Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Rewind

It was 11:30am on the 23rd day of the first month of the year 2006. The destination was Narita Airport, Tokyo.
Another 30 minutes and I'd have been stuck there for 24 hours. I haven't shaved nor showered. Sitting on my own trolley, I could sense my body odor oozing through the collars and sleeves of my shirt, only to realise that it came from the Indian guy 30 metres away. I have queued for 18 hours in total. A women was shouting in Korean inside the counters.

My flight was supposed to be on the 22nd of January. 14:30. When I arrived at the airport at 12:00, it was a total mess.

At 19:00, 7 hours of queue later, my flight was cancelled.

Now I had to go to another queue to reschedule my flight. 2 hours later at 21:00, I got in contact with the first counter girl of the day.
She told me in the Jappy apologetic matter that the next flight I can get on will be on the 25th, which was 4 days later.
If you were in my shoes, queuing up for 10 hours and not eating with 3 lugguages to take care of, you'd probably felt like drilling her mouth with an egg-beater too.
But then again, she's DAMN cute.
So I resulted in what I do best - bullshitting. I gave her a straight face, and slowly uttered: Listen. My. Visa. Expires. Tomorrow.
Which, was a total lie as my visa wasn't expiring until the 26th of January. And luckily for my ass, she didn't even bother to clarify.
My flight was booked for the 23rd at 13:30. And the girl told me to start checking in at 7:00 the next morning.
And then she gave me a sleeping bag.


That was it. No hotel accomodation, no further instructions, not even a fucking thank you or sorry.
I was talking to this Taiwanese girl, and she said that her parents saw this on the news back home and apparently only white people got accomodated in hotels.
The Australian teacher behind me was cursing with her son. Her son actually said: America should have dropped 4 bombs.
And the Singaporean auntie behind them was planning to lie her way through by saying she has diabetes and she has no more medication. If there's anywhere you'd never want to be at two days ago, Narita Airport was definitely THE place.

So at 0:00, I got myself in a corner with my sleeping bag and tried to sleep. Only to be disturbed by some guy with the loudest snore. And the occasional yet inaudible announcements.
6:00, I woke up to find everyone was queuing up again. But this time it was slightly better than the day before. It took me 3 hours to get to the front of the security counter.
And they told me they were only accepting check-ins for flight before 11:00, and I could do nothing but wait.

So there I was, 24 hours later, in the same area of proximity.
It wasn't until 12:30 that they let me in, only to queue up with other people who're trying to check in for 13:30 flights.

My counter girl, Miss Mashima, was again, so DAMN cute! I know what these JAL bastards are doing. The oldest trick in the book.
But then again, she's sooooooooo cute. And she seemed so nice and kind and kept apologizing. I couldn't do anything but to chat her up, using all the Japanese phrase that I could. She even gave me the emergency exit seat so that I can stretch my legs. It was quite enjoyable to say the least.
It really amazes me how fragile this system is. All you need is a night of snow, some FUCKING snow! and it all collapses.
I really thought Japan was an all efficient country and all. But after this, I realised, the bigger and better you are, the more crap you get when shit hits the fan.

Oh, and being in the airport I got to see the new Nike Max 360. Apparently the whole sole is air-ed. Coolness.
I have to say I felt a bit sad leaving Narita Airport. After all, I did spend a night there. It was starting to felt like home. I even made friends with some of the workers and stranded victims like me, though I never bothered to remember their names.
Oh what the fuck I'm talking about. It's like crash landing for an unforgettable flight of travel. It's the worst airport experience for me ever. Actually, erase 'airport' from the last sentence.