Saturday, June 10, 2006

on my way...

I am ON THE PLANE!!! I am on my way to Tokyo.

We got to the airport a cheerful three hours early, and took our places in the already-long line. Twenty minutes later, the line up was several times as long. Bless my parents and their promptitude.

Only Canada would have a recycling fashion show at the airport. Only in Canada would the airport staff traipse around in skirts made from plastic bags and hats fashioned from used cd’s. Entertaining? But of course. Useful in any way? Nada.

I completed my ten-minute trek to the gate, only to discover the waiting lounge full of ‘transit passengers,’ people who were on their way from Mexico to Tokyo, and got first dibs. They weren’t allowed out, and we weren’t allowed in, so the hallway was crowded with ‘other’ passengers. I sat against the wall, alternately reading ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and critiquing people’s travel outfits. Spike heels? Knee-high mukluks? Don’t they know their feet will swell? A pink velour track suit, deemed completely inappropriate in any other circumstance, looks, in this situation, better even than my comfy jeans. (Editors note: I bet that girl was regretting her selection for the last four, unseasonably warm hours of the flight. Remember how I packed socks on my carry-on, Mum, in case my feet got cold? They did no such thing).

The guy on the runway with the orange cones, you know the guy…he dropped one. I laughed, but he couldn’t see me laughing at him. He must have known, though.

The Japan Airlines stewardesses (flight attendants?) are beautiful, small and sleek with flawless skin, large dark eyes, hair pulled back into uniform tight buns with side-swept bangs, and all falling within that indeterminate Asian age range of 19 and 40. There is one older gal with short, feathered hair who looks tired. They are indescribably polite, and I find them hard to hear.

They need to add another distinction to airplane seat requests. Not just ‘window seat or aisle,’ but ‘male seatmates or female.’ I’d a million times rather sit next to women. They smell nicer, and take up less space. As is, I’m not so badly placed beside two men who speak little English (they’re not Asian, though. I think they’re Spanish, que?). Not tiny, or pleasantly fragranced, but friendly. They helped me get my carry-on (which must weigh as much as me) into the overhead compartment, and one of them traded his thawed bottle of water for my frozen one (for those who like their H2O in solid form), and then the three of us tried to figure out WHAT, exactly, we were being served for lunch.

And what does a Japanese airline serve for lunch? Some delicious beef slices over some noodly business, some other noodle jazz that reeked of wasabi, and which we opted not to try, a tasty salad made entirely of peppers (and I ate it, Joel), and some mango foam for dessert. And I had a green tea to cap off my meal, I am SO Asian! Now I’m totally going to watch Jaws! (They do have those awesome little TV’s, Joel, in the back of the seat in front of you, and I could also be watching Top Gun, or Match Point, or that movie about those sled dogs that were abandoned in Snowheresville and had to find their way home, or playing mahjong, or watching my plane creep increments along the wee map, which I do check periodically. We are currently very north and west of where you are).

They dimmed the lights and everyone was sleeping, but I was watching Jaws! and then the shark came out of nowhere and I jumped, and woke the guy next to me up. He just laughed and went back to sleep, but I was slightly embarrassed. It’s like when people sing along to the music in their headphones, that no one else can hear.

I finished ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ It scores a seven-and-a-half out of ten.

I am IN JAPAN!!! I am IN TOMORROW!!! I have USED a squatty potty (not because they didn’t have toilets, but because I was being adventurous)! The first thing I did was seek out the ladies room, since I elected not to pee on the plane. I arrived here about an hour and ten minutes after I left Vancouver, but in the next day. I’ve seen the future, folks. It looks exactly the same. I’ve been typing this in Word, and I’ll post it as soon as I can. I have another six hours to fly, and then I’m in Bangkok. I’m still not sure who, if anyone, is going to be there to greet me, but here’s hoping…

It’s 1:43 in the a.m. for my body, 5:43 in the p.m. on the clock, and I still have a time zone or two to cross. It’s weird to think that you’re all sleeping, and it’s daylight out where I am.

Not all of my posts will be this long, I swear, but I did just sit on a plane for nine hours (not peeing), and now I’m in this waiting area…the next long post will likely come from my trip to Cambodia in two months (which we’re all going to pray that I don’t have to take…for the uninformed, I only have a 2 month visa, and may have to take a day trip to Cambodia and back if I can’t get it extended).

Happy sleeping, folks.

Ok, I’m in Bangkok, and this will hopefully be the last tag on this uber-long post. It’s 11:30 in the a.m., my time. I took a 3 hour nap on the plane, so now I’m good to go. Problem is, it’s like, 1:30 in the a.m. here, so everyone’s asleep. I’m not for certain, but based on my rough calculations, Thailand is ten hours earlier, but in the next day (so 14 hours later, really).

Karen and Sherri picked me up from the airport, thank goodness, and we wove our way through Bangkok. In the dark, and sans the tropical flowers and whatnot, it could be Vancouver. Except for the dogs. There really are a million dogs.

I’m staying in the Overseas Missionary Fellowship (or something) guesthouse, and I have a room all to myself, a luxury I haven’t known in over a month. Everyone’s asleep and I can be awake, poking around the OMF house, checking things out. They have internet, but there’s a guy on it, so after I finish this I’m going to go down and see if he’s off just so I can send you all an ‘I’m alive’ message.

Oh, and it’s hot. Sherri and Karen laughed when I said that, because apparently this is one of the cooler days of the summer, but I’m hot. The air is damp, and I am not sweating, but condensating, rather. OH it’s hot. I’ll listen up the next time I hear a weather report, and let you know exactly HOW hot.

I’m going to try to sleep.

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