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David makes his way to Vladisvostok

Day 1 sees me (David) departing the hotel near Auckland airport at 4:00am. While the hotel lobby looked empty the hotel shuttle was pretty much full so I'm not the only silly one.


Check in saw me finding the flight was leaving half an hour before the scheduled time on my itinerary, so wheels up for Sydney at  6:20am. A window seat, no neighbour and Clint Eastwood movie, The Mule, made the transtasman leg pretty comfortable. While officially flying China Eastern it was in fact a Qantas Airbus 330-200.


With a 4 hour layover until the next leg to Beijing a casual stroll through the transit lane, a tea and muffin saw me watching the carefully choreographed, I assume or maybe hope, dance of domestic and international flights. The old 747 still brings a smile to my face with a sense of wonder that something that ponderous can fly - only saw one, a Cathay Pacific freight flight land and taxi in. .


By comparison watching a Singapore Airlines A380 taxi in  left me under whelmed - to my eye they are not asthetically  pleasing. With an hour until departure my home for the just over 12 hour leg to Beijing rolled up to the gate in front of me.


Sciatic pain all the way to Bejing and no way to ease it made the run very uncomfortable. 32 degrees in Beijing airport and either no or ineffective air conditioning saw a long warm wait at the transfer counter for the girl to turn up to issue my boarding pass. Neither of the two guys present appeared interested in helping or could even provide a definitive answer as to when the lady would be back. Needless to say this was the beginning of what I'll term an entertaining experience in Beijing Capital Airport. Too tired to get angry lol

Midnight dinner a muffin and cuppa tea from that American stable, Starbucks ($NZD9), the only food place I could find open out of the total of 4 I found. (Since typing this I looked up and spotted those great food icons KFC and Pizza Hut - somewhat ironic that the only food available is American fast food), The airports undergoing massive amount of retail fitout so this will no doubt change.


25 1/4 hours down, 5 1/4 to go until I land in Vladivostok where I'm thinking the first order of business will be hotel then bed for a few hours while I await the arrival of the others.

One bonus was the offer of a very cheap upgrade to business class that was too good to turn down. Beijing airport redemed itself to an extent with the staff hunting me down in the lounge to upgrade my baggage (only carry on) and then pulled me out of the queue for priority boarding. After some 27.5 hours on the go a little pampering was just the thing to finish what has been the longest day of travel I've ever "suffered"

Orange juice galore, lovely spicy chicken with nicely cooked rice and a warm bread roll, followed up by a slice of cake with a cuppa tea while I watched the sun come up from 30,000 feet or so


Have to admit to having some trepidation about flying Siberian airlines but great service, nice clean modern Airbus so no complaint here S7 airlines. Surprise surprise no complaints about the food on S7 either.

7:00am sees me landing on Russian soil for the first time. Straight through immigration and as only carry on luggage straight out into the terminal. Only issues are currency exchange not open until 8, the only cafe won't take cards or us dollars and absolutely no seats in the terminal.


With a few hours up my sleeve before I can check in time for whatever meal it is, apple struddle and a peanut butter crossiant


And a wander to take in some sights



After nearly 37 1/2 hours without sleep I'm surprised how I'm still functioning. Think I need a beer to help me sleep


Posted by Zamiam 21:18

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I hope you have a good rest. Best of luck with the trip. Going to be awesome.

by Nigel Green

Glad you got there ok ! Peanut butter croissant ? Enjoy your sleep xx

by Liz

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