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jim’s Travel Diary

Friday, 02 Mar 2012

Location: Portsmouth, UK

MapMy last day of work before Shanghai. I am flying Swiss to Geneva then onto China. As ever, before a trip & a new carrier I am keeping my fingers crossed that the flights will have decent entertainment; in the past 3 years of travelling I have had the highs & the very lows, ranging from excellent=Air New Zealand,Emirates,Gulf & Virgin OK=Etihad, ANA , OMG=Iceland express, Air Europa & American Airlines. I am flying Aeroflot to Tokyo can t wait for that trip!
For me the journey is everything & as ritual demands this will be starting with Purple parking at Southhall and a very decent fried Brekky at one of the restaurants in Terminal 1.
On my Birthday trip last year ,to save £10, I opted to use the Parking Hotel on the A4. this was the most fraught parking to airport journey I have ever taken ; firstly I parked in the wrong place , cost me £3.50 for the privilege , I left my `phone & wallet in the car, I didn't realise the bus from the car park didn't go to T4 but as ever the pluses were great I had a conversation in French with a chap while I waited for the wrong bus , I was wonderfully helped by a bus driver who realised I had no idea what I was up to & to discover there are free trains from T1 & T3 to T4 has helped strengthen my travel resolve. As a footnote to that trip I landed in Beijing without researching a single detail, I didn't even write down the name of the hotel (Zong-an Hotel just by the huge rail station) I was very lucky to catch the correct bus that took me straight to the station ,then happily remembered the Hotel was at the east of the Railway station-after that bit of lunacy I print maps & keep copies of documents as photos on my `phone.
Outside my bedroom foxes are singing in the back alley ,is strange for such a densely populated island this part of Southsea is very much like living in the country, as I did when I was a trainee at Cliveden gardens.
Its now 2.45am , I am awake, my packed suitcase sits next to me : I've faffed with which novels to take: a Michael Connelly " Harry Bosch", Ted Simon's Jupiter's travels & Paul Coelho`s "The Pilgrimage" . I have Battlefield Earth on my net book , should things become dire! I've packed the travel plug & the USB cables for Cameras ,Phones headphones in my shoulder bag for the phone & the Net book, I have Robert Palmers Greatest hits, Seasick Steve & a brilliant busker called Lewis Floyd Henry. My hope is that I will have decent Internet connection in the hotel so I can stream the World service & Radio 5 live,last year in LA it was my little rock to listen to drive-time while I was making my "Healthy" breakfast.
In April I will enjoy a 19hr stop over in Moscow at Sheremetyevo Airport & yesterday I suddenly thought why not get a Visa & do some Moscow , the thought "I gotta sort Moscow" came to mind or rather "We gotta sort Moscow" which made smile as the thought of some Guy Ritchie characters taking on the Putin regime or even a London based Russian knick-named "Moscow" is grounds for a good story. I casually looked at the Russian Embassy's site & discovered a Visa costs £30 so I suppose a £100 investment (travel & all) will be well worth it.
Its nearly 3am time to get up, make Coffee and prepare for China.