Wednesday 23rd November 2010
MP3 track of the day: - It's getting hot in here -Nelly
Weather: Lovely and cold in Tokyo, with quite a huge down pour. Horrible and hot in Bangkok and Singapore
Going to sleep at 8pm last night did mean that, understandably, I got disturbed quite a few times. Still I think I finally managed to nod off at around 9:30pm and didn't awake until 5am this morning. I quietly got ready and left my hostel at around 5:45am. As I walked to the Tokyo subway it was throwing it down; this is quite annoying when you are laden down with stuff, however I like to think that Japan was sad to see me go (hence the rain) because I was said to go.
My flight was at 10:45am; I had given myself two hours for check-in and two hours to get to the airport as that's what my guidebook recommended. My guidebook wasn't half wrong and it took me, from the center of Tokyo, to Narita International Airport, two hours and fifteen minutes, arriving at 8:00am. Just like everything else in Japan, the journey was very straight forward and most of the signs were in English.
Once checked-in I looked in my wallet to see that I had around £105 in Japanese Yen (14,000 yen). I decided to change about £90 into Singapore dollars and the other £15 I decided to go on a bit of a shopping spree; first of all I purchased some expensive Japanese chocolate (which is lovely) for £10, a drink for the flight, a packet of sweets and then I sat down at a coffee shop - which I thought was near my gate – drinking a hot chocolate and having a nice slice of cake. In all honestly I shouldn't have spent the £15 that I did, though sometimes you need to have a little bit of luxury or else you'll go nuts!
Whilst sipping my lovely hot chocolate I looked at, what I thought was my gate, and it was displaying a different flight. I re-read my ticket and realized that I had misread the gate number and I had read my seat number instead. I made my way to my actual gate, still having plenty of time.
This would be the first time that I would fly with 'Thai Airways' and I have to say, on first impressions I wasn't very impressed. My whole negative impression was brought about by the fact that none of the seats had their own tv - to watch films on - on this seven hour trip. I was not impressed and so I got out my guidebook and read up on South East Asia, Singapore and Malaysia. After a while I reevaluated my original impression to 'not bad'; I was sitting at an emergency exit row which meant that I had loads of leg room (so much that, legs out stretched, I still couldn't touch the seat in front of me). Secondly the food was pretty good and the free drinks came a round continuously. There was a big screen showing the film 'deception' which I did managed to watch, though people moving around did block my view periodically (overall it wasn't a bad film though it was a strange concept).
The flight passed reasonably quickly and soon we arrived in Bangkok; annoyingly, even though I'm not stopping in Thailand, I had to join the lengthy immigration queues and go back through check-in as 'Jet airways' (my airline to Singapore) is the equivalent of Easyjet and is therefore classed as an internal flight (and therefore my baggage can't be transferred automatically).
Whilst in the immigration queue I was starting to get hot, very hot … and I had only been here ten minutes! I was starting to long for Japan; the cold, the autumn leaves ... the cold. When I collected my bags I said goodbye to my coat, hat and gloves – as I packed them deeper within my main bag – and I worked my way to departures. Unsurprisingly, as I had arrived five hours early, check-in wasn't open and so to pass the time I played a game called 'Bird or Bloke'. The rules are pretty simple; you look at all the possible Thai ladies and determine if they are a bird or originally a bloke … I think I saw at least one bloke!
Eventually check-in was announced for my flight; I proceeded to the check-in counter where I found out that my gate number hadn't been assigned. This was okay as I had ages until my flight left and I wanted to get some tea. For tea I had imagined some sort of noodle dish fried in a woke in front of my eyes … err no. The first restaurant I found was a Japanese restaurant (if I wanted Japanese food I would have stayed in Japan). After looking around for a while I settled on a chicken burger and fries (great!). Whilst waiting for my food the British guy, on the table in front of me, asked for the bill without eating his meal; I then over herd a conversation between him and a waiter where he said that this was the worst meal he had been given in Thailand and that the chicken was horrible and that he shouldn't have to pay, however he reluctantly did. Fortunately he had ordered something different to me, however once my meal had arrived I did treat it with suspicion. Though not the most delicious meal I've ever had it was steaming when it arrived, therefore I knew it was at least cooked.
After this I then went to the closest departure board where still my flight hadn't been given a gate; worse still was that there were no seats located near this departure board so I couldn't even sit down and await for my gate to be assigned. I tried other departure boards and the same scenario unfolded … no seats (which idiot designed this airport). I therefore sat down, out of site of a departure board, occasionally standing up to see if a gate had been assigned. Also within this period I decided to browse the free internet until I found out that you had to pay … not liking this airport.
Eventually my flight was assigned and I made my way to that gate. I was surrounded by a sea of Asian people however, unlike Japan, they didn't seem quite that friendly and one lady continually burped out loud. One cabin crew member eventually came to open up the door to the plane – to allow elderly and wheelchair persons on board – which was greeted by the sea of Asian people moving towards the gate and blocking the entrance. The cabin crew member wanted to load people on in a orderly fashion, row-by-row, however these people wouldn't move and in the end she just let us all on any old how.
I don't understand this; being my fifteenth flight this year, I have come to notice some strange habits people have when aviation transport is concerned. The first one being that, as soon as a cabin crew member opens a gate, people queue up in an endless queue seemly thinking that if they aren't one of the first hundred to go through the gate they will be left behind (I however just sit down and wait for the queue to shorten before joining it).
The other annoying thing is that, when a plane comes into land, people start taking their seat belts off (even though the seat belt sign is still on and the captain has specifically said to wait until the sign has been turned off) to get their luggage together. They then join another queue, within the plane, awaiting for the doors to open. I, on the other hand, remain seated until the rows in front of me have emptied and then I barge my way into the queue. You have to understand that, at this stage, I had been up almost a whole day and so I was pretty tired.
The flight was uneventful and soon I was through Singapore immigration and in a shuttle bus. I arrived at my hostel around 2am and, to keep quite, I only unpacked my night stuff and then locked my bags up and went to sleep.