Time pleases itself how fast it passes in a plane fuselage. It doesn't defer to economy class passengers at any rate. Cut off from the rest of the world, hurtling through space and time, I feel like the plane hangs suspended in a web; going nowhere; jiggling occasionally in the turbulence of inquisitive spiders.
Four hours out of Cairns and three more remaining before we land at Osaka (Kansai). Must be somewhere around Guam then, although it could be anywhere. It's mid afternoon, but windows are shaded, leaving the cabin a twilight world. Isolated coloured lights of entertainment screens punch through the gloom. Toilet lights flash red and green evoke running lights of passing ships on a night passage to Singapore. That's my imagination anyway. Not that any fog horns pierce this night: Only the sporadic harsh static of useless, needless conversations. People who can't sleep and aren't particularly concerned whether anyone else does.
Still, it's not so bad. I purchased an exit row seat and can stretch my legs out. Bliss! On the down side, the person behind me, the one with a Darlek voice, hasn't stopped to draw breath since Cairns, and the child next to her has begun to kick the back of my seat. Still . . . mustn't complain. I've managed an hour of dozing so that's a plus. It helps, I find, to partition the flight into stages. In a little under two hours we are due to begin the descent into Kansai. That's doable. I can last.
I'm regretting not revising my very short list of Japanese words and expressions. Maybe I'll improve with practice over the next 12 days?
. . . Time actually passes and we land safely. Yeay!
I'm now in my hotel room later that night. The arrival/immigration experience was beyond description, but I will give it a try:
Imagine a queue of four hundred people. Got it in your mind? Now imagine only three immigration officials. Got that? Now, introduce into the equation a heightened security awareness which sees each entrant screened for between 2 and 5 minutes. Can you do the Math?
I am not the most tolerant person at the best of times but when I finally arrived at my turn the officious little twerp pointed out that I had not filled out the telephone number of the hotel I would be staying at that night.I didn't think it through. I just erupted. Luckily I am not writing this from a jail cell somewhere. He realised I think, that it might be better, given the 350 or so people angrily muttering behind me, that it would be better to wave me through.
It's ok. I have moved on. Not sure about the poor people at the tail of the queue though. They may still be waiting hours later.
Since then I've scouted out the bus departure point for tomorrow. You can see the information board in the photo. How hard can it be?
Dinner was good in a small fast food eatery at the airport. Some delicious dumplings and a beer for 1000 Yen. Friendly people everywhere.
Time for bed. A good sleep will fix everything. I think I am going to enjoy the next two weeks.