I'll will be visiting Buenos Aires, Agentina - Madrid, Spain - Cape Town, South Africa - Hong Kong, China - Mumbai and Delhi, India - Perth, Australia - San Francisco, USA
03.13.2010 - 04.01.2010 60 °F
The adventure begins on March 13th 2010 on our first flight from Spokane to Seattle at 7 AM on Alaska Air 737 a brief 1 hr hop over the Cascades. Part of the fun for me will be to try to share my thoughts, perspectives and excitement in seeing places neither of us have ever been before. I want this experience to be interactive so please send me your comments, questions and most of all your excitement.
I'm connecting in Seattle to American Airlines MD-80 for a 4 hr flight to Dallas and international flight to Buenos Aires on American Airlines 777 9.5 hr overnight flight. With luck I will see the lights of the Panama canal and sunrise over the Ande's as I arrive early morning in Buenos Aires. I'll explore the historic sites and quiet cafes of Buenos Aires (Paris of South America) on my one day guided walking tour. My first night of my 2 in the Buenos Aires will include a Tango Dinner show, a great beginning to many more memories to follow.
I depart BA on March 16 on Iberia Airlines A340 for the overnight 13 hr flight to the capital city of Madrid, Spain. In Madrid I will use the hop on hop off sightseeing bus to see all the main sites including the Prado Museaum, Palace, tapa bars and the Flamingo dance of course (This trip may be taking on a "So You Think You Can Dance" theme ;-). A trip to Toledo, Spains medivel capital, is on my list but I will let things happen more spontaneously on this stop on my journey.
On March 19 I grab a quick afternoon flight on an Iberia Airlines A321 to London and after brief 2 hr layover at Heathrow I will board my British Airways 747 (upper deck seat) 11.5 hour overnight flight to Cape Town, South Africa. Cape Town is one of the most naturally beautiful and remote cities in the world (much like Perth) and the mid point of my trip. I will ride the tram up to the top of Table Mountain for a spectacular panorama of the city and ocean. Can't go to Africa without experiencing a Safari so I will spend a day viewing Lions and Tigers and Giraffes (Oh My!) and finally I will drive south to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope where the stormy waters of the Atlantic reputedly meet the calming influence of the Indian Ocean. I'm looking forward to the calming influence seeing this naturally beautiful and powerful place not to mention the jet lag by then.
Next, a quick flight to Johannesberg on March 23rd where I will board my 12 hr long haul flight to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific 747 (yes, upper deck again!). I only have 7 hours to experience this crossroads of the orient. With luck and lots of coffee I will grab the transit tour of Hong Kong from the airport so I can get back for the remainder of my journey with a 7 hr Cathay Pacific A340 flight to Mumbai and on to Delhi on Jetlite 737 ( additional 2 hrs) that same evening.
This will by most challenging stop on the trip because of the 30+hr hour journey the day before and what will probably be a very short rest in my hotel in Delhi but it just didn't make sense to visit India and not see one of the great Wonders of the World the Taj Mahal in Agra outside of Delhi on March 25th. I will return same day to Mumbai and a good nites sleep.
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is going to be a unique experience from my home base at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (where the November 8th, 2008 terrorist attack took place). Remember this is Bollywood so I will be looking for movie stars and film crews as I visit the Gateway to India, Elephanta Island, Chowpatty Beach and rub shoulders with over 15 million inhabitants speaking over 10 languages (where's my sanitizing gel?). With luck I will have dinner at "Wasabi" Iron Chef Morimoto's newly reopend restaurant in my hotel (depends on how many Rupee's $ I have left).
I will now be on the home stretch. Departing Mumbai early (very early!) on March 27th on Cathay Pacific's 777 I will pass through Bangkok and Singapore for my last stop abroad - Perth, Australia. Perth is the capital of Western Australia and a city very few Americans visit when traveling to Australia so I am excited to to see a unique part of the land Down Under. The Swan river runs throught this beautiful city. You know I will be kicking back aussie style while I sample wines and watch the scenery drift by on a relaxing river cruise. This stop will be a chance to rest, reflect and enjoy a slower more casual pace in the most friendly country on earth and one of my favorites in the world (Aussie's remind me of Alaskans). I'll throw a shrimp on the barbie for ya mate!
All to quickly it will be time to say good-bye to Perth and catch my Qantas Airways 767 flight March 31st to Sydney and very short layover before boarding the largest commercial airplane in the air today: the Qantas A380 double decker. Yes, once again I have secured an upper deck seat to enjoy this my longest flight of the trip (nearly 14 hours of a total of 100 flying hours total on this around the world journey). Plenty of time in the air to enjoy drinks, airline food that I have loved since I was a weee lad (Cindy will remember me finishing up her meals on many a flight between Anchorage and Spokane). Hopefully I can find a movie in haven't already seen on one of the 15 previous flights :-).
After arriving in Los Angeles LAX 4 hours before I left Sydney (funny how that international dateline makes time travel a reality!) I will clear customs I hope :-) and board my American Airlines flight to my last stop San Francisco, CA. I'm looking forward to seeing my dear friends Baldo and Richard. This will be the perfect ending to the most exciting trip of my life. Sharing this with my friends and family is amazing to me and I hope you will think so as well.
So Mark your calendars (couldn't resist the pun) and set your reminders, then get comfortable, grab a drink or whatever and fire up the computer daily and log in here www.marksrtw.travellerpoint.com and www.youtube.com/user/Travelguy101 for real time updates, pictures and videos as things things unfold March 13-April 1st for 20 days that will make the tv show Amazing Race look like a walk in the park.
Tim McGraws 2004 album title "Live Like You Were Dying" sums it up best for me! This trip is a 40 year dream that I never gave up hoping would come true someday. Thank you to Rick for your support and understanding and watching the kids. Enjoy March Madness while I enjoy my own version on this trip :-)