Friday, July 27, 2007

We survived day 1



...as you can see my Blogger page comes up in Japanese...I guess that's one way to learn quickly...

It's now 11:00pm on Friday in Japan and we have been here for about 30 hours. In order to get the full effect of our journey, I need to go back to Wednesday morning. Our alarm went off at 5:45am on the 25th giving the wife plenty of time to get ready and the husband plenty of time to stress about not having enough time. For the first time I can admit that Keith's stress over time was highly validated. If there was ever a morning where we needed to be way ahead of schedule...it was this one.

Our flight was scheduled to depart San Diego at 10:40am so we figured, get there at 8:00am and that should be plenty of time to get Winnie on the plane just in case there were any copmplications. As we were checking in the ticket agent got a funny look on her face and then picked up the phone to call someone. This is where we looked at eachother and said, "jeeze, now what". She hangs up the phone and tells us that Keith's plane ticket has been completely voided for both flights. How does stuff like this happen? The agent claims that our travel agent voided his ticket but she cannot tell why. Keith called the travel agent and they told him that American Airlines voided the ticket for no apparent reason. Luckily, with a few key strokes, our travel agent was able to re-issue the ticket and we were checked through...including Winnie...by 9:40am. We walked through security sat down for ten minutes then boarded the plane to Los Angeles.

After we landed at LAX we were expecting the next "shoe" to drop. I went straight to the gate attendant and requested "big fat pregnany lady" seating, preferably close to a lavatory. She said that she could put me in business class but not Keith because his ticket was a government fare. I didn't want to sit by myself so I opted for bulkhead seats in row 20 and the agent was kind enough to give us three seats so we would have an empty in between. Keith went up after me and asked again why they were so insistent on not allowing us both to upgrade but the agents at the gate had iron fists when it came to "poilcy". They did offer to upgrade Keith's seats at the whopping discount price of $2900....yeah...no. We boarded the plane early to get comfortable before the masses piled in. The bulkhead seats were...let's just say...cozy. Plus, they didn't have t.v.'s in the seats like the standard economy class seats did. Here's where Keith donned his "shining armor" like the gallant knight he is. He made one last attempt to convince the flight attendants that there were going to be two empty business class seats. He explained politely that it was f":!$^g b(#?>{)t that they couldn't find it in there hearts to let us upgrade. The flight attendant said it would be up to the purser, so we sat in our "cozy" seats and expected the same answer...a big fat no.

Here's where American Airlines gained all of their kudos points back; The purser returned less than five minuted later with a boarding pass with my name on it bearing the magical number 12G. He said that my ticket was officially upgraded and that he was "personally" upgrading Keith to allow him to sit next to me, but on the manifest his seat assignment would still be 20C. We said "thank you very much" and did not hesitate to relocate to 12G and 12E, instantaneously becoming an episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". Life is good in business class, spoiled doesn't quite cover it. There is absolutely nothing to complain about when you have divine food with five star service, complimentary slippers and toiletry kits, down quilts and personal t.v.'s with a myriad of viewing options. Both Keith and I are very familiar with the after effects of a twelve hour flight, seeing as this was our 7th or 8th trans-ocean flight in five years. Let's just say we walked off that plane as if it had been the 45 minute flight from LA to San Francisco. Next stop immigration, animal import and customs.

Immigration wasn't too rough, it took about an hour to get through which made Keith nervous because we landed at 4:00pm and animal import closed at 5:oopm. We cleared right at 5:00pm and he was convinced we were not going to make it. We rushed to baggage where poor Winnie, following the most turbulent journey of her life so far, was all alone sitting next to the rest of our luggage. We piled everything up and headed towards the animal import desk. Karma on our side, the animal import officer was waiting for us with a folder of our paper work in his hands. He looked at all of our original documentation, checked all of the important dates, stamped a few things then handed us an approval form and said "thank you very much"...or, "sank you vedy much". Piece'o'cake. Amanda was waiting for us out at the curb and we were off to Yokosuka.

A not so quick, but nice "catch up time", two-hour journey to the base was followed by checking into the lodge, a quick burger and tour of the base, then....after 24 hours of travel...ahhhhh, sleep. We woke up this morning at 6:00am, had some cereal and started our house hunting at 8:00am. We accomplished a few of the important tasks today: checked into Labor and Delivery at the hospital, opened a local bank account for exchanging Yen, obtained an official mailing address and set up an appointment with a real estate agent to see some houses tomorrow.

Our latest adventure has officially begun.

3 comments:

  1. Way to go Keith. Sometimes all it takes is a little @#$%^& pushing.

    I'm glad you all had a smooth ride. We have to try business class someday.

    Good luck with the house hunting.

    We love you.

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  2. Soo glad to hear from you last night. Counting the days 'til we're there. Lots of love and kisses.
    Nona J

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  3. You're running on fumes by now I'd guess. Way to battle the bureaucratic forces of evil. The good guy win once in awhile!

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