Monthly Archives: August 2013

Le Paradis d’Ouvea

Ouvea (New Caledonia), 01.09.2013

Opening Google maps in the hotel lobby on arrival, the blue dot of the GPS signal told me I was at a place called “paradise”. When I booked this hotel, I thought its name (le Paradis d’Ouvea) sounded a bit cheesy. But it actually is a pretty accurate description of the place, and I saw it the moment I stepped out of the restaurant veranda onto the beach.

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An Isle of Pines in 50 shades of blue

Kuto Bay (New Caledonia), 29.08.2013

By now it should be clear that I found Sydney to be a perfectly clean and organised spot, so I’ll skip the descriptions of the airport and how I got there. My flight out of Australia with Aircalin, New Caledonia’s international carrier, was late. First half an hour, then more and more and more. Basically I spent most of Tuesday on Sydney’s airport, enjoying free WiFi, restaurants and reading, before we finally boarded. A crew member had gotten sick apparently, and the plane couldn’t take so many people on board, so the airline had to find volunteers to stay behind. All this took three hours. Once airborne, flying eastward, the sun went down quickly delivering an amazing array of colours from red to dark blue, with all shades in between, over an endless sky. We landed in Noumea in the dark, and yet another perfectly clean and modern airport welcomed me. Continue reading

Sydney

Sydney (Australia), 26.08.2013

An Airbus 380-800 flew me overnight from Singapore to Sydney. The plane seemed to not really get to a decent speed on the runway when it suddenly took off the ground swiftly. Thinking about my many low cost flights of the last years, flying with Singapore Airlines on such a plane was a real treat. I landed in Sydney on a sunny sunday morning. A train took me into town, from the clean and silent airport with its clean and silent station and a clean and silent train. Continue reading

Singapore

Singapore (Singapore), 24.08.2013

The flight from Bombay to Singapore was short, and after a few hours sleep I arrived at Changi Airport. Tired from the flight, I found the way to a lounge where I took a shower, had breakfast and prepared my day in the city. Continue reading

Bombay

Mumbai (India), 23.08.2013

On monday morning I got up early, packed my bags and after a delicious breakfast at the Imperial hotel I drove to Land Rover to pick up the Evoque with its new engine. The car was ok, a little dusty perhaps, I was happy to be able to drive again. It felt strange to get into the car alone, but as soon as I hit the road the rain and morning traffic took all my attention. At 11:18 I left, with almost 28.500 km on the counter.

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From Indochina to India

New Delhi (India), 18.08.2013
Getting to New Delhi from a remote Cambodian island isn’t easy, and the trip took me through several places during some days. In the early morning a motorboat took me to the main quai on Koh Rong. The sun was shining, a breeze blew over the bay, everything was fine. Once on board the ferry boat to the main land, dark clouds came up and it started to rain. Only when everybody on the upper deck was well showered, the ferry took off for the two hour ride to Sihanoukville.

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Chilling on Cambodian beaches

Koh Rong (Cambodia), 15.08.2013
Since in Muslim Indonesia at the end of Ramadan many people apparently go on holiday, joining the hordes of Europeans on vacation in Southeast Asia, I found no further accommodation in Bali and had to leave. Since the beaches were not too sexy and the weather cloudy, I spent some time on the map to check various other beach destinations in the area. Malaysia and Indonesia had Ramadan, Thailand was probably too crowded, for Vietnam I needed a visa, the Philippines to far off for the one week I had. I did enjoy Cambodia, and had read about the beaches there to be great and still somewhat undiscovered.

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Bali

Lovina (Indonesia), 08.08.2013
After some intense traveling through Indochina, it was time for resting. From Hanoi I flew to Bangkok, where I spent a day relaxing and trying to buy some things for the beach. A couple of weeks ago, when travel plans had been very different, a whole bag of unneeded things had been shipped back to Madrid. In that bag were all beach clothes. A great chance to go shopping on JJ market and beyond.

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Hanoi

Hanoi (Vietnam), 02.08.2013
At 06:00 in the morning downtown Hanoi was waking up slowly. Traffic was still light, the heat not too bad, along the streets the first soup and noodles of the day were prepared. I walked the half hour from the central station to the hotel to soak up the first impressions and get a feeling for this city. In the old part of town houses were low rise and narrow, lining up slice after slice. My room wasn’t ready at this time of the morning, so I left my stuff in the hotel, changed and cooled down before heading out for the first discovery of town. It was still early for anything to be open, and I was the only guest at a breakfast place. The early hours of the morning were the most magical ones to discover new places, like the small streets of old Hanoi.

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Hue

Hue (Vietnam), 01.08.2013

Happy to have survived the train ride, yesterday afternoon I dropped my bags in the Green Hotel and chilled for a while. It was terribly hot outside. Later in the early evening I walked for a first reconnaissance trip through the southern town over the central bridge into the northern part. A massive gate behind a bridge appeared in front of me and I entered the old citadel, surrounded by thick walls. I couldn’t find any restaurants, just roadside eateries and none appealed to me. It was dark by now and there was very little light on the streets, I couldn’t spot any monuments or noteworthy buildings, but I knew they must have been somewhere around me. I had left all technology in the hotel and had no map, so I just walked through the night, crossing shopping streets, a painter’s workshop in a courtyard and a residential area along the old city walls. Out of the citadel, I finally found a simple restaurant on a corner run by deaf and dumb people and ate some cuttlefish, vegetables and rice. I was starving. A ricksha drove me back to the hotel, video here. Continue reading