Planes, planes and more planes…oh and some busses

It took three planes, two cars, two busses and lots of sweat to get me from Adel, Iowa to Ohira Village in Japan. Despite how tiring that sounds, and was, it was a great trip. On the first plane to Dallas I find my seat in row 4. Window seat! Awesome. Then I see a gentleman and a baby in the seat next to me...dun, dun, dunnnnn. But it wasn't bad at all. They were both lovely and we had a great talk for the next two hours. Thanks to my skills at making funny faces and my ability to make shoes dance like my mother, and of course the wonderful gift of pizza flavored goldfish, baby Milan and I became buds. Thank you both for making the first leg of my journey a fun one.

Second leg to Tokyo. Sat next to a girl from Ohio, Pam. Did the usual "hi, my name is...where are you from...why are you going to Japan..." conversation. She too was teaching English in a small village where no one speaks English. We had quite a bit to talk about and plenty of time to do it. Fortunately Luke and I were able to pick my seat when we bought the plane tickets so I had a sweet isle seat directly in front of the restroom! The plane wasn't that full, only about half, I don't know why I had it in my head that it would be a full plane. AND it happened to be one of those cool planes with the tiny TV screens in the back of the headrests so that each passenger can pick their own entertainment. I love those kinds of planes. That is what got me through the flight to Australia. So I was very excited to see that to say the least.

But as fate would have it something had to go wrong with my trip. The amazing TV screen, the one that got me through the trip to Australia, the one that was going to get me through this trip, didn't work! Oh it played video...sometimes. It flickered in and out and blacked out in places and the audio made this terrible screeching sound every once in a while. At first I thought that perhaps it had something to do with being in the air but as I looked around at all the other happy and content passengers I realized that no, in fact MY TV was the only one with a problem. How is that possible? Why couldn't it have been a TV in a seat that no one was sitting in? Finally with only 5 hours left in the flight, and two horrifying minutes into "PUSH", I got up the nerve to ask Pam if I could watch the movie on her screen because she was journaling. Thankfully she said yes and we switched seats for the remainder of the flight! Thank you Pam!!!

Once in Tokyo I had a four hour layover which I was grateful for. We landed in the smaller of the two terminals at Tokyo-Narita airport and the customs area was in terminal 1. So I navigated my way with the other passengers staying in the country to the customs area. We first went through immigration and then down the escalator to the baggage claims area. Once I had found my two bags and had them properly stacked with my carry-on luggage I was starting to wonder why I had packed so much! I did not have a boarding pass for my next flight so the challenge was to find the check in desk. After asking several helpful airline workers I found out that I had to go find the bus to take me back to terminal 2. Yes, that's right. I had to go back to the place we had landed. Doesn't sound so hard. Except I had my giant back pack on me and was wheeling my 50 lb. bag with my 30 lb carry-on and my camera bag all strapped together. It was like dragging another person along side me. Lets just say I have killer forearms now! I made it to the bus stop, on the bus and then off again. Asked another helpful gentleman at the tourist counter where my check in was at and discovered it was on the other end of the terminal!

So i lugged the dead body of luggage across the airport for the second time to the check-in counter where I gave them up again. All this done in an hour! So I get my boarding pass, exchange my currency and look to the area where I have to clear security. The lady at the ticket counter tells me "Please proceed up the stair to security." I look to the stairs... it's like a freaking Mayan temple of stairs!!! So I slowly carry my 30+ pounds of carry-on luggage up the stairs down a hall, helped out by a moving walkway, to the revolving door that leads to security. I go up to the doors which remind me of the subway and I push. Nothing moves. I push the other way. Still nothing. Then I see a sign that says "Security will be unlocked at 3:00". Are you kidding me? It's 2:00 and I am standing in a long hallway with no where to sit.

I begrudgingly turn around to head back down from whence I came and realized that the moving walkway is, of course, only one way. So back down the long hall. As I was reaching the top of the stairs a lovely Japanese lady exits the bathroom and sees me about to descend the stairs. And she says, "It's not open yet is it?" She introduces herself and asks if I want to walk around with here until it is open. As much as I was hating walking I was glad for the company. We talked until I got on my plane at 4:35. Great lady.

I had to take ANOTHER bus from the gate to my turboprop plane at another area of the airport. That's right, turboprop.

That last plane ride was probably the best plane ride I have ever been on. Japanese flight attendants are awesome. Everything about these two lovely girls was refreshing. Their outfits (I wish I had a picture) were color coordinated, one in blue and one in purple, down to their watches and scarves. They even had color matching aprons when serving the beverages! So cool. Also, something amazing happened on that flight. You know at the end of the flight when the plane has landed and everyone is eager to get their luggage and get off the plane, the flight attendant gets on the speaker and reminds everyone not to take their seatbelts off until the light goes off? Yeah, right, like anyone ever listens to that! Not true! On that flight you couldn't hear the clicking of belts until the ding of the light went off! AMAZING!


Krystal said...

No seatbelt clicking?! That's it, I'm moving to Japan!

Love you!

Lindsey said...

Please do! We would love to see you here Krystal!

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