Today was a travel day, replete with logistical scares and miscommunications.
Upon checking in with JetStar, the gate agent warned that due to high winds we might board the plane, fly to Tokyo only to land at a different airport… or maybe just return to Kyoto. I didn’t quite understand what that would entail and had PTSD flashbacks to my Virgin Australia debacle of 2015. But ultimately we thought we would just see where the winds rising would take us…
Settling in to our row way at the back of the plane, I was glad I had pushed the airport shuttle services to get us an earlier pickup this morning; the original vendor said their first shuttle was at 6 am and they’d most likely get us to the Kyoto airport by 7:30; our flight was departing at 7:40 am. Even in the best of circumstances that was a no-go… and yet it took DAYS to get that resolved. and sure enough, with this culture’s reputation for efficiency once again earned, the flight took off at 7:40 on the dot.
It was only an hour flight so no inflight service per se … but I did find the menu options and skymall selections intriguing to say the least!
Descending into Tokyo’s Narita airport with minimal turbulence, the worries over diversions due to high winds proved unfounded. A quick baggage pickup and we asked at information the way to Kansai Station to hop a subway to our hotel.
I think I got overcharged and put on an express bus to Kansai but even so it took us 75 minutes to get there from the bus depot. The metro proved painless to navigate and the hotel was easily found… but alas check in wasn’t for a few hours.
We opted for lunch and I Yelp’d a cuisine my brother has recommended. We found ourselves at a closed business and wound up trying a place around the corner. It was a restaurant with a serving machine and ticket vouchers… but it had done rudimentary English guidance built into the system. We went for rice bowls and a few pot stickers… paid for them and grabbed our tickets. The server indicated we couldn’t just have the rice bowls, we had to have ramen to go with them. The ramen was overpriced but tasty… just hugely filling and not what I had envisioned for our lighter lunch fare.
I felt a bit taken advantage of honestly but maybe I just didn’t understand the rules and etiquette. Honestly we just wanted the rice bowls at 250 yen apiece and yet the mandatory ramen added another 700 yen apiece to the meal… and a ton more food.
We decamped to the hotel lobby for a few hours; I left mom reading while I went in search of an ATM to replenish my yen. Four different banks spot back out my card; two of them stated the card was invalid and I needed to contact my home bank. I assume the powers that be flagged it due to recent withdrawals in UAE, Oman, Los Angeles, Florida, and Kyoto. Sigh. Good thing my wallet also has a credit card with no foreign transaction fees but still… one occasionally needs local currency.
Like at the local burger chain I took Mom to for dinner. Turns out they are cash only. But I felt after the miscommunications at lunch that a fast food place with a clear cut picture menu was the way to go — and thus I took Mom to MosBurger.
A small but tasty end to a day of survival. We will get back into the tourist swing tomorrow but for today the time and the mileage have taken a toll.
On the plus side, we are in an actual hotel room with its own private bath. Here’s hoping a good night’s rest will help with the time AND the mileage.