A Flying Blog

April 4, 2008 -

John Heald

As soon as he sat next to me I knew I was in trouble…………..I also knew that I would have to start this blog with the words…………you won’t believe this but I promise it’s true……….so…………you won’t believe this but I promise it’s true.

So, today Heidi and I flew to Copenhagen where I write to you from now and once again Murphy or some other great big sod obviously knows I write a blog thingy and therefore just in case I should have just one normal day…………one day where all I can write is:

Hello

nothing happened

Goodnight


Murphy and his gang crapped on me yet again from 30,000 feet. I thought I was ahead of the game. Yesterday, I finally looked at the tickets Carnival had sent us for our flight from London to Denmark and to my horror I discovered we were flying from Heathrow’s new Terminal 5.

Now, I am not sure if you have been reading about Terminal 5 but it is supposed to be the most modern airport terminal in the world paid for and run by British Airways……..or BA as they are known……………well……………….BA now stands for Bugger All………….works.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled and there are 20,000 bags misplaced………..even the Supermodel Naomi Campbell had her bag lost this morning which resulted in her throwing her toys out of her stroller and getting arrested…………….shame…………..I understand though as her suitcase contained her lunch of a piece of lettuce and a bottle of air.

T5 has become a nightmare………….it’s useless and the only thing that can make it any worse is a rock-climbing wall.

Now, due to the fact that my suitcase only returned tanned and refreshed  (unlike it’s contents ) from Barbados yesterday I decided to cancel Carnival’s booking and book our own tickets……………….unfortunately the only airline I could find was …………………..Easy Jet.

Now, for those people who have no idea who Easy Jet are and have not read my previous references to them I should explain they are a low cost budget airline with no frills, no seating assignments, orange planes, cabin attendants who really wanted to be Parking Police and seats designed for Snow Whites seven friends and not people like me.

I had no choice……………I needed to get to Denmark and I needed my underwear to arrive on the same flight as me……………..so £280 ($650) later (it’s only a low cost airline if you book 300 years in advance.

Well, the flight was 25 minutes delayed as someone had found a dead squirrel on the runway…………the seats were orange…………my bottom somehow was wedged into the seat and there were a bunch of drunk rugby players singing songs about a snake with one eye or something…………….I thought it couldn’t get any worse……………of course it could!

The seating configuration is three across in two rows. Heidi was at the window and me in the isle. We have all done that look and had that feeling when someone walks down the aisle…….that “Oh please don’t sit next to me”……………well in this guys defense he had no choice as the cabin attendant had found time between drinking a coffee and chatting with her friend about her new boyfriend to tell us to hurry up and sit down and that the flight was full…………..charm school and this lady had never met.

So, the guy started to sit down and Heidi moved back to the middle seat to be next to me and offered him the window seat. This meant me having to stand up………….un-wedge my bottom from the orange seat and undo the seat belt that had taken all my strength to get round my waist………………….anyway……………..down sat the man and we prepared for take off. The chap was from Denmark………..I knew that from the Danish newspaper he was reading…………..he was in his 40’s…………..and the only remarkable feature was his moustache which was thin, wispy and curled upwards at both ends.

Anyway, we eventually took off and after we had reached our cruising altitude Miss Charm School informed us that she was about to rip us all off by coming round with the cart selling a Diet Coke and a sandwich for the same price as dinner at our Supper Clubs.

Well, Mr. Moustache ordered a coffee…………….that was fine……………he paid his $90 and we passed it along to him.

He started to drink, Heidi was reading a magazine about how Brad still had feelings for Jennifer someone and I closed my eyes…………….I would have read my book but it was in my bag in the overhead locker and I couldn’t be bothered to have another battle with the seat belt…………..so………..as the flight was only 1 hour and 30 minutes…….I tried to sleep.

I was woken by a strange noise…………I couldn’t make it out so I closed my eyes and as soon as I did I heard the noise again and this time it was accompanied by a dig in the ribs from Heidi…………..I looked at the source of this disgusting sound and there was Mr. Moustache …………..holding his now empty polystyrene coffee cup ………………gobbing large black tidal waves of chewing tobacco into the cup………..I couldn’t believe this………….was he allowed…………it was a non smoking flight of course……………was this smoking?

Well, being British I said nothing…………..eventually he stopped but my joy was short lived as he took out a tin , shoved another bail of tobacco in his mouth and that was Heidi and I listening to him for the remainder of flight spitting into a cup……………….bugger and double bugger.

Anyway, more in a moment but first ………….the news.

Talking of airlines I see there was a comment about Carnival Airlines …………this was successful for a time but then we merged with the “new Pan Am ” which like the old Pan Am it went down instead of up which is never good for an airline.

I also want to apologize for my calling ships’ “lines” ropes and again thank you all for your comments……………….except my sister who instead of investing her billionaire clients money is busy telling fairytales about me on my thingy……………watch out for another Suedrip story very soon………………..especially as she has outed my fear and loathing of cotton wool…………….payback is coming.

Here is the next installment of Bubba’s Alaskan adventure.

Day 4 Alaska Fam – April Fools Day – Welcome to Juneau…

Well it was no joke that we were up and out the door of our Anchorage hotel and on the way back to the airport at 6am. We were flying to Juneau early in the morning. Interesting thing we found in the Airport today is that in the state of Alaska, they actually allow you to check 3 bags when you fly. It’s because of all the tourists who come up for the fishing, going back home with their coolers of fish. Thought that was an interesting tidbit.

No drama at the airport today. Everything was on time. Took off, got above the clouds and saw the sun for the first time in two days. It was very overcast during our stay in Anchorage. All though we were headed south I didn’t expect the weather to get much better.

We all sat in the same row together, except Linda she was up front. Not all the way. Just behind first class. I found it interesting to see how each of us handled the flight. James and Ross were right out asleep. Asleep before they even did the safety briefing. They didn’t wake up until the plane touched down. I think that they were out late the night before checking out some the nightlife there in Anchorage. Grant and Kat watched DVD’s the whole trip and I played a bit of poker on my PSP and enjoyed my small bag of pretzels which were cinnamon-flavored. Also something a bit different. Tasty..…I do love a bit of snacking.

The flight from Anchorage to Juneau is a short 1 ½ hours. Cool thing about this airport is there are two runways. One made of concrete, and the other made of water. There is a channel running parallel to the main runway for all of the floatplanes that are in the area. Walked off the plane to find there are only 4 gates in this airport and one baggage carousel. Yet the baggage carousel has a big number 1 on it. “look for carousel #1.” It’s not hard to find…IT”S THE ONLY ONE! Our bags came quite quickly and we were out the door in a van on our way to another great day. Today we were meeting a lot of the MUST SEE excursion operators in this port.

Juneau is the capital of Alaska. It is the 3rd largest town in Alaska population-wise, yet it is one of the largest cities in the USA square mileage wise. There are only three ways to get to Juneau. By air. By sea. Or by birth. You cannot drive in or out of this city. They have roads going all over town, but none of them leave town. Downtown where the ships dock is surrounded by mountains. It is a beautiful port. The weather here can be tricky. It can be raining buckets downtown, yet a mile up the road the sun can be shining.

Today we met with some of the tour operators who run some of the most popular excursions. Flight seeing by helicopter or floatplanes, zip lines, fishing and glacier trekking. These are some of the can’t miss experiences for your day in Juneau.

The main theme that came up among conversations with these operators is that they want to provide a quality, memorable and exciting experience, but the most important thing to all of them was Safety. If they can’t do something safely, they were not going to do it at all. It’s good to hear, and one of the best reasons why one should book shore excursions through the ship. You know that we have working relationships with these tour operators for years. They will run an excellent excursion while keeping you safe and getting you back to your ship in a timely fashion. If there are weather issues for excursions, they will work with our shore excursion team on trying to arrange later departures, or to put you on one of the other excursions that are similar in nature. For instance there are several companies that run helicopter glacier tours. They fly in different directions in Juneau. The weather can be horrible on one side of town, but great on the other. So one helicopter tour might fly and the other might have to cancel, but working with our shore ex team they will do the best they can to try and get everyone out on one of the excursions. Weather is a major part of the Alaska experience. Welcome it with open arms..be one with mother nature.

The other thing related to safety that they brought up today were concerns to some of the restrictions that are necessary to run tours safely. They strongly recommend that you read through excursion booklets thoroughly so you can see the details of what is required to go on an excursion and to understand that these restrictions have been placed in mind on how to maximize the safe running of that excursion.

If you like to fish, than Alaska will be like heaven to you. Depending on what time of year you come will depend on what’s running…Your shore ex can fill you in on the details when you are on board if you have specific questions. In addition to the cost of the tour, there is also special permits that you will need to purchase directly from the tour operator. Again the shore ex team can answer specific questions for you. Although I Live in Florida I have never been into fishing. But I do love to munch on all things Salmon…and you will find it all up here. Try the salmon jerky and salmon spreads. They are delicious. Mmmmmmmmmmmm…..salmon.

Here’s some pics from today…..

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This is Kat modeling the Safety equipment used for the zip line tour in Juneau. This tour will do 7 different zips and couple of suspension bridges which range all the way up to several hundred feet in the air. Another interesting aspect is that the zip course was built over the top of one of the largest gold mines. Which there are still some remains that you can see. The mine collapsed many years ago.

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This is some of the equipment and gear that is provide for those who go trekking on the glacier. There are several different tours that do this that depend on your physical ability and how much you would like to do once you are on the ice. AMAZING!

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Here’s Kat modeling the pilots chairs of one of the helicopters. The helicopter tours can be a bit pricey, but they are worth every penny. Folks sometime ask why are they so costly. The helicopter you see in this pic cost over $1.5 million, and let’s not even talk about the price of gas. Can you imagine having to fill this thing up? Just to start the engine burns almost $700 worth of fuel. But I can’t stress enough about how amazing the helicopter trips are.

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Here we are at the fly fishing base. They use the best gear and it is all provided.

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This is one of the many floatplanes getting some routine maintenance getting it ready for the season.

There is a tour in Juneau called the Taku Lodge, Flight & Feast. It’s a can’t miss. Flight see over many different glaciers. Plus have an incredible salmon feast in an historic lodge.

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These are pics from the Salmon Hatchery, which is a destination on a couple of different tours that are offered in Juneau. Depending on the time of the year that you visit, will depend on what type of Salmon you see. The top pic is of a Salmon ladder which is amazing to see in action.

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Also inside the salmon Hatchery they have an interactive touch tank where you can get up close and personal with some of Alaska’s underwater life. This is Ross holding a Sea Cucumber. It was very happy to make his acquaintance.

We are going to be here in Juneau for a few days as there is plenty more to see and learn about. I really like Juneau. It’s a great town with some incredible experiences. You’ll definitely want to try more than one during your stay if time permits.

I would also like to say thanks to the kind words that I saw today on the blog about my contribution. My reports are about 3 days behind of me getting posted so today was the 1st day I saw my first report. Thanks again to John for letting me be a part of this, and thank you for reading….

Later taters!

Chris

I don’t know about you but I want to go to Alaska…………..thanks Bubba.

So we arrived at about 5 pm into Copenhagen. It is very cold and the taxi ride over cost 232 Krona which is the equivalent of about $100. The taxi driver was very young and I tried having a conversation with him and I guess the fact that he turned up the techno music on the car stereo told me he wasn’t the chatty sort.

Walking through the airport it seemed that everyone here in Denmark eats Toblorone. I am not sure if you have this in the USA/Canada but wherever you look, someone is nibbling on this triangular chocolate. We arrived at the Best Western Hotel and all I can say is that the word Best should not be included in the title. I know I am a lowly CD but goodness, the 3 stars on the wall probably refer to the number of people who have made it out without some catching some sort of gastro illness………….I don’t expect 5 star but 4 would be nice, or even 3 and a half. Still, Carnival were thinking of me when they booked this room as the local delights of the national dish McDonalds is right next door………….I wonder if they serve McToblerone. 

I know, stop whining…………………………I can hear PA 007 saying that to me right now.

By the way, I have PA 007 working on who will be the Carnival Splendors’ Godmother, I should have news soon.

So far, the scenery has been stunning, especially the receptionist……………wow, everywhere I look there are beautiful girls……….not that I am looking but goodness, Denmark was not a country who had a visit from the ugly stick.

One of the interesting things is seen as you fly into Copenhagen. Denmark is leading the way in Europe with wind-generated electricity. As you fly over the sea, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of huge wind turbines that generate 10% of the country’s power. Some people think they are ugly; however, it is an amazing sight to see from an airplane.

It is now 7 pm and time to go and eat a Toblerone for dinner. Actually, we are hoping to find a restaurant that serves the famous Danish dish of meat, white beans and cabbage. It’s fantastic, I had it once before, the last time I was here on the Carnival Legend.

Tomorrow, we will meet with the Tour Operators and will begin our first day’s exploration of this country. We are here until the Monday for somewhere, no idea where and of course I will report back on all we have seen.

Time for dinner and if I find the Danish dish I mentioned, they should shove a plug in my bottom and the countries wind depended electricity will increase by 20%…………40% if I have an extra helping.

Good Night.

Your friends,

John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.