Wednesday, July 24, 2013

All Good Things...

Kyoto (Jun 2, 2012)

All good things must come to an end. After two weeks spent in Japan (one of work and one of vacation) it was time to go home. Mayli was going to start her meeting in Kyoto. I was instead going to take the shinkansen to Tokyo, then the long flight to Chicago and finally the connection to Minneapolis. I Minneapolis I would find the car that Mayli left in the airport long term parking, drive to a nearby hotel and get a night of sleep. Then pick up Kero (that Mayli left, on her way out, with his mom and sister) and finally drive home to Ames. What can go wrong?

Well, yes, as I said before the trains in Japan are easy, and so are the connections with the airport. I had breakfast with Mayli in a nice caffe in Kyoto, and then I managed to arrive to Narita with plenty of time to get my flight. The flight itself was long, but rather uneventful. We flew over Alaska, which made me feel a little stupid given that the next week I would have had to jump on another plane to get all the way back to Anchorage, for another meeting I had to attend. In Chicago I did immigration and custom (easy and fast for once), got on my connection (late as usual, but what can you do these days) and finally arrived to the Twin Cities (tired but happy).

And that is where things started to go wrong. As I said before, I was supposed to get to the long term parking to find the car that Mayli left on her way out. The problem is, the Minneapolis airport has more than one long term parking lot. In the end I had to check all levels of each lot, constantly pressing the car's remote, until I saw our blue car flashing its "okairinasai". Not exactly what I had been looking forward to, at the end of a trip that had already passed its 18th hour mark. But by then the worst was over, right? Well, no. I started driving, following the directions of my trusted GPS to the hotel, until I found myself, in the middle of the night, in a very deserted, very industrial area. Of course my hotel was nowhere to be seen. To be fair, there was one hotel across the street, but definitely not one of the chain I had my reservation. Damn GPS! Well, it turns out that for once the GPS was not at fault. Between the time I made my reservation on Expedia, and the time I arrived there, my hotel had been bought by this other chain, and they had already swapped the name (although they probably didn't swapped the side of the street; for that I am still inclined to fault my GPS). I could have probably figured it out faster if I have had some sleep in the 24 hours, but my sleep-deprived neurons clearly don't work at their best when I jump across too many time zones. In the end, however, everything went right, I did figure out the hotel situation, slept, and found Kero the next day, half happy to see me, half complaining that I had left him for two weeks to go half around the world, and have fun without him. Three hours later, we were HOME.

Ok, this is the last post of this Japan's diary. I have many other photos from this trip that are still waiting to be shown, and more stories wanting to be told. I will post them from time to time, but from now on you should expect some more variety in the topics of my writing and images. If you have missed the begin of this Japan's story, and want to catch up, you can start from the beginning here: "As I am writing, Mayli is on a plane flying to Japan [...]"

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