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Amparo Bertram

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07:06 am: The long version
Part I: The plane is HOW late?

I arrived at the airport the required number of hours early. The place was vacant, so I got through security with no trouble at all. It turns out this was probably because everyone else had checked the flight status and found that the plane was going to be hours late. (I would have, but our internet died that morning, so I didn't bother.) The supposed 1pm flight didn't wind up taking off until nearly 5pm.

We made up some of the time during the flight, but we still didn't get into KIX until nearly 8pm. Then began the long trek back.

Part II: The Osaka Station Shuffle

You know those mind game things? The kind like, you have three pegs with donut-shaped rings on them and you have to try to get them all on the middle ring in order of size? Well, transferring at Osaka Station with 100 pounds of luggage is kind of like that.

The mission: Get from Platform 1 to Platform 9...without taking any stairs. This involves maneuvering up and down three floors, the Platform floor (where the trains are), the Concourse floor (where people walk between platforms) and the Ticket Gate floor (where the exits are). My journey went something like this...

1. Locate and take the elevator on Platform 1 down to the Concourse.
2. Walk a few yards, to be confronted by stairs. Follow the wheelchair signs to an elevator down to the Ticket Gate floor.
3. Walk some more. Find another elevator back up to the Concourse.
4. Walk down to Platform 9...only to be confronted with nothing but stairs.
5. Walk to nearest elevator and ride up to the Platform floor, only to discover that it leads to Platform 8. This is separated from Platform 9 by train tracks.
6. Stand on Platform 8 and gaze longingly at the train sitting at Platform 9 that I would like to take, if only there were a way to get my luggage there.
7. Ask passing uniformed train guy how to get my luggage to Platform 9. While doing so, desired train departs.
8. Following his directions, walk down the length of Platform 8 to the escalator and take it (carefully) down to the Concourse.
9. Walk to Platform 9 and take escalator up. Wait in line for next available train.

I tried to use the restroom TWICE during this journey through the station. However, both times the restrooms had stairs leading up from the doorway to the stall area, so I couldn't get in. I had to wait another hour until I got home.

Part III: Home Sweet...what the heck?!

I took a taxi back from Moriyama Station...only to find when I got home that someone had stolen a five-gallon tank of kerosene from beside my front door. I suspect it was one of my neighbors. It wouldn't have much value to a random passing thief, particularly considering how heavy it is. But one of my neighbors might have seen my mail all piled up in my mail slot and thought, "Well, she doesn't need it..." Luckily, I had filled up the tank in my stove the morning I left, so I still have a few days' leeway in which to buy more.

I got inside my apartment to see the lights flashing on the microwave, rice cooker, etc., indicating that there had been a blackout in my absence. I haven't yet checked the VCR to see if it recorded what I set it for.

Now, the challenge is to go to work and sit at my desk all day, trying desperately not to fall asleep and hoping that I didn't catch any illnesses on the plane.


[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
At least you weren't trying for Platform 9 & 3/4.

Get some rest while you can.
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
Well, happy it was safe travel anyway (albeit annoying travel!!) And poo and bad karma to the kerosene thief! good grief! Hope that's the worst of your re-entry to normal life again and that you get to sleep soon!
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
Yuck! No fun.

Crossing fingers for no plane-borne Ebola. ^_~
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
Yikes! I'm just thinking like a COLD or something! Ya had to go there!! *snerk* Next it's going to be Bird Flu phobia or something! LOL!
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC)
LOL at the icon! How very appropriate (on multiple levels).
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
Next it's going to be Bird Flu phobia or something!

Oh, the Japanese are deathly afraid of Avian Flu. They make everyone disembarking from the plane walk across a carpet that has been sprayed with disinfectant. (Personally, I would make everyone wash their hands--with soap!--but that's the Japanese foot fetish for you.)

Also, after walking across the carpet, everyone is bombarded with the looping announcement, "If you have any symptoms of illness, such as fever or diarrhea, please talk to a quarantine agent."
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)

Oh, my!

Bob feels so bad that we didn't check the flight status before we left. You probably checked all your books in the suitcase, so you didn't have much left to read while you waited. What a bummer!

That would be my worst nightmare, not being able to get to a restroom while watching the train pull away just one track away.

That is really strange about the heating fuel heist. Usually things are pretty safe in Japan. That was rather bold, and nasty, I might add, since it's so cold in the houses. Maybe there was a particular emergency need of which we're not aware. Maybe it's related to the power blackout. Maybe someone needed fuel oil and the gas stations couldn't pump because of the blackout.

Good luck at work. I'm so sorry you have to go in right away.

It sure was wonderful having you home, though. You really sacrificed for it.

Let us know how the recovery goes.

[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh, my!

You probably checked all your books in the suitcase, so you didn't have much left to read while you waited.

I did keep one book with me for reading on the plane...but since I had an extra four hours of waiting time, I wound up finishing it with several hours of flight left to go. I tried to sleep as much as possible.

Usually things are pretty safe in Japan. That was rather bold, and nasty, I might add, since it's so cold in the houses.

I was really surprised. I've never had something like that happen before. I'm going to see if I can find a lockable trunk to keep the kerosene in from now on.
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