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Second Anniversary Asian Adventure: UA Y, LH F and C, OZ C, TG F and QR C

Second Anniversary Asian Adventure: UA Y, LH F and C, OZ C, TG F and QR C

Old Apr 2, 13, 3:22 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Washington D.C. via Sao Paulo via Houston via Washington D.C. via Boston via New York
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Talking Second Anniversary in Asia: LH F and C, OZ C, TG F and QR C - Many Pics

I just completed this trip recently and have been working on the report, but on the last leg someone decided they wanted to cough for the 11 hours, so I am feeling under the weather. I will be updating this with photos and the following segments:

Background and planning
IAD-FRA – 747-8i
FCT and FRA-MUC in LH C
MUC-ICN and MUC FCL – New LH F
ICN-NRT on OZ 744
Tokyo – Including Park Hyatt Tokyo
NRT-BKK TG Roulette 747 new new F?
BKK-
SIN
DPS
and The W Bali
The return
portion

Background:
Honeymoons are supposed to be a relaxing experience where you enjoy one another, however in our case some very close friends decided to get married in Europe and included my wife in the wedding party. We had originally planned on going to Bali but those plans were quickly axed due to the wedding plans. For our honeymoon we ended up seeing many parts of Europe via Easy Jet, the final routing for the trip was something like IAD-ORD-AMS-FCO-VCE-BCN-AGP-BCN-ZRH. We spent the better part of two weeks on our feet exploring and site seeing. When we finally got the Malaga we had to get ready for a wedding, even though it was a resort on a beach, weddings are not relaxing, and those Spanish can PARTY. A few too many Fanta Limon y Vodka and before I knew it the sun was coming up. When we got back into the US we vowed to get to a beach sometime soon.

Planning:
Back before I knew what flyertalk was I would have never cared what plane I flew, route I took or hotel I stayed at. I know for a fact I would have complained about sitting in Y on long-haul but I would be excited about seeing a new place. So back in July of last year I started planning this trip, or in FT terms “Ages ago”. I’ve been reading up on UA award routing rules about OJs, stopovers vs. layovers, and 15% over MPM.

I fired up the computer and unlike most of you I went without the scotch and or insert favorite libation “here”. Figured out a decent routing keeping my rules in mind, I worked backwards as LH F would open up eventually. I found TG F space from BKK-FRA and then pieced a trip off of that. The first iteration of the routing was IAH-FRA-NRT-BKK-DPS-BKK-FRA-IAH, simple enough. I called up and I was all booked relatively quickly.

Then I started reading Flyertalk more, the Mrs. would have preferred me not doing that. I then started reading about how QR would be dropped from *A in the future so I saw an option from SIN-BKK in C on their 77W. So I changed my routing to now include a layover in BKK and then in SIN as well without sacrificing Tokyo or Bali. Now the routing turned into IAH-FRA-NRT-BKK-SIN-DPS-BKK-FRA-IAH. Countdown to T-14 because LH enjoys torturing people, I had confirmed C from IAH-FRA-NRT and then FRA-IAH. At what I soon found out T-15 LH releases F award to *A members, I had alerts set up on expertflyer and Wandering Aramean tools. However at 5pm at T-15 I was watching ANA like a hawk. I knew I wasn’t going to get new F ex. US, I came to the realization of my first world problem and looked at some lesser loved LH cities, DFW, MCO, DEN, ATL. I wanted to grab the 744 out of DEN, but expertflyer said f2 on the date I needed, next was MCO at f4 (sigh) then DFW and ATL were my options. ATL opened up so I jumped, so I had to include a UA Y segment in there, I tried HARD to not actually fly UA on this trip, but oh well, on the bright side it makes you enjoy LH F even more regardless of old or new. Now I had a major issue as I planned on departing a day earlier, there was nothing to get me to NRT. I had to add an additional connection and a night in MUC, again first world problem, but I’d be spending 5 hours in the FCT in FRA. I’d been monitoring MUC-NRT as well as MUC-ICN (just in case), so another call, another routing change. Everyone still with me? At this point the Mrs. was none too happy with me as I had been spending more time on ANAs site than listening to her. The following day and I had to place another call to UA to get F ex MUC, I decided to fly through ICN instead of playing the A346 roulette with old F ex MUC to NRT, doing this also scored me the OZ C segment from ICN-NRT. Happy with my new, new, new…lost count routing I focused on the planning part of the trip, an email to the hotel in Tokyo solved the problem of what to do there. We’ll meet up with some friends in BKK and SIN, and do nothing in Bali, after all it’s a vacation right?

Last edited by macdonaldj2; Apr 12, 13 at 9:09 am
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Old Apr 2, 13, 5:12 pm
  #2  
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Departure Day:
We woke up earlier in anticipation and of course I wouldn’t be on FT if I didn’t check for a better routing. Three hours before we were scheduled to leave I found two open seats in F on the IAD-FRA route on the new 747-8. A call to united was placed and got a very nice 1k agent who booked it without incident, he said I would have to go to LH in IAH because there was some “issue”. I attempted to check us in and I was unable due to the “issue”. Another call to united was placed and I got an agent who was terrible. She kept on complaining she couldn’t fix anything and that my routing was illegal in terms of routing. She was yelling at me telling me that she needed to route me the most “direct way” possible, I asked if it was illegal how did it get ticketed, I got no response and she informed me she was going to explain this to her supervisor and inform the agent that originally booked me. I took offense to this and explained the agent did nothing wrong if it ticketed out.

Our conversation came to an end when she told me I could check in for the LH flight and off I went to the airport. We had a CRJ to IAD and we sat in Y, I know you aren’t reading this for a report of that flight. It took off and landed 3 hours later, water was served.

IAD-FRA – 747-8i
Today’s flight would be on D-ABYA – “Mecklenburg-Vorpommern”

Between the flight time being on the short side and the meal service taking some time, I wasn’t planning on sleeping. One thing that I have been reading is LH keeping the cabin hot and sadly I enjoy sleeping in when it’s cooler. We arrived from IAH and transited over to the senator lounge, we had enough time to grab a quick drink and then it was time to board. While walking to the plane we ended up passing the couple sitting in row 1 who were snapping pictures of the plane who we ended up chatting with in the FCT and learned they would be in Bangkok when we would.



We were seated in the “honeymoon” seats. Soon after we were seated, we were informed of our lockers, pajamas were handed out along with amenity kits. Champagne and warm nuts were served.
Menu for flights: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/miles...-class-79.html



Amuse bouche:

After that the flight attendant took dinner orders and asked if we wanted soup or salad. Not aware of the appetizer cart I also informed her I would like the tower. She said do not worry I will bring one over.
Caviar Service and the tower:



The Grilled Shrimp with Horseradish Chili Sauce was the winner of the appetizer round for me. For dinner I ordered the Braised Chicken Breast and my wife got the Poached Lobster Tail.




Both entrees were very good, my wife allowed me to try hers. For desert we decided to try both the chocolate option and I ordered the key lime tart


I wasn’t able to try chocolate panna cotta, let alone snap a picture of it before it was devoured. After dinner, everyone started to get changed for bed while I ordered a JW Blue. I settled into watching breaking bad and after a few of those I decided to go into the galley and have another scotch, I also struck up a conversation with the one of the FA’s, I told him this was the first time flying the 748 and he asked if he could give me a tour. Off we went to see the new C, we went upstairs and explained how the new F seats were too heavy to be upstairs, from what I gathered he said all F would be moving downstairs in the future. He also said LH would be adding a premium economy class, it looked like they needed it, I’m not sure I could stand sitting in there for 7-11 hours. On our tour there was one person similar to my size that was stuck in the middle seat with a seat pushed up to his face, I felt bad and beat a hasty retreat to my bed in the front of the bus. I attempted to sleep, but it was hot for me so I watched more breaking bad. A few more episodes down and then tables were made up and breakfast was served, I don’t remember much about it as I knew I had 7 hours in the FCT which is coming up next.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 7:18 pm
  #3  
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7 hours in the FCT and LH C to MUC:

After our flight from IAD landed I had planned on visiting the FCT during the layover in FRA. I had also planned on meeting with a fellow FT’er who was transiting through. Oddly enough he lives down the street from me and we were meeting there for the first time. Even though I had planned and learned how to find the FCT we spent a good 40 minutes getting lost. We found the last door in the A terminal at first, but I wasn’t completely sure, so we ended up walking to the arrival lounge on behest of the wife, she had a ‘feeling’ it was in that direction and I had a feeling she was wrong, but you know how that is. Arriving at the arrivals lounge the agent informed us of the FCT location and after schlepping back over to A we eventually found the FCT and were granted access. The formula 1 race was on TV so I settled into a seat near the TV and my wife went to take a shower, I hopped on the wifi and was soon tweeted by the fellow FT’er, I guess Americans stick out overseas. We were chatting for a bit about our routings, local doings and then we met the wives. We agreed to meet up in Houston for the American delicacy known as burgers n fries and we went our separate ways as they were about to head back to the US.

My wife and I were feeling a little peckish so we headed off to the restaurant to sample what DO and CO had to offer. I had put my camera away as I was unsure of the policy in the terminal, so I used my cell phone, apologies in advance for the quality.

Berkel with excellent ham –


Another rule that I was pretty sure about was not to approach celebrities, as you can see in the picture but cannot make out, that was Will.I.Am, not really a fan of his music however. He also just sat in the restaurant area with headphones on eyes deep in his iProducts.

Ham and eggs:


After I had a small breakfast I went to see the shower/bath attendant to see if I could get into the shower room with the bath as I needed a duck. Luckily it was available so I put my name down and went to grab my bag.

Duck and tub ready to go:


I started to clearly have too much fun:


Natural element:
http://instagram.com/p/W9EEvole6q/

I spent about 45-60 minutes in there relaxing and getting ready, sorry for anyone waiting. When I got out my wife was speaking with the couple from our IAD flight from row 1, I got all caught up and we started chatting about our routings and where they were off to, how they got delayed going into Vilinus. We learned that they would be in Bangkok when we were and agreed to meet up for drinks and or dinner. During our conversation I started on hitting the throttle on scotch.

Scotch page:


Oban 14:


Macallan 18:


The pour on the Macallan was ‘how you say’ generous? I decided to go poke around in the restaurant again as I wanted something for lunch. I saw that they had now put out the ‘good stuff’ aka Pata Negra, and yes I am a huge fan of cured meats and an even bigger fan of Iberian Ham. I once had to smuggle in 500 grams of high quality ham in my shoes from my last trip in Spain. Thankfully the customs beagle didn’t smell anything.



I grabbed all the ham that was sliced, I couldn’t find a knife to slice more so I attempted to just bring the leg over to my table but the attendants asked what I was doing and told me to stop, oh well I tried. I guess they allow you all the scotch you want, but sadly not jamon, so I grabbed some cheese and crusty bread and settled back into my scotch. It was snowing out at this point and it painted a lovely scene out of the window.

My view:
http://instagram.com/p/W88r4cFe1p/

At this point I was pretty far into my scotch filled haze, I decided to order another.

Glenfiddich 21:


Turned out my favorite was the Macallan, I was a bit sad that they didn’t have 25, but I believe that would be a huge firstworldproblem and beggers can’t be choosers when enjoying high end booze. Soon after my third scotch I was planning my next attack however against my better judgment my wife informed me that if I didn’t stop I would not be enjoying sharing a bed this evening in Munich. Sadly at this point our flight to Munich was ready for boarding more sadness continued downstairs when I noticed that we were being herded to the van with the 2 other passengers, sigh.

We were shuttled out to the plane that was at a gate, ushered past everyone and seated in LH regional C. I believe the plane was an A319, but being in state I was in, it could have been a horse and buggy. Oddly enough the flight time was something in the vicinity of 35-40 minutes and as soon I sat down the right side of my head met with the window and I had the best 15 minutes of sleep I have ever had. My nap came to an end however when the flight hit the runway and the engines roared to life and let me tell you about an alarm clock. I was going on my fourth of fifth wind at this point, I decided to have a coke lite (diet coke for us here in ‘merica). The flight was extremely quick and painless it went up and came back down. Once we landed we grabbed our luggage and ventured off to the s-bahn to get the Le Merdian. Not much to report on the hotel, we used a suite night award and got a corner room. Our room wasn’t ready at 5pm so we were given free drinks at the bar. I was still cut off according to my wife so I had a coke lite again. Our room was ready shortly after we finished our drinks, we dropped our bags and freshened up and then headed out to dinner. I decided on beer hall specifically the Augistiner Keller where more cured meats were ordered and more beer was consumed.

Cured Meat:


Beer:

We finished dinner and headed back to the hotel to grab some sleep before our flight to ICN the next day.
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Old Apr 2, 13, 7:48 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: ORD
Programs: HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 1,027
between the scotch and meats, I am guessing your liver is now in your carry-on.

If they had macallan 25, they'd be going through a case a day. Fairly certain that would be all I was drinking.
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Old Apr 3, 13, 12:54 pm
  #5  
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MUC – ICN LH F

I slept fairly well that’s largely in part to the jet lag or the alcohol, again knowing how warm and toasty Lufthansa like to keep the cabin I did not plan on getting sleep. We woke up around 7, I loaded another season of breaking bad on the tablet, freshened up and headed down the s-bahn. The hotel was in a great location for our needs.

Hotel View:


The hotel allowed us to purchase the train tickets directly from them and we would just need to validate them at the station. We were also allowed to charge them to the room I appreciated the how easy and convenient everything went. The train took around 50 minutes to get out to the flughafen, we got off and meandered through MUC looking for the LH F check in. After located the check in area we attempted to actually complete the check in process, this was easier said than done. The agent informed me that we were not able to check in due to the fact we never flew the FRA-MUC leg. Imagine my confusion on that, so physically standing in front of her I asked how I got to where I am. I thought about wormholes, the amount I drank the day before but everything pointed to me actually flying there. It seemed when we were being ushered past everyone the day before the gate agent never scanned our boarding pass. The check in agent made a phone call to someone, some German was spoken some typing occurred, this repeated for a few minutes until everything was cleared up. We were cleared through security and headed off to the FCL where the duck hunt was on once again.

Again I went for the bath:



The nice attendant left two ducks for the two ‘children’ I may or may not have yet, don’t judge. Post bath/shower I enjoyed an omelette with as many cured meats as they could fit in. A few calls were made back the states to inform loved ones of our current position in the world and then it was time to board. We walked out of the lounge and the gate was around the corner.

D-IAFF


Now you’re probably sitting there going why didn’t I just go directly from MUC-NRT, well that route was serviced by new F about 20% of the time when the ICN route had 100% new F. We would also arrive to NRT at the same time we would have if we took the direct flight. Boarding soon commenced, and I said I wouldn’t be drinking on this flight due to the previous day, that soon went out the window when the wife ordered a mimosa. I had champagne as we settled into our seats. The load was 4/8 this afternoon so everyone had an extra seat/bed to themselves. Before I had realized I heard Captain Klaus (no joke) say ‘TAKE OFF NOW’, I assume the Germans are very direct, as I started to remove my clothes I was pinned back in my seat and we were airborne.

Look at those hot legs (joke):


Cabin view from our seat:


As Americans I only assume that this is North Korean propaganda:


Menus were distributed: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/miles...-class-79.html
Amuse Bouche:

Sadly I enjoyed the napkin presentation more than the starter.

Table set up with Caviar and of course the Tower:


Scallops and green pea ‘mash’


Sushi:


Asian Style Carrot:


My wife ordered an Erdinger, so I did as well :


Carrot Soup with North Sea Shirmp:


Lamb:


Pêche Haeberlin


The meal was fantastic; the carrot soup was the outstanding portion of it all. After lunch my wife decided she wanted lie down for a ‘nap’ for about 6 hours, I decided to watch more Breaking Bad and head over to my window seat and stare out of the window for a few hours.

Usually a champagne glass:


In case you wanted to see what Minsk looks like from the air, I know you do:


Soon everyone followed my wife into slumber and I was left with no view as I needed to close the shades. I ended up watching a season of breaking bad. I did try and sleep with no luck which I was alright with it because it helps me get over jetlag when I get to Tokyo. Everyone woke up for Breakfast around 4am Seoul time, no pictures and not memorable. On approach I was hoping to snag a picture of the DPRK, but it was pitch black so I was unable, I also learned that you could not do this as I assume it’s illegal? Overall the flight went well and before we knew it we were transiting through ICN. Next time a brief 2 hour jaunt on an OZ 744 to NRT.

Last edited by macdonaldj2; Apr 5, 13 at 10:11 pm
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Old Apr 3, 13, 12:59 pm
  #6  
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Nice TR, but I could have done without the hairy legs.....
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Old Apr 3, 13, 3:26 pm
  #7  
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ICN-NRT OZ 744

In ICN we had a brief stint in the Asiana business lounge in the main terminal. I have three memories of the lounge:

1. Plane spotting was plentiful

2. They had scrambled eggs with broccoli that simply blew my mind

3. Using the happy face button on the washlet does exactly as advertised, I have never laughed so hard in my life. Going down the buttons as I had no clue what they do I came across the button with the happy face, of course the child I am I had to push it, and let’s just say the outcome was hilarious. The conversation that ensued with my wife about it also provided me with entertainment, her, not so much. Apologies for the TMI, but we cover it all here in trip reports.

We had heard that shopping in ICN was plentiful and since I’ve kept the misses cooped up in the safety of airline lounges she hasn’t had a chance to spend money. We swung by the duty free shop because I hadn’t seen a bottle of scotch since Frankfurt and this turned out to be a mistake. The duty free store was similar to the local mall during the holiday rush, I couldn’t navigate around, after wondering about how much damage I could do on my credit card I decided my money would be best spent on dinners in Tokyo and walked out.

We navigated over to the gate for NRT to see the big 744 that would be taking the short sub 2 hour flight over to Tokyo this morning. Living in the US and seeing a 744 for a less than 2 hour flight is a bit comical. Considering a few days prior I flew hub to hub on a CRJ or some such thing where when I walked on I needed to duck. So my excitement to both ride upstairs and on a superjumbo was similar to pushing the happy face button on the washlet.

Asiana 744:


I’ve been upstairs before on a 747, but never actually had a seat. Once seated we were offered water or OJ, I do not recall if champagne was offered or if it was apple juice or was it soju, it doesn’t matter I guess. The load was light, I believe half full, or half empty depending on your personal view. Menus were handed out and orders were taken before leaving the ground. I opted for the Korean option of porrage with duck and traditional garnishes. My wife decided for the ‘western’ option, the flight attendant smiled as I placed my order because she knew I went with the right decision.

We shortly took off and started heading out of ICN in the scariest directions to the North, but quickly changed direction. I fired up the tablet for more meth making and shortly thereafter lunch was served.

Lunch:


My wife was unhappy with her choice and I was thoroughly enjoying mine. Lunch was cleaned up and I’ll preface what happened next by saying if you were the person I’m referring to please explain yourself as I’d like to know. Back to the report, so at this point I was a little into my second episode of my show when my wife pointed out that the gentleman to my right had been brushing his teeth for the last 30 minutes, so I happened to peak over to witness it and sure enough there he was going hard at it. Now I’m all for dental hygiene but I brush my teeth for two minutes in the morning and at night before bed, how you brush your teeth for going on now 45 minutes mid-flight and with I assume is no toothpaste is just mindboggling. I just kept telling myself that I was about to land in Tokyo and chalked it up to culture.

At this point we were nearing the East coast of Japan and we were shortly on the ground after that. We had landed on one side of NRT, and then taxied to the other side, I believe it took longer than the flight to taxi to the gate, but I’m probably exaggerating about that. On the way over to the gate it provided me with some spotting options, however I only took one photo.

SQ A380:


Overall the flight was quick and painless, I appreciated the 744 on the two hour flight, I also should note that I had the option to choose F on the united flight later on in the day, but I picked the business option on OZ due to the time. We were shortly through immigration and on our way to the Park Hyatt Tokyo for 5 days in the city.
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Old Apr 4, 13, 1:36 pm
  #8  
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Tokyo – Park Hyatt Tokyo

We arrived on the airport limousine to the PHT our bags were offloaded and we were greeted by staff and shown upstairs to check in. At the check in I was presented with my SIM card that I purchased from b-mobile as well as an envelope containing our reservations for dinner, with maps and directions in Japanese.

I truly expected a lot from this hotel and it did not fail to impress. Before I had been researching restaurants to try while I was in Tokyo, I am a bit and I hate to use this word a ‘foodie’ but more to the point I wanted to try things I wouldn’t be able to or easily found in the US. Much to my wives dismay and my credit card companies joy I decided to look at the Michelin guide to Tokyo. I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi and had wanted to go there, however after looking online about the possible need of a Japanese speaker and his slight disdain for non-native speakers I decided to try Sushi Mizutani instead. For my next wallet busting decision I wanted to try Fugu, why you ask? Because it’s more a bucket list food for me, and also it would make for an interesting story if I really did die by eating it even though I knew I wouldn’t. I researched some and settled on Usukifugu Yamadaya, blowing through close to 1200USD for two dinners in Tokyo would have to be a hard sell for me, but at least we were staying on points and using miles to fly.

It was about a month prior to our departure and I composed an email to the concierge team at the Hyatt and then awoke the next morning to confirmed reservations. Considering these were both 3 star Michelin restaurants and from what I could read very hard reservations I was fairly impressed with the ease of everything. Fast forward now a week and my wife got wind of the Fugu and was put off by the idea, we emailed the concierge again to see if they had anything else my wife could have and if not could she join me as she couldn’t see spending 300USD on a meal she wouldn’t eat. Sadly they responded with a negative, so being the loving person I am I decided that I would pass on the fugu and attempt to find a plan b. Luckily I had some backups in mind and decided to try Ryugin. I also planned for the last night to keep things on the ‘cheap’ (Tokyo joke) and booked Shin Hinomoto a.k.a Andy’s. Another emailed placed and reservations were again made and confirmed.

You’re probably thinking, concierges making reservations should be easy, well sometimes yes, but again these are popular and hard to get. On top of that they were responded to in the same day, often within a few hours.

Back on topic and check-in, we were shown our room which we were using points for thanks to our wedding at the Hyatt Key West two years ago we still had points burning a hole in our respective accounts. Our room was the standard park king room which was well appointed. We dropped off the bags and while I figured out how to get the SIM card to work in my phone my wife changed some money and got to choose dinner for the night. Once I got the SIM to work I felt confident in my manly skills in navigation and headed to the nearest family mart for some provisions. Once the family mart was located, provisions were had and we walked back to the hotel and dropped them off.
What I haven’t explained yet or you haven’t figured it out I am a bit of a xxl man or the typical American, so when I go away I like to buy the weird local chips and or sodas hence the need to go to Family Mart. They let me down in the soda department, but they delivered in the snack area.

Chips – various flavors:


Melon Fanta is by far the best soda in the world:


After relaxing and snacking for a bit we went to local Izakaya, we were given the English menu with not that many options, ordered the chef taster and some beers and soon after many grilled chicken parts started showing up, more beers were ordered and before I knew it 200USD was gone. Dinner was good no complaints from me, my wife complained a bit about the money aspect, but eh I had that “I’m on vacation and I don’t care attitude”. We walked by the hotel and settled in for the evening.

View in the morning:


We had planned on going to Bills in Omotesando, and walk through Harajuku and then head over to Mejii Shrine and then we’ll see where the day took us. Once we figured out how to get a suica card we were off to find Bills and that was a joke, we showed up at 10am and were told to come back at 4pm for breakfast. There may have been a lost in translation moment there but there was a starbucks upstairs and I spotted some crepes back in Harajuku that looked good and just like that plan B was hatched. We finished up our crepes and headed over to Mejii Shrine - http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_ma...7633158173561/

Entrance:


After the stroll we took our time getting back to the hotel and cleaned ourselves up for dinner at Ryugin.

Menu and Utensils:


You can view the set here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_ma...7633162075574/
I knew nothing of the menu as it changes frequently and I was pleasantly surprised when fugu showed up during our sashimi course. If you end up in Tokyo and are looking for an excellent restaurant this is your spot.
The following two days were taken up by heading up to Ueno for Cherry Blossoms, a cruise up to Asakusa, seeing the Sensō-ji Temple, walking around Ginza and Shibuya.
Sakura Season:

You can view the rest of the set here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_ma...7633162449665/

We had two dinners left, one at Sushi Mizutani and one at Andy’s.

Sushi Mizutani:


I had a small idea of what to expect here and it lived up to the expectations. Sushi would be world class, watching Mizutani-san work and create each piece by hand in front of you is something to see, HOWEVER service wasn’t great. I understand why and I do not blame anyone other than myself for it. From what I have read is that most of the restaurants like this cater to mostly Japanese speaking clientele, and my wife and I not knowing any Japanese except the ‘Korewa nandesu Ka?’ and I felt foolish even attempting to mutter that. I sat stoic watching Mizutani-san work and eating anything he put in front of me without question. Dinner went smoothly and it was over with very little interaction with anyone outside of my wife. Overall excellent sushi, worth the price, I say yes, my better half disagrees.

On our last night in Tokyo we were off to something considerably more casual than the previous nights. We were to dine at Shin Hinomoto or Andy’s as it’s owned by a chap named well…Andy. I let the misses order whatever she wanted for dinner and we would share, I made one single request for Shirako Soup (cod sperm). My wife I assume did not notice that I ordered that, and I hope people are still reading this, if so put the drink down. A few minutes passed, beers were given then tempura showed up and my soup was on the table.

Shirako Soup


My wife looked inquisitively at it. I tried it first and I enjoyed it so I told her to try some and the usual ‘what is this?’ had been blurted out and I declined to answer and told her to try it, well she did and she enjoyed it up until the point when I explained to her what it was.

Post soup:


Taking a bit from Eightblack, there was a lot of arm waving and cursing, threats of divorce flew around and I that I might need to find a pod to sleep in for the night. She dropped her case after dinner when we took a wrong turn and stumbled upon a krispy kreme and me being who I am bought all the odd flavors they had left. We returned the hotel and packed up for our flight down to Bangkok and went to bed as the airport bus would be there to pick us up at 7am. Stay tuned to the next portion as I hope you’re enjoying this.

Last edited by macdonaldj2; Apr 5, 13 at 10:29 pm
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Old Apr 4, 13, 6:22 pm
  #9  
 
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The photo of your wife after learning the contents of the soup -- priceless. I can just picture the vigorous arm waving and gesturing that transpired.

Great story.

But if Mr. AKCuisine tried a stunt like that I can guarantee you that he'd be sleeping in a pod for the night. Perhaps for the entire week.
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Old Apr 4, 13, 9:17 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by AKCuisine View Post
The photo of your wife after learning the contents of the soup -- priceless. I can just picture the vigorous arm waving and gesturing that transpired.

Great story.

But if Mr. AKCuisine tried a stunt like that I can guarantee you that he'd be sleeping in a pod for the night. Perhaps for the entire week.
In my family, I'm much more likely to be the victim (wife is Chinese). As long as Mrs. Zomba is willing to eat it, I can't complain too much, though.
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Old Apr 4, 13, 11:00 pm
  #11  
 
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Wish I had known about the chips and melon Fanta before our trip to Japan.
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Old Apr 5, 13, 10:40 am
  #12  
 
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Macallan 18 is great stuff. 25 would have been nice if they had it(haven't been fortunate enough to taste the 25 yet), I highly recommend the 21 yr too!

Excellent report so far. Hope you had a great trip.
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Old Apr 5, 13, 11:38 am
  #13  
 
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Looking forward to the rest of the report.
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Old Apr 5, 13, 1:33 pm
  #14  
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Location: Washington D.C. via Sao Paulo via Houston via Washington D.C. via Boston via New York
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Tokyo to Bangkok

We woke up fairly early and skipped the expensive although excellent breakfast at the PHT and started our journey to one of my favorite cities in the world Bangkok. We booked the airport limo bus through the hotel as it was another painless process. Once on the bus we circled Shinjuku for a little bit before we hit the highway and soon enough we were at NRT.

The check in process was a breeze as we were flying in first and we were given a “fixer”? who ushered us through security but sadly not immigration. The line wasn’t long thought and soon we were staring at the NRT layout. This being ANA land I knew they had a suites lounge somewhere, where that was I had no clue so I gambled and ventured towards 4F. I walked right by the United Lounge looked at it and kept walking even though our flight was parked right next to it. Eventually we found the lounge and were granted access.

The lounge itself provided excellent tarmac views. The food was alright and when I say alright remember I just came from the FCT a few days prior. My biggest gripe was the washlet had no happy face button, thus I would not be happy. We stayed for 45 or so minutes and ate, drank a bit and then my wife wanted to be closer to the plane so we had to slum it up in the United First Lounge by our gate. This lounge made me sad but there was a good wireless signal and they had chairs so I guess that’s good?

View from the United Lounge:


I could spot the tail number (HS-TGZ) from the lounge and I knew I would be getting a retrofitted first class cabin although I wouldn’t believe it until I sat down in the actual seat. During by booking period all I wanted to fly was the A380 and I decided to book the late flight out of NRT that got us into BKK at close to 11pm. Our friends in Bangkok wanted meet up and our only option was breakfast. Personally I wanted to see them but I wanted to visit Healthland and blow through the menu like I did to the drink menu in the FCT. Alas it was one or the other, breakfast with friends, or best massage I’ve ever had…ah to have such problems. As luck would have it the earlier flight opened up so now we’d get into BKK at 3:30pm. We would be able to grab dinner with friends and then get a massage the next morning.

It was time to board, and not knowing how Thai would board this flight we just stood like first class lice.




Stereotypical TR shot:


Boarding was called and we walked on before anyone so I could get a shot of it empty:


The thing about this cabin is; I’m not really sure about the middle single seat or the color choice. Even though it was 10am the cabin was dark. Maybe I am Lufthansa color blind but it’s not for me. Don’t get me wrong I was gracious to be flying it.

Seat:


The load was 3 of 9 and the purser told us we could sit wherever we wanted, he suggested that we sit in the ‘honeymoon’ seats and after last night’s shirako episode my wife decided against that. I picked 1K and my wife sat in 2A as 1A was occupied.

For those of you that missed my legs and needed an update:


We were soon airborne and menus were handed out, drinks and lunch orders were placed and then served.
Amuse Bouche:


Table set up:


Bread Basket:


Appetizer:


Soup:


Main (very good)


Prawns close up:


Fruits and cheese – but you could have figured that out:


Lunch was over, service was a tad flawed but I was on vacation and I wasn’t paying for it so I didn’t care but my drinks weren’t filled, plates weren't cleared when finished, little things really but I’m not a petty person again and extremely grateful to be able to do this type of trip. After dinner we had a little over 5 hours to Bangkok so I fired up some breaking bad and watched that until we landed. Overall the hard product was good, seat was nice, IFE screen was very nice although I just watched the moving map, but the colors don’t work for me. The soft product could use some refinement but it’s Thai and you already knew that. Next up will be most likely be a series of quick reports as we spent less than 24 hours in both BKK and SIN.

Last edited by macdonaldj2; Apr 13, 13 at 1:53 pm
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Old Apr 7, 13, 3:42 pm
  #15  
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Bangkok -

We’re now on our way down to Bali and what kind of twisted person would I be if I didn’t stop in Bangkok and Singapore? We had a little less than 24 hours in both cities before we arrive in Bali. Last year my wife and I spent a little over two weeks in Bangkok, she needed to be there for work and I needed to be there to annoy her. We developed a love/hate relationship with Bangkok, food, massages, the city are all fantastic, but the fact that we are Farang’s means everyone is trying to hassle you but who can blame them. It just gets to you after the 100th time declining a tuk-tuk ride to somewhere you don’t need to go.

We landed in from NRT and were given the buggy to immigration and cleared through the diplomatic line. We had a porter given to us by Thai who got our bags and brought us down to the taxi stand. When we got in the taxi the fun began and the taxi driver refused to use the meter and said how much are you going to pay me? I said I’ll pay what the meter says and just like that we were on our way. We were staying at the Four Points Sukhumvit on Soi sip ha. I had to learn where our hotel was the year before after many nights spent drinking Mekhong, learning Thai helped get me back in one piece.

It took forever to get to the hotel due to traffic. We needed to meet friends at 6pm at their apartment for dinner and we were still on the toll-way at 5pm. Once we arrived at the hotel we quickly exchanged some yen for baht, dropped our bags and freshened up. Since we were going to be in Bangkok only for the night my wife and I wanted to eat street food, particularly on Soi 39. Our friends more importantly the wife had other plans, she wanted to go to some fancy and not so Thai place near their apartment. Guess who won? I’ll give you a hint…it wasn’t us. Both my wife and I were upset and I thought about playing the ‘I’m coming to visit you for one night you could do what I wanted’ but it wasn’t worth the stress.

If you’ve never been to Bangkok this might come as a surprise, however if you have been then you can skip this part. We needed to get over to our friends apartment, we had very little time but they live near the MRT so that was an option. We decided we needed to take a cab so we stood in front of the four points and had them flag a cab(s) down for us. Taxi after taxi just stopped and drove away, the first one that stopped wanted 500THB for the 10 minute ride which is just comical. We eventually found one that would take us the 10 minutes for 100THB.

Once we arrived at our friends, we met their newborn and nanny, we also had some snacks and chatted a bit before we left. Dinner was within ‘walking’ (lies) distance to their apartment. It took us about 30 minutes to find the restaurant and if you’ve been paying attention from the start of this TR I’m not the most fit individual around and while I don’t mind the walking portion I did mind the unbearable heat I was also still pretty upset about where we were going. We just blew our budget in Tokyo on fine dining and the only thing in Bangkok we wanted to do was eat on the ‘cheap’. Well the restaurant we ended up at was expensive for Bangkok, my wife ordered an entire fish I assume by accident and I somehow managed to spend more than her on some piece of meat that was resembled jerky. Laughingly we spent almost 100USD, how? Your guess is as good as mine.

During dinner we got an email from the people we met in the FCT a couple of days before. Remember them? No? well then go back and read…I’ll wait…Ok. Back to the email they wanted to meet for drinks at the Sky Bar (sigh) but the faster I got drinks in me the faster I would forget about dinner and that experience. So we bid our friends a farewell until next time and since there won’t be a next time as they are moving who knows. Grabbing a taxi back to the hotel was shockingly easy and they even used the meter without us asking! Once again when we got back to the hotel we had little time, so I took the quickest shower of my life and threw on some nice clothes as I had a feeling this bar might be fancy?

Once again we needed to taxi it over, and re-living this in my head I wonder if the taxi drivers didn’t like the people at the four points? After 6 or so taxis we finally got one that agreed to take us over on meter. The drive was uneventful and we managed to get to tower that the bar was in. Once we found the elevator it became apparent that this would be full of Farang and not the typical Thai experience where I enjoy a bottle of Mekhong. We were standing trying to figure out how exactly we would contact our new friends as we didn’t have their number and only an email address. As luck would have it we literally bumped into them. They quickly broke the news that we wouldn’t be enjoying the Sky Bar on this particular night due to a poor choice in the footwear department. I’ll never understand the reason behind five-finger shoes as the last time I was in a gym was to purchase a soda, but I digress. We needed to quickly formulate a plan b. The bar at the Four Points was fairly Farangish so that’s where we decided to go. We took the elevator down and somehow got off on the wrong floor and were greeted by another bar in the hotel somewhere by the pool. A quick decision was made to get drunk instead of attempting to go back to our hotel. We sat, chatted and drank for hours until last call was announced. We parted ways and agreed to do what any person does in our day in age and ‘facebooklinkedintwitter’ each other when we got back the states.

We arrived back to the hotel and we needed to pack and get ready for the next day’s trip down to my favorite city in the world; Singapore.
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