On the Road World Tour 2020 - Asia & Europe

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Grandmaster G
Hae Jang Nim
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On the Road World Tour 2020 - Asia & Europe

Postby Grandmaster G » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:02 pm

2020 Asia - Europe

“World Tour - Concept Evasion”

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2020 World Tour Logo

Where did the year go? Well it wasn’t a quiet year as there was the ITS Tour in there to break it up, still they roll around quicker and quicker it seems. This year the tour is a lean mean 3 months long, 22 flights and 12 countries. According to my Travel App there are 18 stops vs 28 for last years. This year almost everything was ready pre trip, of course a couple of belt hiccups but that turned out ok and last-minute orders from the Internationals which is always expected. Still the bags got packed, 25 kilos of Hapkido specific material with a little room for my stuff and we hit the road. Why is this the Evasion Tour? Well evading the Coronavirus of course as enjoy the mass company at Airports, Flights and general travelling. It has taken the Media of the world by storm and it was incredibly noticeable how much quieter than normal Sydney Airport was. The flight was about 25% down on passengers as well. Still another smooth flight with Thai and I arrive safely into Bangkok.

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Sydney Airport Ghost Town

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Flight #1 Sydney – Bangkok (Thai Airways Boeing 747-400)

I have always prattled on about how I enjoy the break in Thailand before the trip proper begins and whilst it is still a good place to stop, sadly the changes in the Exchange rates have dented the allure somewhat. Previously I could enjoy some excellently priced Fine Dining but now it is Sydney or higher priced, so that gets heavily curtailed. For example, 5 years ago, it was 1Aud to 32Baht which meant a 120B coffee was less than $4, today it is 1Aud to 20Baht so that coffee is $6 a 50% jump. Still it was a chance to clear the mind, get a decent foot massage, visit my dentist and be up to date on the Video Signatures for the rest of the world tour. I did arrive to a little bit of sad news though, my favourite Burger restaurant (Chef Bar) had closed. The Viral news had affected the city heavily with about 75% of Thai’s wearing masks, and some shops offering hand sanitizer as you entered.

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Testing out my mask against the Virus. Hey! Superheroes never get sick.

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Flight #2 & #3 Bangkok - Frankfurt - Seville (Lufthansa Airbus A380-800 + Lufthansa Airbus A320)

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Tarmac boarding on an A380, interesting.

Bangkok airport was incredibly quiet and the lounge was only 20% capacity versus full normally. The overnight flight into Germany with Lufthansa went smoothly and I grabbed a shower in the Lufthansa Lounge before swapping onto my next flight, this time the shorter hop from Frankfurt into Seville. I get stopped by customs and after X-raying the bag they want to take a look. A quick peek at the Dan Bongs and my practice knife, and I am waived through. SBN Jose and KSN Eloy are here to meet me and we hit the road to drop my bags at the Hotel before the evening’s seminars.
No down time in Spain, land, change and teach. Making the utmost of the time I am on the ground. First up a seminar with the kids in one location, a quick coffee and then onto KSN Eloy’s Dojang for the Teens/Adults group to wrap up the teaching of day #1 on the road.

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Seville Kids Group

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Seville Teens/Adults Group

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Sunrise over Seville

As I hadn’t seen a lot of the surrounding area, SBN Jose had set up some sight seeing as part of this visit and this morning we headed to a nearby town to visit the Gruta de las Maravillas. Which was basically a network of underground caves, a small lake and lots of rock formations (Stalactites, Stalagmites). The interesting part is that you enter through just another building in the centre of the town and go down stairs to this excellent natural location. Photo’s weren’t allowed inside, but if in the area it is well worth a visit. Afterwards I made them take me for a drive to the Church of Major Pain which was located up on the hill next to the castle that looks over the town.

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Innocuous enough entry to the Caves.

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#17 – The Church of Major Pain

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Looking down the street from the Caves entrance

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Hmm, some souvenirs

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The inside of the Church of Major Pain

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The Virgin of Major Pain

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SBN Jose seeks forgiveness from Brother Eloy?

A good start to the day now back to another house of major pain as we return to SBN Jose’s Dojang for more seminars. We were unaware that today was going to be the main day on the mats, still we had good numbers and everyone worked hard so it turned out well. News was filtering in about the Virus starting to spread in Europe but at this stage no one was alarmed. Plans where still underway to head into The Netherlands next week at this stage.

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Hmm, I wonder who is teaching today?

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ITS USA plans well underway here

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Kids Group (with a surprise visitor!)

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Bigger Kids Group

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Biggest Kids Group

The next morning, we resumed the sightseeing, this time with a visit to Cadiz which is one of the oldest cities in Europe and located in Spain on the Atlantic seaboard south of Portugal. It was a pleasant drive and after a walk-through town we took advantage of a local food custom. Buy your fresh seafood from the large central market and almost every restaurant would cook it for you for a small fee.

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Cadiz #1

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Cadiz #2

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Cadiz #3 – Fresh Seafood

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Cadiz #4 – Local Produce

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Cadiz #5 – Hmm this suit fails

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Cadiz #6 – Interesting style of ATM

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Cadiz #7 – Sea Snails, taste was hmmm

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Cadiz #8 – These were tasty

By the time we were on the drive back things had taken a turn for the worse and the Virus issues had escalated. The President of Spain had taken measures to shut down a raft of businesses and parents started to panic, lots of messages to SBN Jose about the seminars, etc. I took this as a time to start looking at my plans in case I needed a plan B. I was in contact with Malcom (travel agent extraordinaire), but as it was the weekend, communication was spotty. Still it was onto another location with a seminar for the local kids, this time they got some Poh Bak Sool or Belt techniques. Afterwards, back to SBN Jose’s Dojang for more Adults training.

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Kids Group

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Adults Group

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Built in Alarms

After the seminars that night news came in that the USA was closing its border for 30 days for any flights from Europe. I was still slightly hopeful that I could sneak in as my flight wasn’t for 33 days. Malcolm came back with a plan to get me into London then onto the US as the UK wasn’t being stopped. Still that went away the next day when the US then closed the border to the UK. At this stage the local heat had meant we were cancelling the rest of the kid’s seminars, and that I needed to find a homeward bound solution in case. After some more news about closures of schools in Norway and then The Netherlands, I had to sadly end any future plans for the 2020 World Tour.
Malcom was working on my ticket, but the airlines weren’t being helpful as the Round the World ticket I had worked in one direction and the huge fee’s they wanted for changing it was ridiculous. So stupid that I could buy a one-way ticket home for almost half the price. However, availability there was drying up and I was having no luck with anything out of Seville to get home. So, the plan was to get to Amsterdam my next stop then get a flight home. That night the numbers were down, but still we trained on!

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Adults Group

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Adults Group – Virus Affected?

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They take the IHA seriously around here

In between trying to find a flight solution there was still time for some last minute Hapkido, so this morning we started with a belt test for 4 of the local students followed by a couple of hours signature training with the local Instructors. A good way to wrap up this World “Cough” Spanish Tour. I was having no luck with the RTW ticket and Malcolm was in the office over the weekend working on it. At the same time, I was spending hours on hold to United and Expedia trying to cancel a huge list of bookings for the world tour. Beyond that also checking that the airport was still open in Spain as more and more things got closed or restricted.

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The view from my Hotel restaurant

After having no luck with booking flights, I had the thought to check a different option, if flights were so down on numbers maybe more Frequent Flyer points seats were available and suddenly, I had an option for a flight home on Thursday. The goal became to get to Amsterdam on Monday, stay at the hotel until Thursday then get to Frankfurt and the flight home. I then get told my Zurich – Amsterdam leg is cancelled and rerouted Zurich – Frankfurt – Amsterdam, plans change and I now look at getting off in Frankfurt to save some time and effort. A thank you to SBN Jose and Team Spain for a good visit and making the World Tour a step forward for Hapkido rather than nothing.

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They are taking the Virus extra seriously around Seville

I check in and there is some chaos, the system still shows my cancelled Zurich-Amsterdam flight, but he can’t check my bag any further than Zurich, so it looks like I am going to have to collect it and check it back in, at least this gives me a chance to fix my destination problems. The entire airport is a bit like a ghost town, far less people travelling and all the stores are closed, no food, no travel souvenirs, all shuttered, it gives the place an eerie feeling. Still the flight departs almost on time and goes smoothly into Zurich.

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The Barrier is to keep a set distance between you and check in agent

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Seville airport – the ghost town

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Flight #4 & #5 Seville - Zurich – Frankfurt (Edelweiss Airbus 320 & Lufthansa Airbus A320)

I get my bags and head to the swiss counter to run them through the travel hiccups, after some convincing and a phone call, my bags and I are checked just to Frankfurt. I jump on the phone and quickly book a hotel near the airport for my arrival. I feel it is only a matter of time before flying becomes almost non-existent.

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Swiss are putting in Perspex to keep your spray away

German precision and the 35-minute flight is not only on time but they serve a meal during it. I hit the ground running and as soon as I check in, I am onto the laptop to see if I can change my Frequent Flyer booking home. One thing with United Mileage bookings is that you can refund them for all the points and taxes. So, I look for a better flight and find the same option for tomorrow, so I cancel my Thursday plans and reschedule for Tuesday. The road home looks locked in and I can get a good night’s sleep before a couple of days of travelling. I do splurge a little on the flight home though with some extra points and take the 1st Class option to enjoy some last luxury before the couple of weeks of isolation when I get home.

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Ron van Beukering
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2020 - Asia & Europe

Postby Ron van Beukering » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:15 am

Great mask Sir! You will scare corona of.
"the bird will show you the way"

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Jehad Batta
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Location: Parramatta NSW Aus

Re: On the Road World Tour 2020 - Asia & Europe

Postby Jehad Batta » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:51 pm

Take care GM G and love that Batman mask.

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Kelvin Zeini
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Re: On the Road World Tour 2020 - Asia & Europe

Postby Kelvin Zeini » Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:30 am

Thank you for the updates GM, it is good that most of the people are wearing masks and sanitisers are available. Sydney still struggling with toilet papers sir. Crazy time.

Stay safe sir, I am looking forward hearing more about the tour sir.

Best Wishes GM.

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Jehad Batta
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Location: Parramatta NSW Aus

Re: On the Road World Tour 2020 - Asia & Europe

Postby Jehad Batta » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:18 pm

Thanks for the updates GM G and glad to hear your on the last leg of flights to make it home.


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