Wednesday, June 16, 2010


And so the journey begins.... I'm in the Qantas Club lounge at Sydney airport, waiting to connect with my flight to Tokyo. As I write, I'm looking out across the runway to the city lights beyond. It's the evening, the weather is calm, and I'm feeling relaxed. Hardly surprising, since I slept through most of the three hour flight across the Tasman from Wellington !

I think the last time I wore a watch was in the early 1990s. It struck me once, while I was stuck underground going nowhere on the Tube in London, that having a watch causes stress. Oh, how frequently I would see the hands ticking by, shouting at me "you're going to be late" !! The way to remove the stress was simple... don't have a watch... realise that I can't get there until I get there, I am not in control of this Underground train, there is no point getting wound up ! (did you like the pun ?)

BUT.. having never seen - let alone owned - a mobile phone with "flight mode", I have always felt uncomfortable being unable to check the time when flying. Well, that has all changed now. No. I didn't buy a posh phone. I bought a Swatch watch just now in Duty Free. Nothing fancy, but quite smart.

The other thing I was going to do was exchange some Australian dollars for Japanese Yen at Travelex. I checked the rate online.. the wholesale rate is 79 JPY to the Aussie $. The Travelex website gives a rate of 75, which isn't so bad.. since they claim not to include commission. BUT... the Travelex outlets at Sydney airport are giving (wait for it....) 66 Yen. Crikey ! That's awful. I mean, this morning, in Lambton Quay, I got 62.45 Yen for a Kiwi dollar. For those who don't know, the Australian dollar is worth about 20% more than the NZ dollar. So, how could the exchange rate to JPY be almost equal ? The answer, I was told.. by someone maintaining a straight face.. was "obviously, the retail outlet rate will be less than the internet rate, to cover staffing costs". Well, I didn't buy it.. the excuse, or the Yen. I'll take my Aussie dollars and exchange them when I get to Japan, or elsewhere along the way.

The flight I just slept through (apart from when the trolley came with a nice butter chicken dinner) was an Economy Class one. The ten hour journey ahead is in Business Class. I'm not hungry for a special meal with fancy cutlery, but I am looking forward to a nice comfy sleep in a bed while I zoom through the sky.

The next time I write, I'll be in Japan.. where I understand the official start of the rainy season has been declared. Just how this will affect me remains to be seen.


  1. You watch owner! I never check the time on flights as I find it all too confusing with timezone changes etc. Like you on the train, I just wait till I'm almost there and the captain announces some magical time that exists at the destination.
    You're probably snoozing in that comfy seat now :)

  2. I've finally worked out how to fix the date on my watch. It kept wanting to change the day and date at about 1.30pm. I kept correcting it, only for the same thing to happen again. Finally, I wound the time forward by 12 hours, and it's worked ever since ;-)