Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sydney airport

These are my photos when I was departing Sydney, October 3, 2010. I did not take photos when I arrived at the airport, September 28. I arrived there around 6:30 or 7am, was still groggy and sleepy after my evening flight from Manila and a transfer at Brisbane airport.

The main information booth. Well, if you have your itinerary or plane ticket and you just check the big billboard at the background, indicating the schedule of departure flights, no need to approach this booth.

A big passenger lounge, different from the departure lounge at each boarding gate. This is in the middle of the terminal, after passing the immigration, if I remember it right. There are many shops surrounding this lounge.

Another huge billboard for departing passengers. It is difficult to lose your way as the signs are very clear, so long as you know which gate to board your flight.

And shops, shops all around. The shops are silently whispering, "Hey, before you leave Sydney airport, come on in."

One shop is selling these traditional instruments by the aborigines. Colorful and shiny.

Oh my, more shops to pass by before going to your departure gate.

On certain days of the week, there are no Sydney-Manila flights, even via Brisbane. My flight that day was Sydney - HongKong (via Qantas), then Hong Kong - Manila (via Cathay, a partner airline of Qantas). I was in a hurry to fly back home, my wife was already in the hospital, about to give birth to our second child. So even a longer flight via HK was ok with me then.

I was very happy to see Sydney. Thanks again to the sponsors of the conference that I attended there, especially the Americans for Tax Reforms.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sheraton on the Park, Sydney

It was my first time to see Australia, wow. I went there to participate in the 4th Pacific Rim Policy Exchange, September 28-30, 2010. The event was mainly sponsored by the Americans for Tax Reforms. I was one of the speakers in one of the panel discussions there.

The hotel is just across the huge Hyde Park in central Sydney. It is walking distance to many beautiful places like the Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, etc. The park itself is already a good tourist destination. Sydney is really beautiful.

My room, my bed, wow, really cool! But since I was a speaker in the conference and I always cram my presentation, I did not maximize sleeping in this very comfortable bed. I slept just a few hours instead.

My work area is also cool. Wide, flat tv near it, but I did not open the tv much. I did not have complimentary internet access in my room, but there are plenty of free wifi area in the hotel, at the lobby, at the 2nd floor, etc.

See the bathroom, really cool! As usual, I like the bath tub, dip there for several minutes to relax, or to ponder about some slides in my powerpoint presentation. But I did not see the hotel's swimming pool. I was busy with reading and writing, going out and see the city, etc.

I thanked Grover Norquist, President of ATR (right in this photo; between us was Peter Wong, Executive Director of the Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong), and Kelsey Zahourek, Executive Director of the Property Rights Alliance (PRA), another sponsor of the conference, for the travel grant they gave to me to participate in the said conference.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brisbane airport, Australia

My first time to see Australia. I was going to Sydney to attend a conference. I took Qantas Air, left Manila airport September 27 evening, around 8 or 9pm I think. Qantas has no direct Manila-Sydney flight that day, I have to change plane at Brisbane, and that's how I got into this airport.

My plane landed at Brisbane airport the next day around 4.30 or 5am. The immigration area here. The airport should be open 24 hours, but there are very few arriving passengers at such time of the day.

Hallway going to the baggage claim area. We have to get our checked in bags and move to another gate for the flight to Sydney.

Duty free shops area. Very few shops were open at such time. Nonetheless, the whole area was well-lighted.

Baggage claim area.

Going to another gate for the flight to Sydney, I passed by these artworks. Perhaps about the aborigines of Australia.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sultan Hotel, Jakarta

My first time to set foot in Jakarta, Indonesia. I went there to participate in the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia Annual Conference, October 7-8, 2010, held at Sultan Hotel. The event was sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF).

The hotel is a bit old but it's big. It also has a wide parking space, other outdoor facilities. This is the lobby of the hotel.

I went there to be one of the moderators of several panel discussions. The theme of the conference was "Migration and Freedom". I saw many friends there from the Asian free market network.

This is my room, nice comfortable bed. The tv was the old, thick model, not the slick and thin flat tv yet. My working area was fine, we had complimentary internet connection in the room.

One of the many hallways going to various seminar/conference rooms, or to the ballrooms. The hotel is really huge, I got lost in some of the hallways going back to my room :-)

The hotel also has several restaurants, in the basement, on the ground floor, the second floor, I don't know where else.

There was a painting exhibit during our stay. I don't know how often such exhibits are held in that hotel. But the paintings are beautiful, they must be expensive.

Notice the wide hallway, this is going to one of the side entrances of the hotel. The painting exhibits made the hallway more lighted.

Extension of the painting exhibits near the hotel lobby.

I thanked the organizers of the EFN Conference and the FNF, especially Jyoti Sachavirawong, for the travel grant to Jakarta, for the opportunity to participate in the conference, and for moderating a panel discussion with two bright minds as speakers, Aco Patunru from Indonesia and Zubair Malik from Pakistan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jakarta airport

My first time to visit Indonesia, really. I've been to Kuala Lumpur twice, Singapore, about 3x or 4x, but never been to Jakarta before. So I was very happy for the opportunity.

Jakarta airport is more like Manila's NAIA terminal 1, the old but main international airport terminal. Jakarta airport is a little bigger than terminal 1. Of course if we combine the international sections of terminal 2 (exclusively used by PAL) and terminal 3 (mainly used by Cebu Pacific), the combined floor space of those 3 terminals in Manila airport should be bigger.

Hallway for exiting passengers, going to the arrival area. Unlike the glass and steel structure of modern airports, here it's an enclosed wall of cement, except the departure lounge.

The duty free shops and food shops. Not too many shops because the terminal is not big, but nonetheless, one can buy a number of souvenir items there.

Baggage claim area.

Immigration area for departing passengers. Big difference with the Manila airport: in Jakarta airport, the immigration area has short lines. Well, when I was flying back to Manila, there was no line actually, I went straight to the immigration officer. I was out of his booth in about a minute or less.

Well, one advantage of having a Philippine passport and if one is traveling to any ASEAN member-country like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. No need for a visa for visits of 30 days or less. The immigration officers are more friendly to passport holders of their fellow ASEAN member countries.