Andy's Travelogue

Part Two: The years 1994 to 1999

1994

Molokai

In February, Yukari and I went to Cyprus. We hired a car and drove around most of the island. We also went to Bermuda for a few days, and did lots of walking.

Paris Having persuaded Yukari that Hawaii was a great place to go on holiday, we went there in March. We got bumped off the first flight to Los Angeles, but got on the second one. On attempting to fly standby from L.A. to Honolulu, we found that lots of other people had the same idea, and spent most of the day trying different American carriers, but to no avail. Finally, we got on an Air New Zealand flight which was half empty! We then got to Molokai with no problems, and I was able to re-visit the phallic rock (left) once again. On the way back, we stopped in L.A. and visited Disneyland.
Nikko


Antigua

After a weekend in Belfast for a wedding, and a day trip to Paris (right), we planned a holiday to Canada. However, I managed to hurt my ankle, so we ended up flying out to Tokyo to spend some time with Yukari's parents instead. We drove over to Mount Fuji to visit Yukari's brother, and we also did a day-trip to Nikko (left), which is the site of a famous temple and tourist trap in the mountains to the North of Tokyo.

In October, we did a quick trip to Antigua (right) in the Caribbean. We stayed in a hotel on the beach which seemed to be full of very arrogant British Airways employees, the kind who are rude to the local people, and demand an upgrade on the journey home. If only everyone could be as nice as me...





1995

Taiwan

On the very first day of 1995, we were back in Cyprus. It's strange to be walking on the beach on New Year's day. Later in the month we went out to visit Saul again, but this time he was in Taipei in Taiwan. He managed to get us tickets to a couple of places further South, Taitung and Hualien, which thankfully got us out of the polluted atmosphere of Taipei. I actually got ill from an afternoon spent travelling on the bus, which is not surprising considering the number of cars and scooters in the city. Oh, and if you ever want to take a taxi in Taipei, and a taxi with licence plate EC 019 pulls up, don't get in it, that one's driven by a lunatic! The photo (left) was taken at a temple up in the hills near Hualien.

Dubai

Just a month later we travelled to Dubai. This is a great place to go if it's not during the summer... you can buy cheap gold, lie on the beach, or head into the dunes on a four wheel drive excursion. We did the latter, and it's a lot scarier than roller coasters (although not as scary as a taxi ride in Taipei). The photo (right) shows the best way to cross the creek at sunset.

During April, we went to Madrid, and then Munich, to visit some friends who live out there. The month after, we flew to Boston for a quick break. Alas, too late, we found that Sammy, Carla, Norm and Cliff are actually fictional characters.

To try to escape the summer heat, we decided to go to Oslo in July. Unfortunately, it was just as warm there as in London! Only when we took a day-trip to Tromsø, which is actually within the arctic circle, did we find it a bit cooler.

Canada

In September, we finally managed to get to Canada. Myself, Yukari, and my parents flew to Calgary, and then drove up through the Rockies, visiting Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. For the last few days, we stayed in a wooden cabin at Miette Hot Springs, up in the hills near Jasper. I can't remember where the photo on the left was taken, only that it was on the way back from Jasper to Banff. Probably. Cayman

At the end of the year, after many e-mails to arrange our B & B, myself, Yukari, and another couple went to Grand Cayman to do lots of snorkelling and sunbathing. Whilst there, we went to Hell (look at a map of the island!) and the totally brilliant Stingray City, a shallow reef where the stingrays swim into your arms for a cuddle! Sorry about the bog standard sunset photo (right), by the way.



1996

A week in Tokyo, staying with Yukari's family, started off the year. Then, in March, my friend Rob decided to hold his stag do in Florence. Arriving late at the departure gate at Heathrow, we met some of the rest of the party, who were beginning to wonder if we'd turn up. On arrival in Bologna, we caught an over-crowded train to Florence, where we eventually found our hotel. This was, er, very cheap. After a couple of days of drinking good wine, eating good food, and looking at old stuff, we got on another train, to Pisa. After doing the usual tourist stuff at the leaning tower, it was time for myself and Yukari to head back home. It had just started raining, and there were no taxis in sight, but we finally got back to Pisa airport with seconds to spare to catch the flight home! Another example of bad things happening when flying home on April Fools' day. Barcelona

Not long after, Yukari & I spent a few days in Barcelona. The photo (left) is from the inside of La Boqueria market, off Las Ramblas. Then, looking for somewhere to spend a few days off in June, we ended up back in Bermuda. This time, I managed to do some snorkelling, and found some excellent reefs close to the beaches. I also did some research for my parents, who were due to fly there a couple of months later.

Hakodate

In August, a whistle-stop trip to Japan saw us arriving in Tokyo one day, and flying up to Hakodate in Hokkaido the next, to visit Kazuko-san, one of Yukari's friends. The next day, we flew back down to Tokyo, and the day after that, we flew back to London! The photo (right) was taken in the fish market at Hakodate.

The final trip of the year was my first ever business trip! Unfortunately, it was to Dallas, where I'd already been three times! At least the TPF Users' Group Conference was good fun.



1997

Turks and Caicos

First trip of this year was out to the Turks and Caicos Islands. We flew out to Miami, and then transferred onto American Airlines for the flight down to 'Provo' (the island of Providenciales). Unfortunately, AA's aged Boeing 727 had a technical fault while still on the ground at MIA, so they commandeered another nearby 727 to get us there only a little bit late. The holiday was brilliant, and I spent most of my time snorkelling or sunbathing. We paid a visit to Little Water Cay, an island inhabited only by iguanas, and spent a couple of hours feeding them with special iguana food (left). Len and Donna

In February, a visit to Tokyo started off with another technical delay, this time on the British Airways flight out of Heathrow. Luckily, we were invited to spend lots of money at the airline's expense in the pubs and restaurants of Terminal Four, so we spent the two hour delay getting our money's worth!

A couple of months later, I finally managed to get out to Albuquerque to visit my old friend Len and his girlfriend Donna (right). We flew out there via Phoenix, where it was about 108°F, but luckily it was cooler in the higher altitude of Albuquerque. We actually found snow at the top of the Sandia mountains! We also visited Santa Fe, and generally had a fantastic time. I would recommend the green 'chile' (chilli) if you like your food hot.

Prague

After I made a quick trip to Jersey in August, to see my parents who were holidaying out there, we had a really good (and cheap) holiday in Prague, in the Czech Republic. Prague is an extremely picturesque city, as you can see in the photo (left), taken from Prague Castle (Prazský hrad). We stayed in a Czech-owned apartment in Prague 7, and had a great time drinking cheap beer, shopping, and sight-seeing.

We were lucky to be in Prague at a time when there are fewer tourists than in mid-summer, and when the Burcák (the local equivalent of Beaujolais Nouveau) had just arrived in town!

At the end of the year, we went to Japan (yet again), and then to Munich once more, to sample the Christmas markets and visit our friends.



1998

After a break from travelling, we finally managed to get away in March, spending five days in Northern Spain. We flew out to Bilbao, stayed one night there, then took a coach to Santander. We hired a car and drove up to Fuente De in the mountains, where it was snowing so hard we couldn't see anything!

Vending machines At the end of March, we went to Japan for a few days. I was this time able to fend for myself a bit better, with my newly-acquired, but still limited, knowledge of the language. And, apart from a few domestic flights in April and early May, it was again Japan we visited next, in mid May. This time, we stayed for an unusually long time, 9 days, and I managed to take lots of photos. The one on the left shows a "Calpis" vending machine next to a "Pocari Sweat" vending machine, and you can see other pics on my Photos of Japan page.

Montreal

After a long time in which I didn't go anywhere (but I did buy a new motorbike), we managed to find our way to Montréal in early September (right). We really liked the city and had a great time chilling out and sightseeing. I can recommend a chain of vegetarian restaurants called 'Le Commensal'. We didn't have such a good time on the return flight, however, when an Air Canada pilots strike meant that our nice, empty BA plane became rather full of AC refugees... not the best situation to be in when one is flying standby! Luckily, we got on the flight we wanted, and avoided having the end of our trip spoiled.



1999

Many, many months later (terrible, I know, but I did buy a new PC...) March '99 found us in Dubai again, enjoying the Dubai Shopping Festival. Unlike the previous trip there, we managed to eat in local restaurants, and had lots of falafel, hommous etc. On the return leg, the flight was overbooked by over fifty seats, but we still got on OK... in fact we got club class both ways! Soon after this, I got to travel out to Washington DC, on a business trip.

Cook Islands

On our next major holiday, we took three weeks off, from mid-June to the beginning of July, and did a round-the-world tour. We firstly flew out to Los Angeles, where we intended staying just one night, but actually stayed two, as the first flight out we tried for (via Honolulu) was full. We got on the next day's Air New Zealand flight via Tahiti, to get to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Rarotonga was brilliant. We stayed at the Muri Beachcomber, a complex of Bungalows near a beautiful beach at Muri Lagoon. We used the local buses (left) to get around (there's one bus per hour clockwise round the island, and one anti-clockwise). Despite it raining for two solid days, we really enjoyed our time on the island, the highlight being a visit to the Cook Islands Cultural Village. Fiji

After about a week, we moved on to Fiji (right), which seemed huge to us in comparison with Rarotonga. We stayed at the Crow's Nest Resort near Sigatoka, where you can walk out onto the reef to see fish, sea snakes, shellfish etc. From Fiji, we flew up to Osaka in Japan, to visit some of Yukari's friends, and then to Tokyo, to spend a night with her parents. Total distance flown was 22800 miles!

A couple more work trips followed, overnight to Boulder, Colorado at the end of July, and a long weekend (half play, half work) in Washington DC in August.

Then we moved house, so travelling was kind of off the menu for a while. We did go to some place in the Canary Islands, but it was all charter flights and resort complex in the middle of nowhere stuff. Not my idea of a holiday, really.


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