Today started early, again. 4 AM alarm, got dressed, checked out, and into the car.
We negotiated the rather quiet and slightly familiar streets back to the highway to the airport. There were hardly any cars, but there were some roadworks at 4:30AM! Good time to do them, no one about. Dropped off the car, walked the 1.5km back to the terminal, and lined up for baggage drop. They asked to see passports, but only to confirm our tickets. Dad asked about passport control, “Not until you return to the UK.” Ha! Jokes on you, I mean, of course, not until we return to the UK.
We had finally started getting onto GMT, and woke after 7, without an alarm.
Today was spent around Reykjavik. First stop was the Leifer Erricson monument out the front of Hall church. They have a lift to take you up 8 stories in the bell tower. Much easier than stairs. From there you can see most of Reykjavik.
Day two started early again. Awake before 7 without an alarm. Breakfast, gear check, and we headed off again. Down the same tourist route, but this time along the southern coast towards some more waterfalls and a glacier or two.
I am no longer carrying around a 1.3KG (stylish) paper weight in the backpack. The MacBook Air is back, and no thanks to Apple, well a little, but I still hate them.
On returning to Finland I set off to try and find the Apple (non-official ‘Retail’) store. Between the hotel and the shopping centre I actually passed two Apple service centres, one was closed until late July. I forged on towards the one I had checked out online. They told me they couldn’t help, but told me where to find their chain’s service centre, just a block over. So I set off and managed to find it fairly quickly. I explained my predicament, and showed them the laptop. They understood the issue, but weren’t able to help.
So the laptop wont boot/stay operational for more than 30 seconds. Much Googling and attempts to do a verify disk on the SSD resulted in nothing. Even Single User Mode crapped out. Either the SSD or the logic board (motherboard – stupid Apple and their special names…) are dead. The SSD even disappeared from Finder and the Disk Utility. I was concerned and alert, but not alarmed, no I was franking out. I have two tablets on this trip, and one of them has a magical cable that can connect an SD card to it to import photos. So it can still go through some JPGs from my Pentax Q. But I couldn’t process any DNG files from my DSLR.
After about 30min of serious frustration, I went down stairs to start Googling the location of an Apple Retail store in Helsinki. There isn’t one. Plus side – I wouldn’t have to speak to a Genius and explain why I have an über fast, larger and non-functional after-market SSD in my laptop. I started checking the prices of a new laptop in €. Wow. Nearly $700 more than Australia by the time I spec it out to what I need. Not really an option.
Ok, back to Plan B. iPad. These things are magically devices that do stuff right? I can get some DNG processing software – not really. I can still write stuff with it – kind of. Did you know it is really hard to center (misspelled for HTML tags) an image in the WordPress app? Get two images on a row using a table? Nope, that’s not gone well. Whoever said you can be productive on a tablet mustn’t be very productive on a laptop. Also, DNG, I really want to process my photos.
After about 12 hours (of well needed) sleep we both woke up well before breakfast was to be served in the hotel so we headed off for a wander down to the front. The sun was bright and warm, but I very quickly regretted not grabbing my jacket, the wind off the ocean was freezing. A couple of locals out for a morning jog said hello as they passed while we did the tourist thing and took photos of nothing in particular.
Iceland is about as far from Melbourne as you can get.
Today/yesterday/a week last Tuesday started early, 5AM early. After getting the bags into the car we headed off to the airport. I was supposed to fly into Melbourne today, but the flight to Singapore had been bumped up by 3 hours so I came down a 12hrs earlier. At least it was a good run in to the airport, until we hit the airport exit. Took 15min to crawl the last 1km to the terminal.
We quickly checked in and head to the Qantas lounge – a perk of flying with Dad. Eggs for breakfast and a quick top up on my phone battery.
We checked out of the hotel and got our luggage out the front and the door man asked for our driver’s name. “Praveen”, he went over to the desk and picked up a phone, which was connected to a really REALLY loud megaphone pointed at the car park. There were about 10 cars and drivers waiting for their passengers. “Something something Praveen something something” and one of the cars started moving.
After a rather busy morning at the Taj Mahal we still had the rest of the day in Agra. After an awkward breakfast where we were asked how it was going several times between mouthfuls we met back with the guide and headed off. On the way to Agra Fort he said they had a place to show us that wouldn’t take too long. We had specified in the contract with the travel agent that we never wanted to be taken to any markets or other random places that we didn’t already agree to. With some annoyance we proceeded onto a place where they make marble goods with inlaid stone, some thing we had seen a fair bit of at the Taj Mahal.
We got up early again, not quite as bad as the day before, but still early enough. Our guide met us in the lobby of the hotel and we got into the car and headed out. It was a short ride to a big parking lot with lots of other people (westerners) and a bunch of hawkers. We were told we couldn’t take large bags into the Taj, and tripods were banded. I quickly moved all my camera gear from my backpack into my shoulder bag and left the tripod behind. I had already managed to use it once in Singapore, so it wasn’t a complete waste of effort bringing it.