Once in a lifetime experiences....

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Tim_MaA_MidB
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Once in a lifetime experiences....

Post by Tim_MaA_MidB » Wed May 24, 2006 4:03 pm

Get the 36hr coach from Caracus to Manaus.

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J.R.
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Re: Once in a lifetime experiences....

Post by J.R. » Wed May 24, 2006 4:54 pm

Tim_MaA_MidB wrote:Get the 36hr coach from Caracus to Manaus.
Youd have to be Caracus to do that !
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Tim_MaA_MidB
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Post by Tim_MaA_MidB » Wed May 24, 2006 5:13 pm

Arf :roll:

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Great Plum
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Post by Great Plum » Wed May 24, 2006 5:59 pm

You'll get used to JR's 'humour'...
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J.R.
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Post by J.R. » Wed May 24, 2006 6:25 pm

Great Plum wrote:You'll get used to JR's 'humour'...
I hope so !!!!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Tim_MaA_MidB
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Post by Tim_MaA_MidB » Sat May 27, 2006 8:43 am

I have also travelled on the train from Nairobi to Mombasa, but that was a shorter trip and there were no soldiers waking you up in the middle of the night to check your passport.

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Post by Laura M » Sat May 27, 2006 11:51 am

54hr Train journey from the Rockies in Canada to Toronto, get to see some amazing scenery and its not too uncomfy.
Two men lying in a bed, one rolled over to the other and said, 'I'm gonna lead me a life of danger, I'm gonna marry a WESSEX RANGER!'
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Post by jhopgood » Sat May 27, 2006 12:14 pm

I have hitch hiked from Cartago, Costa Rica to Panana City and back, and bussed from San Jose, Costa Rica to Miami, via 2/3 day stops in Tegucigalpa, Guatemala City, Mexico City, and New Orleans.

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Tim_MaA_MidB
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Post by Tim_MaA_MidB » Sat May 27, 2006 2:59 pm

I have plans to take a long trip up the Rio Negro next year.

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Post by Hannoir » Sun May 28, 2006 3:10 am

when I was in australia we took an overnight bus journey from newcastle to byron bay.
it was 12hrs, not tooo bad BUT...

The coach (apart from the five of us) was full of 18yr old school leavers going to "schoolies" - a pissup on the gold coast.

never again.
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Post by Katharine » Sun May 28, 2006 2:07 pm

I once took a flight from Accra that hopped along the coast of West Africa and on to London that overnighted in Las Palmas (Those were the days!). When we boarded we were surprised to see several male flight attendants and only one female. We discovered it had started in the Nigerian oil capital, Port Harcourt. The majority of passengers were Texan oil men who had had a month on the rigs - no booze, no fags and no women. It is the only time I have ever seen hip flasks in use each time the seat belt sign came on. The poor stewardess had her bottom pinched often. As we reached Las Palmas the Texan Mommas could be seen waiting for their men, the sight of each at the top of the steps crossing and uncrossing his eyes as he concentrated on which woman was his is something I treasure.
As well as the oil men there were market mammies at times, complete with headloads as 'hand' baggage - didn't see any live chickens but you never know?
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a journey to forget

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:34 pm

This is a precis of one chapter in the book I may finish one day...... so copyrighted!


I was based in London but seconded to a customer company in Brazil. Thursday afternoon Paulo (the vicechairman of my temporary employers) rings up to say that I have to be at a meeting with the Central Bank in Lagos at 9am Monday morning.

Now the Nigerians are a proud people and, because the British delay issuing visas, their London Embassy require 72 hours to issue visas to enter Nigeria - provided you supply an invitation from a Nigerian approved entity which I didn't have in writing. Obviously there was no way I would get a visa in time in Britain, but Paulo was not a man to give up. Friday night saw me on a plane to Rio de Janeiro where I was taken off the plane by a friendly "gentleman" who makes the heavy with tungsten teeth in James Bond movies look like a pussy cat. (He is actually a good friend and as nce a man as you can wish to have behind you). A quick visit to the Nigerian consulate, a succession of cafezinhos (I can never get enough) and I had a visa in my passport. Just a slight snag - as we were about to leave it was remembered that I had forgotten to fill in an application - a mere trifle quickly dealt with.

Of my 2 days in Rio, 'nuff said;it is censored. Rio is like my second home and did we party! Sunday night I arrive for the midnight plane with an economy seat ticket. There is to be a delay of 90 minutes, later corrected to 2 hours so Roberto gets me into the first class lounge. In fact we were in the plane, ready for takeoff after an hour; there was the usual speil from the captain first in Portuguuese and then a perfect translation into English - I couldn't take comfort from poor hearing or understanding. The message was stark and to the point; "we apologise for the delay but you will understand that aircraft are machines and that machines do occasionally break". This before an 8 hour flight across the Atlantic!

It is said to be in the Book of Life when and how I will die - and since I can't change it there is not much use fretting about it. That said, a bride of Christ some rows behind (I don't know which Order of Nuns she belonged to) was not quite ready to meet her husband and maker; to say she was terrified would be about right, evidenced firstly by the small of fear (and I had always thought that that was a fiction) followed by the smell of her last meal (or should that be Last Meal) as it landed on the carpet and her (now dirty) habit.

So, eight hours or so of total boredom later the cabin pressure increases though there is nothing to see outside and we are told that we are being stacked for an hour. No other explanation. Eventually, the clanking of wheels being dropped, increases in cabin pressure and an earthward tilt in the plane tell me we are going in to land so, being nosy, I look out of the window. It is by now, early dawn - I can see the runway and can see grass under us. That didn't seen quite right to me - a Boeing 707 is supposewd to land on tarmac, or so I thought. A roar and I am slammed back into my seat as we pull away.
The second appempt at landing I didn't see - we were too high when we pulled up. The third attempt was far more accurate - there was the grass to the side of us, tarmac under us and the main runway a hundred yards over thataway! Help - we are on the taxi strip which is not built to hold a 707 coming in from 30,000 feet very fast.

Our nun is having nun of this - the breakfast has joined her supper, as have the breakfasts of several other people. Indeed I think that there were emissions from the lower ends of certain pasengers as well as the top ends.The stench was best imagined rather than experienced.

We pull away and the pilot says that he is giving up. Hell, you don't just give up flying a full passenger jet when it is at 10,000 feet or wherever. He has second thoughts and takes us to Accra International Airport. This is a place I know well - I have worked there and I didn't exactly relish the thought of meeting the local authorities. No, I wasn't sick and I didn't have the runs but, as they opened the doors to the west African sunlight and heat you can imagine...... They had no water and no airconditioning and no fuel - the loos were blocked and there was a nun with a dirty habit just a few rows away.

In Accra, American Express will not do nicely, thank you very much. Nobody had told Air Afrique that they had an agreement to service Varig aircraft so their local rep didn't want to know. The locals wanted nice new crisp US 100 dollar bills for fuel, for bringing steps to the plane so the engineer could check the engines ..... We were not allowed off and it got warmish inside the cabin and a bit more smelly! After a few hours there is a formal procession (as formal and as much of a procession as you can have there) of a table, trestles, chairs and three gentlemen who set up camp under the wing. The one gentleman, in a formal dark suit, opened a briefcase and counted out cash which the others counted and pocketed. The camp was removed and we waited...... and waited

Many more hours passed until eventually the pilot decided that, after eight hours on the tarmac, we might as well try to get to Lagos. Engine number 1 was a bit hesitant to start - imagine a continuous whirring sound - but engines 2, 3 ande 4 started with no problem. All engines were shut down. A 707 requires ground power to start the engines and we had used the power which had been paid for. A long delay loomed. Slowly, in the heat and dust an elderly gentlemen pushed a boarding ladder up to the plane, a crew member got out and fiddled (a bit like Nero I suppose) before getting back in.


Another attempt at starting the engines; number one exploded with a roar which was deafening in the cabin, there was a jet of flame out the back roasting all the geckos within a long range - ready-cooked takeaway supper for quite a few airport staff thaty night. The engine started. So did the other three! Hooray. By this time I am already 8 hours late for the summons to the Central Bank.

Lagos airport was a little bit slow in processing passengers - a 747 takes up to 6 hours and we were behind two 747s and in front of another. Lighting was minimal - the power supply had been destroyed by the storm, they had the parts but no truck to take them to the broken radar system a mile away (which is why landing had to be by dead reckoning) so I got through by 2am to be met by my bosses. Unbeknown to me they had engineers on the flight so I had to wait for them until, around 4 am, they had mercy and sent me with a driver to their compound.
Some Americans can be a little pushy and one such (by his accent) got fed up with waiting in line after a few hours. The local army have a very effective method of dealing with queue jumpers ................. the American fled as fast as he could after being "persuaded" that you don't jump queues.

That was not to be the end of it. Lagos was flooded and the water got into the cars ignition system and the rest of it in the middle of a very poor area; the driver made me hide my white face whilst he dried everything. A nerve-jangling half hour. I eventually got in and was met with a long cold beer - heaven though I could have done with a steak

The followup to this story? I don't want to put anyone off but aircraft are machines and machines occasionally break - that selfsame aircraft "broke" and plunged into the Bight of Benin off Abidjan 3 weeks later. There were no survivors.

I still fly in scheduled and unscheduled aircraft. It is said to be in the Book of Life when and how I will die - and since I can't change it there is not much use fretting about it.

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Tim_MaA_MidB
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Post by Tim_MaA_MidB » Tue Jun 13, 2006 9:43 pm

Thanks for that, I am flying Varig (if they havent had all their aircraft repossesed) in about 3 weeks time. ;P

But, it's like you say; if it's your time, it's your time.

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Re: a journey to forget

Post by cj » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:19 pm

sejintenej wrote:The followup to this story? I don't want to put anyone off but aircraft are machines and machines occasionally break - that selfsame aircraft "broke" and plunged into the Bight of Benin off Abidjan 3 weeks later. There were no survivors.
Oh. My. God!!!!!
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Post by jhopgood » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:42 pm

When I was working in Bogota I met some Rolls Royce engineers who were over to inspect some RR engines on local aircraft. They told me a story about how and when some airlines service their engines.
Every engine has a number and has to be stripped down and serviced after a certain number of hours flying. It was not unusual for some engines to require servicing before their time was up and for others to be working fine when the time came to be stripped down.
The airline would then swap the number plates so that the engine that was ok could go on for a few more hours under a different number and the one that had failed got serviced as though it had reached the flight hours for servicing.
That was Colombia but it would not surprise me if it didn't also take place in some of the less regulated parts of the world.

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