07 January 2010

090807 Day 1

Heh heh. Looking at my notes I must have been pretty wiped out after travelling for nearly 20 hrs. I think I wrote this on the train from the Airport to Tokyo.

Sing - Tokyo managed to get some sleep on the plane. Impossible on Tiger.
Tokyo - Hot and humid.
Got through customs, heaps of people. (Well durr, what was I expecting)
JR (Japan Rail) Train - went the long way around the Yamanote line (a line that loops around Tokyo).
Disembark train. The First Challenge: Make it to the Ryokan before 1am (they have a curfew).
Noodle Place. (WTF?)

A very telling list of my first impressions that stayed with me for those first 24 hours. Looking back I do have some additional memories that I'll share.
Starting out on Tiger made much of the rest of the trip really hard. Those uncomfortable 4 hours seemed to really take quite a bit of energy out of everyone. Arriving in the discount terminal, we had to make our way to customs, this involved a half hour walk dragging our suitcase through 34ÂșC heat and humidity at 3am. Yippie.

After getting through customs, we had about 3 hours to kill, so we took the opportunity to grab something to eat. But the only thing that was open was a place that had the greasiest stir-fry rice and chicken that I have had the misfortune to purchase, but I was hungry and had some anyway. Bleah.
We then made our way to the bigger terminal (Terminal 1 I think) to check into our Singapore Airlines flight. That terminal is amazing. The rows of checking terminals for each airline meant that we were only in line for a couple of minutes and then check in was done and dusted!! Compared to Darwin it felt a little too fast.
So after waiting another 50 minutes we finally boarded our second flight. Let me tell you the international economy of Singapore is one of the nicest I've flown in. Lots of room, your own entertainment screen, your seat can incline really far back and your headrest can be angled around so you can rest your head against it. Bliss...

Arrival. It's amazing the culture shock right off the bat when you land in Narita. The walk to Customs is along this huge walkway with numerous sections of magic carpet, yet it still took about 15-20 mins of walking. It goes on and on...
Took another 30 minutes in line to get through customs, but went through okay. We then had to take the express train to Tokyo to get to our accommodation. Now we have been traveling for nearly 20 hours at this point, the express train took 50 mins (the information from the operator's webpage said 20 minutes ¬.¬).
Then we had to navigate our way to accommodation, the Kimi Ryokan. By now it is 8:00pm, it's as hot and sweaty as a Devils' testicle, and we were all pretty beat by this stage that I was just longing for a shower and then sleep.

But thanks to the guidance of Billy we made it and then we all just crashed to see what the next day would bring.