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Sarah in China part 2 July 27, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Travel.
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July 15th: Japan Blur

Somewhere during the plane ride, we crossed the international date line, watched a movie, laughed extremely hard, flew over beautiful ice caps, and tried to sleep. At about nine I started trying to sleep, and then would wake, sleep, wake, and then fall back to sleep. At about 2 am the flight attendants came around with the warm towels to wash your face, then they brought a “meal” of a pepper jack and tomato sandwich and the sourest grapes in that atmosphere. After that we sat looking at each other, waiting to land. Finally we ended our nineteen hour flight by landing in Japan at what felt like 4 am, but was 5 pm in Tokyo! We got off, had our temperatures checked, and left our plane. Walking into Japan was amazing. The airport was a work of art, paintings, lights, and advertisements for spas and massages abound. We walked around a bit and looked at book stores and a McDonalds, that was similar except for a teriyaki burger and a fried shrimp burger, however I did not try one because we had just eaten a breakfast of fried rice on the plane! While watching a beautiful sunset over the land of the sun, Shelby decided she wanted to go watch some people play cards, but she wanted someone to come with her. I volunteered and was slightly confused when she walked in the opposite direction from the group I saw playing. I followed and tried to hide a smile when she approached a group of Japanese men sitting on a square sofa and slamming down rectangle cards with Japanese characters. “Do you speak English?” Shelby questioned. They shook their heads and talked a little amongst themselves before Shelby then said, “can we watch you play?” in a loud clear voice. The man offered her his cards and she shook her head and made a symbol saying we watch. By now we had drawn a crowd and the men continued, posing for pictures, smiling, or grunting nervously!

After cards we boarded a fancy new plane with TVs on each seat. I sat again by Shelby and Tyler and we tried to keep each other awake, but were rather silly with lack of sleep. I realized I was actually living on the many prayers because I was not even tired, and thanked God profusely! The same meal as earlier was served and I watched the first half of 17 Again, chosen completely by accident, before turbulence stopped it in the middle. The longest hour of the whole trip passed but we finally landed, around 11 o’clock. China awaited. But first we were checked by the biode…something people. With all the rumors we had heard about the screening, we were surprised when just one woman in a face mask walked on. A gas spread out the vents, and while we joked about being “gassed” we all made it off the plane unquarantined. I walked off the plane, glad to be on land for a long while. We went throughout typical airport customs and got our temperature checked through a walk through scanner. Everyone noted what they thought were comunisty parts of the airport, such as the low budget roofing and the orange glow outside. I found my luggage, touched it for a few seconds, and waited in line to exchange money. By now I was exhausted, and it did not help that we got kicked out of line because we had to go, Hanban was waiting. We gave back our luggage, and boarded a bus. I was really freaked out by then, because the tour guides with us in Beijing were not very informative, but tried, in Changlish (English + Chinese) to summarize the missed welcome ceremony. At about 1 we finally reached the dorm rooms. When I went to the lavatory, I saw that all were just holes on the ground. I decided to just go on to sleep, but the bed was wooden, air conditioning off, and mosquitoes buzzing around my head. I finally went to sleep at about 2:30 and slept on and off, mostly off. I knew tomorrow would be a much better day, filled with the Summer Palace, and Great wall, but for then all I could think of was that I would be too tired to enjoy them. Keep reading, God answered my prayers and the next day was great!

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