Monday, June 30, 2008

Day 13 (Tuesday, June 10/Tuesday, June 10)

We rose Tuesday morning, knowing it was our last day of the trip. It was to be a long day. We would fly domestic from Osaka to one of Tokyo’s two airports. Then we would take an hour-long bus trip to Tokyo’s other airport. From there, we would catch a flight to LAX. It may seem strange to do it this way, but the only flight that flew direct to the Tokyo airport from the airport we wanted to use in Osaka left early that Tuesday morning. By flying and the taking the bus, we could spend more time with Mo’s aunt and uncle.

Accustomed to American airports, I commented that we needed to be there one to two hours ahead of time. Mo’s uncle, who was driving us to the airport, said that 10-15 minutes was sufficient. When we got to the airport, I saw he was right. With a bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo taking just over three hours vs. a plane ride of one hour (not including tarmac time), Japanese airlines compete with bullet trains by getting people through security quickly. There were about six screeners handling minimal traffic. We said our final goodbyes to Uncle Masao and headed towards our plane.

The flight was short. The bus ride across town the same, except for when our boys saw Mickey Mouse and asked if we could stop and go to Tokyo Disneyland. With about three hours until we would board, we checked in and grabbed lunch. Christopher really liked the restaurant we found, telling Mo, “Mommy, I want to come back here when we come back to Japan.”

We boarded our flight later than afternoon. The flight time would be nine hours, 20 minutes, over an hour less than the flight to Japan (owing to the jet streams). We were delayed an hour or so due to engine trouble, but got away eventually. Whereas we had flown to Japan in daylight, we would fly through the night to get home. When we arrived in Los Angeles, we had crossed the International Date Line. It was Tuesday morning all over again.

As planned, I was going to catch a flight to Atlanta while Mo and the boys were going to stay in L.A. with her parents for a week. We spent a few more hours together in LAX. I then caught my flight home. When I walked in my door, it was just before 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. I called Mo to let her know I was home and began, once more, adjusting to jet lag.

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