Having done a fair part of the clean-up after the family left after Christmas Lunch, we set about packing and washing and trying to remember everything at about 9pm. After collapsing at around 11, we rose at about 4 to catch a cab at about 5:45 to get to the airport at about 6 for our flight at about 7:25.
Our cab pulled in to the airport ahead of the DaRins, a family we know from New Farm who were on the same flights as we were. Thanks to the queues ahead, we saw more of them today than we have in the last 12 months.
First security check point and Eamon is hauled aside to have his bag searched. ‘They’ say he has a knife – I say “Huh?”. Seems he thought that tiny little leatherman tool with the folding 3cm blade might be useful in our travels. The nice security guards agreed not to drop it into the pit of confiscated weaponry until I could race to the newsagent and buy an envelope and stamps and post it back to ourselves. Geesh – good start and followed by a trip to Gate 45 when Gate 29 was we were s’posed to be. Then the queuing began.
|The vast blue expanses of Cairns International
Second security checkpoint and Eamon is hauled aside to bag his deodorant into clear plastic, in case there’s a liquid bomb in it. Thank god they didn’t confiscate that or there would have an international odour incident.
Now ex-queues me, but it seems that the concept of budget airline includes a hefty dose of standing inline waiting for things. We stood in line stood and waited to check in at 6am in the morning. We stood in line to board the plane to Cairns, then queued on the steps after walking across the tarmac, then queued in the aisle of the plane. These were not those little queues you get when a backlog builds up, rather the long and boring stand around while folk get their acts together kind of queues.
|First glimpse of Tokyo: Obligatory shot
through bus window.
Naturally we then queued to get off the plane and then waited to collect our luggage and then, cruelly we thought, were marched out into the thick Cairns atmosphere – melting in our northern hemisphere winter clothes and surrounded by young people in singlets and thongs hauling snow skis and snow boards as we paraded the 330m to the International terminal where we were faced with the longest and slowest queue of the day, close to 1.5 hours going up and down the races. Our plan had been to avoid the exorbitant budget airline charges for meals by having a good lunch in Cairns prior to boarding for Narita. Sadly, only two food outlets were open – one selling crap burgers and chips and another, crap sandwiches and both with queues about as long as the time we had left after the last queue.
Don’t remember too much queuing at the Cairns departure point – but we had a rather comfortable flight, albeit a little delayed, and a relatively easy progression through emigration and customs. Had enough time before the bus to grab a Hot Dog
– German Dog Set and for Pip and Eamon to grab a quick Katsu box, before our 70 minute bus trip to the hotel.
I’m typing this from the 27th floor of the Hilton in Shinjuku – fabulous view from our large window and it’s about 11:30pm local time. I’m stuffed.
Quote of the day: Please refrain from using your mobile telephone on the bus as it will disturb the neighbours.