Japan & China, Days 0 - 1: The Days We Lived in Airports and Planes

Day 0 - Wednesday, 9/10/14

The travel for our trip officially began on Wednesday when we were planning to drive up to Dayton for our first flight.  Francisco made it a point to work up to the last possible second AND he had scheduled a doctor's appointment that morning, so it was a bit of a scramble to get everything situated before heading out. I had done most of the packing, but I didn't want to the be the sole person responsible for all packing and risk overlooking something vital.  Conveniently, the private drive outside of our condo was being re-paved, so we had to carry all of our luggage out to the main street. :-P

I was officially feeling ill, but it turned out to be either a 48-hour bug or just straight nerves. On the way to Dayton, Francisco was maybe in a bit of a hurry to make up for lost time...and we got pulled over. Boo, not a good start at all! Thankfully, the cop said he was going to do him a favor since his driving record was clean, and he just issued him a Traffic Safety Reminder. :-P Thankfully, that went okay, but it left me feeling even more ill so we ended up pulling over at a Tim Horton's for Timbits and an Iced Capp. I was too shaky to try and wait until we got to the airport to eat.

We parked in the airport Economy lot and checked in for our flight. The Dayton airport was fairly small, and there were virtually no lines. Thank goodness for small favors. We've flown Southwest more than once in the past, but we have never been privileged enough to be seated next to each other. This time, we paid the $25 per flight to upgrade to EarlyBird Check-In, so we had A seating instead of our usual C seats (C you in the middle seats!). So, yay, first time sitting together on Southwest! We left DAY at 2:20, and arrived in Baltimore at 3:45 PM. Yes, sometimes you have to move backwards to move forwards. :-P

We had a lay-over in Baltimore until 5:30, so we had time to grab dinner. We ended up eating at BGR The Burger Joint where we shared a Veggie Burger and Fries.
Francisco was spending far too much time working even though we were supposed to be on vacation!
From there, we had a 5.5 hour flight to LAX, which turned in to too much time spent wrestling with their shoddy wi-fi TV, reading Gone Girl, and realizing that all of the games on my Kindle Fire offer very little entertainment value.
After arriving at LAX, we made our way over to check-in with Air China. We landed at 8:05 PM Pacific time, which is 11:00 Eastern time, so we were already tired. Our flight wasn't leaving for another 5 hours at 1:40 AM Pacific time. We had a lot of time to kill at the airport, but we wanted to get checked in and settled first. Unfortunately, the check-in counters weren't open yet since there were still several hours to go. A handful of people had already started leaving their luggage in line to mark their place, so we just got in line early to wait as some airline staff started to trickle in. We got checked in and through security, but our gate was in a separate section devoid of much entertainment value. And LAX had possibly the most uncomfortable airport seats I have ever seen. They virtually make it impossible to sleep, although I tried! We spent a lot of time strolling through this section of the airport to find open plugs to charge our devices, but everyone basically sinks their teeth into those bad boys and refuses to let go.
Day 1 - Thursday, 9/11/2014

After an interminable wait, we finally boarded to begin the 12.5 hour flight to the other side of the world! It was kind of ominous that our international trip officially began on 9/11, but we had no issues...except that the food was really bad, and the seats seemed even more uncomfortable than normal. I tried to sleep as much as possible, and I *maybe* got three hours or so (optimistic guess), but it was mostly a lot of laying in various uncomfortable positions willing myself unconscious.
Beijing is 15 hours ahead of LAX, so it would have been 4:40 PM there when we left, so the rest of our Thursday was spent in flight.


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