bellinghman: (Default)
At 18:18, we were in the German state of Baden.

Barely 45 minutes later, we were in the French Department of Alsace.

Most of the intervening period, we spent in the Swiss Canton of Basel Stadt.

Three different countries, 2 different currencies, 2.5 different languages (Basler Deutsch isn't exactly Hocht Deutsch).

Dinner tonight we had to cook ourselves, despite having gone out to eat. Thankfully, each table had a hot plate grill in its centre.
bellinghman: (Default)
At 18:18, we were in the German state of Baden.

Barely 45 minutes later, we were in the French Department of Alsace.

Most of the intervening period, we spent in the Swiss Canton of Basel Stadt.

Three different countries, 2 different currencies, 2.5 different languages (Basler Deutsch isn't exactly Hocht Deutsch).

Dinner tonight we had to cook ourselves, despite having gone out to eat. Thankfully, each table had a hot plate grill in its centre.
bellinghman: (Default)
When it comes to mains plugs, the British Type G is probably the gold standard. Three pin so you can't insert it the wrong way, with socket shutters so kiddies can't poke into the live socket hole, part insulated shafts so you can't get a shock from the pins, fused so a short in the wire can't start a fire, it's been built with a safety-first attitude. It says "Yes, this electricity stuff is powerful and dangerous, and we need tiger bars to keep it contained".

You can also swing one on a cable as an effective anti-burglar weapon.

And that's its problem: it's bloody massive. On our recent trip, we had a bunch of universal plug adaptors with us, and for one item we took the Euro mains lead, because it was lighter than the UK plug lead and we'd be able to use it anyway.

So it was with some interest that we encountered the Australian socket for the first time. For our adaptors, using a .au socket meant bringing out the US two blade section, and gently twisting the blades so they were angled apart. And into the socket and hey - unlike the US case itself, where the weight of the adaptor would pull the whole thing down, these stayed where put.

The downside was that on a double socket, we couldn't get two in - the sockets are set much closer together. Happily, there were enough sockets around we could always make use of three adaptors.

(As for HK - they use the Type G - so we used the adaptors for that Euro lead).
bellinghman: (Default)
When it comes to mains plugs, the British Type G is probably the gold standard. Three pin so you can't insert it the wrong way, with socket shutters so kiddies can't poke into the live socket hole, part insulated shafts so you can't get a shock from the pins, fused so a short in the wire can't start a fire, it's been built with a safety-first attitude. It says "Yes, this electricity stuff is powerful and dangerous, and we need tiger bars to keep it contained".

You can also swing one on a cable as an effective anti-burglar weapon.

And that's its problem: it's bloody massive. On our recent trip, we had a bunch of universal plug adaptors with us, and for one item we took the Euro mains lead, because it was lighter than the UK plug lead and we'd be able to use it anyway.

So it was with some interest that we encountered the Australian socket for the first time. For our adaptors, using a .au socket meant bringing out the US two blade section, and gently twisting the blades so they were angled apart. And into the socket and hey - unlike the US case itself, where the weight of the adaptor would pull the whole thing down, these stayed where put.

The downside was that on a double socket, we couldn't get two in - the sockets are set much closer together. Happily, there were enough sockets around we could always make use of three adaptors.

(As for HK - they use the Type G - so we used the adaptors for that Euro lead).
bellinghman: (Default)
One thing about our trip that I noticed - in Australia, it appears that the concept of the chain for the sink or basin plug doesn't exist.

It may well be that this is down to small sample size (only three different places), but I don't think I've previously encountered the plug with no chain attached (except for wear and tear cases). The resulting inability to lift the plug from a very hot sink is inconvenient, and the comparative difficulty in finding the plug in the first place (in Melbourne, I couldn't find the kitchen one, and borrowed the bathroom one for a day or two) would seem to outweigh the added simplicity of leaving the chain out.
bellinghman: (Default)
One thing about our trip that I noticed - in Australia, it appears that the concept of the chain for the sink or basin plug doesn't exist.

It may well be that this is down to small sample size (only three different places), but I don't think I've previously encountered the plug with no chain attached (except for wear and tear cases). The resulting inability to lift the plug from a very hot sink is inconvenient, and the comparative difficulty in finding the plug in the first place (in Melbourne, I couldn't find the kitchen one, and borrowed the bathroom one for a day or two) would seem to outweigh the added simplicity of leaving the chain out.
bellinghman: (Default)
Right. Travel sorted.

So that's:
  • One pair of flights from Stansted to Basel (CR - debit card - payment complete).
  • One pair of TGV seats from Sierre to Paris. Arriving by post. (AB - credit card next month)
  • One pair of Eurostar seats from Paris to Waterloo. Collect at Gare du Nord. (AB - credit card next month)
  • One Ferry from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire. e-ticket. (AB - debit card - payment complete)
  • One Ferry from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead. e-ticket. (AB - debit card - payment complete)
  • One pair of flights from Heathrow to Narita. e-ticket. (AB - credit card - payment complete)
  • One pair of flights from Narita to Heathrow. e-ticket. (AB - credit card - payment complete)
Yet to do:
  • Japan Rail card (before flying to Narita)
  • Worldwide travel insurance policy (before departing to Basel)
  • Ensure car has breakdown cover for Ireland (unlike last time)(before leaving for P-Con)
  • Decide on Octocon travel
To buy on the relevant day:
  • One pair of rail tickets, Royston to Stansted.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Basel to Leukerbad.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Leukerbad to Sierre.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Paris Lyon to Paris de L'Est.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Waterloo to Royston.
As for hotels:

Yet to book:
  • Crown Plaza,Chester (Eastercon)(booking not yet open)
  • Royal Park Hotel, Yokohama (three nights - we want to stay somewhere so high no other building is anywhere near the same height)
  • Miscellaneous others in Japan
  • Whatever for Octocon
Booked:
  • Swissotel Basel (two nights, Fasnacht)
  • Lindner Hotel, Leukerbad (three nights, post Fasnacht) (fax sent)
  • Park Inn Hotel, Dublin (two nights, P-Con)(formerly Chief O'Neill's, very nice inside)
  • Grand Inter-Continental Hotel, Yokohama (four nights)(Worldcon Convention hotel)
Edit: 2007/01/09 - Swissotel and Park Inn added
Edit: 2007/01/10 - Payment status added
bellinghman: (Default)
Right. Travel sorted.

So that's:
  • One pair of flights from Stansted to Basel (CR - debit card - payment complete).
  • One pair of TGV seats from Sierre to Paris. Arriving by post. (AB - credit card next month)
  • One pair of Eurostar seats from Paris to Waterloo. Collect at Gare du Nord. (AB - credit card next month)
  • One Ferry from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire. e-ticket. (AB - debit card - payment complete)
  • One Ferry from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead. e-ticket. (AB - debit card - payment complete)
  • One pair of flights from Heathrow to Narita. e-ticket. (AB - credit card - payment complete)
  • One pair of flights from Narita to Heathrow. e-ticket. (AB - credit card - payment complete)
Yet to do:
  • Japan Rail card (before flying to Narita)
  • Worldwide travel insurance policy (before departing to Basel)
  • Ensure car has breakdown cover for Ireland (unlike last time)(before leaving for P-Con)
  • Decide on Octocon travel
To buy on the relevant day:
  • One pair of rail tickets, Royston to Stansted.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Basel to Leukerbad.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Leukerbad to Sierre.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Paris Lyon to Paris de L'Est.
  • One pair of rail tickets, Waterloo to Royston.
As for hotels:

Yet to book:
  • Crown Plaza,Chester (Eastercon)(booking not yet open)
  • Royal Park Hotel, Yokohama (three nights - we want to stay somewhere so high no other building is anywhere near the same height)
  • Miscellaneous others in Japan
  • Whatever for Octocon
Booked:
  • Swissotel Basel (two nights, Fasnacht)
  • Lindner Hotel, Leukerbad (three nights, post Fasnacht) (fax sent)
  • Park Inn Hotel, Dublin (two nights, P-Con)(formerly Chief O'Neill's, very nice inside)
  • Grand Inter-Continental Hotel, Yokohama (four nights)(Worldcon Convention hotel)
Edit: 2007/01/09 - Swissotel and Park Inn added
Edit: 2007/01/10 - Payment status added

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