12 August 2006

Bangkok - Homeward Bound

Homeward bound! I woke up at 2am and lay in bed until 2:30 when I got up and showered.

I gathered up my stuff and went down to check out. Dave arrived around 3:25 and we took our airport shuttle to the airport. We left around 3:40 and arrived at the airport around 4 (not much traffic at that time of day!)

Checking in wasn’t too bad. With all the added security, later in the day it’s going to be a mess, though.

We went looking for breakfast and nothing that served real food was open. We bought water, dried fruit and a can of honey-sesame cashews. We had to drink the water before going through security to the gate. At the gate, every passenger was patted down and bags opened and searched. Boarding started not too long after we got there.

The flight was basically uneventful (just the way they’re supposed to be!) until near Tokyo. Thunderstorms had us in a holding pattern and eventually we were diverted to another airport for refueling.

All of those amulets in my bag and it looks like none of them were for lucky travel... We got to Tokyo and there were no more flight to Chicago. The people going to San Francisco or LA I think got flights but the rest of us (hundreds of us) were SOL. We stood in the immigration line for over an hour. Hundreds of people unexpectedly have to stay in Tokyo overnight and they have 4 agents to deal with them all. Then we had to collect our baggage and go through customs. Then we spent a couple hours standing around trying to find someone who could tell us what the hotel and transportation arrangements were. Finally, around 10:30 or 11 by my watch, we got to the rooms. We’d been traveling since 3:30am.

The room was very small and efficient and reeked of smoke. There was a cigarette machine in the lobby….something I haven’t seen in decades in the US. The lobby was very grand and new-looking. The rooms we have are old and worn and full of cigarette burns.

The discussion everywhere is flights…when can you get what to where. Dave called and talked to someone. We’ve maybe got seats on a flight to Honolulu late Sunday with a long day in Honolulu then an overnight to Chicago arriving home sometime on Monday. Bleah…