Leaving Australia – Next Stop, Narita Japan

by admin on March 18, 2010

The big day had arrived – time to go!  I had arranged an early morning ride to the airport, giving myself plenty of time to check in.  Being my first time leaving Australia, I was a bit nervous.

Add to this – in the days before I left, I learned that Mark had an accident coming down the moutain.  He’d hit a tree at high speed and broken both legs.  Sad news, to be sure, and also a little scary.  I made a mental note to avoid all trees on the mountain, and resigned myself to not knowing a soul in the country I was headed to.

Checking in…

But the process wasn’t too painful.  I went to the check-in desk, to check my luggage.  I kept a smaller carry-on pack with a few essentials. I was offered the choice of window or aisle seat, which was nice.  I recommend aisle if you need the leg room.  They gave me my boarding pass, and off I went to security.

Now, keep in mind, you have to empty your pockets and remove metal items to pass this point.  I was wearing one of those under-your-clothes travel pouch, to keep most of my cash & documents in.  Plan ahead – unless you want to take off your shirt while standing in line, keep that in your carry-on until you’re through security!

Once through, I found my way to the international departures lounge, and settled in to wait until they called my flight.  You’re supposed to check in a few hours before your flight, so this can make for a pretty long wait.  The lounge had a newsagent, general shop, and a couple of places to buy food.

All Aboard…

When they called my flight, I jumped up and joined the queue, which was forming pretty fast.  Then onto the plane.  The flight attendants ran a smooth operation, getting everybody settled in their assigned seats with minimal fuss.

The flight really wasn’t very exciting.   I had the on-board entertainment, but ended up preferring my iPod.  I had it pre-loaded with some movies I actually wanted to see.  The entertainment unit did have a couple of good TV shows on it, but it only came with the first episode of each show, which is a bit of a tease.

The lunch meal was some kind of Beef & Noodle dish, which was pretty good.  It even came with a mars bar!   I was surprised at how many of my fellow passengers were wearing face masks, the kind doctors have.  Is SARS still an issue?

The onboard loo was a bit of a surprise.  It’s a very cramped compartment, and when you stand facing the bowl, you’re facing out to the side of the plane.

When we began our descent into Narita Airport we had an amazing view.  I knew before I left that Narita was a very big airport, but seeing it for myself still surprised me.

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