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WEF Tour Via Japan & USA TR/UA/NH/LH & Pics.

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  • WEF Tour Via Japan & USA TR/UA/NH/LH & Pics.

    Earlier in 2007 myself and Paul Maier talked about a trip to the WEF in Zurich, thankfully, it came true and this is an account of the journey and fun times had.

    Route- PER-SIN
    Date- 10 JAN 2008
    Etd- 2235
    Atd- 2255
    Eta- 0255
    Ata- 0255
    Registration- 9V-TAI
    Seat- 25D
    Flight Number- TR 717
    Gate- 55
    Aircraft Type- Airbus A320
    Flight Time- 5hrs

    I had a rather quiet day at home, did some last minute packing before heading for the airport and my Tiger Airways flight to Singapore. I found the check-in already quite well lined and I took my position behind everyone else, I was eventually assigned 25D and handed over my bags and collected my boarding pass. Immigration was painless, security just as painless...the painful part is the departure lounge! Someone fix this bloody can either stare out the window, walk up and down the departure area or be blinded by the extremely bright duty free lights. I chose a mixture of all 3.

    Boarding was a free-for-all, not my kind of thing but its the way Tiger does things. Soon after 2245 we commenced push and start for taxi via "SIERRA" for runway 21 departure, take off was smooth and we gently climbed away from Perth and commnced our right turn for the Indian Ocean and north for Singapore.

    Tiger offers food for sale, none of which appealed to me at 1130PM so I passed, the seat back had no recline which was a real let down, so I was stuck in the upright position for the entire 5hrs. Cabin Crew were friendly and had no qualms in pushing their for sale itmes down the passengers throats. After 4hrs 30min in the air we bagan our descent for Singapore and a 02L arrival, we touched down dead on time and made the long taxi over to the budget terminal.

    I then had to clear customs, collect my bag & wait for the terminal bus transfer which arrived within 10mins, from there it was a smooth journey over to T1 and a coffee.

    There was a slight wait before check-in opened, as usual the security was present and asking the usual questions, thankful that I wasn't going the entire way and that I didn't have to answer any questions.

    Route- SIN-NRT
    Date- 11 JAN 2008
    Etd- 0720
    Atd- 0740
    Eta- 1500
    Ata- 1440
    Registration- N792UA
    Seat- 23A
    Flight Number- UA 804
    Gate- C23
    Aircraft Type- Boeing 777-222ER
    Flight Time- 6hr 35min

    after completing the check-in process and given my seat assignment it was time to head through immigration and do some shopping, with the regulations as they are these days its hard to know what you can and can't take from one port to another. I got some nice French wine and chocolates, along with some panadol for my now splitting headache.

    I also took the chance for a look at T3, fantastic terminal and lay out, I popped in to Starbucks for a coffee and then made my way over to T1 and gate C23 for the flight up to Narita.

    by this time the area was quite busy passengers waiting for the boarding gate to open, again, security was passed and I then made use of the free internet to check my email duty free purchases arrived soon after and then it was time for boarding the 777.

    boarding was done by status and then areas, I used status for immediate boarding, thankfully the seat next to me was blocked and I had the own space for the flight up to Tokyo.

    Just after 7AM the process was complete, doors were closed and we pushed back from our gate for the long taxi over to 02C for take off. We were number 2 for take off and we very quickly got airborne on our 6hr 35min flight up to Narita, most of which was over the South China Sea.

    The food and drink service commenced as soon as we levelled out and I once again opted for my morning apple juice! my special meal was delivered almost straight away and it was devine! Its one of the best I've had in ages. The remainder of the flight was uneventful and smooth, I switched on CH9 and listenend in to our flight whilst snoozing for most of the way.

    Soon after we began our descent in to New Tokyo International Airport for a 16R landing, it was a dirty day in Tokyo, good for staying indoors! 20min before our scheduled arrival time we landed at Narita and made our way over to Terminal 1 for disembarkation.

    The times I have passed via Narita it has been a log-jam at customs, today was the exception! I was gone within 5mins and settled at the spotters paradise, Marroad Hotel, within 45mins of landing. I was given room 1096 which is perfect for its airport views.

    I made a quick dash for the noodle restaurant just opposite the Nikko Hotel, thankfully, the food is still as fantastic as ever!

    climbing out of Singapore for Tokyo.

    delightful Asian vegie meal, I love meat but I also love trying other meals...this was devine!

    making our way up the South China Sea bound for Tokyo.

    snack prior to arrival in Tokyo.


    I think I've stayed in this room before, the Marroad loves spotters and we love the Marroad Hotel too!

    pre flight info being prepared...

    Mr T & Mont...

    our room at Kangetsu Ryokan...fantastic traditional experience!

    3 wise me at Atsugi!

    why I love Japan!

    all that gear...hmmm!


    the world according to Yodobashi, and some still buy Nikon...

    Route- NRT-LAX
    Date- 18 JAN 2008
    Etd- 1705
    Atd- 1730
    Eta- 0950
    Ata- 0945
    Registration- JA779A
    Seat- 23A
    Flight Number- NH 006
    Gate 51
    Aircraft Type- Boeing 777-381ER
    Flight Time- 9hrs 15min

    The week in Tokyo had come to an end far to soon, so it was time for Kevin and myself to make the long journey for Narita, took 4hrs on the train, we had a slight interruption at Shinagawa because Kevin had a big night out at Gas Panic! Then again so did I!

    after completing the martahon journey and train switches we arrived at NRT just after 2PM. Check-in for ANA 006 was smooth and uneventful, just how the Japanese like it, its how I like it too!

    I was given 23A in the first economy cabin, this area is only made up of two rows so you have some privacy...from check-in it was off for some Ramen Noodles and shopping for mum, took about 1hr to find something for mum, lunch was an easier choice! After doing the shopping thing it was time for a little internet activity and then for security checks and immigration so we could board our flight.

    The process was again very easy, not something that you usually equate with Narita airport.

    Boarding began promptly at 1635 by class and seat number, once onboard I quickly learned how cramped seat 23A would be, I literally had NO room for movement of my knees, it dawned on me that I'd be stuck in this position for over 9hrs!

    Soon enough our pushback off gate 51 commenced and we taxied via gateway, "DELTA" for a runway 34L departure. I was most impressed with the pur of GE 90 that ANA has fixed to their 777-300ER's!

    Running some 25mins late, it was finally our turn for take off, upon reaching the sky we quickly made a right turn and Fuji was clearly visible, then another series of right turns put us over the Pacific Ocean for our flight to LA.

    Beverage and food service commenced soon after we reached 31000 feet, of course I went my usual apple juice and some Japanese snacks.

    our menu for dinner.

    Marinated salmon
    Pastrami chicken
    Egg and pasta salad

    Main course
    Salt-grilled salmon and seasoned rice with crabmeat

    Japanese delicacies

    Bread roll

    Premium ice cream

    Coffee or tea

    food was beautiful and well presented, took me only a short time to consume the lot...

    from then on it was catch up on rest in the cramped area that was 23A, I don't recommend this seat to anyone!

    upon waking up I opened the window and noticed that we'd just made landfall over Norcal and began our southbound leg for LAX, before we began our descent another meal was served which was also very tasty and hit the spot just perfectly.

    Main course
    Roasted risotto timbale with grilled bacon

    Fruit cocktail


    Bread roll

    Coffee or tea

    shortly after service was completed we began the descent for a 24L approach in to LAX, I had a fantastic view of the Hollywood Hills, Getty Centre and down-town LA on our downwind leg. We touched down smoothly on 24L and made our way to one of the remote gates for the bus trip to TBIT.

    The customs process took longer than usual thanks to buses being full before we exited the plane, once at customs the process was fast and detailed when I was eventually called, then it was on to baggage and the car rental facility for the US leg of the journey.

    3D of our ANA flight to LAX.

    pre-dinner snack and drink, Japanese style!

    Japanese style dinner on our LAX bound flight, delicious too! was the ice cream!

    breakfast on the LAX bound flight, not a fan of thick cut bacon...

    sunrise over the wing of our 777 from the land of the rising sun!

    lunch in Santa Monica, food was great but the company was terrible!

    stop off enroute to Baker, unfortunately, being half Greek I wanted to test this place out since my last visit...its gotten worse!

    after dinner swing on a chair that I was instructed to sit on by a very special girl...Road Runner does the 3rd best steak I've ever had.

    Route- LAS-DEN
    Date- 22 JAN 2008
    Etd- 1300
    Atd- 1325
    Eta- 1550
    Ata- 1545
    Registration- N442UA
    Seat- 17F
    Flight Number- UA 1464
    Gate- D39
    Aircraft Type- Airbus A320-232
    Flight Time- 1hr 20min

    after depositing the rental car at the facility it was time for my flight to FRA via DEN, checkin was smooth and effecient, in and out in 20 seconds, the horror was the security line! Seriously, there were in excess of 300 people waiting in line to pass TSA, this process took over 45mins before I even reached the head of the que.

    once through I headed over to UA facility and grabbed myself a couple of Bratwursts and soda for lunch and a book to occupy my time, The flight was a little late arriving from DEN so we were all instructed to sit tight and be ready as soon as the plane was cleared for the return leg.

    boarding was fast and done by status and area, once again I had a row for myself and I quickly got the camera ready and switched on CH9. We left the gate a few mins late and quickly made our way out for departure off runway 25R, this allowed for some fantastic shots of Vegas, the terminals at LAS and other scenery.

    When we reached cruise altitude the beverages were dispensed and I again opted for apple juice, this time they only served it by the cup and not the can! Just after 1hr in the air we began our descent for the Denver International Airport for a runway 35L approach, landing was smooth and we quickly taxied to terminal and then transferred over to A concourse for the Lufthansa flight.

    Whitebird territory!

    Route- DEN-FRA
    Date- 22 JAN 2008
    Etd- 1745
    Atd- 1755
    Eta- 1115
    Ata- 1045
    Registration- D-AIHE
    Seat- 26K
    Gate- 41
    Flight Number- LH 447
    Aircraft Type- Airbus 340-642
    Flight Time- 9hrs

    Boarding commenced just after 1700 for the relatively light and short Atlantic crossing, I was happy to see that LH had sent us the new equipped 346 which had the new economy class entertainment fitted, it functioned very well throughout the flight.

    Our pushback commenced a little ahead of time due light load, we then made our way over for runway 25 and with no delay we began our take off roll, took a little longer than usual as DEN is a 5000" AMSL airport, soon enough we climbed away into the full moon sky and headed for Frankfurt. I quickly got a few cabin photos then headed back to my seat for the beverage service...GnT for me, but it was so strong I nearly vomitted! So i backed off that and went again for the staple diet of apple juice!

    shortly after my Seafood meal was served, much to my delight it was a wonderful feed!

    I watched one of the movies then decided it was time for some sleep, nothing worth doing on a night flight other than sleeping so I made the most of it. When I woke we were just over Ireland and about 90mins from Frankfurt, shortly after a lovely breakfast was served and before we knew it we were over the EU mainland and starting our descent in to Frankfurt, today we'd be landing on 25L and parking on the remote stand and bussed to immigration.

    Just after 1040am we commenced our final approach for FRA and landed roughly 30mins ahead of schedule, that time was quickly chewed up by the baggage delay and slow transporting from plane to terminal.

    Lufthansa cops much bad press, I was pleasantly surprised with their efforts on this flight!

    Leverkusen awaits its load for the flight back to Frankfurt.

    Lufthansa has finally found the rear of the seat in economy class!

    Gin & Tonic, so strong I nearly choked on it!

    delightful fish meal that I pre-ordered on Lufthansa...

    followed by a lovely, fresh breakfast!

    final for 25L with Frankfurt downtown visible.

    after alighting and collecting our car we headed for Sinshiem...

    our trusty VW golf, it copped a flogging on the Auto Bahn!

    getting there!

    blink and you'll miss this place! thank god for that too..

    do you agree, comrade?

    my turn to give the VW a work-out.

    Chicago Meat Packers, best steak I've ever eaten...huge thanks to Andry and his lovely wife Rita for the dinner! Louisiana stout is one of the finest I've ever tasted too!

    devine lunch at Andy's house...I'm hungry!

    dinner in Zurich, still as expensive as it ever was!

    Mont in down-town Innsbruck.

    our room at the Movenpick Frankfurt, $65USD from priceline! bargain...

    plenty of WEF shots which I will upload to the database at a later stage.

    Route- FRA-IAD
    Date- 29 JAN 2008
    Etd- 1315
    Atd- 1345
    Eta- 1615
    Ata- 1608
    Registration- D-ABVW
    Seat- 44D
    Gate- A65
    Flight Number- LH 418
    Aircraft Type- Boeing 747-430
    Flight Time- 9hrs

    After stacking up the miles in our VW it was time to head home, Paul left the evening before for London, I fell asleep and arrived at the airport late to meet him, you get that! The car cloked up nearly 1900kms in just under 7 days, the Avis rep checked her over, billed me, then I was on my way.

    I used the auto check-in for the flight, unfortunately it spat me out a seat that I didn't want so I changed it for a aisle seat at the desk, this was done and I was on my way, as usual the bomb scares were taking their toll, well, left baggage I should say!

    I headed over for the gate area in the A concourse and promptly headed through security and found myself a place for food...grabbed myself a couple of lovely rolls and a beer then made way for A65 (far away) which was our boarding gate. Our 744 was eventually towed over and parked at the gate for the flight.

    We had to leave the boarding area and form a line so our papers could be checked, LH really needs to address this, they only offer the boarding area for seating at the gate but you can't sit there until you've been securuity checked, if you do get it in you need to leave soon after so LH can check everyone.

    I joined the line and it took around 20min to reach the head of the que, my details were checked and I was back in my seat that I vacated previously.

    Next mess was the boarding call, first and business are onboard, then its a free-for-all with economy class, basically board when you want! as you can imagine the line was all over the place and the lack of room didn't help. Soon after I was welcomed onboard by the lovely Ms Krieg, then to my horror some mother and daughter pair who didn't have the sense to check-in together wanted the other seats in my row, we had 2 middle vacant seats which we were determined to keep.

    In the end we won out and Ms Krieg made sure that our space wasn't intruded upon by a pair that weren't smart enough to sort their shit at check-in.

    We were operating with 70% capacity so plenty of room for moving, when doors were shut we pushed off the gate and set up for taxi towards runway 18. We eventually reached runway 18 and began our immediate roll for the 9hr journey for DC.

    Ms Krieg was looking after me today, soon after take off I opted for a beer from the bar...bad move! was warm and not so special! Shortly after she presented my seafood meal and I scoffed it down at a fast pace, another lovely meal! Then it was the usual drink service and of course apple juice! I got talking with the young girl who'd been serving me and who seemed nervous, so I asked straight out, if she was new on the job, sure enough it was only her 3rd flight! I complimented her on the fantastic job she was doing and we got talking about her first trip which was also DC. She did a fantastic job for a newbie!

    Soon enough it was time for me to unwind and take a walk, got talking with a stunning redhead mum down the back of the plane, she was in the row in front of me, actually, we made eye contact and smiled at each other just about the entire journey!

    Just before landing preperations commenced we were given a snack and then the a/c was prepared for our bumpy arrival, weather in DC was shit and that's being blunt, was a very rought approach and one that I had trouble even keeping my stomach in tact for.

    We eventually landed safely and taxied to our concourse where the moveable lounge would transport us back for immigration.

    The line was a little longer as KLM had just landed previously, I got to the agent and low n behold there was a passport issue...this time he said my image is that of a woman on their record, I looked at him in disbelief and asked if there was a passport issue, he said no, just the photo..hello champ, that would be a passport issue as my photo is in the damn thing! God only knows what he was looking at.

    So I proceeded to baggage, got talking with the redhead and she walked me over to the next kettle of bullshit, this time the lady at immigration asked why I was sent for secondary, I told her that the agent up front said my photo was that of a woman..then the usual 20 questions were asked, can I prove I'm not a woman, yadda, yadda...I naturally replied that I could and I'd be more than willing to show her.

    She processed me and said I was good to go, then came another debacle, my bags went through more testing...and I had to go through passport bullshit over again!

    so, after 90mins, stupid questions which I had answered on the I94W and having to confirm my sexual identity I was allowed to pass..sure enough, the last face I saw in that area was the guy who said it was a womans photo! Then it was off for the hotel and some well earned rest.

    brunch before the flight to Washington....

    wasn't so fond of this beer, especially the fact that it wasn't chilled.

    seafood lunch on the flight to Washington, one of the normal options was Salmon...still a tasty meal.

    pre-landing snack...

    calzone delivered direct to my Dulles hotel...

    Route- IAD-NRT
    Date- 30 JAN 2008
    Etd- 1213
    Atd- 1245
    Eta- 1615
    Ata- 1550
    Registration- N783UA
    Seat- 14A
    Gate- C1
    Flight Number- UA 803
    Aircraft Type- Boeing 777-222ER
    Flight Time- 14hrs 20min

    Woke up early expecting a phone call that never came, so I never got back to sleep! by 9am I was on the hotel bus bound for the Dulles airport not knowing that my ANA flight was delayed 5hrs and that I would be put on UA in Business class so I wouldn't miss my connection in Tokyo for Singapore.

    I got the dreaded SSSS on the boarding card, still reckon it was because of the day before! anyways, UA processed me and I made my way to forex where I ended up in an argument about a rather large ripoff with exchange rate, the girl was trying to tell me that the USD only got me 98c AUD, I was having none of it and demanded my money back! That's a full 20+ cents lower than the real rate.

    After that mess I proceeded to the security area, yep, was given a good going over and put in some capsual that sprays air on you like your a disease risk...They found nothing, I was eventually cleared and went on my way for the C concourse. Here is where the best part of the trip occurs, her name is Mimi, and she is just the most delightful & beautiful person I've had the honour of spending 2hrs with, hell, I even dragged her away from work and said it was break time! I'd have given up my seat to spend the rest of the day talking with her!

    Sure enough it was over soon and I had to board for the 14hr flight over the arctic, by this time I felt like and chocolate are not good on an empty stomach!

    I boarded the 777 and quickly got my camera's ready for the take off...after some delays and late boarding we were on our way and sent out for 1R departure. Take off roll was nice and long followed be a sharp left turn and a series of turns which put us on a Northerly track for the Arctic region.

    The old girls eventually came and took our food order...I wanted the Japanese, sure enough, they didn't have any left...funny that, because the person behind me scored one right after she said none left! So it was a choice of the same UA food that I've had on many of their J class flights! Chicken or Beef, I went the beef then promptly told the attendant not to serve me as I was feeling quite ill. I had and still have a nasty case of the flu, I left me feeling physically sick and vomitting for a portion of the flight. In the end I managed to chew on some chips and fruit for energy, but by now I was so exhausted and my eyes so sore that I couldn't open them. They were literally clouded over.

    UA J class on the 777 is terrible, the person in front lays back and you can't get out of your seat for the toilet without resetting the entire seating config! I was now starting to think I'd have been better off on the 50 pax 773ER of ANA that was running 5hrs late.

    I know my mate Kevin would've had a much more comfy flight than I!

    The saving grace was CH9 and the best part was the 5hrs we had contact with Magadan Control and Saqalain Is control, there was something very soothing about hearing the Russians on the other end of the line! This is meters terrirtory so everyone was given instructions on their altitude in meters, ours was 10600m or 35000 feet. They kept track of us for almost a 1/4 of the journey after leaving Anchorage control.

    The flight dragged on, I was either in the toilet or sleeping or trying to get sleep...I didn't end up eating the beef and decided I'd have the fruit platter around 90mins before landing.

    We began our NRT descent with around 30min to fly, out over the pacific then making some turns and staying over the ocean while lowering the gear so as ice doesn't fall on the citizens below, eventually we were cleared for landing on 34L and touched down 25min prior schedule. I was just happy to get off this damn plane!

    This is Mimi from Ethiopia, she tried selling me Chase Visa cards, I ended up buying her coffee and bagels for lunch, Mimi rocks, she's also one of the most beautiful ladies I've ever met!

    looking back at Dulles as we make a left turn off 01R

    usual fair on United...couldn't eat the salty nuts.

    mid flight snack...

    United needs to change its menu!

    Route- NRT-SIN
    Date- 31 JAN 2008
    Etd- 1730
    Atd- 1810
    Eta- 2359
    Ata- 2355
    Registration- N228UA
    Seat- 17A
    Gate- 32
    Flight Number- UA 803
    Aircraft Type- Boeing 777-222ER
    Flight Time- 6hr 45min

    after clearing Japan security I made way for gate 32, sat down and fell asleep, by this time I was really struggling with my eyes, cheast and throat. I could not keep my eyes open longer than 5 seconds, they were immensely sore and I just wanted out of the airport and to get home.

    boarding was fast on this light load, soon after we were closed up ready for our departure and pushed back facing south for taxi via gateway and DELTA for 34L departure. Upon take off we made a series of right turns that took us back over the top of NRT then south for Singapore.

    This flight had a NRT based crew and one of them was on my UA 804 flight, I opted for the usual juice and that was vegie meal came, it sat there, it left untouched! In normal circumstances I'd have eaten it fast because it was curry, but that day I was not game enough and nor was my stomach.

    I did what I do best, sleep! This flight went rather quick and before I knew it we were under control of Singapore and being guided for landing on 02L. We were slightly ahead of time which was great, meant less time onboard!

    We taxied for our T1 stand and quickly disembarked and headed for something that I have never seen at Changi in my life, a massive set of ques at immigration! That alone added 40mins due all the arrivals from US, Asia etc.

    Bags were removed from the carousel by the time we cleared and I grabbed mine and quickly made a beeline for the taxi que and straight off to the hotel.

    From then on it was straight back to bed...

    anyone who knows me knows I drink gallons of Apple Juice!

    the delightful Asian Vegie meal, by this time I was so ill and tired I couldn't eat.

    Route- SIN-PER
    Date- 1 FEB 2008
    Etd- 1550
    Atd- 1605
    Eta- 2205
    Ata- 2155
    Registration- 9V-TAF
    Seat- 12D
    Gate- 4
    Flight Number- TR 716
    Aircraft Type- Airbus A320
    Flight Time- 5hrs

    So I checked out just after midday and made my way via taxi for Changi T1 so I could stop by for a Ramen, I was asked a series of questions by staff and Changi, I just couldn't be stuffed answering and for the most part ignored them and kept walking. I was back where it started and I was happy, sometimes it can knock the living shit out of you this travel gig! I got my ramen and miso soup because I needed the fluid.

    I went through it pretty fast and thankfully it didn't go through me equally as fast!

    I got the bus for the BT and upon arrival checked in and got an exit row.

    Not long after the usual afternoon storm greeted us, this one I went and sat outside for! it was a treat too...I've never seen rain come down so hard in such short space of time!

    Soon after it was time for boarding via gate 4, I decided enough of the photos and stored my stuff and promptly fell asleep, We took off via 02C then turned south for Australia.

    The flight was again bombarded with crew selling food and drink, I think they came up and down around 10+ times on this 5hr flight!

    The neighbours wouldn't put their window shade down so my eyes were copping a flogging when I opened them...thankfully, it was all over fast!

    We began the descent for runway 21 just after 930PM and the landing was uneventful! We taxied for gate 55 and I quickly exited the plane for customs. Tonight the que was empty so it was a quick stop...only to be hampered again by baggage at Perth!

    This time the plane had pushed back for the return for Singapore before our luggage was flowing, ridiculous! I don't know what they were doing back there but surely it could've been faster than that?

    anyways, I was out soon enough and headed home!

    we love Japan and Harajuku!

    sexiness in a purple hat!

    I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the following...


    Mr Tokunaga, thank you for the room and everything else! it was fantastic!

    Kevin "sayla" Cook, don't drink beer before catching a plane or train!


    Jason "what's up" Whitebird, its always a pleasure mate!

    Dave "the shit" Budd, where would we be without you? say hi to Remington for me!

    Chris "the other site" Kilroy, was fantastic to finally meet with you and the dinner was awesome!

    and to those I met in the USA, it was an absolute please, Bo Kim, you need to walk a little!

    and I can't forget Sausha. very special girl!


    Comrade Paul "party animal" Maier, you have more steam than me!

    Andreas "the king" Frecker and his lovely wife Rita, thank you for the wonderful dinner and lunch! The steak was worth the trip alone as was the beer!

    Philip "where'd you go" Priendl, thank you for making the trip!

    Bianca "my fellow crew member at the other site" Renz thank you for making the trip, I see you got the YAK!

    and all the great people at Buchair that put on the fantastic WEF tour!

    hope you enjoyed this account of my experiences!

    next trips
    USA/DXB August.

  • #2
    wicked photos mate!! I realy enjoyed all those, it looks like you had a great time!


    • #3
      Thanks again Mont for the invintation in joining this interesting trip.
      Thanks for visiting
      *Avimage's Monthly Slide list *


      • #4
        The pics of the ANA meal made me hungry!