Taking Flight







As my close friends and family may be aware I have flown once before. But that was from Wisconsin to Tennessee, so only a hop, skip and jump away. It was my first time flying and I was nervous as heck. But I felt that little trip had kind of prepared me for my trip overseas. I was so completely wrong. I never realized how uncomfortable I would be sitting in what I could easily argue was a sardine can. Get out your can openers as we land that can in Japan, we are going to need it. My first leg from Madison, WI, to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas was not that awful. Actually I rather enjoyed myself. It was most definitely an experience to fly over the Midwest and see the drought damage, and the few irrigated fields that yielded a nice green color. As the last time I flew I enjoyed trying to find cars moving along interstates, the white cars show up the best against the dark asphalt. Landing in Dallas was rather rough I thought, I hoped that would not be the rest of my trip. I waited in Dallas International for my connection. (I waited around 45 minutes) When I boarded the plane it was painfully clear how alone I was to become in a foreign country. I was in the most aft section of the plane and surrounded by what I assumed to be a Japanese competition team. (Not sure of the competition but there were a lot of students.) It was then and there I realized I was now the minority. That fact really did not startle me, I welcomed it. I have to admit the one thing I have found to be very interesting is the minority issue. I thought it would be a huge deal, but not really. (Maybe at home I keep much to myself. I prefer the written word over engaging in conversation. If you know me personally you might be able to attest to that fact.) Moving on, I flew over the west, the Rocky Mountains (which I have never seen before – never been to the west. Until that point Texas was the farthest state to be in (yes I count landing in an airport to be in that county/State.) So I was in Japan, even if I was at an airport. :P . . .) Flying over the coast was rather boring, since there was a lot of cloud cover. Even as I went along the Canadian shore, and flew over Alaska and the little islands jutting towards Russia and Mongolia. But what was most amazing was coming into Japan. I could not see it. I thought to myself, the map says we are nearly there, yet I see no land. What the heck? I looked at the water and saw all these tiny white specks, I figured the waves breaking on the ocean. WRONG! I realized as we got closer to the water that each of those white specks were boats, fishing boats. I could not believe how many there were hundreds, thousands, easily hundreds of thousands of them, EVERYWHERE. As we approached this non-existent land I realized I was looking into a hazy sky, one that completely hid the Island nation. After passing the haze the air was so crisp. I could see far into the distance, the green luscious earth below. Hard to believe that here I was a small town kid flying over Japan. I saw the green rice paddies, and irrigation canals, the people’s personal gardens (which are enormous.) My parents think their garden is huge, their garden easily could fit 4, 5, 6 times into a Japanese vegetable garden. I told a friend recently, “As I flew over the island I felt strange, I was watching daily life from the sky. Watched the people drive their cars, work in the fields, walk the streets.” I did not realize what the temperature in Japan would be like until I stepped off that plane. HOT! HUMID! Both hit me immediately, and I broke into a sweat immediately. I passed through security in Japan and walked for my 4 hour layover. For being 4 hours I did not feel like I was there that long. What did I do? I walked the terminal. Down and up, back and forth. Rather bored if I do say so myself. But I will skip the boredom I acquired there. I was soon on that last leg; Bangkok, Thailand was only 5 hours away. (upon getting on the plane my seat was changed, moved from the back to the middle.) Except it became 5 hours and 45 minutes, a bad storm over China kept us on the ground an extra 45 minutes. Once in the air the sun started to set, too bad I was on the wrong side to watch it. My plane was not the only one to be on the ground. As we went to take off at least 20 other aircraft were doing the same. There was a line-up for aircraft leaving. It was very interesting to see I might add. Imagine plane after plane. Delta, Asia Air, Japan Air, Korea Air, Delta, Southwest, Korea Air, Asia Air, Asia Air, ect. Ect. Ect. We were in the air and soon headed toward Bangkok. By this time I had already been in the air for nearly 15 hours. So I only had 5 hours left. By that time I was so tired of sitting, and it was rather painful. I was actually able to sleep on the plane. No use in staying up. I could not see anything outside for it was getting dark. Even landing in Bangkok itself was rather sad, because it was not lit up like I thought it would be. (At the hour I arrived many of the buildings had shut off their lights – I thought as a way to conserve energy- but because it just was not necessary.)