Old and New England with Scotland.The cripples on tour.

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mrs.dr.ron

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The food at the LM was not nearly as good as our previous visit.Maybe it was due to Ramadan.Very few curries but things such as straight chilli sambal at breakfast.The EL had a large range of offerings at night but a high proportion were spicy.At least 5 hot dishes each night.

The Manager of the EL lounge told us there was a " theme " each night to the food in the lounge. I said to Ron the theme must be ' where to put the left overs from the lunch buffet ' as there were some very strange combinations. :(
 

drron

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Our flight was from the satellite terminal so went to the MAS lounge there.Reasonable selection of food including 2 curries for breakfast though chicken "bacon" just does nothing for me.Otherwise just caught up with emails and AFF plus read the papers.The rest of the time was spent dealing with a wheelchair drama.They insisted it wasn't in the booking-yet had been for every flight so far including the last MAS flight.Our flight was from the furthest gate from the lounge.finally they relented and ordered a wheelchair.The flight had been called for boarding so about 10 minutes later I went to the gate to make sure we could board.mrsdrron turned up a little later after one of the lounge staff found a wheelchair.Fortunately the secondary screening holds things up so no problems.

So the plane was an A333.here is the J seating-
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It does fully recline but quite an angle to the floor.fine for a daytime flight but I wouldn't want to do an overnight on it.36 J seats and about half full.A fellow in 1F on boarding who had a vacant seat behiside him asked the purser if his wife could come up and sit with him.His request was denied.The strange thing was that as we boarded they were playing Christmas carols.That had also happened in the Paragon dept. store in Bangkok.We were seats 2A,C.

MH135. KUL-BNE. ETD-0945. push back-0945. take off-0949.
ETA-1950. Landed-1940. At gate-1946.

Some shots as we taxied out-
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When seated we were given a choice of juices.Soon after take off a drinks service.here is the wine list-
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So I had the champagne merely because being no champagne lover I hadn't heard of it before.it was OK.
more of the flight next.
 

drron

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So now for the meal service.The Menu-
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first was the satay.excellent.great sauce.mrsdrron had chicken and I had chicken and beef.next came Wasabi prawn and scallops.not a hint of wasabi.So bland mrsdrron didn't think it spicy apart from the salsa.But this too was really mild.
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Next the main course.I had had chicken rending for brekkie so chose the lamb shank as did mrsdrron-
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First as Manu would say on MKR-"Where's the sauce?"The veggies and pasta were very bland.The lamb tasteless and tough.really needs to be slow cooked and these shanks hadn't been.Should have had my second meal of chicken rendang.

The snack before landing was terrible.Very cold,seemed to have been frozen at some point.The cheese was rubbery.They should serve satay again so you would leave with a good impression of their food.
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Service was good in most respects but not exceptional.The one real complaint is your glass would be taken after one drink without an offer for a refill.As well they would come up the aisle from behind and take your glass so no real opportunity to ask for another.Couldn't be bothered so after lunch I watched Hotel Grand Budapest.sorry but this is another film I am glad I did not pay to go and see.
After that I reclined the seat and listened to the Beach Boys,Herman's Hermits,Bob Marley and Cat Stevens.Actually listening to Bob Marley's Salassie and the Chappie the background beat was very similar to Queen's We will Rock You.

Coming in to BNE we had our longest holding pattern of the whole trip.Passing Toowoomba we were sent to warwick,then towards the Gold coast before going out over Moreton Bay to turn back and land.If we had gone straight in would have been 15-20 minutes earlier.
Wheelchair waiting when we deplaned.Through the smartgate help line as no one there.bags out within the first dozen.We did bring back curries and dried fruit-no problems and soon on the way back to the Sunny Coast.Walked in 90 minutes after door opened at BNE so really good time.

So that is a record-finished my TR within 48 hours of getting home.Dont expect this to continue next trip.Will do a summary and a teaser for the next TR.
 
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drron

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So an attempt at a summary in which I no doubt will forget something.
Airfares.
This is obviously the last year of our strategy for optimising status and awards.What we have done is 2 Circle Asia paid J a year and this has been enough to have Mrsdrron requalify as a WP each year and slowly work towards LTG for her.I meanwhile credit to AA and gradually run down the points by getting F sAAver awards to and from the US using Japan as our jump off point because we enjoy being there.This time we added F sAAver awards to LHR and on to NRT.
This trip was the first Circle Asia trip where the only QF flight was BNE-SYD.Reason-as we get older we tolerate overnight flights less and less.So used JAL to NRT and MAS back from KL as they are daytime flights.This trip should earn Mrsdrron 500 SCs.If booked now that will fall to 300.Requalifying WP with our current travel will be impossible.Next year we have already planned a DONE4 which under the old earning would have netted ~ 1400 SCs.Now 990 but should get to the 1200 for 2015.That will leave mrsdrron on 12000 SCs.LTG may become a much longer term goal.

USA.
To really appreciate the US you need to get out of the big cities.Driving is just so easy,do not be afraid.It is amazing just how much there is to see and do outside the cities.A big plus is that generally the folks you meet are friendlier.And as this report highlighted if you are into lobsters there is no better place than the New England area of the US.Shopping is also very good.If you are in anyway larger than average nowhere beats the US for clothes etc shopping.

UK.
Once again driving just makes touring that much more efficient.distances are short and interesting places abound.sure hiring a car is not the cheapest way of getting around but IMHO is the best value.Drivers are polite though a little less so than the US.
If you are into statly homes,castles and historic sites then definitely join the National Trust here before you leave.It means the membership still has value even after your trip.It would also be a good idea to join up English heritage.I would buy a membership which is about the cost of a 16 day pass,much better if you are over 60-
English Heritage Home Page | English Heritage

Disability.
You certainly do get a different perspective when mobility is limited.Not that I or mrsdrron have major problems but we got to experience some of the reactions.The UK is great when it comes to accessibility.Everywhere has wheelchairs and/or electric buggies which are free to use.As soon as you ask to borrow one you are automatically offered free admission for the carer.So don't put of a visit to the UK because of disability.Not quite as good as the US.But in Asia you will get stared at-even if it is just a moonboot.

So airports and wheelchairs.Japan is the standout.The wheelchair will be at the stated place at the stated time and they really do look after you.And if you are lucky you might get Mr.Watanabe at NRT.A delightful fellow.
Bangkok,Hong Kong and Sydney International are all very good with their service.
Dallas was poor-waiting time and every wheelchair pusher must push 2 wheelchairs.JFK,RDU and MIA were better but not up to the standards of the first 4.
Malaysia was a problem.disorganised and a lack of communication.
Worst was LHR.Absolutely shocking though the fellow on arrival into LHR was a lovely fellow and not his fault we had to wait.this is not the fault of BA whose staff tried to get things moving.BAA on the other hand needs a rocket up the...............

Hotels-Hiltons in the UK are reasonable and a good standard of room generally.also quite numerous.Status-well you really don't need more than gold.Even as a silver on points mrsdrron was given free internet,full brekkie in the restaurant,waters and a small gift.
Obviously self catering will be a lot cheaper especially if you are a wine drinker.

One last point.Amazed at how lax Malaysian security was at KUL in light of this years events.

Just remember these are my thoughts and impressions.Others may have totally different thoughts.

So there will be one last post with Setember/Octobers trip.
 

drron

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So to the next trip.This starts with our last longhaul JASA booked last year so better earn at the old rate!BNE-SYD-NRT.
Then 5 nights in Sendai followed by 4 nights in Shin-Sapporo-the Sheraton there leaves SPG a few days after we leave.

Next comes a cruise on the Silver explorer-Otaru-Guam then the next voyage to Lautoka.
We will visit Hakodate then several Japanese Islands before sailing to the Marianas including Saipan and Tinian.
Changeover day is Guam but we will have just 6-7 hours there before continuing on to Yap then PNG with 8 separate stops.
Then comes the Solomons where I am looking forward to revisiting Marovo Lagoon which I visited on a medical clinic boat in 1969.
It is then on to Vanuatu with a few stops including Tanna.
Finally Lautoka and transfer to an old haunt of ours the Sheraton.We first went there in 1987 soon after it was completed.The perfect august getaway from the Hunter Valley.

A few days in Sydney before coming home where we will stay for 6 weeks!

With 29 days on the ship this next TR will definitely not be done in real time.
 

ellen10

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Wow Drron!
A fantastic trip report, so interesting, thorough and lots of great photos. What a huge job for you to undertake and share with us.
Thank you so very much. I love travel and also reading about new places to visit. I have really enjoyed following along with you.
And your summary at the end was most helpful.

I will look forward to your next adventure. Thank you.
 

tgh

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Really good report.. pics are much better these days .. :)

…and I want to see an independent weigh in before I believe that you didn't put on at least 6kg eating all that good tucker every day.
 

amaroo

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Terrific report. I like doing TR's, however I can't see me doing a live on the go report - rather be enjoying the trip than have the head buried in device writing, attaching, posting!

Looking forward to the next one.
 

mrs.dr.ron

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I thought I would add my bit about the trip. We did discuss whether we should cancel the trip after I broke my leg as I thought travelling with a moon boot was not going to be fun - obviously Ron won that argument ! In NYC I didn't get out much at all, I didn't do ANY shopping there - A FIRST ! Most people would ask if I broke my leg skiing ! In the UK, because it was all new to us, I did not get to see anywhere near as much as Ron as I was limited in the amount of walking I could do. I was unable to walk around the towns and when I did cobblestone paths are very difficult to negotiate in a moonboot. I had a few melt downs / lost the plot a couple of times to which Ron would give me some Lindt chocolate or a couple of glasses of wine ( or BOTH ) and he would go out and take some photos and hope I would have calmed down by the time he got back :shock: In Asia (BKK & KL) moonboots must be rare as I was stared at all the time when we went out of the hotel. It really was annoying. Japan gets the gold star for wheelchair service at the airport, it was perfect. And the UK and KL get the raspberry for the worst.

Now we are home and I see the orthopaedic surgeon on the 11th and hopefully it will be bye bye moonboot for good.
 

OATEK

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I thought I would add my bit about the trip. We did discuss whether we should cancel the trip after I broke my leg as I thought travelling with a moon boot was not going to be fun - obviously Ron won that argument ! In NYC I didn't get out much at all, I didn't do ANY shopping there - A FIRST ! Most people would ask if I broke my leg skiing ! In the UK, because it was all new to us, I did not get to see anywhere near as much as Ron as I was limited in the amount of walking I could do. I was unable to walk around the towns and when I did cobblestone paths are very difficult to negotiate in a moonboot. I had a few melt downs / lost the plot a couple of times to which Ron would give me some Lindt chocolate or a couple of glasses of wine ( or BOTH ) and he would go out and take some photos and hope I would have calmed down by the time he got back :shock: In Asia (BKK & KL) moonboots must be rare as I was stared at all the time when we went out of the hotel. It really was annoying. Japan gets the gold star for wheelchair service at the airport, it was perfect. And the UK and KL get the raspberry for the worst.

Now we are home and I see the orthopaedic surgeon on the 11th and hopefully it will be bye bye moonboot for good.

I think you were fantastic to take it on, and survive so well.
 

Julesmac

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What a terrific report drron & mrsdrron. I'm amazed you had time and were so diligent in your updates. Well done & much appreciated by all, I'm sure. As it is based on the experience of well seasoned travellers, plenty of great & insightful tips. It was also very interesting from the perspective of managing with a disability - albeit just a temporary one. Why not see if you could become fully paid "Secret Shoppers" for one of the chains - and then tell the rest of us how to manage it - now that would be the best FF tip of all time.
 

drron

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She really did a lot better than expected.As well the meltdowns now are really mild.

Thanks for all the encouragement.
TGH-it was only 4Kg but no independent source will be sought out.The first Kg has already been dispensed with.On returning from our trips I usually lose 2 Kg in the first week or two.
 

ellen10

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Well done Mrsdrron!
I love your method of coping, Lindt chocolate and wine sounds like my type of medicine!
Seriously you both did very well to do as much as you did. I'm amazed at your resilience.
And I am glad you had a great time, even with the moonboot and loved reading your trip report.
 
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