In continueing the adventure here is what its like in the 2nd class A/C cabin of the train…
You are assigned a seat/bunk. In the 2nd class section there are 4 people to a cabin, on a hard as rock seat, or you pull down the seat back and you have a hard as rock bed!
Each bunk comes with a set of sheets… look over them before you use them, one in our group got a sheet that was covered in driedblood!
The carriages are very dirty too, and the 2 trains we traveled on where also full of cockroaches…lots of them!
The trains themselves are actually quite small , and smelly. People are smoking, people are just smelly, but you get to enjoyall the smells. My suggestion is to wear a strong perfume!
Always strange to leave one country and climate in the morning and be having dinner in a totally foreign place… I love it, should happen at least once a week I think!
Anyway after a quick Mcdonalds meal we hit the sack and awake at the Crowne Plaza Osaka to see this view from the hotel room…
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Pretty cool hotel, right in the city center and close by everything. The river out front is interesting and as soon as I can get dressed I am off exploring the city alone…
Here is a river boat flying the river and some cool old houses that time has forgotten and also built a huge highway on top of !
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Out back of the hotel is a rabbit warren of streets full of restaurants and little bars, mostly closed though as its early and Monday morning.
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The city itself is a underground maze, there is some of it at street level, and but most of the city appears to be below ground. Which is good as its about 5 C and raining this day.
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But we are here for not long, less than 24hrs, and the fun of exploring the city must end as we have a 7pm departure to Nagasaki, which is going to be fun as a cold front is passing the whole of Japan.
This is our plane sitting on the cold wet ramp at Kansai airport.
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The flight to Nagasaki runs smooth, but my gosh it was bumpy, continuous moderate turbulence for the whole hour flight down to Nagasaki. Its a welcome relief to descent out of the clouds and arrive on the approach into Nagasaki just as the front passes and we find ourselves in relatively clear air.
Now its time for the 45 min, $200 cab ride into the city…ahhh the day is over. Lets find a place for dinner!
Its a nice clear day and the forecast is perfect for flying, just some clear air turbulence over Shanghai and a forecast for a tailwind that will start at 50 kt and end at 160kt!
Our trip out of India and over Bangladesh goes smoothly , or as smooth as it can. Of course as expected we get stuck down low over Bangladesh, today its the normal FL290 . Thankfully there is a tailwind as this FL290 is to be until we reach Chinese airspace 1.5 hrs later!! Our jet doesnt like to fly at FL290, it burns a huge amount of fuel at this level, so its time to fly at max endurance speed to make it work.
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This is the reason we are stuck at FL290 is we have timed our departure to be perfectly stuck under a Qatar and a Emirates airliners bother sitting 2000ft apart at the exact same speed and suprisingly going to Osaka also (although they can go direct whereas we will have to stop for fuel).
Flying in China is normal, the controllers are easy to understand and have really good radios and radar everywhere, it is strange of course as they do speak Chinese to Chinese aircraft, and they do fly in meters not feet so we constantly have to refer to a table to convert the meters to feet as they plane can only fly in feet.
Our first stop is Wuhan China for fuel, its quick and simple, with just 20 minutes from wheels on ground to wheels up! Its cold, real cold though and wet, here is the plane while we wait for the refuelling to end…..
But onwards and upwards and soon we are at FL410 with 167kts of tailwind pushing us to Japan…..
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From the front of a plane as the sun sets you see night come, and this is what it looks like….
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But we land at Kansai airport with no drama, its normal its simple and best of all flying in Japan is like being in the USA and they use inches on the altimeter.
Then its off on the airport limousine bus to hitch a ride into downtown Osaka for our night and 24hrs in the city. The bus is 1 hr and costs 2700 yen for a return ticket per person.
We had a nice break from India this month, a 2 week trip from Kolkata to Osaka (via Wuhan), then to Nagasaki, then to Tokyo, then to Shanghai and home via Wuhan and Kunming.
Here is what it looked like on a map…
Like all trips it starts with a lot of flight planning and deciding where to stop for fuel. See our plane can only fly for 3.5hrs and have enough fuel to hold for 30 minutes and divert to a alternate airport 100nm away. This creates challenges in China as there are not a lot of airports in China which is suprising!
So to help us with all this we need handlers to get the ground part organized and also to get us the overflight permits.
For a trip like this we need overflight permits for the following countries:
- India YA exit and entry permit (yep need permission to leave your own country!)
- Bangladesh overflight
- Myanmar overflight
- China overflight and landing
- South Korea overflight
- Japan landing permissions. (no overflight or entry permission needed suprisingly)
These are easy to get as we have a handler in each country who can help us out. In China we always use JSC, or Jet Service China Success www.jscchina.com and in Japan we use Aeroworks Intl… http://aeroworks.jp .
China thankfully has become less restrictive in the last couple of months, and now it takes just 3 days notice to get permits to overfly and land. For a country like China they are also very helpful at allowing planes to tech stop for fuel.