Monday, April 1, 2013
MUGA #8: Sydney to Bangkok
I love departing at 11AM because you can wake up without stress. Why I fly west is that this 9 hour flight will arrive in Bangkok at 4PM, and I fear finding my way to my hotel late at night in a foreign town.
No, that's not a Dubai building. The first noteworthy experience today was almost running into that $168,000 Penfolds 2004 Block 42 being exhibited at the Sydney Airport. Only twelve were bottled, although the appropriate term for this elixir is ampoule. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon, and only 12 were ampouled.
The Air New Zealand Lounge was average. Interesting, though, that the breakfast buffet was exactly the same as at the Sydney Westin. They're in a rut here.
I was led to my seat, and was informed that I was to be the only passenger in first class:
While still on the ground, this fabulous service began with Dom Perignon:
In the air, the meal began with appetizers and a sherry:
The next course was caviar with all the trimmings, plus frozen Stoli:
Two salads followed, which I had with a California Chardonnay and French Chablis, which comes from the same Chardonnay grape:
Next came two beef filets with French Burgundy (a Pinot Noir) and Bourdeaux:
I had a portion of a wide assortment of desserts, with Kahlua expresso:
The cheese tray was all for me:
I hope they have an effective recycle system. I had those cheese with an apricot and a date, plus a port and remainder of reds. Try this: with port, any red wine tastes something similar to water:
I later had a chicken satay, followed by a tortellini enhanced with chorizos:
That rose is a wine-dyed towel created by the stewardess, who indicated that agricultural restrictions prevent them from using orchids. There was, of course, the obligatory Johnny Walker Blue Label on rocks:
one-eyed green slug. There was much over-acting and silliness. I then attempted to survive another comedy made in the Middle East. Same thing, so bad in fact that I gave up after half an hour. Both these movie-producing regions are in the early stages of development and will eventually become more professional. My audio-video system allowed me to program 72 songs on my playlist, which I listened to while reclining:
How could I sleep and waste this indulgence? The service was impeccable, cuisine outstanding and drinks over the top. The ULTIMATE in MUGA (my ultimate global adventure) certainly was demonstrated here. If I gave this flight a 9 rating, United's from SFO to Sydney would be a 3. My flight to Tokyo will be Thai Air on that huge Airbus 380 (left), which will be a first for me.
I was picked up at the Boeing 747-400 door by a Thai Air greeter, carted the mile distance to immigration/customs and whisked through an express system, all within 15 minutes. Unfortunately, it took another 15 minutes for the suitcase to arrive, but I made it to the Sheraton Sukhamvit in about an hour and a half from landing, only because the traffic to the hotel was horrendous.
I always seem to get this view of Benjakitti Park, with the Queenn Sirikit National Convention Center in the background. Well, the timing is perfect for my free evening cocktails in the Library.