Luxembourg to London, DLR, Chinese new year

January 31, 2006

Went from Luxembourg to London City airport in VLM Fokker 50. Weather was what I guess they call CAVOK – very few patches of clouds, mostly fine. I hadn’t done Fokker 50 before. It’s interesting as its landing gear are not under the main fuselage as is the case for ATR-42 which is more common in the Nordics and CSA for this kind of shortish hauls – instead, the gear are in the same compartment as the two turboprop engines, and the main landing gear is pretty much right outside your window so you can observe the wheels rolling. A bit spooky. I was in row 5 which was closest to it.

Flight itself was uneventful and calm. When flying in to London City, we first went pretty much across the whole city – some quite fun views there – damn, why didn’t I have the camera at hand then! Argh. As we turned back towards the runway and crossed over HSBC and other banks’ skyscrapers, that was again spooky because we were at no more than few hundred meters’ height so those towers were pretty close. But a welcome change to having to land in the middle of nowhere all the time.

London City is technically not so quite in the city that you could just take the tube, so you have to get around some other way. Apparently the Docklands Light Railway extension to City Airport was opened just over a month ago – I wonder how did people travel until then? Bus? Cab? Trains rock.

DLR itself is pretty funny – it reminded me of the overhead public train in the Mafia game, only that the surrounding settings are now 21st century, not 1930s. But the rest is the same – overhead light railway with occasional elevated stops. For the final part of the journey, you still go underground.

Then in the evening it was the Chinese New Year, but I didn’t hang around for too long as I didn’t feel like getting a firecracker up my butt, so all I saw was just tons and tons of people and new year kitsch.