangpu River, which seperating Shanghai and Pudong). Old houses on the way to my hotel:
The Hyatt on the Bund, my hotel for just two nights:
I said just two nights, because it was a wonderful hotel, excellent kitchen and great service, a true 5-star-house IMHO. Here my room above the Huangpu River:
Pudong Skyline across the river, photo taking out of my room:
Sad thing was, that the cold was really, really bad now, so I went to bed, because I know it would be better for me like that, I had to save the rest of the trip. I had plans for that day, but instead slept 6 hours. Then I had a great all-you-can-eat buffet-dinner at the hotels restaurant, before I went back to my room, took the following photo (panorama-stitch from two shots) and then slept again:
So with a half day lost I had to make the most out of the next day, I still felt tired, but better. I started the day with a long tour southwards down the Bund:
From there I walked off the beaten pass down some small roads with old houses and about hundreds of shops for music instruments:
Newer skyscrapers in central Shanghai:
I had lunch in this renovated old houses, quite a nice place, with a lot of restaurants:
I walked on, via times square, normal housing districts to see something outside the tourist areas and back to the Peoples Square, from where I took the metro to Pudong. I went up on the Jin Mao Tower, where I found this modell of the planned ARJ21:
After a excellent dinner in a restaurant under the Jin Mao Tower, the Blue frog, I took some more night-time shots of the Pudong skyscrapers:
I then headed to the Oriental Pearl Tower (Shanghais TV Tower). The view from the tower was great, much better than the view from the Jin Mao tower:
I took the little train inside the Sightseeing Tunnel back to the other side of the river and relaxed at the Bund for another 30 minutes before it got too cold. I was feeling much better now after that whole day outside in the “warmish” air of Shanghai (around 12-15 deg C). Goodbye Shanghai:
Except for a few vists to Thailand before, this was my first visit to multiple Asian countries. And I loved it. Culture, people, buildings, history, everything you can get as a casual tourist. I loved the 787, the design, the look and feel, but also the feeling being inside this beautiful, new airplane.
Tokyo was fantastic, the people were great, I loved the country immediately. China was a cultural shock after visiting Japan. The people are much more reserved than the friendly Japanese. But still a great place, with the mix of historical and new buildings that I love.
– AZ was great again, friendly crew, very caring about the passengers, everything on-time.
– NH was fine, everything worked out on this domestic run. I still hate the concept of LCCs or just serving coffee, tea and water. And that is what NH is doing on its domestic flights. Unacceptable for such an airline.
– MU was great on their international flight. Good food, friendly cabin crew and great cockpit crew while visiting the flightdeck. A little letdown was the crew performance regarding the unaccompanied minor.
– BRI: efficient little airport, fast and convenient.
– FCO: A little old, but it did work, fast connection, everything on-time, worked for me.
– NRT: Modern, efficient airport. What else to say? Nothing special regarding the core facilities, but it had a great visitor terrace and a nice and quiet overall feeling.
– ITM: No comment, as I was there no longer than for 30 minutes. It worked for me.
– PVG: Long lines at the security, long ways to walk, but modern and clean. No real complains here either.
To be continued in Part 3…