Scott and Joy McKinnon

ScottAndJoy

Scott and Joy McKinnon

Scott & Joy McKinnon travel blog



Asia » China » Guangxi » Guilin August 11th 2014

We board our Air China flight to Guilin. Remember what Qantas was like 20 years ago when the flight attendants smiled and you got this awesome array of little boxes and a foil covered steaming hot package that you lifted the lid on with great anticipation? Well, this is Air China. We stuff ourselves silly on the copious amounts of food and before we know it, we're touching down over spectacular mountainous peaks and the Guangxi province. We're in for a delightful few days. We cab to our hotel and have fallen from grace. The Guilin Sapphire Hotel was, I'm sure, a gem in its hay day but the overpowering smell of cigarette smoke sends me running back to reception to request a non-smoking room. That's better but still its original condition 1970s glamour. At 50 ... read more
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Asia » China » Shanghai August 9th 2014

Day 9 We start the day with a buffet. Cereal and milk, woo hoo! Unlike any brekky buffet before, this one includes weird and not so wonderful red bean creations, noodles galore, stir fry veggies, sushi and of course, the ever present breakfast crème caramel. Hmmm... From here we board a fast train and arrive in Shanghai for a fleeting 30 hour visit. You know I don't like missing out on things so I've decided we are going to see EVERYTHING this sprawling city has to offer in one day, yep ONE day. To give you some perspective, Shanghai has almost 3 times the number of people as NY (around 18-22m, no one seems to really know) and covers an area of over 6000 sq km. Not to be put off by this, we head off. ... read more
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Asia » China » Jiangsu » Suzhou August 6th 2014

Ye-ha, we board another overnight train to Suzhou. The enthusiasm has waned a little but we've come prepared. Armed with weird little butter filled coffee cakes, the packet looked like chocolate and custard to me, and bread with an unfathomable number of preservatives, we set off. We pass smoke stack after smoke stack...perhaps Mr Abbott should have ridden an overnight train in China, and press on. Day 7 A slight hurdle, our train terminates in Shanghai and we have to get off 80km before this in Suzhou. No English here, not a single word. And for some reason when they say Soo-chow its fine but when I say Soo-chow, I get a look of puzzlement. We wake the kids and wait and wait and wait, carefully decifer every station sign until we finally reach Suzhou. Shiny ... read more
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Asia » China » Shaanxi » Xi'an August 4th 2014

Another day, another 20 million Chinese. All going about their business in a matter of fact kind of way. Anything goes and no one is bothered...something us Aussies could learn from! The feeling of safety here is unparalleled. Anytime of the day or night. Joe, our driver, explained if a local was to rob or pickpocket a visitor, and are caught with more than 1500 rmb or $300, they'll be jailed for 2 years. If they injure you, its 10 years and if they kill you while trying to steal from you, its the same for them. Seems fair!?! One thing I have failed to tell you about that boggles our uncultured western minds is split pants. What? I hear you say. Isn't it obvious? Pants with a split down the crotch. Fortunately, these are limited ... read more
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Asia » China » Beijing August 2nd 2014

Beijing...the city of 20 million people and I think we've seen them all! There are just so many people wherever you go, the whole place is buzzing. But its not as bad as you'd think and the girls have coped remarkably well. People told me that in Beijing, you can't see the sky. I thought....yeah right, surely you just look up and there it is. You know if its cloudy, you know if its sunny. But you can't, seriously you can't see more than about half a km in any direction and that includes up. The first day, I just coughed as the air just made you do that. The hotels provide elaborate filter masks, the kind you see in the movies when they're trying to stop the spread of the abola virus, just in case ... read more
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Asia » China » Beijing July 31st 2014

After an epic plane journey, we arrived in our Beijing hotel last night, a mere 21 hours late. First flight to KL was great, kids were awesome. Boarded next flight on time only to find out our $75pp business class wait list upgrade has been successful... yay! It wasn't until some time later we'd realise just how much of a blessing this was to be! So 10 mins after we were supposed to land in Beijing, the Captain says we've been diverted to Shanghai due to bad weather. 2 hours later, having not left the plane, yay for business class, we're back in the air on our way to Beijing. We snuggle under our doonas and relax on our flatbeds for the journey to Beijing. Time ... read more
Hannah enjoying business class
Hanging out waiting for the plane

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu » Thamal October 27th 2009

Just a very quick blog to let you all know I made it safely back to Kathmandu. I've got one more night here and then I'm heading back to Oz to my 2 beautiful girls!! Unfortunately I've run out of cash and my attempt to access more money from the ATM failed so I have about $4 left to keep me going till I leave in 24hrs...hopefully I don't have to resort to begging on the street. Last night was very scary - during the day I was feeling really tired and weak and was generally feeling quite dazed. As the day went on I got worse and worse and by dinner time I could barely speak. We were having our final group celebration dinner but I couldn't even concentrate on listening to conversation much less ... read more
Island Peak Summit Ridge
Ama Dablam
I'm applying for a job as a porter

Asia » Nepal » Himalayas October 21st 2009

We Summitted!!! Yesterday at 8am we reached the summit of Island Peak. I must apologise for the lack of updates to the blog - there hasn't been any internet access since Namche over a week ago. What a week it's been though. I'll write a proper blog entry when I get back to Kathmandu but we've climbed Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar for magnificent views of Everest + many other mountains, we've crossed two quite difficult high passes around 5,500m and of course we climbed to the summit of Island Peak. We left Island Peak base camp at 2.45am and reached the summit at 8am and were the first to reach it for the day. Whilst on previous days their had been 50+ people attempting the summit and reported issues with queues for the fixed ropes, ... read more
Everest sunset
Summit of Island Peak (6189m)

Asia » Nepal » Namche October 8th 2009

Well after a very long walk uphill we've made it to Namche at an altitude of 3445m. I still haven't seen any Himalayan peaks as it's been cloudy and rainy the last few days but the scenery at ground level is still really nice. We followed a raging river the first couple of days that originates at Mt Everest. Today we had a "rest" day at Namche which involved a walk 400m to the Everest View Hotel which unfortunately today was the white cloud view hotel. it's at 3880m so its now the highest I've ever been and thankfully so far I don't have any signs of altitude sickness - only a slight headache this morning but a litre of water seemed to fix it. Namche is amazing - there's dozens of internet cafe's, bakeries, pool ... read more
Somewhere near Namche
Namche
Dodh Kosi

Asia October 6th 2009

I finally escaped the craziness of the city and am in the Himalaya's. The flight to Lukla was good but the clouds obscured the moutain views. It was pretty cool coming into land where we basically just flew into the airport on a horizontal flight level. The runway is so short but is sloped uphill to help stop the plane in time. The walk to Phakding was quite easy (only 2-3 hours) so a nice gentle introduction to what is to come. We had a nice lunch stop in a lodge overlooking a really steep valley with a raging river flowing throught the middle. It rained a little bit but even in the rain it was quite warm (I only had a t-shirt on for most of the way). It's absolutely amazing watching the porters walk ... read more




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