The first flight we flew to Denver- an hour long flight. It was not so bad. Luckily, we had an hour to find our next gate- because Denver is HUGE. Our next gate felt like it was a mile away (which would fit the whole "mile high city" theme. I think we got on at least 5 walking sidewalks. The flight to Seattle was MISERABLE. Brother sat in the middle and he proceeded to elbow me the entire flight. It didn't help that we were in the back and everyone was lined up to use the bathroom. The flight attendant kept squeezing by, which meant his butt swept my beverage tray each time. Brother was getting irritated with Sister, and I was irritated with him.
In Seattle we had 3 hours to hang out before our flight to Tokyo. By that time I literally wanted to punch my son. I know. That sounds AWFUL. But you have to understand we were all sleep deprived and Brother is not very fun when he has no sleep. In fact, he usually does his best to make sure everyone else is as miserable as he. He is pretty skillful at that unfortunately. So he antagonized his sister every time he thought I wasn't looking. Good thing we were in public. I am just saying.
Being in SeaTac International Airport was bittersweet for us. We have so many friends in the PNW (Pacific Northwest). I wish we could have been able to see stay a day or two and see everyone. So I just posted to Facebook that I was waving at everyone.
Changing planes when your dog is flying in the cargo hold is a bit on the terrifying side. There are so many things that could go wrong- namely your dog could be put on the wrong plane and sent to Timbuktu. And since we were flying a million miles to Japan, that makes it all the more complicated. I mean, they lose luggage all of the time, right? Before the plane takes off, an airline attendant is supposed to bring you a little slip of paper the baggage handlers filled out to let you know your dog is on board. We watched her being loaded onto the first two flights, but forgot to look for her on the last. I did verify that she was waiting to be loaded, but that was one hour before our boarding time. Usually I will ask the attendants once I get on the plane to let me know if our dog was on board- if I didn't hear from them first. On our last flight that day, I totally forgot. That is, until the plane was taking off- and the attendants were all buckled down in their seats. Talk about a moment of sheer panic. And of course it was the LONGEST take off EVER. Ever.
There is a happy ending of course- she was on board. *big giant sigh of relief*
Brother fell asleep right away (he had an empty seat next to him), I enjoyed two small bottles of red wine, and watched Gullivers Travels with Sissy. It was an extremely long flight- but it was 100% better flying commercial than on the Patriot Express (military "airliner" we flew to Japan on when we first got here in 2009.)
The best part?- besides seeing my honey once again? We didn't have to ride the "prison bus" home! The base has a lovely tour bus they use to shuttle us back and forth to Narita airport. They normally do not allow animals. But with the evacuation- they decided to bend the rules (God Bless them for that.) That meant they brought out the white "prison bus" to put our big dog kennel on. They can't go underneath the bus, and they cannot be let loose on the bus. So we had to set our kennel on the back seat. The normal tour bus they use doesn't accomadate the big kennels, so they brought out the white buses that are used for shorter trips. I was very appreciative of them for this, I really was. But it was a cold and uncomfortable ride to the airport. I was not looking forward to riding on it again (that and waiting an hour or so to even leave.)
My honey rented a van and picked us up. That was the best present I have had all year. And now we are all home again. I didn't realize how MUCH I missed my home and missed Japan. It is like being given a second chance, there is so much I want to do and see. Now if I could just kick this jet lag in the butt, I can get started on that!
Lastly- here are a few random pictures I took on my iPhone of our trip there and back. Mostly it is our trip TO the States. They are totally out of order too, sorry...
|"airplane food"- Sissy's lunch at one of the restaurants in Narita|
|Poor Brownie still locked up in her kennel at LAX- we were trying to find the dog park so we could let her out.|
|"Dog Park" at LAX- just what we needed! Poor Brownie was so thirsty- she drank for days. (She did have water in her kennel, in case you are wondering.)|
|"non-working" fire hydrant|
|They even provided poop bags.|
|riding to Narita on the "prison bus"|
|our good little traveler- just the beginning of our journey|
|inside view of bus|
|I was so happy to have one last Cherry Blossom Frappucino at Narita before we left!|
|Brother's hamburg lunch|
|Last one- a very tired and delirious little girl on the last plane to Narita. Almost home!|