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RTW in J: Cairo, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Bali and Nepal

RTW in J: Cairo, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Bali and Nepal

Old Jan 27, 19, 12:24 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
RTW in J: Cairo, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Bali and Nepal

Background:

Continuing toward my goal of visiting each country, this trip began with the need to spend some of the 90k Avios I'd accrued through the Iberia promo last summer. Finding J availability on BOS-MAD in January was no problem, unsurprisingly. From there, the trip evolved into a RTW with stops on 5 continents, checking off a number of countries along the way. On this trip, I hit Spain, Egypt, UAE, Singapore, Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal and Hong Kong. Many of these countries were repeats that I visited only out of necessity.

The routing was also a bit circuitous. The primary reason for this was cost and schedule. More direct routings were available, but weren't feasible for various reasons. The other reason had to do with the paucity of flight routings involving PNG and Timor. Coming up with a cohesive (and relatively efficient) routing to include both countries was a bit challenging.

Finally, I caught a nasty sinus infection on the second day of the trip, so I ended up skipping some things and spending more time sleeping than I typically do while traveling.

Flight Routing:



BOS-MAD (IB J Award)
MAD-CAI (MS J - SQ Award)
CAI-DXB-SIN-SYD (SQ J ticket)
SYD-BNE-POM (QF J - BA Award)
POM-CNS (PX Y ticket)
CNS-DRW (QF Y ticket)
DRW-DIL (TL Y - QF ticket)
DIL-DPS (SJ Y ticket)
DPS-KUL (MH J ticket)
KUL-KTM (OD J ticket)
KTM-HKG-BOS (CX J ticket)


Stats:
  • Countries Visited: 10
  • Continents Visited: 5
  • Miles Flown: 33,000
  • Classes of Service: Economy and Business
  • New Airlines Flown: 8
  • New Countries Visited: 6
  • Updated Country Count: 54
In this report:
Iberia Business Class: Boston - Madrid
EgyptAir Business Class: Madrid - Cairo
Marriott Mena House
Giza and Cairo
EgyptAir Business Class: Cairo - Dubai
The Oberoi Dubai
Singapore Airlines Business Class: Dubai - Singapore
Singapore Airlines Business Class: Singapore - Sydney
Pullman Sydney Airport
Qantas Business Class: Sydney - Brisbane
Qantas Business Class: Brisbane - Port Moresby
Hilton Port Moresby
Air Niugini Economy Class: Port Moresby - Cairns
Qantas Economy Class: Cairns - Darwin
Hilton Darwin
Airnorth Economy Class: Darwin - Dili
Dili, East Timor
Sriwijaya NAM Air Economy Class: Dili - Denpasar
Alaya Dedaun Kuta
Malaysia Airlines Business Class: Denpasar - Kuala Lumpur
Malindo Air Business Class: Kuala Lumpur - Kathmandu
Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
Kathmandu
Cathay Dragon Business Class: Kathmandu - Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Business Class: Hong Kong - Boston

Previous Trip Reports:
10 Countries in 9 Days (CX, KE, QR, TG, KL, BI)
Former SSRs: the Baltics, Belarus and Back
Bangladesh, Burma and Beijing the Long Way (with stops in Laos, Singapore and Tokyo)

A Passage to India with stops in Qatar, Sri Lanka and Scandinavia (AA, QR, UL in J)
An Engagement to Remember: BOS to ZQN (with a few stops along the way)

Last edited by swingaling; Jan 30, 19 at 1:03 pm
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Old Jan 27, 19, 3:48 pm
  #2  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
Iberia Business Class: Boston - Madrid

Iberia
Business Class (J)
Business Class Award
IB6166: BOS-MAD (Boston to Madrid)
14 January 2019
Airbus A330-300 (Three Class Configuration)
EC-LZX
Seat 2A

Departure: 5:30PM
Arrival: 6:15AM+1


I arrived at BOS 3 hours prior to departure, as I was a bit concerned about TSA lines due to the government shutdown. Luckily, the lines were quite short and I was through quickly, despite not having PreCheck or TSA Expedited screening. I hung out at the lounge for a while until it was time to board. Loads on this flight were very low. J had 5-6 pax in the cabin, total (perhaps 20% load).

LAN B767 spotted


EC-LZX Spotted


Decently Comfortable Seat


2A


Nearly Empty Cabin


Menu


Menu


Menu


Nuts and Olives


First Course
Pretty good, though the consomme was very salty.


I didn't get a photo of the main, but I had the chicken. The chicken was quite good, though the sides were lacking. I skipped dessert and tried to get some sleep ASAP. I probably managed 4 hours sleep total, but it was tough with such an early evening departure. The crew didn't wake me for breakfast, but I didn't see anyone eating breakfast anyway.

Remote Stand at MAD
Police boarded the plane while we deplaned for whatever reason.


I had a long layover in Madrid, so I went into the city to have a ham sandwich for breakfast at my favorite jamon restaurant. Delicious and cheap, as always. Before long, I headed back to the airport and checked in to my onward flight to Cairo.

Museo del Jamon
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Old Jan 27, 19, 5:29 pm
  #3  
757
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: St. Paul, MN
Programs: Delta GM, IHG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 330
Looking forward to this report! It seems like every report I've seen of Iberia J has that consomme served ... It seems like their starters don't change very often.
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Old Jan 27, 19, 10:36 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Indonesia
Posts: 353
looking forward to seeing what Timor Leste and PNG section would be like.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 3:31 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: PVG, China
Programs: Platinum Ambassador, SPG Gold, Krisflyer, Accor A-Card Platinum, Hilton Honours Gold, QF Bronze
Posts: 2,354
Looking forward to the upcoming posts.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 7:42 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: JNB
Programs: Flying Blue, Miles and Smiles, Hhonors, ICHotels
Posts: 1,099

I would probably walk in there and not see the sun for several days........
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Old Jan 28, 19, 9:47 am
  #7  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
EgyptAir Business Class: Madrid - Cairo

EgyptAir
Business Class (J)
SQ Business Class Award
MS754: MAD-CAI (Madrid to Cairo)
15 January 2019
Boeing 737-800 (Two Class Configuration)
SU-GEN
Seat 10A

Departure: 2:50PM
Arrival: 8:55PM


Back at the airport, I hit the pharmacy to load up on cold meds and tissues before taking the shuttle to MAD T1. This was my first visit to T1 and it was crowded with a somewhat inefficient/confusing layout. Check-in opened shortly after I arrived, and I was through security a few minutes later. Gold Track was essentially deserted, unsurprisingly.

T1 isn't bursting with lounge options, so I went to the contract lounge upstairs and had a short nap in a recliner by the window views. The apron and runway views were pretty great, I must say. Unfortunately, my attempt at sleep was disturbed by an Italian man listening to Pearl Jam and Stevie Nicks full blast on his phone's speaker. Without headphones. But at least, the music ceased when he paused to have loud phone conversations.

Before long, it was time to board. The gate area was very crowded.

SU-GEN
Egpytian Football Team Livery


J Cabin
Typical Regional J seat.


J Cabin
Same seat used by numerous operators.


Cubana Il-96-300
Don't see these too often


Starters
The bresaola dish was decent. The tabbouleh was not good.


Meatballs and Potatoes
Tasted fine, if a bit greasy


EgyptAir Chocolate Bar
They handed these out after dessert (which I'd skipped)


PMS Issues, eh?


Four Kinds


Sunset



Overall, the flight was fairly uneventful. The J cabin was perhaps half full and we landed on time at CAI. Fairly unremarkable flight overall. I'd fly them again.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 10:36 am
  #8  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
Marriott Mena House

Marriott Mena House
Deluxe Room, Balcony, Garden View

I was through immigration and customs quickly. I went outside and met my guide, who was already waiting for me. The guide then drove me to the hotel, roughly a 45 minute drive even at 9PM. Unfortunately, on the way to the hotel, a stray dog darted in front of the car and our car hit it. It was a bit of a shock and really upsetting (I have two dogs myself). The guide told me there was no safe place to stop, but he said the dog got up afterwards. Not a great way to start my visit to Egypt...

At the suggestion of my guide, I'd chosen a hotel in Giza. There aren't a ton of choices, so I went with the Marriott, which had better reviews than the nearby Le Meridien. Formerly an Oberoi property, the Mena House is really in need of a full renovation. The rooms were a bit dated and the age of the linens was starting to show. Given their prices, I'm surprised the owners haven't made more investment into the buildings.

I used Chase points to cover the cost of the hotel, but the nightly rate with breakfast was around $170 for my date. Not a great value, given the Four Seasons is around $200 and a substantially nicer property.

Room


Bathroom


Bathroom


Bedroom



I was a bit hungry, so I ordered a chicken sandwich from room service. It was decent, nothing special.

Chicken Pita


I got up around 7AM the next morning and went to breakfast after getting ready. The buffet was included in the rate and the spread was decent. Not overly memorable in any way.

Frosted Flakes


Pyramid Views
Views from outside the hotel restaurant


After breakfast, I collected my bag and checked out of the hotel. I met my guide out in front of the hotel at 9AM to being the tour of Giza and Cairo.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 12:03 pm
  #9  
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Posts: 1,567
Giza and Cairo

Giza and Cairo, Egypt

I met the guide at the hotel gates at 9AM. First stop was the Great Pyramid of Giza built during the reign of King Khufu c. 2580-2860 BC. I don't have a huge amount to say about this, as the pyramids really speak for themselves. The weather was unseasonably cold and quite windy. Not exactly the weather I'd been expecting.

Tourists Milling Around Post-Security
Note the security guard in the background with a poorly concealed Uzi under his blazer.


Pyramid of Khafre


Great Pyramid Entrances


Main Entrance (above) and Robber's Entrance (right)


I decided to spend the extra EGP and got a ticket to go inside the Great Pyramid. It was interesting, but very hot inside.

Robber's Entrance Passageway


Watch Your Head


After crawling up the Ascending Passage, I emerged in the Grand Gallery along with a couple tourists from Spain.

Grand Gallery


Another climb up the Grand Gallery takes you to the King's Chamber. It was stiflingly hot at this point.

Sarcophagus in King's Chamber


Going Back Down


WWII Graffiti


Grand Gallery
From the top


Grand Gallery
Pretty Steep


Ascending Passage
Going down this was a lot harder than the reverse. I did it backwards on all fours and it was slow going. I really should have left my backpack in the car...


Great Pyramid


Pyramid of Khafre


Khufu Ship Museum (foreground)


Mastaba


Pyramid of Khafre


Khufu Boat Pit
The pit where the boat of Khufu was unearthed in the 1950s.


Boat Pit
Covered in giant stone slabs


Khufu Boat


Khufu Boat


Khufu Boat


Khufu Boat


Khufu Boat


Khufu Boat


Khufu Boat


Pyramid of Khafre


Camel


Great Pyramid


Pyramid of Menkaure


Pyramid of Khafre


Pyramid of Menkaure


Pyramids of Queens


Pyramids of Menkaure and Khafre


At this point, I had the opportunity to take a camel ride from a Bedouin into the desert. It was quite windy at this point and they were asking $30 for a short camel ride. I declined and walked around a bit instead.

Sahara Desert

Pyramid of Menkaure


Camels


Pyramid of Menkaure


Pyramid of Khafre

Getting Windy


Dog and Sphinx


Sphinx


Sphnix


Sphinx


Temple of the Sphinx


Temple of the Sphinx


Sphinx


Sphinx


Sphinx


Sphinx


Sphinx


The sandstorm started to pick up after we left the Giza Plateau. It was so bad, I had to throw out my contact lenses because the fine desert sand was embedded in them.

Camel


Cairo Traffic Isn't So Bad...


This is where things got hairy. Once off the ring road, we hit the Nile Corniche. The traffic was horrible. Nearly as bad as the traffic in Dhaka. It took us roughly 2 hours to make it the final 4km to the Egyptian Museum. Additionally, my sinus infection was starting to set in, and the really poor air quality (pollution and sand) didn't help at all.

We finally made it to the museum only minutes before my bladder burst.

Egyptian Museum
Note the sky. That's a sand storm.


Egyptian Museum Gardens


Egyptian Museum
Yes, that's the actual color of the sky...


Khafre Enthroned


Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun


Canopic Jars of Tutankhamun


Caption


Golden Throne


After the tour of the Museum, it was getting late and I was really starting to feel a bit gross. Originally, I'd planned to go walk around Muiz Street followed by the Grand Bazaar of Khan El Khalili before heading back to the airport. However, I was running out of steam after the museum and didn't really have more sightseeing in me. So we headed to the airport. Traffic was non-existent, so in retrospect we certainly had time to hit the Bazaar. Not a huge deal, it gives me something to see next time I'm in Cairo.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 12:19 pm
  #10  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
EgyptAir Business Class: Cairo - Dubai

EgyptAir
Business Class (J)
SQ Business Class Ticket
MS910: CAI-DXB (Cairo to Dubai)
16 January 2019
Airbus A330-300 (Two Class Configuration)
SU-GDS
Seat 10D

Departure: 10:30PM
Arrival: 3:45AM+1


I purchased this routing to Australia mainly because it was the cheapest option available and it gave me the opportunity to have a long layover in Dubai. Etihad had some similarly priced options, but flight timings were worse and a stop in Abu Dhabi was not overly appealing.

I arrived at the airport super early, so I killed some time at the landside Burger King in T3. Feeling pretty gross at that point, the sinus infection was starting to assert itself. As a result, not many photos for this flight.

After waiting around, I passed through security and immigration, then headed to the entirely underwhelming EgyptAir lounge. I found a sole working outlet, so I was able to charge my phone and use the wifi. But that's about it.

Before long, it was time to board. I'd planned to sleep on this flight, so I have no idea if there was any kind of meal service. I reclined as soon as we were in the air and did my best to get some sleep. I probably managed 90 minutes of mediocre sleep before it was time to land. The seats were not even remotely close to flat beds (perhaps 150 degrees of recline), but decent enough. The seats were a similar to design to those used by THAI in its two class widebodies.

Chocolate Bar and Semi-Flat Bed Seats


After landing, it was a short wait for immigration and customs. Once landside, I ordered an Uber to take me to my hotel so I could get some proper sleep.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 12:33 pm
  #11  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
The Oberoi Dubai

The Oberoi Dubai
Deluxe City View Room

By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was tired and cranky. I completed the check-in formalities and went to bed immediately. It was almost 5AM by the time I was in bed. I'd planned to take a short nap, then do a 9AM visit to the Burj Khalifa. Unfortunately, my arrival in Dubai coincided with the start of a full blown sinus infection. So the plans to visit the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall were quickly nixed in favor of sleep.

Thankfully, the room had full blackout curtains, so I was able to sleep until 2PM. I would've slept longer, but I wanted to compose myself prior to leaving for the airport.

Bedroom


Bedroom
No King bed, unfortunately. Too tired to care.


Bathroom


Huge Closet


Bath and Shower
Excellent water pressure


Bathtub


View from the Room


View from the Room


Once I felt reasonably human again, I decided to order some room service, as I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours at that point. Of course, I couldn't taste much of anything, but the textures were nice...

Lentil Soup


Falafel
I'm pretty sure this was quite tasty.


Gulab Jamun for Dessert with Fresh OJ and Water
Good fresh pita too



After eating some lunch/dinner/whatever, I finished getting ready and went downstairs to check out. I ordered an Uber and it was back to the airport.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see anything in Dubai. However, Dubai is a popular transit point, so I'm sure I'll be back there soon enough.
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Old Jan 28, 19, 12:51 pm
  #12  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
Programs: AA EXP
Posts: 1,567
Singapore Airlines Business Class: Dubai - Singapore

Singapore Airlines
Business Class (J)
SQ Business Class Ticket
SQ495: DXB-SIN (Dubai to Singapore)
17 January 2019
Boeing 777-300ER (Four Class Configuration)
9V-SWP
Seat 14K

Departure: 8:00PM
Arrival: 7:15AM+1



View of Burj Khalifa
From my Uber



I arrived at DXB T1, got my boarding pass and proceeded through security and immigration. It didn't take too long. I headed to the LH lounge to have some fluids and blow my nose for an hour. After a while, I headed to the pharmacy to buy some lozenges and additional tissues. Luckily, Oberoi had excellent tissues, so I'd loaded up before leaving...

Before too long, it was time to board the plane for Singapore. This was my first time flying SQ's B777 in J. Previously, I'd only flown their B777 in F. While it looks nice, I really don't understand the design philosophy with these seats. It's as if they were built specifically for people who are both very fat and very short. Or perhaps for people with no legs at all.

Lying flat, one must contort one's body to fit their legs in the small cubby. I'd have gladly given up some seat width in order to have more lateral leg room. While it's not the worst J seat out there, it's very far from the best. I much prefer the reverse herringbone design other airlines use.

Oompa Loompa J Seat


Width For Days


Excellent Storage Space


Menu


Menu


Menu


The meal service was a bit slow, despite being in the front mini cabin.

Satay Starter


Appetizer


Bread
Garlic bread was a bit overwarmed


Entree
I went with a BTC option - Chicken breast in tarragon jus, I believe. It was good, I think.


Dessert
This was tasty. One of the few things I could actually taste at this point.


After dinner, I tried my best to sleep as much as possible. I managed a few hours, but the seat wasn't very comfortable and was extremely hard when in bed mode. Really not a fan.

Before landing, the crew served a light breakfast.

Breakfast


Breakfast



We arrived in SIN on time, so I went to the lounge to hydrate and rest before my onward flight to SYD. I stopped for some cough meds en route to the lounge, though they weren't overly helpful.

Last edited by swingaling; Jan 29, 19 at 12:56 pm
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Old Jan 28, 19, 1:01 pm
  #13  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
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Posts: 1,567
Singapore Airlines Business Class: Singapore - Sydney

Singapore Airlines
Business Class (J)
SQ Business Class Ticket
SQ288: SIN-SYD (Singapore to Sydney)
18 January 2019
Boeing 777-300ER (Four Class Configuration)
9V-SWJ
Seat 12K 11F

Departure: 9:35AM
Arrival: 8:25PM


A short rest in the lounge and it was time to board the plane for Sydney. Boarding was uneventful and the plane was configured identically to the previous plane. After we'd boarded, I noticed that the bulkhead 11F was unoccupied. I confirmed with the crew and promptly switched seats. Despite the reduction in storage space, the bulkhead seat had substantially more leg room. Definitely a worthwhile trade.

9V-SWJ


Menu


Menu


Menu


Tuna Starter


Bread


Beef Rendang
I ordered the BTC option again. This time the beef rendang. It was pretty good, I think.


Dessert
I had no idea they still made Viennetta


"Reuben" Sandwich
Probably the worst Reuben sandwich I've ever had. Not even close to what a Reuben should be.



Overall, the flight was fine. I was able to get a bit of sleep in, but not a ton. We arrived on time at SYD. After loading up on AUD, I took a taxi to my nearby hotel for some proper sleep.

Last edited by swingaling; Jan 29, 19 at 12:56 pm
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Old Jan 28, 19, 1:32 pm
  #14  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
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Posts: 1,567
Pullman Sydney Airport

Pullman Sydney Airport
Accessible Superior Room, King Bed

I received the last room in the hotel, which happened to be an accessible room. Not much to say about the Pullman. It's convenient for an overnight stop and that's about it. After a solid sleep, I was up early to head back to the airport to catch my onward flights to Papua New Guinea.

Room


Bathroom


Bathroom


Room


Room


View
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Old Jan 28, 19, 1:40 pm
  #15  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: PVD, BOS
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Posts: 1,567
Qantas Business Class: Sydney - Brisbane

Qantas
Business Class (J)
BA Business Class Award
QF504: SYD-BNE (Sydney to Brisbane)
19 January 2019
Boeing 737-800 (Two Class Configuration)
VH-VZA
Seat 3C

Departure: 7:00AM
Arrival: 7:30AM


Once I obtained my boarding pass, I was through security and in the lounge in no time. The lounge had an excellent breakfast buffet, so I had a quick breakfast before the flight. This was the right call. The lounge served a far better breakfast than was available on the plane.

No lounge photos, apparently. I was still pretty zonked out at this point due to sinusitis. I was probably at my sickest on this day, unfortunately. Undaunted, I decided to continue onward.

Retro Qantas Livery Spotted


The flight boarded a bit early, so I boarded in the middle of the pack. Plenty of bin space remained, though the flight was otherwise quite full.

Before long, breakfast was served. I had a few bites then did my best to occupy the remaining flight time.

Breakfast

Last edited by swingaling; Jan 29, 19 at 12:57 pm
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