I Think I'm Turning Japanese
I love Japan. There are few things I would put on my Japan "sh*t list," and every day feels like a new adventure here. However, there was no way I was going to spend the holidays away from my family and friends. I have never had to do that before! That's not to say that I wouldn't have been able to handle it. But, I haven't been this far away from home for this long before, and to be honest the lack of Christmas spirit in Japan was starting to bum me out.

So, I hopped a first class flight over the pond and spend 16 wonderful days at home!

The trip started with another night bus ride to Tokyo. This one was less exciting than the last one I took, since not only did I have to sit next to someone this time, but knowing there was no Dan waiting for me right on the other side was a bit of a bummer! The ride itself was uneventful, and I woke up to see the Disney Tokyo parking lot with very sleepy eyes. That was another bummer. Being so close to Disneyland and knowing I wasn't going to be going inside! I took a 1 hours bus to Narita from there, and that is when awesomeness started.

The check-in counter didn't open until 10:00, so I wandered the airport aimlessly. I was pretty hungry, since I had been subsisting off rice, potatoes, and Filipino corn nuts ever since I'd lost my wallet a week and a half before. I debated spending some of my last precious yen on a real hot meal, but couldn't stomach (no pun intended) paying double the price for a potentially crappy meal I could get outside the airport. Little did I know that I would not have any want for food for the next 2 weeks!

I checked in successfully and made my way to the Admirals Club. Right away my spirits were lifted when I saw the huge Christmas tree all lit up and decorated, and I was greeted in English by the wonderful ladies at the counter. I was practically home already! I looked for a cozy place to sit. There was no shortage of comfy leather couches, lounge chairs, swivel chairs, ottomans... I settled for a little leather armchair that was somewhat far away from everyone else. I was starting to get thirsty, and I thought I spotted a place for drinks as I came in, so made a mental note to go get some water when I was all cozy and settled in my seat. I saw that a woman and her daughter were also eating something, so I thought, "Hmmm, maybe they have some free nuts or something I can eat." I don't know why I waited as long as I did (almost an hour!) before I got up to explore the rest of the huge Admirals club. 

I felt like I found the lost city of Atlantis! Sushi, sandwiches, cheese, crackers, fruit, cereal, pastries, juice bar, and the piece de resistance: all you can drink nama biiru! I quickly stocked up on cheese and sandwiches, but held off on the beer until later and instead grabbed a giant water and some juice. 

I think I snacked and drank nonstop for literally 5 hours. My once-empty belly was slowly inflating again. I also watched four or five episodes of Dexter (a show that I watched from its first to last episode within 3 weeks). I was about 2 hours into my Dexter-and-finger-sandwich binge when they called me on the loudspeaker. When I went to the counter, I got more happy news: instead of having to go all the way to Chicago, having a layover for 3 hours, and going back to San Francisco, they were re-routing me through LAX! I'd be getting home 8 hours earlier! Oh happy day! In celebration, I decided it was time to start hitting the nama biiru. I didn't want to be wasted, but I ended up drinking three glasses before boarding.

Once on the plane I managed to feel even more excitement than I did in the Admirals Club. After being led to my little first class pod, I did some exploring. I had a seat that fully reclined into a bed! I had Bose noise cancelling headphones! I had a down duvet cover! I had a travel kit with eyeshades, wool socks, and Burt's Bees products! There was a menu outlining the 4 dinner choices! I had unlimited movies!

I was like a little child pushing all the buttons and smiling like an idiot to myself. They offered me a glass of champagne an I giddily accepted (and I don't even like champagne). Then I continued the binge eating and drinking with a rapid succession of hummus and pita before takeoff, smoked salmon appetizer, grilled chicken salad, macadamia nut crusted chicken with sweet potatoes, and an ice cream sundae all accompanied by sake, wine, and tea. By the time all of that had somehow crammed into my belly, I was drunk and insanely full and ready for some sleep. I'd already watched Salt and (I'm blanking on the other movie I watched), and then I put on Going the Distance, which I'd seen before, reclined my seat to the bed position, and fell into a deep sleep.
I was awakened by a gentle nudge and my flight attendant. I pulled off my headphones and turned my head towards her, realizing at that point I was a wee bit hungover. 

"Ms. Reyes, would you like your breakfast now?"

My BREAKFAST? Didn't I just eat? My stomach still felt distended and full, so I told her I'd take it a little later. 
"We are landing in just under an hour, so I suggest you take your breakfast as soon as possible."
I took a second to debate this. For one, I had been sleeping long enough that there was an appropriate gap between meals. But I was still full! At the same time, I'd have a 2 hours layover in LAX... what if their first class lounge didn't yeild the same smorgasbord as Narita's (which turns out, they didn't)? I wouldn't be able to eat until I landed in San Francisco several hours later. 
So I accepted my breakfast of feta omelet, sausages, potatoes, croissant, fruit, and juice. Somehow, I didn't burst! Then I snuggled up in my duvet to relish the last few minutes of my first, and quite possibly my last, time in first class. As the plane touched down on American soil, a part of me had wished I stayed with the longer flight to Chicago so I could enjoy my experience for just a few hours more.
When I deplaned, I felt like such a spoiled princess. I was forced to mingle with the commoners while waiting in Customs? How rude.
1/21/2011 02:01:09 pm

I had a huge smile on my face while I was reading this entry...


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