Japan & China, Day 2: The Day We Tried Chinese Dumplings and Took a Japanese Taxi

Day 2 - Friday, 9/12/14

It was kind of eerie arriving in Beijing. It was 5:20 AM, and the airport was largely dark and empty. For some reason, I always thought of airports as places that never close. :-P One of the first signs we saw was this inspection and quarantine prompt for Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. And then we were scolded in Chinese for taking pictures, and Francisco had to go through and show them being deleted. And I honestly thought they were all deleted, so I was surprised to stumble across these as we went through the photos!
Our flight to Japan wasn't until 9:30 AM, so we had time to wander around. I thought the airport was pretty, but it was very warm. It was also a pain to not be able to use Facebook or Gmail while we waited although we had free Wi-fi. You had to scan your passport to get wireless access, so I'm sure they're monitoring everything you do online.
It kind of worked out to arrive so early as we got to wander around the airport with no crowds and sit near this beautiful indoor koi pond and drink our Caramel Latte Coffee Chiller.
After a while, we decided to stop in at Flavor Tang and try some Chinese Fast Food - dumplings stuffed with egg and zucchini.
We settled down to wait to board our flight, but things weren't looking good. There were few announcements - if any - in English, but eventually we figured out that our flight had been delayed until 11:00 AM. No bueno - I just wanted to done with the stress of flying and be that much closer to a bed. We were handed a ziploc baggie of snacks - a very sweet green apple juice, 2 mini french rolls (also very sweet), a little package of what we deduced were pickled vegetables, and some kind of meat stick.
There were more announcements that we couldn't understand - I found myself watching other peoples' reactions - did they look disappointed, relieved? Finally, we heard a new gate number, and we moved downstairs to the gate on the lower lever. We crammed in, expecting to board soon, but the delay stretched on.

As everyone finally moved toward the counter to scan their boarding passes, Francisco and I got separated, and then we realized we'd all been moved to a different plane and everyone was being assigned new seat numbers. Since there were a few people between us in line, we weren't being seated together. We asked, but apparently the most English that the Chinese attendant could muster was "no." I was exhausted and sad as we boarded the bus to drive out to the tarmac and board the plane. Fortunately, we were not the only couple who was separated, so there was a lot of seat-swapping going on and I was able to switch seats with the guy next to Francisco. Which meant that my vegetarian meal went to him, but he kindly passed it over my way. I just closed my eyes through the majority of this flight which helped me feel a little bit better. I've gotta tell you - I am definitely looking to avoid overnight flights or extensive connecting flights in the future - or at least price out first-class tickets (although I'm pretty certain those are far out of my budget) - these flights were making me miserable!

Finally, FINALLY, hallelujah, we landed in Japan - 3.5 hours later.
I found the airport to be very efficient. We worked our way through immigration and customs (I'd had to dump my meat stick that I'd hoped to bring home to my brother), and we quickly spotted our Affordable Asia greeter who welcomed us to Japan. And then came more bad news for the day. Because of the flight delay, we had missed the courtesy bus to the hotel, so we would have to take a bus trip that would last about one hour and a taxi at our own expense. Groan. He arranged our bus tickets at the counter where the agent kindly tried to offer us a student discount, but he assured him that we were older than we look, LOL. Sheesh. He wrote down the hotel name for us to present to our taxi driver. I was surprised to learn that we were staying in a different hotel than I had planned for - to be fair, the itinerary did say "the Shinjuku Washington Hotel or similar", but I had pre-mapped out a few things around the hotel that were within walking distance.
We then promptly forgot the name of our hotel, but we at least knew it had a 21 in it. The bus ride wasn't too bad, but it was unfortunately getting dark, so I couldn't make out too much outside the windows. We arrived at the bus station and walked to the taxi pick-up area and handed the first taxi driver our slip of paper. This was a fairly short drive, and it didn't take too long to get checked in at Hotel East 21 Tokyo.  
The room was small but clean - which was exactly what we had expected for Tokyo. The view of the city wasn't bad either. And the toilet was awesome, LOL - I can definitely see what all the fuss about Japanese toilets is about. We showered and went to bed, thoroughly exhausted.


Popular Posts