20 May 2016
Let’s do this! The journey begins! Singapore Airlines suggests to check in 3.5 hours before departure. Therefore, the passenger arrives at the gate ~ 3 hours prior to departure. Here’s the plan: drive out of PV at 11am, arrive at LAX, park in Lot C, shuttle to airport, check in, & be ready for flight with plenty of time. Most frustrating moment: finding a parking spot in Lot C. When I arrived at check-in, a lady asked if I was on flight SQ 11 because that flight was delayed by an hour. Honestly, I didn’t know the flight number, just the destination. Yep, that was the number of my flight. During check in, my pack weighed in at 7.3 kg with my ‘personal item’ about 3kg. Singapore Airlines allows 2 carry on items under 7kg – she let me slide. Even though I dreaded the 4 hr wait pre departure, it went quickly due to iPad and iPhone and conversations with friends and family.
Finally settled on a hashtag #savvytraveleraj224asia2016 (combination of several recommendations).
The time came to board the plane. Pack fit in overhead compartment, & I tried to snuggle in to the window seat as nap time was calling my name. Several minutes later, a lady occupied the aisle seat. She knew exactly what to do: she pulled out her phone, earbuds, charger, blanket, and pillow. She plugged in her charger to her phone. We struck up a conversation, and she informed me you can charge your phone on the plane and other tips and tricks (order Singapore Sling, two meals, movies, places to see, etc.). It wasn’t an incredibly long conversation, but I listened intently. During the flight, I found a way to learn a couple of Japanese and Hindi words for my upcoming travels, watched a couple of movies, ate the Japanese option on the menu for dinner/breakfast, and napped for 3 hours.
We landed at Narita International Airport on the East side of Tokyo. Remember: no baggage claim because no luggage- just my pack (with personal item inside pack). As I was planning my next move, I must have looked confused/like a tourist/bewildered/shocked because a woman approached me and asked about my destination: Tokyo Station. She informed me of the different routes: bus, monorail, super express, train. What she really wanted was my opinion, I decided on taking the bus to Tokyo station, then she nailed me with a survey. Oh well!
Here’s where the fun really begins: I walked outside to board the bus. If you’ve ever been to an international airport, there are buses, taxi cabs, shuttles all over the place. I was overwhelmed, and to add to that, I didn’t speak the language or recognize the characters. Basically, I tried to communicate in English, then I just started showing the people my ticket, and they pointed in the general direction. Finally found it and waited. When I arrived at Tokyo Station- it wasn’t what I expected- just a bus stop, not the busy, hustle, and bustle of multiple modes of transportation. However, after calming down, I started just walking around, following the crowd, enjoying the atmosphere, viewing the city, the lights, and ended up at Tokyo Station (the rail station- recognized by pics from the internet). As I walked around, I realized I wanted to walk after a long plane ride. Instead of taking a train to the hostel, I walked (16.8 degrees Celcis according to airport) At first, I thought, I’ll just walk to the next station and catch a train, but then I started seeing guards/police officers on every block. As the walking continued, the busy people hurriedly rush to their next adventure- even at 11p. I arrived at the hostel, chit chatted a bit, then went straight to sleep.