The First Leg

(Well, I just came across this and in my effort to get current  with all my posts, I’m going backward and headed forward! here it is – better late than never!)

It’s 10:30 pm Hawaii time on Monday, January 31 and 5:30 pm on Tuesday, February 1st in Narita, Tokyo Japan, which is where I am right now. I left home at 5:50 am and I’ve still got a long way to go!

But the 9½ hour flight from HNL to Tokyo was not nearly as bad as I envisioned. Yes, tight seats, nowhere to lay down, every single seat on the 767 filled. And exhaustion hit me early on in the flight, with not much sleep. I thought about an ambien but then didn’t take one. Slept a few hours and then woke with a 2nd wind that still seems to be with me – trying to stay on this time schedule, which means I’ll try to stay awake until Bangkok and then go right to sleep there with an ambien or two. We’ll see how it goes.

Had a lovely exchange with Robin Fong, a 24-year old Chinese man from nearby Shanghai, now studying for his PhD in Astrophysics at Princeton – great conversation about our cultures, how we treat women and gay people and the elderly – the different values inherent in children feeling the obligation to care for their parents; girl fetuses being aborted in China and the Chinese threat to the world. I don’t have those kinds of conversations in Puna, that’s for sure!

A bit of a harrowing morning drive to the Hilo airport. Bear and I had spoken about it in advance – she wanted to leave at 7:00 for our 9:00 am flight – I said, no way (and I’ll get myself there on my own if you’re insistent about the time, which she wasn’t at all) – so we agreed to leave at 6:30, actually left about 6:40 and it took almost 2 hours to get there because of some bad accident snarling the morning commute. Danny was at the wheel talking about how there was no problem (sounds like someone who’s been spending a lot of time in Southeast Asia!) with me in the back seat with blood pressure rising and feeling like I didn’t have much control to make any other decisions than sitting still for an hour! Yikes! Another reminder of how I love to travel on my own and how I don’t want or need to discuss what time is the right time and whether I ‘should’ be nervous or not. But all was well, we arrived at 8:15, although we would have missed the flight if we had left at 7:00 – I am so insistent to point out!

It’s cold here in Tokyo – freezing, actually – and I decided not to bring any other jacket besides my thin beige one – it should be fine, but I’m aware of the chillynesss for sure.

Something feels odd – there is not that air of giddy excitement in me – maybe I can just rack it up to my tiredness, but I just don’t feel it. It’s almost a flatness – I left the cats with hardly a whimper and everyone else, too. Curious to explore this a bit more and of course, I will.

Japanese people everywhere surrounding me with masks on – and everyone, everyone, everywhere, including me here on the netbook, engaged in/with their electronics.

Soon to board final flight to Bangkok and hopefully an easy entry there of finding Bear and then our hotel – with ease, please!

Off to boarding we go!

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