Day 1: Getting to Japan……. (post mortem report)

10th of October 2007

So I got up early that morning at about 4am to go over all my packing details again as I had called the taxi to come pick me up at 5:30am. Since this was an international flight I needed to check in 2 hours before hand.

After going all my details for the 50th time, it was time to get going. The taxi was waiting for me as expected and drove me down to the airport. It was a good thing I did come early as planned as the crowds and line were huge and long. I managed to check in with about an hour and a half to spare. I decided to sit down at the nando’s stand which is next to the departure hall and wait for my friend CC.

Here are some shots of the airport that day.

I gave CC a call telling him he may want to come earlier then expected due to the huge crowd returning home for the coming raya next week. He was already on his way so no worries there.

I decided to wait a bit further, I’ll go in at 7:30am or at least till CC arrives. Where I was sitting I was sure to be able to spot him.

Here is me being nuts a bit.

At about 7:15am I decided to go in early, and just as I went in I met CC who was coming out of the departure hall, I was thinking “what the hell?” how did he get past without me seeing? Oh well he was getting out as he needed to get rid of a bottle of shampoo which the airport security deemed a violation of security.

I tell you ever since 9-11 everyone has gotten paranoid especially the Americans with all their security restriction. Next thing I know, they’ll probably make wearing clothes onto the plane illegal and that we would have to wear robes or something.

So after getting through the lengthy security check point, we could finally begin our journey to Japan! yeah!

The international departure hall was empty after we passed the security checkout, the majority of the crowd were bound for domestic flights.

There was our ride to the transit point in Bangkok

The sun was rising and I was primed and ready, later I would realized how tiring this trip just going there would be.

We then reached Bangkok roughly 2 hours later at 9am and decided to check into our airport hotel so we could get some rest.

After spending an hour just looking for the place.

The hotel was a nice place, full of class as you can see.

The reception

Unfortunately, we were told that our reservation for the room was for only a 6 hour duration meaning if we had checked in now, we would have to check out 6 hours later unless we topped up to stay longer. I can now see how they earned money. But since we had no where left to go, we decided to check in and check out later as the cost for adding just another 4 hours cost RM440.

Quite nice

The cafe where we would get free lunch and dinner which was included as part of our package

Even though we were somewhat tired from the flight to Bangkok, but I just couldn’t get to sleep. The excitement of going to Japan really made it hard. I only managed to partially fall asleep for an hour or so. Then woke up and spend the rest of the time talking to CC who also couldn’t fall asleep.
It was about lunch time so we decide to use the coupon given to us for lunch since sleeping was definitely not happening.

Chicken and rice, no complains here.

Although I didn’t really like the corn soup. Tasted like waterdown vomit.

So after lunch, we went back to our room and again tried to sleep (for 30 minutes) then woke up and spent the rest of the time talking about our plans and objectives.

At 3:45pm we check out and sat in the cafe lounge where we had our lunch originally while we waited for dinner and ultimately our flight at 10:00pm. While waiting I notice this flower and decided to pull out my sigma 70-200mm to take this shot.

At this point I should make it clear that I had set out on this trip to also cure one of my camera phobias, the fear of changing lens due to fears of getting dust on the CCD sensor. I knew I had to cure this else I would never get the shots I wanted, I had no trouble with film cameras which never has this problem.

Fortunately, there was a internet kisok in the cafe where I then made my Bangkok entry that day, after which I then left the cafe with CC guarding the rest of our stuff to look around.

The airport had it’s own miniature shopping mall right before the departure gates where everything was duty free and if you spent over a certain limit, you could claim back VAT (value added tax when you submit the relevant paperwork before departure)

I then spotted this…..

But I didn’t have enough baht (Thailand’s currency) as I only bought 200 baht and a whopper cost about 250 baht. Curse my luck! So I went back so CC could have his turn to wonder around while I guarded the luggage.

This turn taking and waiting around allowed us to pass the time peacefully where we then had dinner and further sitting while reading the newspaper would sped time by that it was time to head into the departure gate (8pm)

After once again going through the security checking point like we did back at Penang, I have to say that the people here are much more polite and really are helpful, when I was back in Penang, I told that guy at the security that I was carrying some film which I didn’t want x rayed but the stupid guy said, “Just put into the machine, it xray safe lah!” very rudely, I repeated my complaint that these were high ISO and would be ruin by any xray machines. The guy didn’t give a rats ass as he didn’t want to do a hand inspection, my guess probably because he was too hungry or just couldn’t be bothered unless I was a Datuk or something. Sure enough a few days later when I had the film developed, 2 of the 3 rolls I brought had been damage by the xray machine in Malaysia.

How do I know it was damaged by the Malaysian xray machine and not the Bangkok one? Because I had ask the security personal to hand inspect my film and they obliged without putting it through the xray machine hence eliminating the Bangkok’s X ray machine as the main culprit.

Continuing along, we again found ourselves waiting about at the boarding gate. Fatigue was starting to get to us and I was worried tempers would be flaring but surprisingly we managed to keep our spirits up by talking about what we were going to do first and such.

After that, CC went about reading a book while I decided to wonder around and take some pictures.

I then decided to challenge myself to take some abstract pictures since there were a lot of patterns all around me. Tip to those if you ever find yourself in a situation like mine, give yourself a challenge, you might find some gems which I did.

When I first saw this, it literally screamed odd one out and begged for black and white as the silver metallic of the seat would distract too much from the guy sitting there. I had tried to move into an angle which would have moved the guy from behind that bar, but all the access point had been blocked off and I didn’t know how this guy had gotten down there.

Next I notice the glass dome around the boarding gates so I went around looking for the best view which would actually show my reflection without me. I don’t know how well this worked. Do drop me a line note if you think I didn’t get it right.

So eventually it was time to board and head of to Japan, the food on the flight was good and I did managed to some sleep (albeit the type where you’re half sleep and half dreaming) for 3 hours, we would reach Japan at 6:10am of Japan time. I’ll make my entry about when we touch down next.

Until then pleasant dreams.

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