Hello Again Kitty

Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
Trip End Oct 21, 2012

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Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 1

Today ended up being a sea of Staff Travel confusion (total surprise, I know) since we were like two travelers with seemingly nowhere to go. 

After breakfast today, we drove our hire car back to Dollar before transferring to the airport. One good thing was that we had already prepaid for the petrol before hiring the vehicle, and the petrol tank warning light had conveniently just illuminated by the time we'd finished with the car. I was feeling optimistic about the day when, on our shuttle ride to the terminal, the sign above the driver said "Your courtesy driver is Jesus".

We thought we would first try our luck at the AA counters. The lady advised there were only a few seats left, and already there were other staff travelers listed above us. We walked to the next terminal to ask Delta the same question. After waiting in line for half an hour, the lady there claimed the flight was oversold and there were over 50 staff travelers listed (huh?). Then we walked over to United which had a handful of seats but more staff travelers than AA had. So we tried our luck with American Airlines.

After going through security and reaching our gate, not only did we end up getting seats, but all the standby travelers did. When we boarded, we really could've been on any other airline, until I noticed the uncomfortable seats, mediocre entertainment system and limited meal service to realize that we were truly on AA!

Our flight was already delayed but the wait time ended up being over two hours because a taxiing Delta aeroplane behind us had a fuel leakage, meaning that airport crew needed to clean it up before we could back out of our gate. It was interesting to hear, because the Delta flight we'd booked on was leaving just before the AA flight, so perhaps it was the flight we NEARLY took. Finally, we were on our way, to our fourth earthquake zone this holiday, after Chile, Peru and the west coast of the USA.

During the flight I read in the New York Times that AA will soon be hiring cabin crew - apparently the first time in over ten years. Hopefully they'll also be hiring PR people because the food was awful and the entertainment system crashed continuously during the flight (although in hindsight, at least it wasn't the plane that crashed!)

When we arrived in Tokyo, it was a huge relief to have that knowing feeling that we are at least halfway home already. We had booked a hotel before leaving the USA so we just had to find our transfer driver. We are going to try and fly home tomorrow night, but since our flight isn't until 8.30pm, we have booked for two nights.

When I opened my bag, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a mirror I had in my bag was now smashed. What an amazing coincidence! Both times I flew American Airlines, an item in my bag ends up breaking. The Jetstar crew are here so Ted is catching up with some ex coworkers tonight. I've decided to stay in and get some sleep instead. I'd been lucky enough to get two hours of shut eye during the flight but it isn't going to sustain me for the whole night.

Day 2

Well the jet lag has returned with a vengeance, because I was awake by 3am this morning. Rather than lie there and feel sorry for myself, I went downstairs and used the internet until breakfast time. Both Ted and I had been interested in getting the buffet, but the $28 price tag per person turned us right off. We went to a nearby quik-e-mart to get some food rather than lose our hard earned fortune on a continental.

We met up with Ted's friend Danielle from his Jetstar days and went into Narita to have some breakfast (McDonald's - feh), before Ted and I thought it would be a good idea to go and explore Tokyo for the day. It wasn't! After paying about $26 for two all day train passes, we were then given the wrong information and boarded a non express train to the city. Two hours later we finally arrived.

I then thought it would be a good idea to show Ted the Akasuka area where I stayed when I visited Japan. It wasn't! After going through the turnstile, the machine took one of my tickets without returning it. We each started with two tickets each and we had no idea which one it took. Fortunately we were still able to get by with the other pass athough we were sure we would be bailed up by the transport police.

When we finally reached Shibuya, we walked around the area and Ted thought it would be a good idea to go to Shinjuku next. It wasn't! We walked around for about an hour trying to find a park he'd remembered fondly before giving up and retuning to Narita by express train for lunch. All in all, an expensive and pointless experience!

We have purchased some back-up tickets with Jetstar to get us home.We have to pack up soon to transfer to the airport, to try and find out if we are on either of tonight's flights. Here's hoping my next blog entry is our relief about being home :-)
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