Sunday, January 22, 2006

From Amsterdam to Toulouse, 20th December 2005

There wasn't so much to see once airborne because of the thick cloud cover over much of Europe in winter. So the 2 shots you see here was taken very quickly after takeoff before we flew above the clouds.

I like this Fokker plane cause the engines are at the tail, hence there are less noise in the cabin. The flight attendants started serving a simple snack meal which consisted of sandwiches and drinks, which for me wasn't too bad since I was hungry.

This was a lucky shot because I had my camera out at that moment. Unfortunately I can't move the plane to get a better angle (I would have preffered the plane to be moving upwards 45' from my position) but here it is anyway.

For most of the flight after that, the cloud cover has changed from the fluffy type to a more uniform blanket of clouds as far as the eye can see.

Then upon reaching Toulouse, the cloud cover breaks, signifying the edge of the cold front - and less severe winter to where I am heading :)

Ok, the next post would have more pictures on Toulouse.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

My last trip in 2005 - France, 20th - 31st December 2005

I took a KLM flight from KL to Toulouse via Amsterdam. The flight arrived early in Amsterdam at around 4am and my connection to Toulouse was by KLM Cityhopper leaving at around 10am.

Clearing immigration at such an early hour was not a problem since there were very little crowd. However, going in too early wasn't such a good idea since I couldn't get to see the rest of the terminal when they opened later in the morning.

View of the airport in the morning. The airport wasn't too cold as long as you have some winter clothing on.

That is the Fokker 70 KLM Cityhopper plane, similar to the one that took me to Toulouse.

More shots of the Fokker 70.

OK, that should be all for now. More in flight photos later.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Timika, Papua, Indonesia 1st and 2nd week of December 2005

[Last Edit: 15 January 2006]: I am already behind by 2's the last of the Papua trip before I move on to France.

It has been a month since I shot the photos but since I have loads of other photos from France to edit, I would publish what I have first little by little.

This is a shot taken after checking-in and waiting and waiting for my connection flight to Timika. Arrived in Jakarta approximately at 5pm and my connection is only at 11pm so of course I was tired. Since the check in counters only opened at 8pm, by the time I am in the terminal, most of the shops have closed. You can see it's pretty deserted. While the place is relatively clean, there are still baby cockcroaches running around the chair so that rules out sleeping!

After Jakarta, there was a brief stopover at the Bali island airport. If you are in transit, and a guy, you have to visit the toilet. They have nice aquariums above each of the urinals and it's so fascinating you can forget that you have completed your "business". However, due to the high user traffic, it was kinda inconvenient to shoot a photo....I don't think people like to have their photos taken while at the urinal ;) Anyway, I finally reached Timika at 7am and that is a photo taken at sunrise. The clouds were fascinating as it looked like a thick blanket, though my photo don't do justice to it.

Kuala Kenchana is a mining company town. Even though it is 10 years old, all the buildings and landscaping are well taken care of. It's like an integrated township where you have all the company departments operating out of, food courts, restaurants, shopping mall etc. .They even have double lane roads leading to the town and within as you can see in the photo but it is mostly deserted and the rules on speeding is well enforced.

Picture taken at the roundabout upon reaching Kuala Kencana.

The two pictures above shows the view of the Papua Mountain Ranges. Note the lowland area in the foreground that shows the mine tailings (what's left after the rocks were crushed and minerals extracted). The tailings are dumped into the river to be carried to the lowlands. You can see trucks carrying the tailings away for construction purposes.

The road leading up to the mining areas, as you can see isn't tarred, hence there are water trucks wetting the road occasionally to keep the dust down. If you were to follow any vehicle on a dry road, your view would most probably be obstructed by the billowing dust. Wipers and windscreen washers are used extensively.

The place where I was staying is in the lowland - called the Base Camp. As you can see, it isn't too shabby eventhough it's located in the jungles of Papua. In fact they have a whole range of cable channels that would put some Malaysian hotels to shame - I guess there's nothing much to do after work here. The rooms are all air conditioned with hot water for showers. The rooms are also made up every morning and laundry collected. All you have to do is work ;) These rooms are also used to accomodate the single workers of the company - what luxury.

There's also the dining hall, which I didn't take any photos of since I think it's inappropriate. But it serves all types of local and western cuisine plus desserts and ice creams. All this is available if you are an employee or a contractor like myself.

There is an ongoing resistance to the rule of Indonesia in Papua. The situation in Papua has since calmed down but nevertheless, security is ever present here. As someone passing through, I don't think it's was appropriate for me to argue for one side or the other. Go search on the internet if you want to find out more about the issues.