The Return of The Jet Lag

Well we made it back to Oki and boy did we have a heck of a time.

Our trip started off with my right thigh randomly setting off the security detectors so I had to be pat down (“One hand on the outer thigh, one hand on the inner thigh, I’m going to go up until I meet resistance and then I’ll go down” was how the lady prepped me), and have my hands swabbed for residue of explosives. I found myself thinking of how to pose myself in the least threatening manner. I ended up standing completely still with my hands twitching in front of my chest like a frightened bunny.

Lucky for me, I’m not a terrorist. I passed the exams.

After our short flight to Chicago, Aaron and I had approximately 25 minutes (originally 41 minutes) to get off of our airplane and make it to our international flight. Cue olympic power walking. We made it to our gate with about 3-5 minutes to spare.

Once on the plane , the first thing I noticed was the fact that the seats I thought we had were actually one row farther back so we didn’t have the extra leg room like I’d anticipated, but we did have an empty seat next to us so we can’t complain.

Next I noticed that we had a double-decker airplane. Finally. I had always secretly, or not-so-secretly, wanted to ride a double-decker, mostly because I’d seen it in movies, and I thought it meant I could walk around the cozy upper deck. My fantasies were reigned in when I realized it wasn’t like the movies. It was just more seating. But still. Kinda awesome, right?

Aaron then pointed out that our chairs didn’t have any T.V.s or even areas to charge our electronics. I was so shocked that I actually wasn’t even capable of emotions. What are we even supposed to do on the flight, then? Oh, how spoiled I’ve been.

Once we were settled, all strapped in and ready for departure, we waited to taxi for take off. And waited. And waited. And waited. No departure. Apparently one of the doors to the airplane wouldn’t close and so we sat on the tarmac for just over two hours while maintenance did all they could to get the door closed. Once it was fixed, we took off and I found myself riddled with images of the doors flying open mid flight. It was a 12 hour flight, that was a lot of time for something to go wrong, and based on the fact that there were no T.V.s or electronics, it was a rather old aircraft.

I finished reading Dark Places on the flight and spent the majority of my time trying to get comfortable, staring at the wall, or staring at the tiny T.V. monitor perched on the wall next to the bathrooms for all passengers to see.

I’m quite curious as to how they selected the movies to play. The first movie was about sheep (and was restarted three times due to technical difficulties), and the last one was The Fantastic Four. At one point Aaron saw me staring at the T.V. with glazed eyes and asked if I would at least like headphones to watch it properly. I said I thought it was probably more entertaining without them. We both agreed that I was probably right.

Before landing, we were told that our connecting flight that we missed due to the two hours on the tarmac was rescheduled for us and we would all get to where we needed to go.

Just before picking up our baggage, the lady gave us our new boarding passes, saying, “Yes,” when I asked her if it was going to Osaka Itami airport. We then waited for our late evening flight.

Upon arriving in Osaka around 10:30 at night, we searched for the monorail that we rode last time, knowing that the apartment we were staying at was just one stop away from the airport. We had maybe another 15 minutes of travel before we could sit back and relax.

Only problem was we couldn’t find the monorail. Aaron and I must have wandered out of the wrong side of the airport because we were smack dab in the middle of the train station and nothing looked familiar. After trying (and failing) to figure out how to get to the monorail, I asked a train station attendant.

He asked where we wanted to go and I told him the city name and pointed to it on a map, to which he looked at me in surprise and said, “Isn’t that impossible?”

We both looked at each other in confusion.

“It’s only one stop away.” I said. “Did we miss the last train?”

He told me to wait and he looked up directions on an Ipad. He then said that we could make it but we had four different trains to ride for a total of two hours.

My beaten mind tried to process that, thinking that somehow trains must have a crazy round about way and the monorails were there to fill the seemingly ludicrously large gaps.

I mentioned again that it was one stop away, and pointed to the city and then the airport on the map.

The train attendant looked me in the eye and slowly said, “But we’re not at that airport. We’re at Kansai Airport.” And trailed his finger back to the bottom of the map.

My blood began to boil as I realized what had happened and repeated it to Aaron. The airlines rescheduled our connecting flight for us and sent us on a late flight to the wrong airport. Whether our American flight didn’t realize that there are three airports in Osaka (because it’s so. stinking. massive.) or whether they thought that simply sending us anywhere in Osaka was simply good enough, I have no clue, but I wanted to rip into someone.

I was in the middle of deciding if we should march back in and demand another flight or hotel (but it was an American airline that messed it up, and we were in Japan with only Japanese airlines now, thus they probably couldn’t do anything) when the train attendant told us that the last train of the night left in three minutes.

We grabbed all of our luggage (2 checked bags between 40-50 lb, 2 back packs, a purse, and a carry on about 25 lb) and ran after the train attendant who bobbed up and down impatiently at the ticket booth, and pointed repeatedly at the buttons we needed to press while we dropped our luggage and tried to come up with the money (we just happened to have enough yen from before we went home).

Once we got the tickets, the attendant ran ahead of us to the check-in booth and herded us through the gates without stamping our tickets.

And we were off again. I’ll spare the details, but basically, there were four trains we needed to ride. Three of which were final trains of the night. We missed one of them when we got lost in the subway, but blessedly that happened to be the one train that ran later.

Finally at our last station, we found a taxi stand and watched as the last taxi drove off. I ended up calling their phone number to order one and, hysterical with exhaustion and our situation, Aaron and I giggled endlessly when I was asked for our current location.

“Umm.. we’re right outside your office. Yes, that’s right. We’re right outside. Please come get us.” Giggle, giggle, cackle.

We finally arrived after 1:30 a.m. and Aaron and I promptly stuffed sushi and donuts in our faces and slept fabulously.

The next day, we got to Itami Airport, and hopped our flight to Oki.

The jet lag kicks in randomly and forcefully, but aside from dropping tonkatsu in my lap three times, squirting water in my hair and on my face three times, dribbling toothpaste down my front, dropping saucy hamburger in my lap, getting egg in my lap and hair, spraying an old man with boiled crab, and otherwise leaving crumb trails everywhere (yes, all within the past three and a half days), I’d say the jet lag isn’t that bad this time!



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