After just over 32 hours of traveling, this was the most welcoming sight I could have imagined:
It was tiny, but it was all ours, it had air-conditioning, and we didn't even have to make the bed ourselves. That's pretty luxurious by the standards of the rest of our trip.
Since we left Atlanta on Thursday morning, we have touched down in three airports. JFK was no surprise for us, but we did get to spend a few hours in Tokyo's airport. I was surprised by the lack of efficiency in that airport. We spend a lot of time in business school learning about different methods of processing that come from Japan, and yet it took us a ridiculously long time just to get through transfer security there. For example, the tables that lead up to the x-ray scanner are a good six inches shorter than the scanner's conveyor belt, which meant each person had to lift every bag or tray individually before they could go through the metal detector. We were thankful for a two-hour layover, but a lot of other people were upset about the wait.
We also had the privilege of enjoying four airplane meals during our flights. I had forgotten one of my favorite things about flights to Asia - the food! We ordered the rice dish for every meal, and they were actually pretty good. One of them even came with a shrimp cocktail appetizer.
Our longest flight even offered free beer and wine, so I had a glass of wine with dinner, and TJ ordered a beer.
With decent food, good drinks, and an impressive choice of movies, TV shows, and games on the new screens right in front of us, the 13-hour flight was a lot more tolerable than I expected. We had a bonus of getting a row with only two seats in it, instead of the three that were in the rows ahead of us. That meant that we had a little extra space between our seats and the windows of the plane, where the other seat would have been, so we were able to spread out and have a little extra leg room. I even managed to get a couple hours of sleep!
The flight from Tokyo to Singapore was the longest 7 hours I can remember. We were both exhausted, my ankles and knees were swollen from sitting so long, and every time I fell asleep, it seemed like the flight attendants were waking me up for a drink or food. We landed in Singapore at 2 am, ready to be out of the airport and a little smelly.
The airport was pretty lively considering the time of day, so we had no problem getting some cash and finding a taxi. The story was a little different by the time we found our hostel, though. The lights were all off, the doorbell wasn't getting anyone's attention, and the taxi driver had driven off as soon as we got out of the car. Now what?
On the door of the hostel, there was a sign to walk to the nearest 7-Eleven and use the public phone to call one of three numbers. We wrote the numbers down, wandered down the street, and then spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to use the phone in our delirious state. The first two numbers resulted in lots of rings but no answer - so we crossed our fingers and TJ dialed the third number on the list - our last option! Fortunately, the guy answered, told us he had gotten our note about our arrival time and was waiting up for us, and then met us back at the door to let us in. I have never been more excited to see a bed in my life!