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Electrical Plugs and Adapters

I’m currently doing planning for an 85 day trio to Asia. Along the way I’ll be visiting more than a few countries. While I’m there I plan on doing a little writing and a little posting to my blog. This means that I’m going to be needing to use a computer quite a bit and that implies that my computer, as well as my smartphone and lots of other gadgets, are going to need a charge. That means I’ll need to connect to the local power grid. That can be a problem as there are about 15 different types of electrical outlets in use in the world today and, sooner or later, I may find one that I do not have an adapter for. I know this because it’s happened before.

The problems caused by not being able to charge my electrical devices can be avoided by a little forethought. The first thing you have to think about is where you are going and what type of outlet will you find there. For a list of countries and the specific type of electrical plug that is needed in that country you might start here. This will get you started and, in many instances it will get you where you need to be. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few adapters. They weigh very little, typically an ounce or less per adapter, so the weight is not a big problem. What can be a problem is that you can never be absolutely certain about the adapter type in use in certain parts of a country if the plug guide lists more than one type of outlet in a given location. At that point I suggest you get on the Internet or go to TripAdvisor and simply search for the term “electrical outlet” along with the name of the country. Usually, you won’t have any trouble finding out which type of outlet is actually in use in the majority of the country if there is more than one in use. I can also tell you that you will be able to find adapters for sale in virtually any country on Earth, it’s just that it may take you several hours of looking before you find one. Also, sometimes the location where you will be parking your head at night may have one available for you to borrow, or, if you’re staying at a place where a lot of your fellow countrymen are staying, you may be able to share or borrow one for a while. I carry an electrical extension cord with me that has multiple outlets on it so that I can share an outlet if I need to on an occasion. I even take it with me to my local public library when I’m going to be plugged into their system for longer periods of time.

Borobudur Strategies

Borobudur makes me nervous. For a lot of reasons, even though Wikitravel says “Yogyakarta is a bustling town of some half a million people and the most popular tourist destination on Java, largely thanks to its proximity to the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. The town is a hub of art and education, offers some good shopping and has a wide range of tourist facilities.” I think that the best time to see the attraction is at dawn, but it takes an hour to get there from Yogyakarta. I also want to see Prambanan. There’s a reason I’m allocating almost 5 full days to the area. I also remember the last time that I planned to see it. A serious volcano eruption thwarted my plans by spewing enough ash into the atmosphere that planes couldn’t land. The most active volcano in Indonesia, Mount Merapi, is located less than 20 miles from Borobudur.

Note: Currently 100,000 IDR = 7.46882USD.

When making calls ask about transfers from/to airport. Call Government Tourist Information Centre (website) +62 274 566000 – near train station. Call Ostic House (website) +62 274 378930 (has airport transfer for $7.50).   Call Venezia Garden (website) +62 274 373821. Call Sea Sea Hostel (website) +62 821-3832-0181. Rating: 9.7/52 – NOT very near the train station. Price: $7.25 for 10 bed w/breakfast, wi-fi, tea, coffee, laundry, bicycle rental, security lockers. Call Laura’s Backpacker (website)  +62 812-2525-6319. Rating: 9.0/357 – very near the train station. Price: $6.95 for 4 bed w/breakfast, wi-fi, tea, coffee, laundry, bicycle rental. Each bed has its own power plug, reading lamp and curtains. We have motorbikes to rent. We can help you to book tours as well!

Airfare Struggles

Airfare is only an issue when I travel to places that are inaccessible by land or when I don’t want to struggle with ground transportation. Right now I’m working in getting to the “countries” of Sulawesi, Moluka and Papua (Irian Jaya). They are all on islands. That makes airfare very important. If I’m going to get somewhere I can take one of several methods – fly, ride or drive. Islands mean an airplane or a boat.

My best options for getting into those countries is to arrive by air in Makassar, Ambon and Sorong which are three cities in Sulawesi, Moluka and Papua (Irian Jaya), respectively. The reason why I picked those three cities is that I can get relatively inexpensive airfare into and out of those cities. The key word here being relatively. However, it’s a struggle figuring out how to get there. You see, I’ve got four flights I need to take to arrive where I want to go. I’m going to start in Bali and I want to wind up in Yogyakarta. I need to book airfare from Bali, the location I’ve picked to be in during the first week of March, to Makassar, Ambon and Sorong, the three stops on my way to Yogyakarta. I have no trouble finding the flights I want to Makassar and Ambon, but I’m having trouble finding the right flight to Sorong which is where I plan to fly out of to get to Yogyakarta, my next next place of interest. I have five cities to visit and I’ll need four flights to do it. It seems I can book those four flights a total of a six different ways if I always start in Bali and always wind up in Yogyakarta. The issue is to figure how to minimize the time sitting in airports and to minimize the overall cost of the four flights.I have no intention of actually spending any time in Makassar, Ambon or Sorong. It’s not that they’re thoroughly uninteresting cities, it’s just that there’s nothing there I need or want to see. But I do want to go there. I need a stamp in my passport or the photo in front of the airport to be able to add these locations to my list of “countries” visited. Call it superficial or an exercise in travel logistics.

Whatever it is, I wound up spending hours to make it happen in a manner that makes me feel good about my travel skills. The four flights wound up costing me a total of about $300. I will leave Bali at 5:30 in the evening and arrive in Yogyakarta at 6:10 in the evening of the next day. I will have landed in three different time zones. I will fly a total of 2,776 miles. I’ll spend about 14 hours in airport lounges and getting through check-in and boarding the planes. But, overall, I was really pleased with the routing and the cost. I accomplished my goals and I think I learned a little bit more about flying around Asia. It took a lot longer to accomplish the task than I thought it would but I considered the rewards for the time I spent to be significant. Now, if only the weather cooperates…

Air Mileage Calculators

I’m taking a trip to Asia. It’s 85 days long and I’m going to take a few airplane rides. If you think I’m bragging then you you either don’t fly a lot or you think I fly First Class. I don’t look forward to flying. Granted, I’m a pilot. I’ve owned some airplanes. I’ve flown a few that I didn’t own. But, I don’t enjoy flying as a passenger in a commercial airliner. If I flew First Class in a larger plane it might be different. I might sit back and enjoy the free champagne and snacks and be able to actually get some sleep in some comfort. But, I don’t fly First Class. I’ve had some of my friends tell me I’m crazy for not doing so on those 10+ hour flights. I tell them some people have to suffer for their art form and I’m hardly cutting my ear off or something. I fly “cattle car”, not First Class, and I just get some very uncomfortable feelings in the largest muscle in my body and they are relatively short-lived. I can deal with it.

But this post isn’t really about me or the largest muscle in my body. It’s about air miles and, more precisely, about air mile calculators.  On this trip I started wondering about the number of miles I was going to fly in the air. So, I went looking for air mile calculators. What I found was that there are a few of them out there. The three main ones I found, WebFlyer, MileCalc and Air Miles Calculator all produced about the same mileages. The issue was how they did it. I didn’t like WebFlyer because it did not have some of the airports I was utilizing on this trip in its database. That meant no answer as to how far it was when I tried to use it. That’s bad. I didn’t like Air Miles Calculator because it required extra work to enter an itinerary. I don’t really need to do a lot of extra clicking or data entry to find what I need. I want a smooth and virtually effortless experience to obtain something as simple and straightforward as knowing how may miles a flight from Point A to Point B takes. The third entry on the list, MileCalc, does that and does it efficiently. That was all I needed to know. Plus, it does complex routes. Put in five airports and get a total mileage for the trip. It’s the one that gets my vote for Best Air Miles Calculator.

American Long Distance Bus Companies

There are more than a few American long distance bus companies. There are also a few bus booking websites that can be of assistance such as Busbud.

Truck Research 02

Load01I joined 123LoadBoard. Here is a picture of their interface. It shows a load for a car. There is no weight or rate. There is a contact #. I think I can go through and get virtually all of the car transporting companies in their database. I found a total of 36 loads within 999 miles of OKC.

Cairns Australia

Strategies: Update on 01-26-2017. As of now I decided that it might be a great idea to rent a car for one day and go to the Rain Forest. Explore the Kuranda Rainforest and the Daintree – the oldest tropical rainforest on earth and the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent. Go see the Barron Gorge National Park and the falls.

Weather: Average high for Cairns is 87 and low is 74. A little warm.

Flights: It looks like flights from Melbourne to Cairns will cost somewhere between $115 (Tiger Airways on Tuesdays or Wednesdays) to $150 if book at present. Jetstar has the most bookings. The flight time is about 3.5 hours. The earliest flight is at 6:10 AM. The latest flight is at 10:00 PM and gets into Cairns at 1:30 AM. Note that the Cairns airport is closed (technically) at that time of day. It supposedly opens at 3:00 AM.

Transfers: There is a bus service called Airport Connect that costs $4 one-way / $6 return. It takes you about half-way to the end of where I might want to go. There is also something called a - $6 one-way and $10 return.

Hostels: The hostels for Cairns are located at HostelWorld and HostelBookers. The rates seemed to go from $9 U.S. to $22 U.S. Most of them seemed to be reasonably close to the Esplanade, a walkway along the ocean. Most of the two dozens backpacker hostels seem to be in a 2 mile X 1 mile area that looks to be the downtown. A good map of the hostels is here. Cairns is small. It might be a good place to do a Couchsurf.

Attractions: Things to Do in Cairns – TripAdvisor. Google’s attractions search is hereHow to do the Great Barrier Reef on a budget – Lonely Planet. The Great Barrier Reef…on a Budget – hostelbookers. Cairns budget reef tours on Compass Cruises. Viator. Think Oldest Rairnforest on Earth.

Asia 2017 Attractions

Sometimes, I think I am loosing my strategic focus. Sometimes I think I loose sight of what my true objectives should be. Think about it. What is travel all about, anyway? Granted, it’s about a myriad of life’s experiences. It’s about food, culture, nature, civilization, architecture, adventure, logistics, and a bazillion other stimulations of the mind and the senses. But for me, one of the most significant experiences of travel are those special “tourist attractions” that seem to get on everyone’s lists. Sometimes I get my priorities totally screwed-up. Continue reading

Asia 2017 Destinations

This is a list of sights that I intend to see on the Asia 2017 Trip. This is for Ray.

Map   |   Auckland   |   Rotorua   |   Wellington   |   Queenstown   |   Milford Sound   |   Sydney  |   Canberra   |   Melbourne   |   Tasmania   |   Cairns   |  Great Barrier Reef   |   Bali   |   Borobudur   |   Kuala Lumpur   |   Maldives   |   Colombo   |   Sigiriya   |   Meenakshi   |   Kolkata   |   Dhaka   |   Bangkok   |   Yangon   |   Shwedagon Stupa   |   Bagan   |   Mandalay   |   Taipei   |   Okinawa   |   Seoul   |   Tokyo