Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 | Japan in winter 2017 | Great Britain in 2017 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997



2006/01/24 Visiting Dunedin
π 2006-01-24 23:32 by Merlin in Trips

So the whole point about my being in Dunedin was to attend linux.conf.au, which happens to be in Dunedin this year, and since I was there a day early, I used it to rollerblade around the city, and took some pictures. It was a nice small city.
The funny thing is that I ran into several geek friends while roaming the city, people I hadn't seen in a year or so, and from different places in the world. It's always kind of funny when you do that, and get recognized by a foreign people in a yet other foreign city :)
All in all, since I've been attending linux conferences since 1996, which was one of the first ocnferences (UseLinux track at Usenix), and I've been to most major conferences since then, as well as have been speaking at them since 2001, I am now quite well known among regular attendees and major linux hackers (that's the original good sense of the term, not the journalist misuse of the term to mean cracker). I am actually quite thankful and humbled to be friends and peer with the smartest linux guys on the planet, and it's always a pleasure to catch up with my international linux friends around the world at those conferences.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from Dunedin













Dunedin has the steepest street in the world, almost a 45% grade




You can view the rest of the Dunedin Pictures , as well as the now posted pictures of Cairns, Australia (including the Rainforest tour)
2006/01/24 7kg carry-on limit on Australian/New Zealand planes
π 2006-01-24 13:25 by Merlin in Australia, Trips

Ok, it's so easy to complain about airlines that it's not fun, but eh, I had nothing better to do in the plane (at least all 3 took off, and on time even)

This is my 3rd and last flight from Cairns, Australia to Dunedin, New Zealand after a 4H night in Auckland.
It will have taken more time and effort and time to get from Australia to New Zealand, than it did to get from San Francisco to Australia :)
The highlight however was how Quantas and Air New Zealand actually seem to enforce their 7kg carry on rule when I had two carry ons (due to the laptop) around twice that weight. They didn't seem too willing to negotiate, so I had to use my emergency backpack, make it a second checked in luggage, offload my carry ons a bit, and put the rest of my carry ons on the floor out of the view of the attendant so that she could weight the almost empty carry ons (now 8kg or so), and I put them back in the bag as soon as she cleared them :)
This little ploy didn't work on my second flight though, they checked my carry-on weight and size, again, but right before the security checkpoint, where I couldn't be creative with the weight. I had to go back to the attendants, with whom I had already built rapport :) and made my plea, explaining that I was between two flights, my checked in luggage was not available to move things to, and that I needed help. Since I was only a few kilos above the weight by then, they gave me a waiver, and I was able to board the plane.
I was lucky though, they refused 8kg carry-on luggage from peers I met at the conference...

But seriously, 7kg carry-ons? My laptop bag has never been at 7kg or less in its entire life...
The reason they gave was in case the carry-on fell on someone's head from the overhead compartment. Grumble, another stupid rule that shouldn't apply to me but I get penalized on due to the stupidity of others (if I packed it, I can carry it, and I won't drop it because of the weight).
On the other side of the scale, so to speak, I understand that they want to limit the total weight per passenger and they don't like bozos like me who stuff 2 32kg suitcases, and then stuff all the extra weight in their carry-ons, but in this case I only had one piece of checked in luggage and was well under total weight.
Besides, to really be fair, they should just give a total weight allowance per passenger, including the passenger's weight, and make you pay extra after that. If you are skinny, you get more luggage allowance, if you're not, you get less. Of course, I know that would never work since 300lbs people would scream murder, but eh, a plane does care about that, a cessna 152 will not even take off if you weight that much, and bigger planes require more fuel for those people.

Besides, if your carry-on wasn't overweight when you started, it will be after you do the mandatory passage through duty free (I'm not kidding, you have to walk through the store to get to your gate). And well, tomblerone is heavy, and some might not be able to resist, you know who you are :)



Oh well, logic and the real world don't mix, I'll stop here :)
(yes, I got to Dunedin eventually after a 5h night layover in Auckland, as you can't easily get from Cairns to Dunedin on a monday)
2006/01/15 Visiting Cairns, Australia
π 2006-01-15 00:00 in Australia, Trips
w Now that I was certified for diving, I figured I would go to Cairns to go diving (follow the link for diving pictures).

The flight to Sydney was about 13h, and thankfully I got upgraded to business with miles, so it was as pleasant as it could have been.

Before landing to sydney, I told my new watch to swap the display of the SFO and SYD timezones, and show Sydney on the main hands. They showed that I landed at 06:50, and my next flight was 09:15, so I thought "great, no rush".

I started being nervous when it took an extra 10-15mn for my laptop bag to show up at the carrousel (after my big luggage). This is one thing I really don't want to lose... but I got it in the end, just quite late. Note to self: deal with the morons in security who like to empty the bag each time instead of taking the risk of checking it in.

I then got nabbed by customs because of how I answered the pre-screening questions (I'm going on vacation in Cairns, diving, I have no idea what I said wrong). At the gate they say "we have a code 18" or somesuch, and I get my luggage opened up and questioned. Too bad for them, I had pretty much nothing I wasn't supposed to have.

Once out, I went to the vodaphone counter to get a refill for my Australian GSM SIM.
Then, I went to the United counter to get a paper for the damage they did to my luggage, again. And because they're skilled, out of 4 wheels, they always take out one of the two needed to roll the luggage while pulling it from the handle. Grr... That took a good 20mn.

Eventually, I made it to the Quantas counter, as it turned out that I was actually taking the first leg of an international flight to Japan to get to Cairns (took me a little while to figure that out, I was heading for the domestic terminal). I apologized for being a little late (usually, it's a 2H checkin for international flights), and the attendents looked a bit worried and made a special exception to get me on the plane. Mmmh, ok, it was like 07:40 for a 09:15 flight, but whatever.

I then went to duty free to find and buy a very overpriced battery for my underwater camera (yeah! I won't have to overly worry about running out of juice under water), and someone takes off with my boarding pass that was on the counter and leaves me his. Great...
Back to the checkin gate to get another boarding pass, through security, and direction the gate, where I was hoping to finally plug in my laptop and chill a little bit. Instead, I'm told "last boarding, hurry". Uh, it's barely 8?

Once in the plane, I hear some announcement that they're sorry the plane is late for departure. It's 08:15 for a 09:15 departure, I don't see the big deal...
I play with my phones to send an SMS :) and notice the time on my nokia which says Sydney: 09:20. Then, it finally downs on my that my watch had the Sydney timezone wrong and was one hour late (due to summer daylight savings time). Argh, argh, argh!

At that point, I replayed the last hour and a half and realized how incredibly late I was the entire time, and how I should have been running through the airport instead of getting my luggage inspected, buying SIM cards, camera batteries, and a huge tomblerone bar (homer voice)mmmh, tomblerone :)
I guess I got lucky on that one, and I now have a big tomblerone bar in my laptop bag. Yum :)


There is a fair bit to see around Cairns, both Kuranda and the rainforest tour. I started with Kuranda, a village in the rainforest that you reach by cable car, and can leave by train:








The next day, I did a draintree rainforest and coastal tour:










The evening, I went to see an aborigine show:



See more images for Visiting Cairns, Australia
2006/01/06 Visiting Paris
π 2006-01-06 23:27 by Merlin in Paris, Trips

My last few days in Paris were spent with Jen, being the tour-guide, and having a good time doing so. It was quite enjoyable for multiple reasons, like enjoying the view and other things at the top of the Sacré Coeur and the Eiffel Tower, as well as being a portable heat source :)
i'll admit that there were a couple of places I hadn't gone to before, and that were nice to see too, in addition to the places I had already seen, but not in a long time. I also figure out for the first time that the Eiffel tower only flashes its strobes at night between 0 and 10 minutes past each hour, and plays lighthouse after that.
We also did a picture contest, and I think I might have come slightly ahead, either by being more steady, or less greedy with my zoom :)
All in all, many pictures to show, but here's an excerpt below, and the other ones are here
































More pages: August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997