Myanmar/Burma: After 1 week of slow/limited email

My Android phone had 39 app updates!

Though even now I’m having problems posting photos to my blog from my phone, which might have been due to an app update while I was in Japan, and not just a connection speed.

Singapore Airlines: German Monty Python

Singapore Airlines has quite the entertainment system, with a good interface, including 289 movies and 459 TV shows, grouped into categories (eg for movies: new releases, European, Chinese, world, kids, arthouse, favourites, documentary, design film fest and stage performances inc 2x Cirque du Soleil – I hadn’t heard of Quidam), inc this month a Robin Williams tribute, and Monty Python.

I had no idea that in 1971 Monty Python wrote and performed a (mostly) exclusive episode for German TV, inc a German version of the classic Lumberjack Song (see below, video to follow, though subtitles weren’t totally accurate). I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.
Side note: John Cleese and Michael Palin spoke German well in the show.

If you’re a fan, you know the words so you can mostly get a free German lesson here, though some words are different by necessity (I left out the chorus)…

Ich bin ein Holzfäller
Und fühl mich stark
Ich schlaf des Nachts
Und hack am Tag

Ich fäelle Baume
Ich ess’ mein lunch (Brot – in the chorus)
Ich gehe auf das WC
Am Mittwoch geh’ ich shopping
Kauf’ Käkse zum Kaffee

Ich fäelle Baume
Ich hüpf’ und spring’
Steck’ Blumen in die Vas’
Ich schlüpf’ in Frauenkleider
Und dümmle mich in Bars

Ich fäelle Baume
Trag’ Stöckelschuh
Verstrumpf und Büsenhalter
War gern ein kleines Mädchen
So wie mein Onkel Walter

Myanmar/Burma: Yangon airport departure

I budgeted an hour to the airport, but it was almost 70 minutes leaving my downtown hotel at 8:00 this morning.
It was K8,000/$8 as that businessman had told me in the plane on arrival, but this was the only time I paid that little.

Singapore Airlines recommends 90min prior arrival, I made it at 70 at the checkin counter, after passing through a baggage X-ray and metal detector just to get into the checkin hall.

Immigration was quick and painless upstairs, and after changing my last kyat for SGD, now I’m in the little multi-airline lounge.

They have Wi-Fi, a guy running an espresso machine (cup a cappuccino!), a self-serve fridge with water/soda/beer, and a little buffet of snacks. Including Pringles (2 flavours no less).

Myanmar/Burma: Flying to Singapore this morning

My cold and I are headed to Singapore this morning, spending one night there.

Myanmar/Burma: welcome to the Golden Land

In contrast to the dark stormy clouds and rain in Singapore this morning, it’s sunny and hot hot hot 32C and humid in Yangon.

Traffic is brutal, even with my driver taking side streets and dodgy left turns. It’s about 25km but took 45min (leaving the airport at 11am). 15,000/$15 fixed price (which might have been high – the businessman on the plane next to me thought 8,000).

Internet might be too slow to upload photos…

Singapore: awake all night in Changi airport lounge

After sleeping a good 3 hours on the flight from Tokyo last night, which landed at 0:40… Next flight is at 7:55 to Yangon, Myanmar/Burma.

I did some research a few days ago and executed a plan in 1hr from touchdown, only doable at the best airport, Changi (SIN):

– clear immigration and pick up checked bag ANA bag
– go upstairs to checkin level
– change clothes
– split out winter clothes, presents and papers that I don’t need in Myanmar into a soft duffel bag
– checkin at Singapore Airlines counter – open until 1:40 (at T2) and reopens at 4:30, though at T3 they are open until 2:00
– go back downstairs to the manned luggage storage – open 24 hours (there are ones inside security too) which cost S$33/US$26 for 8 days)
– go back through exit immigration and security and head to lounge to relax (open 24 hours – only 6 of us, until 5am, then a steady trickle of passengers)

Since there happened to be a “repacking station” and scale, I split out 5kg of stuff from the original 18kg bag).

Why did I do that you ask?
My bag was more stuffed than when I left due to buying clothes while waiting for delayed luggage, I wanted a lighter bag in Myanmar, I had 2 separate tickets on 2 airlines, and I’ll be spending a day in Singapore on the way back next week. Hence there was no need to keep the bag inside security. Oh, and I had to check my bag due to my bug spray and liquids.

And I managed some needed Myanmar research and hotel availability.

Japan -> Singapore: ANA B787 Dreamliner!

On an ANA one, which has a 2-4-2 configuration, unlike UA and AC which cram 9 seats across instead of 8.

Extra bonus, I’m in the 2 seats on the side with an empty seat beside me(and in front of me)! Actually last night during online checkin I changed my seat from the one in front of me to this one which had an empty seat beside it at the time…

I thought the new window was larger than it is… Basically it’s a little taller than a regular window.

The overhead lighting is nice but ultimately it comes down to the comfort and spacing of the seats (see note above)

Since it’s a new month, the are a few new movies in the personal seatback entertainment system versus my ANA flight last week (this us an evening flight so no sleeping).

The washroom door cantilevers around a third of the width, and there is a light above the door indicating occupancy. But why is there a little ashtray when it’s new and non-smoking, and above the seats they didn’t bother with a no smoking sign.

The washroom also has a touchless faucet and flush, the latter makes the toilet lid go down automatically.

Overall I can’t say the plane feels much different and is overhyped. Sigh.

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Japan: quick update

Will get more stories and photos together, yesterday I arrived in Kobe (after a rainy detour through Onomachi, a small seaside town on the local train line)  and spent the day walking around with Susan’s high school fried Junko. Had some very tasty sushi last night. And some Japanese language tips, thanks Junko!

Tomorrow I return to Tokyo for a few hours before going to Narita airport (NRT) for a 787 dreamliner flight to Singapore, followed by an early morning flight to Yangon (Rangoon)

Update: the shinkansen (bullet train) translates to “new trunk line”, and it’s pretty much always elevated, like a modern aqueduct, even in the countryside.
Also, they must clean the bullet nose front frequently, because it’s shiny white (you can see near the crown and sides and top of the train that it’s gray from dirt)

Flights 6 of 10 done… Back in HKG

After a short 3.5hr flight to SIN in which I kicked out a guy trying to muscle in on my empty row, i slept well.

But then I couldn’t sleep in the lounge (only 4 hours in middle of night), ended up chatting with a guy (there were only 6 people in there) about travels…

Then the early morning flight back to HKG was pretty empty so I had a row of 3 seats to myself again…

Now I have 13 hours in HKG,  heading into the city on another overcast day.