Sunday, June 15, 2008

Enroute to Japan

Finally, we are on what appears to be our way home. Waking at 04:30, dad and I hopped a "maxi-cab".. essentially a mini-van that then justifies it's inflated costs for carting you around with all of your massive bags by adding "maxi" to the front of it's name. Need a ride before 6am? So sorry, that will be a $10 surcharge. Wierdism #1 for the day.

Arriving at Changi, we checked in at the United Airlines counter. Now it really feels like we are going home. After processing through immigration, we meandered over to the lounge and grabbed some breakfast and watched some of the last parts of one of those Euro soccer matches that are in the final stages. This was great, but then I learned something else about Singapore: they have an incredibly confusing Duty Free process.

While many airports either allow you to buy Duty Free once you have cleared immigration, or place your articles in a sealed bag for you to bring along, Singapore, makes you purchase your items, which will then be delivered to your plane, apparently where you then pick them up. I was all excited to bring back a bunch of Tiger Beer cans, and searched for them high and low. Finally, I found some and went to buy them. "So sorry, you are within 30 minutes of your gate opening. Can't buy them, we cut off purchases 30 minutes beforehand." WHAT. Thanks for the frikkin' warning on that one.

Maybe, just maybe, someone could come up -fangled gizmo that will end this ridiculous liquid ban. I'm all about security, keeping the public safe, and fighting the War on Terror. I get it, and am all for it. I'm so all for it that I went to Iraq twice, so I am all-in, literally and figuratively. But. This liquid ban? Get on with it and come up with something that keeps passengers safe and doesn't result in warehouses full of half-used hand lotion bottles.

When we finally did take off, our flight to Narita International took us directly over the Pacific, so this was one of the first times that I had access to an in-flight altimeter (that little map thingie that you can watch in-lieu of movies that appears in your seat TV monitor), and a direct view of sea level. So, when our flight hit 29,000', I snapped this picture. Everest is 29,035', so this is as close to a direct example of just how high we were as I can get. The Himalayas are incredibly high already, so even when I took pics from Everest summit- and man, did that seem high- it didn't give a full scale of just how high that summit was from sea level until I saw this out my window:

So dad and I arrived uneventfully in Narita and hopped the Friendly Airport Limousine- a bus, into the city center and to our hotel. We checked in, and 45 minutes later were met by Mr. Sasaki, one of dad's closest fraternity brothers from college days. He's retired from the corporate world now, but works almost daily as a language teacher and loves it. We all went to a teppanyaki restaurant where we ate the night away with delicious food. Oishi!

1 comment:

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