Starting Off

Friday 22 June, Adelaide to Tokyo

We didn't get up early - we hadn't gone to bed. Having finished packing at about 2am, and having been told to be at the airport at 4am, there didn't seem much point, really. (But thanks to all our friends who kept us awake!) Mum and Dad picked us up and drove us to the airport, but they didn't open till 4.30 (so much for being there at 4!) So we all had coffee and surprisingly coherent conversation until Customs opened at 5am. Mum & Dad went off to breakfast, and Kate & I were on our way.

But only as far as the waiting room, where we sat for just over an hour until the plane was ready to board. Lesson # 1 of International Travel - expect to sit around in airports a lot.

The short hop from Adelaide to Sydney was lovely - there were only about ten people on the plane, so Kate & I had our own personal flight attendant. Upon arrival in Sydney, we discovered we had about ten minutes to get from one end of the terminal to the other. (We would have had twenty if it hadn't taken us ten minutes to get to the front of one line only to be told we now had only ten to get to the other line...) Lesson # 2 of International Travel - when you're not sitting around for hours, you're madly tearing around headless-chook-style, trying to get somewhere very important very fast, despite only half-knowing where it is.

But, we got there (just) and were among the first to board. Lesson number whatever this one is, don't be among the first to board a cramped plane that you'll be sitting on for nine hours, when you can stay in the nice comfortable waiting room for another twenty minutes. Let everyone else board first.

Sydney to Tokyo was - well, it was nine hours, and it felt like longer. We watched two thoroughly forgettable movies, read bits of our light reading for the trip (Last Resort Survival Guide and Last Resort Survival Guide: Travel) and wriggled and stretched as much as you can when you're 6 feet tall in a chair designed for 5'2" people. Going to the toilet was blissful - you get to stand and walk to the end of the plane, then stand and stretch for a minute or two waiting for one of the loos to be free. We chatted to a Parisienne girl in a snakeskin suit who studies statistics in Canberra (where else?), and drank lots of water and a little sake. (Thankyou, Japan Airlines.)

We had an overnight stop in Tokyo, where the airline had paid for a hotel room for the night, so we had a monstrously expensive sandwich (just over $30 each) and a quick shower, and hit the sack. Having not slept since Wednesday night, sleep came quick.