A Longer Trip to Hokkaido

Finally we were on our flight from MCY. Must have been strange for the passengers on the flight to MCY being diverted and kept at BNE until another plane was found. A very unusual arrivals board. Not many 738s from BNE land here.
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The VA flight that was meant to arrive 2 hours after the original QF flight was here.
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Although no rain there was a lot of low clound soon after take off. It cleared as we neared the Gold Coast.
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But then more cloud. What was to be a lunch flight was now a snack flight. But what Auusie could complain about Sausage rolls,tomato sauce and a beer.
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Well actually the sausage rolls were a little strange.
 
Coming into SYD it was one of the few times we have gone onto final approach and landed without a delay. Just as well as several on the flight were going to have very tight connections. We came in under the clouds.
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And then the rain got heavier.
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Again no delays on our taxi and straight o the gate. The crew asked everyone to remain seated to let the people with tight connections get off first. I did note a couple that abused the request because I noted them on boarding. They came late and started a second lane when there was only 1. They had their BPs showing and I noted they were in row 20 and had no OW status showing. Also during the flight the fellow used the front toilet. Though there as a fellow from row 6 who went to the back. One gentleman and one entitled bogan.

Another plus from QF. fter I was off I noted my wallet wasn't in my pcket. it had slipped out of the pants I was wearing before so I went back to the gate agent and told her my wallet might be on seat 8A. She went back and came back with my wallet. Well done. Mind you basicly all it had in it was my Medicare card. Mrsdrron crries the cash and my cards are on my phone. But hard to give up a 60 year habit.
 
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No just strange. The filling was orange colour and looked nothing like beef. Nor tasted like beef. I should have looked at the ingredients but later wondered if it was plant based meat.
Though it does say Beef Sausage Roll @drron - challenge out there for an AFFer to post the ingredients!
 
Got a shonky cab driver to the IC Sydney. Had the meter running but it was turning over quickly. Then charged the toll rate for large cars and small trucks.
Check in though was excellent this time so we got a premium king on a high floor with East Harbour view. We only arrived at 4.30 so it was a quick freshen up and off to the club. Got a few photos from our room first.
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But by the time we got to the club the view basically disappeared.
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The food offerings. Good quality but not much variety and no sweets.
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The hot dishes are brought around and really are tiny. This is one of the 2 -vegetable pakora.
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The other was a baked oyster with cheese and chilli. unfortunately way too much chilli and tiny oysters.
 
Sunday started with breakfast at the aster which is used for club breakfasts. great views and good food though they took their time with restocking the buffet.
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We then went to the Lord Dudley hotel in Paddington for lunch with the family which will be the next post. After lunch we needed to walk back to our son's place. Passed an interesting bit of history.
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These units were initially a bus depot in the 1890s. in those days the busses were horse drawn hence the Stables.

So the club on Sunday night. very quiet so offered lots of the 2 hot options but we didn't really need much after our lunch.IMG_9567.jpg

And evening views.
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So back to the Sunday lunch with the extended family in Sydney. These days means just 8 people. We all went to the Lord Dudley in Paddington . An olde English type pub.
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Most had the Sunday roast - either Chicken or Pork.
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The oldest and the youngest of us had something different. Our youngest granddaughter had a steak.
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I reverted to my childhood and had lambs fry and bacon.
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Not the prettiest dish but very nice. The evidence-
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I washed mine down with a Coopers Pale Ale.
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Not a bad place for lunch on a miserable Sydney winter Sunday.
 
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"Monday, Monday, can't trust that day
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way"

Well Monday was a day full of twists and turns. I started off by leaving my iphone charger in the hotel. Next a very good taxi driver charging half of what the fellow coming in charged.
No problem getting Mrsdrron's FF number changed from her QFF to AA number. The agent was a bit bemused seeing she has no status on AA. But we are in J so the QFF number would make no difference. She needed AA activity by the end of July to keep her points alive.

Once again my bags were sent to secondary inspection but the agent just looked at the xrays and just handed them over unopened. Up to the J lounge which was pretty busy on a Monday morning. Only had a coffee. The breakfast offerings aren't that good.

The new boarding System was to start the next day. But it was unusual. lots in the premium line but no one in the economy line. The gate Agent kept repeating that it was a full flight and anyone with a larger carry on should check it at the desk. always followed by if you can't fit your large carry on in the overhead lockers when you board it will be checked in but on the next service. I only saw 4 get their bags checked.
I also saw a first for me of a way to get to the head of the queue. As soon as boarding was being announced a couple went into the Y lane, put some garbage in the bins there and kept going to the head of the premium queue and they were boarded.

It was interesting watching the CSM go about his work. he was very efficient and pleasant. But spent time with 1A,C then 2D who had a WP tag on his case and 3d a younger woman who appeared to be staff. We as AA and BA didn't get to have a long chat nor the 2 ladies behind us. It was a daughter taking her mother to have a trip on the Ghan for her birthday. But 1D also wasn't chatted to and that was Sir Peter Cogrove. certainly a famous Australian.

A breakfast flight. Quiche, over fried eggs or granola. Mrsdrron went for the quiche and I had the eggs which was the right choice for me as I really liked grilled tomato.
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A bit later also a packet of biscuits.
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I spent my time on the internet. the first 2 hours were in the clouds and after that vast desolate country. From the map this was near the QLD/NT border.
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We were about half an hour late into DRW. when taxiing there was a line of 6 military A330s. They took off as we were collecting our bag and the rental car. That was a bit of a shambles. A long wait then our car wasn't in the main lot so had to back track.
 
We are staying for 3 nights at the HGI Darwin. Fortunately a direct route in which passes officeworks so I stopped to buy a new charging cable. I couldn't find them so asked a staff member. When I said what I was after he said so you left it on the plane. No last night's hotel. I bet it was black he said. Of course. So I suggest you buy this bright blue one. Much easier to see. Such a simple idea that I had not thought of before.

Check in at the HGI was quick and pleasant. had a little giggle when she said thanks for being a silver member. We were given a room on the top floor and I thought maybe there was a little note on my profile after my recent problems. But then I looked at the floor plan. Probably the worst room on each floor. Oh well not too bad a room but needs a bit more work. No USB outlets, water pressure of shower hopeless.
So we refreshed ourselves,unpacked and decided to go for a drive and find somewhere to eat. But a problem. Couldn't find the room keys. Absolutely no where to be found so got new keys done on our way out. Still haven't found them. But back to the room.
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And the views from the small balcony.
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You have great taste @JohnM. we found Moorish last November when our cruise stopped here. It really is good. So lunch today was there and we are booked again for Thursday. But back to Monday.

We went to the waterfront precinct and walked around. Decided to eat at Wharf one. Said it opened at 4pm for happy hour and it was just after 4.30pm. The waiter comes around with the menus and the Happy hour starts at 5pm. Oh well just played on our phones to 5pm. The menu.
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And the view from the restaurant.
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Fighter jets were virtually continuously flying around but they were too fast for me. But the helicopters were much slower.
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At 5pm we ordered the bottle of Sav Blanc on the happy hour menu. $7 off but came with complimentary dips. Wasn't expecting this.
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Then we shared the fantastic rice wine pickled scallops.
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Carpaccio.
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Citrus cured yellow fin tuna. Excellent.
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And the wood grilled baby octopus. really nice.
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The service was excellent and we recommend this place.
 
Not long after we got back to the hotel the room started shaking quite noticeably. Lasted 2-3 minutes. about 10 minutes later another short,less severe shaking. From an earthquake in the Banda sea directly north of Darwin. So ended an eventful day.

Tuesday was a laid back day with first an aimless drive around Darwin. First Cullen bay then a wide circuit going past the Parap markets,Casino,mindil beach and East Point and back to the CBD. We walked around a bit at Cullen Bay to locate the Greek Restaurant we enjoyed 20 years ago. Still there but a different name so we booked for Wednesday night. Some pics there.
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A couple of churches back in the CBD.
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But we were back in town to have lunch at the restaurant we went to when we were here a day on a cruise last November - Moorish.
Here is the menu.


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They do have a pretty extensive wine list as well. the food next.
 
Mrsdrron had a glass of SB and I again went with the Coopers Pale Ale.
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Unlike our last visit the restaurant was pretty quiet.
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We went with the tapas menu. First with the scallops which were wonderful.
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Then the very nice spiced lamb strips.
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Pork belly.
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And nice half quail.
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Then the coconut and lime barramundi (Kokoda/ceviche) which I loved.
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Then desserts. I had the Italian Anchovies which were superb.
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Whilst mrsdrron had perhaps her favourite dessert - Turkish delight ice cream with strawberries. It does come with a chocolate sauce but she declines that.
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Really beautiful food and I heartily agree with @JohnM that it is worthy of a visit if in Darwin.
 
After lunch I went to the GPO and picked up a bit more Japanese currency. Then on to Woolworths where we had parked the car. Got some nibblies and a bottle of Sav blanc from BWS for the evening. Back to the hotel and I had a nanny nap. First since my current back problems.

So that brings us to Wednesday. The morning and early afternoon was the time for us to be tourists. First we visited the Flying Doctor museum though most of the museum is about Darwin in the war. Darwin was certainly the largest bombing raid by the Japanese on Australia in WW2. There were however many others including Broome and Townsville but mainly the airfields constructed in the northern NT.
My father was on his way to Canada for pilot training but got off loaded at Adelaide with what turned out to be Ulcerative colitis. On recovering he was sent to the NT as part of the airfield construction units. Pre war he was in the Town Planning Dept. of Kuringai council. So he was given the job of supervising the sanitary arrangements. So he became very good at building Flaming Furies and long Drops.
However 2 of the airfields he was at were bombed by the Japanese whilst he was there.

But to the modern version. certainly will impress many with the technology. Only took 1 photo there.
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Basically because I was more interested in the Flying Doctor section having known a couple of them and many interactions when working in more remote areas. Everyone knows about John Flynn but I learnt a bit more about others that were an essential part of the success.
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And a good act by Qantas.
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Then Alfred Traeger who designed the pedal radios and helped build the radio system.
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Next Flynn's successor. Fred McKay who oversaw a great build up of the organisation and many other efforts to help those in the outback.
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Then displays of the various aircraft through the years - just a selection.
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Then we went off to the Botanic Gardens where we thought we would have a light early lunch. mrsdrron ordered a maple marinated sweet potato salad and I a pulled pork sanger. Both were really good but much bigger than expected.
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So we had to walk lunch off.
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