Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SOFAT Live - Tokyo Haneda Intl Airport, Boarding Gate 131

Konbanwa, everybody! I am currently sitting at gate 131 at Haneda Airport in Tokyo waiting for my Delta flight back home to Los Angeles.  There is still a little bit of time before we are bussed off to the plane, which is sitting on the tarmac somewhere instead of parked at the end of the jetway, so... I thought I would do some blogging.  I think this is the first time I have ever blogged live.

It has been just a little over three weeks since I left for Portland, Tokyo, and Taipei, so I'm very excited to get home.  After sleeping at the Hilton in Portland, the Westin in Tokyo, and numerous relatives', friends', and friends' relatives' beds, I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.  There is a saying in Mandarin Chinese that goes, "Neither a palace made of gold nor a palace made of silver can beat one's own doggie den," or something like that.  I overheard my Aunt Jessica mention it to another family friend, so I did the best translation that I could.

I wish I had a picture or two to show the scene at the boarding gate, but I guess I'll attempt some descriptive writing as a substitute.

It's 11:10 p.m. in Tokyo.  The smell of jet fuel has permeated the boarding area... not to the point of over exhilaration or nauseating displeasure... but just enough to bring some excitement into my bloodstream.  The captain and flight attendants have just walked through the gate.  An older head flight attendant, or what I can only assume from her experienced stature and demeanor, holds sheets of paper in her hand.  She is dressed in her bright, red Delta uniform while discussing something, I don't know what, with her Japanese counterparts who are dressed in white, short sleeved blouses with navy vests.  The tallest of the Japanese Delta staff picks up the mic to make an announcement in a language I only pretend to understand.

There are four flat screens over the gate counter.  Delta Sky Priority.  Delta Sky Team.  Los Angeles, 0:35, DL 636.  And the weather: Los Angeles, 68F high and 64F low.  What a relief.  It has been consistently over 90F in Taipei for the last two weeks.  I think I have sweat out all the sodium from the many bowls of lu rou fan that I've scarfed down.  Speaking of food... what should I eat when I get home? In-n-Out? Chipotle? Those are the go-to standards of the many Californians who have been away from home for too long.

The demographics of the passengers on the flight include Americans, Japanese, old, young, families, individual travelers, groups of friends, elderly couples, the well dressed, and me in my plain, white V-neck and flip flops... so everyone, really.

From the corner of my left eye, I see the red rising sun on the tail of a JAL jet and the edges of the orange Airport Limousine that is supposed to shuttle us over to the plane.  Only about 20 minutes more.  One last e-mail to Mom saying that it's only about 20 minutes more before boarding, and a post to Facebook.  That's all.  お休みなさい (o yasumi nasai)... good night.  Safe travels to all.  Until the next live blog post, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20130716(17)

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