Monday, August 11, 2008

En Route

Miami, FL
4:10am.
Within the darkened walls sleep tired hooligans returned from their drunken romp. Though, surrounding the tired bodies, two creatures stir. One a feline; a ninja kitty springing and hurling himself at the second; a scared shitless Stephen Cravak.

An army of nerves continue their march towards the walls of my veins. Thankfully the comforts of close friends and Cary`s fluffy pancakes were able to hold them off. And with a last minute fumble through clothes; I am packed.

4:20am.
My fingers prod a man fallen by the night air. Knowing his part in tonight’s plan Mike “B’lo” Abbott swiftly gravitates off of the couch towards the transport vehicle. 52 pounds in a blue duffle bag, 61 pounds in a giant black suitcase, 40 pounds in a carry-on, and loads of electronic goodies in a book-bag are hurried into unimaginable crevices. There’s just barely enough room for our driver’s lady, Dianne, to squeeze into the backseat.

And...

...we’re off…to see the witch. Her skin primed but lacking a coat of color, glasses borrowed from Scooby Doo’s Thelma and a need to find a man makes our travel agent an easy target for my witty scorn. It’s 4:56am and she’s expecting us. Mike and Dianne aid me in steadily moving the containers of a one year supply of life. Others have arrived before us and appear beaten from the months of rigorous preparation and anticipation.

I feel stupid. I’m wearing a jump suit like I’m a Soprano`s cast member while everyone else hides their bodies in trendy shorts and sandles. Oh well, little do they know that my layers will prove supreme on the flight ahead. After witnessing a poor airline employee struggle to acquire 27 boarding passes we slowly assemble at the gate.

I find strength and comfort aligning myself with a group of comedic gentlemen. We proceed to move around furniture to “kick back,” and shouts of “Marco” are immediately echoed with “Polo.” By 6:30am, we are munching our way through Pizza Hut breadsticks and personal pans. Yummy (minus the gaseus nature that would follow us onto the plane)!

It’s 7:30am and we board our Continental flight to Houston. I grumble at the realization that 19E means a seat in the middle. Though... I am delighted to sit between two lovely ladies. One in particular willingly joins me in analyzing another “compadre” who appears to be 51 cards short of a full deck.

After a brief stint in Houston’s restaurant filled airport we assemble on our final vessel to Japan, a Boeing 777-200. Fitted with three rows each with three seats, I once again find myself smack dab in the middle. Equipped with outlets for laptops, advanced remote control screens filled with free movies, music and games, this international 13 hour flight doesn’t appear to be all that bad. We left at 9:50am on Saturday August 2nd eastern time and are due to arrive at Narita Airport on the outskirts of Tokyo at approximately 1:29pm Japan time on Sunday, August 3rd.

After practicing my chop-stick skills on some rather tasty beef teriyaki I find myself watching the family fantasy film, “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” The consistent offering of non-alcoholic liquids is a nice comfort. Eight hours to go…thank goodness for the impromtu nap-time.

Wake-up! Fish sandwich (I was later informed it was chicken) and an ice cream cup. Surprisingly delicious…or maybe it’s the realization that we are a mere five hours away. Regardless, it won’t help the show “30 Rock” be any funnier. Talk about a lame fest.

My nerves begin to stir again. We are minutes away...which means PAPERWORK! I fumble through the immigration documents and merely copy from the ladies beside me. Our plan has landed and we assemble ourselves...however something is missing. Where the hell is my passport? I spend over five minutes frantically molesting every seat in my area desperately seeking that precious document. After nearly everyone has exited the plane my dumbass has found my passport in between two seats. It must have fallen out of my pants` pocket. Oh well, I`m ready to go!

Tokyo, Japan
1:30pm
Upon exiting the plane, I`m a bit shocked at what I find: a modern airport complete with English. Perhaps I was expecting bonsai trees and ninjas to carry my bags. Luckily there are 27 of us from Florida and we all stick together as we have our papers stamped, collect our bags, and go through customs. I`m honestly surprised at how smooth the process is. We follow our yellow-shirted JET guides to our trusty bus. We`re about a two hour drive from the Keio Plaza Hotel in the Shinjuku part of Tokyo. During our drive, everything looks like a normal bustling city. Though Japan is certainly more of a `vertical` society as all buildings are much taller and cramped with what little level ground the mountainous nature of Japan provides.

Now...one look to the left and all of us Floridians feel that perhaps we only flew an hour north as to our dismay we see Cinderalla`s castle and Space Mountain. Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are in full view.

Well we arrived. The hotel is luxurious. With a free evening ahead it`s time to invade Tokyo!

1 comment:

Mike said...

nice kid...and nice job on the passport, i was nervous for you reading that.