delays are disguises for adventure

by @jehiah on 2007-01-09 00:26
Filed under: All, personal

I've posted before about my thoughts on the matter, and traveling has only confirmed it more. Anything out of the ordinary; delays or otherwise are just a disguise for adventure.

That photo is a beautiful picture showing the view from my sisters back porch in Japan.

but wait a minute! I'm skipping the adventure, i need to tell you about my trip here first.

Any trip half way around the world is bound to contain some adventure; mine is no exception. I work for ARINC in Annapolis, MD and one of the benefits i get (since we do work for many airlines) is cheap flights, the only catch being that it's a standby flight. You only get on the plane if there is room for ya.

So i decided to fly standby, my flight was scheduled to leave Baltimore (BWI) at 6:15am, and like a good standby passenger i arrived 2 hours early. The first leg of my flight was to Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW), but before we could leave we needed a full flight crew (including the 1st officer and the stewardess). Problem was they were not there. at 4:45am that morning there was an accident on I-95 which involved an overturned tractor trailer and blocked the whole road just before the I-195 exit that takes you to the airport.

As you can imagine, no flight crew, no flight

It took 3 hours for the flight crew to get out of that traffic jam and make it to the airport, so we left Baltimore a little late. Not a big deal mind you except that put me in DFW 1.5 hours after my flight for japan was supposed to leave. I figured i would be tossing that out the window right? As it turns out my 10am flight out of DFW was delayed and was still at the airport waiting to leave at 11:55 when i got there. So even though i could have gotten on it because of time, i couldn't because there was no room.

Thats the price of flying standby, you only get a seat if there is one empty.... and there was not one empty seat on that flight

But not to worry there was another flight scheduled for 12:05 that i could get on, except i started to worry a few minutes later when i found out that I was the 8th person on the standby list for that flight.

long story short (not that you would have minded the long version) i did get on that flight at the very last moment. the VERY last moment. it seems someone else didn't show.

Once i got on the flight, we taxied away from the runway and waited... and waited... and waited

turns out there was a mechanical problem with a backup generator, and we couldn't fly with it that way. After waiting on the plane for 2 hours without having took off they had to go back to the runway. I believe at that point in time the crew could no longer make the flight (or something like that). They may have also decided that it just wasn't going to get fixed.

so we taxied back to the airport and they let all of us back off and into the airport. just what we wanted, back in the airport. They gave us a voucher for some food and we had lunch. Then we waited some more.

Hours flew by (no pun intended) and they informed us that they were going to use an aircraft that was coming in from France, and fly to japan on that. This of course meant they had to restock the plane with food and fuel, and clean it etc etc etc... which just translates to more time. So we ended up waiting for 5 hours at DFW before actually taking off for Japan.

That of course is only the beginning; see my brother-in-law James was going to pick me up at the airport but we only had a 3 hour time window, and i was going to land 8 hours after I originally expected to. Clearly that wasn't going to work out, and i was on my on for trying to find my way to Zushi, Japan. Since i landed at 10pm in Japan i stayed at a hotel sleeping for a mere 6 hours before going back to the airport.

Thankfully i could snag some wireless with my laptop (for $5/day) and grab some directions which my sister Maia had sent me. Following the directions i picked up a JR train and headed south for 2.5 hours and ended up in Zushi where my sister picked me at 12:45pm.

So I made it. Travel time: 42 hours, sleep deprivation: amazingly none, jet lag: none thanks to staying up the night before I left (thanks for the tip megan).

But now it's only noon, i still had a whole day ahead of myself, and Monday January 8th happens to be a holiday in japan. The holiday is Seijin no hi which is translated as coming of age day. It's a day when all those who turn 20 (similar to turning 21 in the states) dress in kimono's and have a celebration.

We took the bus into Kamakura to the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine - which was crowded with people for Seijin no hi - and spent some time people watching.

All in all an exciting day, you can as always check out some photos from the day... though I didn't take many there are a few gems.

Being a foreigner in japan - one who loves efficient design - there is much to marvel at. There are so many simple inventions that make perfect sense it makes you wonder why we don't have them in the states. One example is the suitcases. When you stand a suitcase up in japan there are 4 wheels on the bottom so you can easily roll it around on escalators, elevators, etc.

The people here are also beautiful. Beautiful, kind and gracious and respectful it just makes me smile.

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